We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Leaders' response to employee overqualification: An explanation of the curvilinear moderated relationship

Jiang, J. and Dong, Y. and Hu, H. and Liu, Q. and Guan, Y. (2022) 'Leaders' response to employee overqualification: An explanation of the curvilinear moderated relationship.', Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 95 (2). pp. 459-494.


This research aimed to advance overqualification literature by examining how leaders’ perceived employee overqualification influences their empowering behavior and employee work behaviors. Drawing upon the individualized leadership theory, we proposed that leaders’ perceived employee overqualification has an inverted U-shape relationship with their empowering behavior such that leaders are more motivated to empower employees from low to moderate levels of overqualification, but this tendency decreases after a certain inflection point. We also predicted that the inflection point occurs at a lower level of employee overqualification when leaders perceive higher (vs. lower) status threat. Leader empowering behavior was hypothesized to positively predict employees’ voice and negatively predict their withdrawal behavior. Two multi-source and time-lagged studies were conducted to examine this moderated mediation curvilinear model. In Study 1, survey data from 372 leader–employee dyads supported the inverted U-shape mediation model from leaders’ perceived overqualification to empowering behavior, then to employee outcomes (i.e., voice and withdrawal behavior). In Study 2, we collected data from a sample of 73 team leaders and 286 employees, and the results supported the full model. Taken together, these findings offer a perspective to enrich the understanding employee overqualification and have important practical implications.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Jiang, J. Dong, Y. Hu, H., Liu, Q. & Guan, Y. (2022). Leaders' response to employee overqualification: An explanation of the curvilinear moderated relationship. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 95(2): 459-494., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.
Date accepted:03 February 2022
Date deposited:07 February 2022
Date of first online publication:23 February 2022
Date first made open access:23 February 2023

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar