Document Type

Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



Despite its persistence as a form of leadership, paternalism has received limited attention within organizational studies. In order to develop a construct definition of paternalism in a contemporary organizational context for this study, a literature review of paternalism is synthesized with qualitative field data collected in Mexican organizations and U.S. organizations that are owned and operated by Mexican immigrants. This analysis is conducted within a framework of leadership, and it suggests that paternalism combines paternalists’ benevolent acts with their subtle control over subordinates’ flexibility in meeting employment terms. Leaders express benevolence through their supportiveness and by providing for employees’ welfare both within the organization and their personal needs outside of the organization. Furthermore, both paternalistic leaders and subordinates frame their relationships in terms of social exchange, offering new insights into the dynamics within these exchange relationships.

Recommended Citation

Martinez, Patricia. (2003). Paternalism as a Positive Form of Leader – Subordinate Exchange: Evidence from Mexico. Management Research: The Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management. 1. 227-242.