One of the most significant and successful solutions to the opportunities and concerns brought by the global context is leadership (Dagiene et al. 2022
). The economic structure, independent public institutions, political stability, long-term constructive welfare programs for the public, entrepreneurial initiative support mechanisms, technical education, continuous research and development, and government support are key reasons for choosing a leadership style while commencing business initiatives in any country (Fatimah and Syahrani 2022
Islam et al.
) identified that paternal leadership has the capacity to motivate, inspire, and demand high performance from others based on the deeply held core values of firms. The six leadership subscales listed below are generally equivalent to the attributes or styles of paternal leadership: visionary, inspirational, self-sacrificing, honest, decisive, and performance-oriented (Islam et al. 2022
). In contrast to transactional leadership, this set of leadership practices is most strongly associated with paternal leadership theory. Paternal leaders’ charismas are different from transactional leaders’ charismas in several ways (Ahmad et al. 2021
Paternal leadership requires compassion and kindness in addition to being helpful and sensitive (Chaudhary et al. 2021
). It has two subscales for leadership: humility and humanitarian orientation (Islam et al. 2019
). In particular, the moral or ethical school of leadership theory informs paternal leadership. Although it has been argued for thousands of years, leadership ethics only became a distinct academic field of applied ethics in the 1990s (Maqsoom et al. 2022
). Most of the study that has already been under taken on paternalistic leadership has focused more on its benefits, including increased team cohesion, job happiness, organizational commitment, and success in both roles and outside of them. The negative aspects of paternalistic leadership, however, have managed to remain hidden (Stein 2022
). The paternalistic leadership found in Turkish culture as well as any potential drawbacks, including perceived job discrimination and nepotism has been highlighted (Boothe and Watson 2022
). Because it is believed that the authoritarian nature of paternalistic leadership will induce the leader to discriminate against his followers, this study focuses on the connection between paternalistic leadership and employee discrimination and nepotism (Xu et al. 2022
). Those who do not comply with the leader’s authority and requests will be handled differently because of the leader’s ultimate control and authority over his subordinates and the expectation of unquestioning adherence from them (Boothe and Watson 2022
). Employee disobedience may merely cause the boss to treat the subordinates differently. Second, nepotism—the practice of doing extra favors for family members—is common in family-owned businesses (Lok et al. 2022
). That makes sense in part because families work to ensure company continuity among generations in order to ensure the expansion of their inheritance. Paternalistic leadership styles are also quite prevalent in family-owned businesses (Michael-Tsabari et al. 2022
). The leader, who is typically a family member, maintains total control over all decisions and has little regard for anyone else. This association suggests that nepotism and paternalistic leadership are related (Colovic 2022
A considerable proportion of research has been under taken by social exchange theorists in support of the idea that an organization’s commitment to its employees may be measured (Elmes 2022
). The level of dedication that employees exhibit to the company, in turn, will directly depend on the organization. Consider the connection between the employer and employee as one of a fair transaction (Ndidi et al. 2022
), with the way in which an employer treats employees having a direct impact on their performance, attitude, and commitment to the organization (Nishii and Leroy 2022
). This is a valuable framework for analyzing commitment behaviors (Wang et al. 2022
Employee attitudes and behaviors, including performance, mirror their expectations and impressions of the organization’s treatment of them (Ćwikła et al. 2022
). Human resource practices are shown to be significantly correlated with employee perceptions and attitudes in their multilevel model relating to human resource practices and employee reactions (Basu 2022
). Employee attitudes, and more specifically, employee commitments, were linked to the interaction of human resource practices and perceptions, according to expert studies (Zaid and Jaaron forthcoming
). High-involvement work practices may improve employee retention, according to researchers. However, the majority of analyses of commitment and retention come from the perspective of the employer; as a result, new and improved initiatives are consistently presented (Aybas et al. 2022
). Investments in high-involvement work practices may thus promote a pleasant work climate that may result in decreased turnover (Mulugeta 2022
). These programs are intended to have a favorable influence on employee retention and commitment. Organizations have prioritized reducing unneeded and undesirable employee turnover by implementing HR procedures and regulations (Mondejar and Asio 2022
Any organization’s HR function is incredibly important for employee retention. Workplace policy and procedure improvements, internal promotion opportunities, employee training, and bonus payments are a few examples of strategies for retaining employees (Almaw 2022
). During a restructuring, the HR department is in charge of conducting, recommending, and putting into practice employee retention measures (Yussif 2022
). Work is crucial to a person’s quality of life and is closely tied to it. Extending the concept of work beyond the limitations of the office, overall life happiness has been linked to job satisfaction (Yussif 2022
). As a result, employment is more than just a means of subsistence for people; it also helps them discover “purpose, stability, and a feeling of community and identity” (Neumüller 2022
). Furthermore, firms must quickly adapt to a dynamic environment and allow their employees to thrive in the workplace if they are to maintain competition and success (Akkaya et al. 2022
). Many studies have shown how important both work-related and non-work-related help, such as family and social support, is in making people more committed to and good at their jobs (Piehl 2022
As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world is currently experiencing an unparalleled crisis. In the middle of the spring semester of 2020 (Xiong et al. 2021
), faculty members in educational organizations—particularly higher education institutions—abandoned face-to-face instruction and quickly transitioned to online learning (McLean and Warren 2022
). Teachers had to balance the demands of their students with their own personal safety, maintain connections, and ensure quality while, for some, concurrently caring for loved ones and keeping an eye on their own children’s development in their online education. One of the many key uncertain and immediate challenges brought on by the pandemic that has impacted educational institutions, students, programs, instructors, staff, and those who lead these organizations is the shift to digital learning. Higher education institutions’ leadership structures swiftly changed, with senior executives originally charged with making quick decisions while prioritizing the health and safety of students, teachers, and staff.
Any institutional crisis is defined by its triggering events, but the reputation and status of an institution are frequently more influenced by societal construction and opinions about how they are handled. Because the faculty is regarded as the foundation of the education sector, the study is focused on educational institutions, particularly the faculties of private sector educational institutions. The faculty efforts are primarily on an intellectual level, concentrating on the future of the country. A faculty would need to help students understand the importance of cultivating curiosity, imagination, resilience, and self-control; they would also need to help students understand the importance of respecting and appreciating the ideas, perspectives, and values of others; dealing with rejection and failure; and moving forward in the face of adversity.
In the critical pandemic period, the educational institution’s faculty members put these previously indicated skills into practice. When they noticed for themselves the shifting demands and priorities of educational authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak, they too rapidly changed from being traditional teachers to e-instructors. This marked a turning moment where the world began to discern between actual leadership and coated leadership after the so-called leadership was exposed to the financial community. A pivotal moment that will be reflected in how many firms handle this crisis will be remembered for decades. Some educational institutions talk about having a social mission and set of values or about how much they appreciate their staff and other stakeholders, yet some firms continue to make money even when they have not lost a penny and do not anticipate doing so in the future. According to research, individuals only genuinely think that their company has a mission and guiding principles when they witness management choosing to place those principles higher than immediate financial success. The researcher is aware that executives were under pressure from investors and bankers to save money and lessen the likelihood of a loss, but neither the investors nor the bankers were willing to go hungry. It is important not only because it is the right thing to do as a business but also because it will cut down on the costs of rehiring staff, the difficulty of finding dedicated faculty members, and the loss of goodwill when the institute returns to normal operations.
The contribution of this study is two-fold; theoretically, the relationship between paternal leadership and employee retention with the mediating role of work engagement during theCOVID-19pandemic was not explored in previous studies that were thoroughly investigated in this study, especially in the education sector. Moreover, a second major contribution of this study is to explore the relationships between the personality traits of paternal leaders with work engagement activities moderating the role of virtual human resource activities with the perspective of the pandemic in the education sector have not yet been explored before.
Benevolent and misleading leadership is exhibited by paternal leadership styles. A good-natured, paternalistic leader exhibits “parental affection” along with moderate authority in order to uphold social order in a peaceful setting. The exploitative paternal leader symbolizes a “darker” shade and appears to confirm a self-serving (or even dishonest) mentality of the leader, whose mild nurturing approach is utilized to ensure that followers are obedient and deferential. The economic system and both types of paternal leaders emphasize group loyalty over individual goals, which is more in line with the sincere intentions of responsible paternalistic leaders than with the self-serving bias of exploitative paternalistic ones. Both types of paternal leaders also believe in high institutional collectivism. Institutional collectivism” is defined as “the degree to which organizational and societal institutional practices encourage and reward collective distribution of resources and collective action”, but the implementation and explanation of this term vary from organizational norms, institutional maturity, and the level of organizations. In emerging societies, where due to certain societal and economic constraints, people have to work under a prevailing leadership style, and workers experience different types of paternal leader.
In this paper, the researcher investigated the mechanisms through which personality traits of paternal leader affects employee job retention. We tested the model involving the personality traits of paternal leaders, virtual human resource practices, and employee performance in a service context. Our first finding is that a compassionate trait of a paternal leader (Potter 1969
) was not positively associated with employee job retention n (Sheridan 1992
), as reported by the education sector (H1). This confirms that a paternal leader can influence his traits (Nishii and Leroy 2022
) with other factors that are important for employee retention in the organization. Our second hypothesis is also positive because it confirms that virtual human resources (Mondejar and Asio 2022
) during the pandemic was an additional mechanism that links the compassionate trait of a paternal (Gilbert 2021
) leader and work engagement activities (Christian et al. 2011
). We then examined H3, which is rejected because normally, a paternal leader considers himself to be more experienced and has a greater right to decide business decisions, which can have a negative impact on the employees. H4 is accepted, and the reason is that it is a need of every organization that the leader must give priority to the system, which protects the employees of the organization from wrong decisions from direct leadership. H5 is also rejected because a paternal leader is not allowed to influence employee job retention (Gyamerah et al. 2022
) when he or she is not fulfilling the requirement of a business environment, especially when the employee needs leader attention and support and the leader is not available for them and preferring there business goals and objectives instead of their employees’ needs. The results indicated that the V-HRM (Mondejar and Asio 2022
) consistency strengthens two relationships—empowerment trait—work engagement and empowerment trait of paternal leaders (Gunasekara et al. 2022
) and employee job retention (Sheridan 1992
), respectively (H7).
In other words, employees are more likely to reciprocate excellent leader relationships and work passionately with higher job performance if they believe that Virtual HR (Ndidi et al. 2022
) procedures in COVID-19 are highly consistent with one another. These findings show that there is a significant contingent relationship between leadership and outcome, and vice versa, with VHRM (Yussif 2022
). Employees are better able to identify the management objectives driving HR practices (Yussif 2022
) and more confidently interpret corporate goals when HRM messaging is consistent with one another. This encourages workers to respond to high leadership with acceptable attitudes and conduct by helping them connect their actions with the organization’s aims and expectations. According to the co-variation (Nishii and Leroy 2022
) principle of the attribution theory, employees will have a clear understanding of management expectations and associated rewards if they perceive their environment—in this case, HRM—as distinctive (it is visible) and consistent, and if other employees share their perception of HRM. As a result, they will be more likely to keep their jobs, and the effects of leadership on employee engagement (Wood et al. 2020
) and job retention will be strengthened. After adjusting for HRM content, our findings showed that highly consistent HRM messages—as shown by within-respondent agreement—enabled workers to respond to leaders in ways that were consistent with the mission of the company. However, this article shed light on some studies that have found a non-significant relationship between paternal leadership and employee job retention (Yussif 2022
) because our results also found a non-significant relationship between paternal leadership and employee job retention. Due to theCOVID-19 pandemic, a distinction was made between those who were the actual leader and those who were only supposed to present themselves as leaders, but in actuality, were not paternal leaders but deceptive people who never showed benevolence or resource (Elmes 2022
) provider for their employees when people needed them duringCOVID-19. It is also a fact that inconsistent paternal policy leads to inconsistent HRM practices and subsequent confusion about the alignment of the employees’ roles and the organization’s objectives are likely to increase employee stress and dissatisfaction, leading to reduced performance.
In other words, without a defined aim, employees are more likely to experience stress, deliver subpar performance, and consider quitting. Following this logic, additional research may be beneficially focused on other management or HRM behaviors that can help employees’ actions match company goals when looking at the results of paternal leader relationships.
6.1. Theoretical Implications
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a tremendous amount of uncertainty and challenges for business leaders and organizational members. In times of crisis, the leader becomes the public face for different stakeholders and plays a critical role in shaping an organization’s direction. In particular, when faced with high uncertainty, middle managers pay close attention to their leaders to make sense of how their organizations will respond to and recover from this environmental shock and take action accordingly.
On a theoretical level, this research contributes to a new understanding in the area of paternal leadership on employee retention in the private colleges of Lisbon. First, the findings support the view that the paternal leader, as a resource provider, has significant impact on the employee retention of an institute. As a business grows, the supporting departments also play an important role, such as work engagement activities supported by the human resource department and leader secretariat.
The moderating effects lead to a more nuanced picture of how work engagement activities increase employee satisfaction and understand their reason for staying in the institute (Islam et al. 2022
). We predicted that work engagement activities buffer the negative effects of leadership behavior during theCOVID-19 pandemic. As a result, employees who are more supported by their employers are more likely to have interpretative experiences that will guide their longer stay in business. We found two groups in the educational institutions; the first group accepted that they were supportive of their organization, and a leader also provided them with opportunities in terms of understanding the work engagement that helps grow an organization, but COVID-19 changes the situation, the leader had a greater preference for financial policies and ignored achieving the long-term objectives of the firm. The second type of employee denied providing opportunities and desired work engagement activities which can help in thinking about their long stay in an organization. This is one of the first studies in the educational sector to employ a paternalistic leadership approach to describe the link between leadership and employees during COVID-19.
By identifying virtual human resource practices as a mediator in the relationship between paternal leadership and work engagement activities, we aimed to add to the study strategy under investigation. We examined the unexpected role that workplace engagement activities played in forecasting employee retention. By combining mediation and moderation, our model more effectively explains how leadership influences employee retention as well as who is most impacted by the choice of paternal leadership in terms of work engagement activities and employee retention. Our findings not only support and explain claims that the education industry is closely related to employee retention, but they also offer suggestions for reducing the negative effects of paternal leadership. Finally, in the context of Portugal, this study adds to academics’ understanding of the impact of paternal leadership on employee work engagement activities and behavioral outcomes in terms of employee retention.
6.2. Managerial Implications
This study offers a number of managerial recommendations that can help CEOs, managers, educators, and politicians lessen the drawbacks of paternalistic leadership. The education sector will first benefit from the study’s findings since they will help them better understands the variables that affect employee retention. Employee retention is crucial in making this field environmentally and socially acceptable. Employee retention, according to our findings, is an organizational phenomenon that is influenced by situational factors (e.g., paternal leadership and virtual human resource activities) through work engagement. According to the findings of this study, to attain long-term objectives, grow a business, and avoid financial losses in the long term, a deceptive attitude of leadership must be avoided. Second, people’s responses to a paternal corporate culture are influenced by their earlier experiences; as a result, businesses may need to create a certain environment, reliable procedures, and achievement in order to support the culture of staff retention. Employees respond negatively to paternalistic leadership based on their personal experiences; therefore, executives and organizational leaders should establish moral standards. If they work in an ethically comfortable workplace with regular procedures and a formal complaint mechanism, employees may be inspired to do extra-role actions to improve organizational performance.
Third, unethical practices of the leader can be reduced by agency services provided by managers/administrators. It has been suggested that keeping the long-term objectives of the firm in view, continuity, the growth of an organization, and competition in the market, leaders need to understand what should be preferred and what is actually needed by an organization to grow. Finally, the pandemic was a difficult time where the leader should have to prove why he/she is blessed to be a paternal leader. The paternal leader should have to place priority on small financial losses instead of future losses. Finally, according to the findings of this study, virtual human resource practices and work engagement activities are significant predictors and influences of employee retention. Paternal leadership theory is based on employee well-being and assumes that a resource provider’s benevolence and supportive side should be lighter.
6.3. Limitations and Future Research
As with all studies, this one has several limitations that must be taken into account before drawing conclusions. Due to the fact that the data were obtained from small- and medium-sized educational institutions, the conclusions of larger organizations may differ from ours. Second, the attitude, support, the contributions of paternal leader in their organizations before the pandemic is totally ignored. In order to better understand the connection between unethical leadership and employee retention, future research can examine the impact of demographics. Third, the results of this study cannot be extrapolated to other geographical regions because they are based solely on data collected from private colleges in a single province. Other regions of the world’s research findings could be different from ours.
In conclusion, our research provides important messages to organizational leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic affected the world, and workers experienced different experiences. We saw that many paternal leaders behaved differently with respect to their titles. Most of the paternal style organizations did as their theory said according to them, but some who claimed to be very paternal within an organization were self-serving or deceptive, whose colors faded when put near the fire. Priority-based financial strategies were made to protect business leaders without keeping in mind the need for time. This affected the economy, and many people became jobless even though they did not receive any support from the government. This caused the economic cycle of Portugal to fall into a vicious cycle of poverty. This has also affected meeting the long-term objectives of organizations and the growth of the economy.
Now and onwards, the canvass of leadership styles does not look as attractive because people from emerging economies do not believe in any type of leader. It can also be concluded that a financial leader is the leader of himself only, regardless of what ever paternal style he adopts; he inspires people to serve himself, he wants to motivate the team to achieve his objectives, but it is very clear that team objectives and personal objectives are in opposing direction; they cannot be parallel. Business leaders in emerging economies need institutional maturity to achieve their dreams. Now that the COVID-19pandemic is over, the unprecedented effects of the pandemic are revealing new theories to guide people for neo-normal challenges.
In order to successfully mediate the relationship between unethical paternal leadership and employee retention, the current study sheds light on critical concerns about the unethical behavior of paternal leadership and employee retention. Work engagement activities are revealed as a key contingent factor. This study presents various techniques for reducing the detrimental consequences of unethical leadership and motivating staff to participate in work engagement activities, which has important organizational ramifications. The results of this study can also be utilized to launch future investigations into additional factors and the underlying processes that support employee retention.
Crises require leaders to take responsibility and do this visibly. By being visible and responsible, they are showing accountability and sharing risks with their followers, an important sign of solidarity with the many workers work place health and others who face personal risks during the pandemic.