Back to Basics: The Relative Importance of Transformational and Fair Leadership for Employee Work Engagement and Exhaustion
Perko, K., Kinnunen, U., Tolvanen, A., & Feldt, T. (2016). Back to Basics: The Relative Importance of Transformational and Fair Leadership for Employee Work Engagement and Exhaustion. Scandinavian Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 1 (1), 6. doi:10.16993/sjwop.8
© the Authors, 2016. This is an open access article published by Stockholm University Press and distributed under the terms of a CC-BY Open Access license.
This study contributes to the literature on the supervisors’ role in employee well-being by drawing on two separate lines of research: transformational leadership and organizational justice. The purpose of the study was to investigate the unique contributions of transformational and fair leadership (justice behaviours of supervisors) on work engagement and exhaustion among employees within the framework of the Job Demands-Resources model (Bakker and Demerouti, 2007). In determining the unique contributions, we additionally acknowledged the role of work characteristics. A questionnaire study was conducted among Finnish municipal employees in a variety of occupations (N = 333, 87% women). The analyses comprised fixed-order regression models with latent variables using Cholesky decomposition (de Jong, 1999) to examine unique contributions of highly correlating latent factors. The results showed no additive effects of transformational leadership above fair leadership in relation to work engagement, that is, fair leadership explained work engagement equally well. However, unfair leadership explained incremental variance in exhaustion beyond low levels of transformational leadership. Thus, our results suggest that transformational and fair leadership are interchangeable with respect to positive well-being, while concerning health impairment, unfair leadership is more detrimental than a lack of transformational leadership. Both forms of leadership demonstrated relationships with employee well-being that were partly independent from work characteristics (role clarity, autonomy and workload), thereby corroborating the specific role of leadership. Implications of the high empirical overlap between transformational and fair leadership are discussed from the point of view of leadership measurement and interpersonal affect within it. ...