How Do Transformational Leaders Foster Positive Employee Outcomes? A Self-Determination Based Analysis of Employees’ Needs as Mediating Links
Although followers’ needs are a central aspect of transformational leadership theory, little is known about their role as mediating mechanisms for this leadership style. The present research thus seeks to integrate and extend theorizing on transformational leadership and self-determination. In particular, we propose that the satisfaction of followers’ basic needs (autonomy, competence, relatedness) mediates the relationship between transformational leadership and em-ployee outcomes (job satisfaction, self-efficacy, commitment to the leader). We tested this model in two studies involving employees from a broad spectrum of organizations in Germany (N = 410) and Switzerland (N = 442). Results revealed largely consistent patterns across both studies. The link between transformational leadership and occupational self-efficacy was mediated solely by need for competence fulfillment; the link between transformational leadership and commit-ment to the leader was mediated solely by need for relatedness fulfillment. The mediating pattern for the link between transformational leadership and job satisfaction varied slightly across stud-ies. In Study 1, only need for autonomy fulfillment was a significant mediator, while in Study 2, all three needs mediated this relationship. Taken together, our study integrates theorizing on transformational leadership and self-determination by corroborating that need fulfillment indeed is a central mechanism behind transformational leadership.
Kovjanic, S.*, Schuh, S.C.*, Jonas, K., Van Quaquebeke, N., & Van Dick, R. (2012). How Do Transformational Leaders Foster Positive Employee Outcomes? A Self-Determination Based Analysis of Employees’ Needs as Mediating Links. Journal of Organizational Behavior.