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Work. 2014;49(2):315-24. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131713.

Psychosocial resources and the relationship between transformational leadership and employees' psychological strain.

Author information

1
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.
2
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany Departments of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, USA.
3
Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Leadership behavior may both serve as a supportive resource or as a source of psychological distress in the workplace.

OBJECTIVE:

Transformational leadership (TL), a behavior of superiors that fosters motivation, empowerment and a sense of teamness, has been associated with employee well-being, but the mechanisms that underlie these effects are unclear. We therefore explored the relationship between TL and stress by examining potential mediating roles for established organizational and personal resources.

METHODS:

We used cross-sectional data on TL, psychosocial resources and employee strain from a company wide survey. Linear regression and structural equation modeling assessed potential mediation following the method outlined by Baron and Kenny.

RESULTS:

In a convenience sample consisting of mostly white-collar employees (n=320, 42.6% male), we observed a relationship between TL and employees' perceived work-related stress that was fully mediated by protective psychosocial resources (ß =-0.33, p< 0.01). Additionally, we found that TL positively affected these resources (ß=0.61; p< 0.01) and that absence of resources led to more psychological strain (ß=-0.54, p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS:

Transformational leadership seems to be associated with lower stress among employees and a perception of more available psychosocial resources. These findings indicate that TL might serve as a valuable focus for tailored interventions to improve employee health.

KEYWORDS:

Stress; leadership; mediation; workplace

PMID:
24004772
DOI:
10.3233/WOR-131713
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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