Work engagement in transformational leaders: A multi-level, multi-source study

Karina Nielsen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Purpose – Building on cognitive theories, the aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between leaders’ appraisals of their own transformational leadership behaviors and levels of work engagement, and how followers’ group climate may enhance this link.
Design – The study was a multi-method, multi-source study. Experience Sampling Method was used to collect leaders’ own ratings of their transformational leadership behaviors and work engagements states in the situation (N = 58) and followers completed a questionnaire on their group collaborative climate (N = 653).
Findings – Exerting transformational leadership behaviors significantly predicted leaders’ work engagement states and a general collaborative climate in the group of followers enhanced this relationship.
Implications – Understanding how behaviors specific to the leadership role is related to leaders’ work engagement provides valuable knowledge of how we may increase leaders’ engagement. As leaders play a vital role in maintaining staff well-being and obtaining organizational objectives, their own levels of work engagement is important to ensure organizational health.
Originality/value – Previous research has primarily focused on how transformational leadership is related to followers’ work engagement, however, in this study I examined the link between transformational leadership and leaders’ own engagement levels, testing cognitive theories. Furthermore, I extend current research by examining characteristics specific to the leader role, e.g. transformational leadership behaviors and leading a group of followers, whereas previous research has focused only on general work characteristics, such as job autonomy, social support and opportunities to learn.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives in Leadership
EditorsJerry D. Vanvactor
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNova Sciences Publishers Inc
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)978-1-62417-170-3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • Experience Sampling Method
  • Work Engagement
  • Transformational Leadership
  • Team Collaborative Climate
  • Multi-Level analyses

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