The relationship between transformational leadership and work attitudes: comparing mediating influences of social identity and the psychological contract

Vincent Cassar*, Frank Bezzina, Sandra C. Buttigieg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of social identity and the psychological contract as plausible frameworks of transformational leadership (TL)-attitudes relationship. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 134 employees. All variables were measured using self-report measures and multiple mediator analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Findings: Both social identity and psychological contract acted as significant mediators between leadership and attitudinal outcomes. However, social identity emerged as the stronger mediator. Research limitations/implications: This study provides evidence on the relative significance of social identity over the psychological contract in explaining TL-attitudes relationship at work. Further longitudinal work is warranted. Practical implications: The results suggest providing internal work environments and practices which enable employees to experience a high degree of fairness and, above all, a sense of identity with the organization can link better their perceptions of their leaders with work attitudes. Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature by highlighting the importance of TL not only on work attitudes but also on the value of important mediators like social identity and the psychological contract as feeding into this relationship. It therefore promotes and raises awareness of the need to explore the explanatory power of these two mediators in understanding the effects of leadership on followers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)646-661
Number of pages16
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Volume38
Issue number5
Early online date23 May 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • psychological contract
  • social identity
  • transformational leadership
  • work attitudes

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