Modeling Authentic Leadership and Mastery Goal Orientation with Employees Attitudinal and Behavioral Outcomes, Keeping Employee Work Experience in Focus.


Bottom-up processes in leadership studies, in which leader achieves results from people in a collaborative environment, have started receiving more attention. In contrast, top-down leadership forms, in which all the direction comes from the top, are considered increasingly less effective for long-term organizational success. Bottom-up approaches and follower centric approaches to leadership have also gained popularity due to the potential psychological benefits of having a non-authoritarian leader. Authentic leadership is a form of leadership that is relevant to this paradigm shift in management of organizations. The major objective of the current study was to examine whether and why authentic leadership predicts followers’ attitudinal and behavioral outcomes and what mechanism is used by authentic leadership to influence follower outcomes. Working from a “social learning perspective”, the researcher developed and tested an integrated model of authentic leadership, and proposed that authentic leaders influence followers’ mastery goal orientation (the goal to develop and improve skill). In turn, given that mastery goal orientation determines how employees approach their work and their relationship to the organization, the researcher expected that mastery goal orientation predicts followers’ organizational commitment, job satisfaction, work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. Furthermore, given that employees’ preferences and priorities are changed along different stages of their job with organization, the researcher suggested that organizational tenure moderates the relationship between mastery goal orientation and employee’s work related outcomes.

This study attempted to address several gaps in literature. First, to study mastery goal orientation of followers as mediating mechanism through which an authentic leader influences subordinates’ attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Second, to test the significance of moderating role of followers’ organizational tenure in determining the link between mastery goal orientation and employee’s work related outcomes. Third, to enhance the validity of authentic leadership theory by testing an integrated model in developing economy as majority of the studies pertinent to this area are conducted in developed economies i.e. US and Europe.

The model was tested in a multi-source field study conducted in the telecommunication and banking sectors in Pakistan and including 218 supervisors and 701 direct reports. Results of the study provided some novel findings specific to Pakistani culture. It was found that authentic leadership is associated with a range of beneficial employee attitudinal and behavioral outcomes: employee organizational commitment, work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior but not job satisfaction. Mediation analysis provided partial support for the hypotheses as mastery goal orientation mediated relationships between authentic leadership and followers’ organizational commitment, work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior. The results of moderation analysis showed that organizational tenure tend to moderate the relationship between mastery goal orientation and only one of the outcomes (work engagement) and no support was found for moderated-mediation model. The results are explained and implications for managers and researchers have been suggested.

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