Original Research

The role of psychological capital in the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement

Marieta du Plessis, Adre B. Boshoff
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a1007 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.1007 | © 2018 Marieta Du Plessis, Adre B. Boshoff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2017 | Published: 15 October 2018

About the author(s)

Marieta du Plessis, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Adre B. Boshoff, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Western Cape, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Orientation: The focus on positive psychology in the workplace includes interest in engagement of employees and the conditions and/or characteristics that explain variance in engagement levels.

Research purpose: Psychological capital (PsyCap) can be used as a substitute or enhancer for leadership in the development of work engagement in cases where the individual has a high level of PsyCap.

Motivation for the study: With work engagement becoming increasingly critical to the competitiveness of today’s organisations, there is a need to better understand the role of leadership and psychological strengths that support work engagement among employees.

Research approach/design and method: In the quantitative study (on the responses of 647 managers from a national private healthcare organisation), the mediating and moderating role of psychological capital (PsyCap) on the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement was tested.

Main findings: Psychological capital partially mediated the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement. Similarly, PsyCap was also a moderator of the relationship, although the main effects remained significant.

Practical/managerial implications: Organisations and leaders should focus on developing a high level of PsyCap within their followers in order to retain high levels of work engagement.

Contribution/value-add: The role of PsyCap in the leadership–engagement relationship indicates that individuals can draw from their PsyCap to improve work engagement.


Keywords

authentic leadership; psychological capital; PsyCap; work engagement; engagement; moderation; leadership substitute; PsyCap development; healthcare industry

Metrics

Total abstract views: 182
Total article views: 176


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.