Start with why: The transfer of work meaningfulness from leaders to followers and the role of dyadic tenure
Keywords: 
Dyadic tenure
Multilevel structural equation modeling
Self-concept-based theory
Visionary leadership
Work meaningfulness
Issue Date: 
9-Jun-2022
Publisher: 
Wiley
ISSN: 
1099-1379
Note: 
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License
Citation: 
Kipfelsberger, P., Raes, A., Herhausen, D., Kark, R., & Bruch, H. (2022). Start with why: The transfer of work meaningfulness from leaders to followers and the role of dyadic tenure. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 43( 8), 1287– 1309. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.2649
Abstract
Leaders are expected to enhance the work meaningfulness of followers, but little insight exists on the role of leaders' own experience of meaningfulness in that process. We propose a leader–follower transfer model of work meaningfulness through visionary leadership, grounded in self-concept-based theory, in which leader–follower dyadic tenure shapes the effects of visionary leadership on followers. Moreover, we suggest that work meaningfulness can enhance followers' goal achievement and reduce turnover intentions. We tested and confirmed our moderated-mediation model in two independent, multisource, multilevel field data sets of 79 mid-level leaders and 871 employees in Study 1 and 68 CEOs and 596 mid-level leaders in Study 2. We also empirically ruled out a series of alternative transfer mechanisms, including transformational and transactional leadership, leader–member exchange, and all subdimensions of transformational leadership. This research contributes to the scholarly discussions on work meaningfulness and visionary leadership and offers novel insights for practitioners to enhance work meaningfulness in their organizations.
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