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The importance of transformational leadership style for the well-being of employees working with older people


K. Nielsen: e-mail:


Title. The importance of transformational leadership style for the well-being of employees working with older people.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to explore the relationships between transformational leadership, followers’ perceived working conditions and employee well-being and job satisfaction.

Background.  There is some evidence that transformational leadership style is linked to employee job satisfaction and well-being. However, it is not clear whether this is due to (i) a direct relationship between leadership and job satisfaction and well-being outcomes or (ii) whether followers’ perceived working conditions mediate this relationship.

Methods.  A cross-sectional design was applied to data from a questionnaire study of 447 staff caring for older people in Denmark. Data were collected in 2005. A theory-driven model of the relationships between leadership, working conditions, job satisfaction and well-being was tested using structural equation modelling.

Results.  The transformational leadership style was closely associated with followers’ working conditions, namely involvement, influence and meaningfulness. Involvement was associated with job satisfaction and meaningfulness was associated with well-being. However, working conditions were closely correlated with each other, and thus the mediating mechanisms may operate through several different working conditions. A direct path between leadership behaviour and employee well-being was also found.

Conclusion.  Considering working conditions in the absence of studying leadership behaviour (or vice versa) may reveal an incomplete picture of the impact of work and work relationships on well-being. Work re-design interventions focused on influence may benefit from the consideration of training managers to exert transformational leadership behaviours.