How Transformational Leadership Supports Intrinsic Motivation and Public Service Motivation: The Mediating Role of Basic Need Satisfaction

Ulrich Jensen, Louise Ladegaard Bro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Motivating public service employees to greater effort is a key issue for managers and scholars. Transformational leadership concerns behaviors to develop, share, and sustain a vision for the organization and has been suggested as an important lever in this respect. However, we know little about the processes by which transformational leadership may stimulate work motivation. Integrating transformational leadership, public service motivation (PSM), and self-determination theory, this article sheds light on the psychological mechanisms underlying the motivational effects of transformational leadership. According to structural equation modeling, the relationships between transformational leadership and two types of autonomous work motivation—intrinsic motivation and PSM—are mediated by the satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Our findings support the claim that the motivational effects of transformational leadership are mediated by need satisfaction, but also that satisfaction of individual needs is not equally important for intrinsic motivation and PSM, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-549
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Keywords

  • basic need satisfaction
  • intrinsic motivation
  • public service motivation
  • transformational leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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