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 journalArticlepeer-review

    58 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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