Work motivations as antecedents and outcomes of leadership: Integrating self-determination theory and the full range leadership theory

Yaniv Kanat-Maymon, Maor Elimelech, Guy Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

While some research has documented links between supervisors’ leadership style and subordinates’ motivation, little is known about what drives leadership behaviors in the first place. This study aimed to contribute to the scholarly literature on motivational antecedents of leadership by drawing on the self-determination theory (SDT) of motivation and the full range leadership theory. We traced work motivation throughout the leadership process, starting with supervisors’ work motivations as potential antecedents of leadership styles and proceeding to how leadership styles associate with subordinates’ work motivations. A 2-2-1 multilevel mediational model tested on 61 supervisors and their 244 subordinates showed that supervisors’ autonomous work motivation was linked with subordinates’ ratings of supervisors’ transformational leadership which, in turn, was linked with subordinates’ autonomous work motivation. Furthermore, supervisors’ transactional leadership mediated the association between their controlled motivation and their subordinates’ controlled motivation, whereas supervisors’ passive-avoidant leadership mediated the link between their amotivation and their subordinates’ amotivation. Our integration of the full spectrum of SDT's conceptualization of motivation with the full range of leadership theory provides insights into the motivational processes that naturally direct supervisors toward transformational, transactional, or passive-avoidant leadership styles and their consequent reflection in subordinates’ motivations. The work has both theoretical and practical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-564
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Volume38
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Autonomous motivation
  • Controlled motivation
  • Full range leadership theory
  • Motivation
  • Self-determination theory
  • Transformational-transactional leadership

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management

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