The role of psychological capital in the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement
du Plessis, Marieta
Boshoff, Adre B.
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ORIENTATION: The focus on positive psychology in the workplace includes interest in engagement of employees and the conditions and/or characteristics that explain variance in engagement levels. RESEARCH PURPOSE: Psychological capital (PsyCap) can be used as a substitute or enhancer for leadership in the development of work engagement in cases where the individual has a high level of PsyCap. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: With work engagement becoming increasingly critical to the competitiveness of today’s organisations, there is a need to better understand the role of leadership and psychological strengths that support work engagement among employees. Research approach/design and method: In the quantitative study (on the responses of 647 managers from a national private healthcare organisation), the mediating and moderating role of psychological capital (PsyCap) on the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement was tested. MAIN FINDINGS: Psychological capital partially mediated the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement. Similarly, PsyCap was also a moderator of the relationship, although the main effects remained significant. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations and leaders should focus on developing a high level of PsyCap within their followers in order to retain high levels of work engagement. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The role of PsyCap in the leadership–engagement relationship indicates that individuals can draw from their PsyCap to improve work engagement.