Skip to main content Accessibility help

Leadership theories and the concept of work engagement: Creating a conceptual framework for management implications and research

  • Robert J. Blomme (a1), Bas Kodden (a1) and Annamaria Beasley-Suffolk (a1)


During the past decade, a great deal of research has been carried out on the importance of employee engagement. In various studies, engagement is viewed as a positive state of mind of overwhelming satisfaction, which is characterized by feelings of vigour, dedication and absorption. In this article, ‘vigour’ refers to a state of mind in which individuals feel energetic, fit, strong and indefatigable. ‘Dedication’ refers to a state of mind in which individuals feel highly engaged by their work, which inspires them, and makes them feel proud and enthusiastic. ‘Absorption’ refers to a pleasant state of mind in which individuals are fully immersed in their work. This article provides an overview of a number of perspectives on leadership and discusses which leadership factors are likely to be the most effective in ensuring that employees remain engaged and productive. It also provides a conceptual model for further research on the relationship between leadership styles and work engagement.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author:


Hide All
Asree, S., Zain, M., & Razalli, M. R. (2010). Influence of leadership competency and organizational culture on responsiveness and performance of firms. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22(4), 500516.
Avolio, B., Walumbwa, F., Weber, T. J., Avolio, B. J., & Walumbwa, F. O. (2009). Leadership: Current theories, research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421449.
Bakker, A., & Demerouti, E. (2004). Using the job demands & resources model to predict burnout and performance. Human Resource Management, 43(1), 83104.
Bakker, A. B. (2009). Building engagement in the workplace. Oxon: Routledge.
Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Verbeke, W. (2004). Using the job demands-resources model to predict burnout and performance. Human Resource Management, 43(1), 83104.
Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2007). The Job Demands-Resources model: State of the art. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 22, 309328.
Bakker, A. B., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2008). Positive organizational behavior: Engaged employees in flourishing organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 154(2), 147154.
Bal, P. M., De Cooman, R., & Mol, S. T. (2013). Dynamics of psychological contracts with work engagement and turnover intention: The influence of organizational tenure. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 22, 107122.
Bal, P. M., De Lange, A. H., Ybema, J. F., & Van Der Velde, M. E. G. (2011). Age and trust as moderators in the relation between procedural justice and turnover: A large-scale longitudinal study. Applied Psychology, 60(1), 6686.
Bal, P. M., Kooij, D. T. A. M., & De Jong, S. B. (2013). How do developmental and accommodative HRM enhance employee engagement and commitment? The role of psychological contract and SOC strategies. Journal of Management Studies, 50(4), 545572.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. Personnel Psychology, 50, 604.
Bandura, A. (1999). Social cognitive theory: An agentic Albert Bandura. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 2(1), 2141.
Bass, B. M. (1985). Leadership and performance beyond expectation. New York, NY: Free Press.
Bass, B. M. (1997). Does the transactional-transformational leadership paradigm transcend organizational and national boundaries? American Psychologist, 52(2), 130139.
Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1997). Full range leadership development: Manual for the multifactor leadership questionnaire. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden.
Bass, B. M., & Riggio, R. E. (2006). Chapter 1: Introduction. In B. M. Bernard & R. E. Riggio (Eds.), Transformational leadership (2nd ed.), Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Block, P. (1987). The empowered manager. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Bloisi, W., & Hoel, H. (2008). Abusive work practices and bullying among chefs: A review of the literature. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 27(4), 649656.
Blomme, R. J. (2012). Leadership, complex adaptive systems, and equivocality: The role of managers in emergent change. Organization Management Journal, 9, 419.
Blomme, R. J., Van Rheede, A., & Tromp, D. M. (2010). The use of the psychological contract to explain turnover intentions in the hospitality industry: A research study on the impact of gender on the turnover intentions of highly educated employees. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 21(1), 144162.
Bruins, J., Platow, M. J., & Ng, S. H. (1995). Distributive and procedural justice in interpersonal and intergroup situations: Issues, solutions, and extensions. Social Justice Research, 8(1), 103121. Retrieved from
Carey, M. (1992). Transformational management and the fundamental option for self-transcedence. Leadership Quarterly, 3, 217231.
Cavanaugh, M. A., Boswell, W. R., Roehling, M. V., & Boudreau, J. W. (2000). An empirical examination of self-reported work stress among U.S. managers. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(1), 6574. Retrieved from
Chambel, M. J., & Oliveira-Cruz, F. (2010). Breach of psychological contract and the development of burnout and engagement: A longitudinal study among soldiers on a peacekeeping mission. Military Psychology, 22(2), 110.
Chemers, M. M. (2001). Leadership effectiveness: An integrative review. In M. A. Hogg & R. S. Tindale (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of social psychology: Group processes (pp. 376399). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Cialdini, R. B., & Trost, M. R. (1998). Social influence: Social norms, conformity, and compliance. In D. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske, & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology (4th ed., pp. 151192). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Cole, M. S., Walter, F., Bedeian, A. G., & O’Boyle, E. H. (2011). Job burnout and employee engagement: A meta-analytic examination of construct proliferation. Journal of Management, 38(5), 15501581.
Colquitt, J. A. (2001). On the dimensionality of organizational justice: a construct validation of a measure. Journal of applied psychology, 86(3), 386.
Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N. (1988). The empowerment process: Integrating theory and practice. Academy of Management Review, 13, 471483.
Cornelissen, J. P., Haslam, S. A., & Balmer, J. M. T. (2007). Social identity, organizational identity and corporate identity: Towards an integrated understanding of processes, patternings and products. British Journal of Management, 18(S1), S1S16.
Crawford, E. R., Lepine, J. A., & Rich, B. L. (2010). Linking job demands and resources to employee engagement and burnout: A theoretical extension and meta-analytic test. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(5), 834848. Retrieved from
Cropanzano, R. (1993). Justice in the workplace: Approaching fairness in human resource management. In E. A. Fleishman (Ed.), Personnel psychology (vol. 47, pp. 201205). Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishing Limited. Retrieved from
Cropanzano, R., & Greenberg, J. (1997). Progress in organizational justice: Tunneling through the maze. International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 12, 317372.
Dansereau, F., Graen, G., & Haga, W. J. (1975). A vertical dyad linkage approach to leadership within formal organizations: A longitudinal investigation of the role making process. Organizational behavior and human performance, 13(1), 4678.
Demerouti, E., Bakker, A. B., Nachreiner, F., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2001). The job demands-resources model of burnout. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(3), 499512. Retrieved from
Den Hartog, D. N., & Koopman, P. L. (2005). Implicit theories of leadership at different hierarchical levels. In B. Schyns & J. R. Meindl (Eds.), Implicit leadership theories: Essays and explorations (pp. 135158). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Den Hartog, D. N., Van Muijen, J. J., & Koopman, P. L. (1997). Transactional versus transformational leadership: An analysis of the MLQ. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 70(1), 1934. Retrieved from
Dienesch, R. M., & Liden, R. C. (1986). Leader-member exchange model of leadership: A critique and further development. Academy of Management Review, 11, 618634.
Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., & Notelaers, G. (2009). Measuring exposure to bullying and harassment at work: Validity, factor structure and psychometric properties of the negative acts questionnaire-revised. Work & Stress, 23(1), 2444.
Erdogan, B., Kraimer, M. L., & Liden, R. C. (2004). Work value congruence and intrinsic career success: The compensatory roles of leader-member exchange and perceived organizational support. Personnel Psychology, 57(2), 305332.
Erez, M. (1994). Work motivation from a cross-cultural perspective. In A.-M. Bouvy & F. J. R. van de Vijver (Eds.), Journeys into cross-cultural psychology (pp. 386403). Leiden: Swets & Zeitlinger Publishers.
Folger, R., & Cropanzano, R. (2001). Fairness theory: Justice as accountability. In J. Greenberg, R. Cropanzano, J. E. Greenberg, & R. E. Cropanzano (Eds.), Advances in organization justice (pp. 155). Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press. Retrieved from
Frankel, A. S., Leonard, M. W., & Denham, C. R. (2006). Fair and just culture, team behavior, and leadership engagement: The tools to achieve high reliability. Health services research, 41(4p2), 16901709.
French, J. R. P., & Raven, B. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.), Studies in social power (pp. 150167). Ann Arbor, MI: Institute for Social Research.
Gerstner, C. R., & Day, D. V. (1997). Meta-analytic review of leader-member exchange theory: Correlates and construct issues. Journal of Applied Psychology, 82(6), 827844.
Giessner, S. R., Van Knippenberg, D., & Sleebos, E. (2009). License to fail? How leader group prototypicality moderates the effects of leader performance on perceptions of leadership effectiveness. The Leadership Quarterly, 20(3), 434451.
González-Romá, V., Schaufeli, W., Bakker, A., & Lloret, S. (2006). Burnout and work engagement: Independent factors or opposite poles? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 68(1), 165174.
Graen, G. B., & Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-based approach to leadership: Development of leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership over 25 years: Applying a multi-level multi-domain perspective. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(2), 219247.
Gross, E. (1970). Work, organization, and stress. In S. Levine & N. A. Scotch (Eds.), Social stress (pp. 54110). Chicago, IL: Aldine.
Hakanen, J. J., Bakker, A. B., & Demerouti, E. (2005). How dentists cope with their job demands and stay engaged: The moderating role of job resources. European Journal of Oral Sciences, 113(6), 479487. Retrieved from
Halbesleben, J. R. B. (2010). A meta-analysis of work engagement: Relationships with burnout, demands, resources, and consequences. In A. B. Bakker & M. P. Leiter (Eds.), Work engagement: A handbook of essential theory and research (pp. 102117). Oxon, UK: Psychology Press.
Hallberg, U. E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2006). ‘Same same’ but different? Can work engagement be discriminated from job involvement and organizational commitment? European Psychologist, 11(2), 119127.
Hannah, S. T., Avolio, B. J., Luthans, F., & Harms, P. D. (2008). Leadership efficacy: Review and future directions. The Leadership Quarterly, 19(6), 669692.
Haq, I. U., Ali, A., Azeem, M. U., Hijazi, S. T., Qurashi, T. M., & Quyyum, A. (2010). Mediation role of employee engagement in creative work process on the relationship of transformational leadership and employee creativity. European Journal of Economics, Finance and Administrative Sciences, 25(1), 94101.
Haslam, S. A., Reicher, S. D., & Platow, M. J. (2011). The new psychology of leadership: Identity, influence and power. New York, NY: Psychology Press.
Henderson, D. J., Wayne, S. J., Shore, L. M., Bommer, W. H., & Tetrick, L. E. (2008). Leader–member exchange, differentiation, and psychological contract fulfillment: A multilevel examination. The Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(6), 12081219.
Hoel, H., Faragher, B., & Cooper, C. (2004). Bullying is detrimental to health, but all bullying behaviours are not necessarily equally damaging. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 32(3), 367387.
Hoel, H., Glasø, L., Hetland, J., Cooper, C. L., & Einarsen, S. (2009). Leadership styles as predictors of self-reported and observed workplace bullying. British Journal of Management, 21, 453468.
Hogg, M. A. (2001). A social identity theory of leadership. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(3), 184200.
Hollander, E. P. (1985). Leadership and power. The handbook of social psychology, 2, 485537.
Hollander, E. H. (1995). Organizational leadership and followership. In P. Collet & A. Furnham (Eds.), Social psychology at work (pp. 6987). London: Routledge.
Howell, J. P., & Dorfman, P. W. (1981). Substitutes for leadership: Test of a construct. Academy of Management Journal, 24(4), 714728.
Howell, J. P., & Mendez, M. J. (2008). Three perspectives on leadership. In Ronald E. Riggio et al. (Ed.), The art of follo wership: How great followers create great leaders and organizations (pp. 2540). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Igo, T., & Skitmore, M. (2006). Diagnosing the organizational culture of an Australian engineering consultancy using the competing values framework. Construction Innovation: Information, Process, Management, 6(2), 121139.
Jetten, J., Haslam, S. A., Iyer, A., & Haslam, C. (2009). Turning to others in times of change: Social identity and coping with stress. In S. Stürmer & M. Snyder (Eds.), The psychology of prosocial behavior: Group processes, intergroup relations, and helping (pp. 139156). Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Jetten, J., O’Brien, A., & Trindall, N. (2002). Changing identity: Predicting adjustment to organizational restructure as a function of subgroup and superordinate identification. British Journal of Management, 41, 281297.
Kahn, W. A. (1990). Psychological conditions of personal engagement and disengagement at work. Academy of Management Journal, 33(4), 692724.
Kavanagh, M. H., & Ashkanasy, N. M. (2006). The impact of leadership and change management strategy on organizational culture and individual acceptance of change during a merger. British Journal of Management, 17(S1), S81S103.
Keller, T. (2003). Parental images as a guide to leadership sensemaking: An attachment perspective on implicit leadership theories. The Leadership Quarterly, 4(2), 141160.
Kelloway, E. K., Sivanathan, N., Francis, L., & Barling, J. (2005). Poor leadership. In J. Barling, E. K. Kelloway, & M. R. Frone (Eds.), Handbook of work stress (pp. 89112). London: Sage.
Kodden, B. (2011). Dedication. Breukelen: Nyenrode Business Universiteit.
Kossek, E. E., Markel, K. S., & McHugh, P. P. (2003). Increasing diversity as an HRM change strategy. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 16(3), 328352.
Krishnan, V. R. (2004). Impact of transformational leadership on followers’ influence strategies. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 25(1), 5872.
Liden, R. C., & Maslyn, J. M. (1998). Multidimensionality of leader-member exchange: An empirical assessment. Journal of Management, 24(1), 4372.
Llorens, S., Bakker, A. B., Schaufeli, W. B., & Salanova, M. (2006). Testing the robustness of the job demands – resources model. International Journal of Stress Management, 13(3), 378391.
Lord, R. G. (2008). Beyond transactional and transformational leadership. In M. Uhl-Bien & R. Marion (Eds.), Complexity leadership, part 1: Conceptual foundations (pp. 155184). Charlotte, NC: IAP.
Lord, R. G., & Maher, K. J. (1990). Perceptions of leadership and their implications in organizations. In J. S. Carroll (Ed.), Applied social psychology and organizational settings (pp. 1291545). Hillsdale, MI: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Lowe, K. B., Kroeck, K. G., & Sivasubramaniam, N. (1996). Effectiveness correlates of transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic review of the MLQ literature. The Leadership Quarterly, 7(3), 385 415.
Lub, X. D., Bijvank, M. N., Bal, P. M., Blomme, R., & Schalk, R. (2012). Different or alike?: Exploring the psychological contract and commitment of different generations of hospitality workers. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 24(4), 553573.
Lub, X. D., Blomme, R. J., & Bal, P. M. (2011). Psychological contract and organizational citizen behavior: A new deal for new generations? Advances in Hospitality and Leisure, 7(2011), 109130.
Luthans, F., & Youssef, C. M. (2007). Emerging positive organizational behavior. Journal of Management, 33(3), 321349.
Maslach, C., & Leiter, M. P. (2008). Early predictors of job burnout and engagement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93(3), 498512. Retrieved from
Maslach, C., Schaufeli, W. B., & Leiter, M. P. (2001). Job burnout. Annual Review of Psychology, 52(1), 397422. Retrieved from
Meglino, B. M., & Ravlin, E. C. (1998). Individual values in organizations: Concepts, controversies, and research. Journal of Management, 3, 351389.
Meindl, J. R. (1995). The romance of leadership as a follower-centric theory: A social constructionist approach. The Leadership Quarterly, 6(3), 329 341.
Mostert, K., & Rothmann, S. (2006). Work-related well-being in the South African Police Service. Journal of Criminal Justice, 34, 479491.
Rich, B. L., Lepine, J. A., & Crawford, E. R. (2010). Job engagement: Antecedents and effects on job performance. Academy of Management Journal, 53(3), 617635.
Salanova, M., Agut, S., & Peiró, J. M. (2005). Linking organizational resources and work engagement to employee performance and customer loyalty: The mediation of service climate. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6), 12171227. Retrieved from
Schaufeli, W. B., & Salanova, M. (2007). Work engagement: An emerging psychological concept and its implications for organizations. In S. Gilliland, D. D. Steiner, & D. Skarlicki (Eds.), Managing social and ethical issues in organizations (pp. 135177). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Schaufeli, W. B., Salanova, M., González-Romá, V., & Bakker, A. B. (2002). The measurement of engagement and burnout: A two sample confirmatory factor analytic approach. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3(1), 7192.
Schein, E. (1993). On dialogue, culture, and organizational learning. Organizational Dynamics, 22(2), 4051.
Schein, E. H. (1983). The role of the founder in creating organizational culture. Organizational Dynamics, 12(1), 1329.
Schein, E. H. (1996). Three cultures of management: The key to organizational learning. Sloan Management Review, 38(1), 920.
Schriesheim, C. A., Castro, S. L., & Cogliser, C. C. (1999). Leader-member exchange (LMX) research: A comprehensive review of theory, measurement, and data-analytic practices. The Leadership Quarterly, 10(1), 63113.
Schyns, B. (2007). Follower-centered perspectives on leadership. Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie, 6(4), 180181.
Smircich, L. (1983). Concepts of culture and organizational analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 339358.
Stetz, T. A., Stetz, M. C., & Bliese, P. D. (2006). The importance of self-efficacy in the moderating effects of social support on stressor–strain relationships. Work & Stress, 20(1), 4959.
Storm, K., & Rothmann, S. (2003). The relationship between personality dimensions, coping and burnout of pharmacists in a corporate pharmacy group. South African Journal of Industrial Psychology, 29(4), 6270.
Tajfel, H. (1982). Social psychology of intergroup relations. Annual Review of Psychology, 33(1), 139.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (vol. 33, pp. 3347). Monterey: Brooks/Cole.
Tepper, B. J., Moss, S. E., & Duffy, M. K. (2011). Predictors of abusive supervision: Supervisor perceptions of deep-level dissimilarity, relationship conflict, and subordinate performance. The Academy of Management Journal, 54(2), 279294. Retrieved from
Terry, D. J. (2003). A social identity perspective on organizational mergers: The role of group status, permeability, and similarity. In S. A. Haslam, D. Van Knippenberg, M. J. Platow, & N. Ellemers (Eds.), Social identity at work: Developing theory for organizational practice (pp. 223240). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
Tims, M., Bakker, A. B., & Xanthopoulou, D. (2011). Do transformational leaders enhance their followers’ daily work engagement? The Leadership Quarterly, 22(1), 121131.
Tourish, D. (2011). Leadership and cults. In A. Bryman, D. Collinson, K. Grint, B. Jackson, & M. Uhl-Bien (Eds.), The Sage handbook of leadership (pp. 215229). London, UK: Sage.
Tourish, D., & Pinnington, A. (2002). Transformational leadership, corporate cultism and the spirituality paradigm: An unholy trinity in the workplace? Human Relations, 55(2), 147172.
Turner, J. C. (1991). Social influence. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Uhl-Bien, M., & Marion, R. (2007). Paradigmatic influence and leadership: The perspectives of complexity theory and bureaucracy theory. In J. K. Hazy, J. A. Goldstein, & B. B. Lichtenstein (Eds.), Complex systems leadership theory (pp. 143162). Mansfield: ICSE Publishing.
Van Knippenberg, D., Van Knippenberg, B., & Giessner, S. R. (2006). Extending the follower-centred perspective on leadership: Leadership as an outcome of shared social identity. In B. Shamir, R. Pillai, M. C. Bligh, & M. Uhl-Bien (Eds.), Follower-centred perspectives on leadership (pp. 5170). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Van Schalkwyk, S., Du Toit, D. H., Bothma, A. S., & Rothmann, S. (2010). Job insecurity, leadership empowerment behaviour, employee engagement and intention to leave in a petrochemical laboratory: original research. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 8(1), 17.
Vecchio, R. P. (1987). Situational leadership theory: An examination of a prescriptive theory. Journal of Applied Psychology, 72(3), 444.
Villa, J. R., Howell, J. P., Daniel, D. L., & Dorfman, P. W. (2003). Problems with detecting moderators in leadership research using moderated multiple regression. The Leadership Quarterly, 14, 323.
Waldman, D. A., & Bass, B. M. (1990). Adding to contingent-reward behaviour. Group and Organization Management, 15(4), 381395.
Walster, E., Berscheid, E., & Walster, G. (1973). New directions in equity research. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 25(2), 151176.
Wefald, A. J., Reichard, R. J., & Serrano, S. A. (2011). Fitting engagement into a nomological network: The relationship of engagement to leadership and personality. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 18(4), 522537.
Wilderom, C. P. M. (2011). Towards positive work cultures and climates. In N. M. Ashkanasy, C. P. M. Wilderom, & M. F. Peterson (Eds.), Handbook of organizational culture & climate (pp. 7985). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Wilderom, C. P. M., van den Berg, P. T., & Wiersma, U. J. (2012). A longitudinal study of the effects of charismatic leadership and organizational culture on objective and perceived corporate performance. The Leadership Quarterly, 23(5), 835848.
Wiley, J. W. (2010). The impact of effective leadership on employee engagement. Employment Relations Today, 37(2), 4753.
Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2007). The role of personal resources in the job demands-resources model. International Journal of Stress Management, 14(2), 121141.
Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Heuven, E., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2008). Working in the sky: A diary study on work engagement among cabin attendants. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13(4), 345356.
Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2009). Work engagement and financial returns: A diary study on the role of job and personal resources. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 82(1), 183200.
Xanthopoulou, D., Bakker, A. B., Heuven, E., Demerouti, E., & Schaufeli, W. B. (2008a). Working in the sky: A diary study on work engagement among flight attendants. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 13(4), 345356.
Yukl, G. (1989). Managerial leadership: A review of theory and research. Journal of Management, 15(2), 251289.



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed