Disentangling between-person and reciprocal within-person relations among perceived leadership and employee well-being

Cort Rudolph*, Kimberley Breevaart, Hannes Zacher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Based on transactional stress theory and theoretical propositions regarding affective perceptions and reactions, we develop and test a model of reciprocal within-person relations between perceptions of directive and empowering leadership and employee emotional engagement and fatigue. A sample of n = 1,610 employees participated in a study with a three-wave, fully crossed and lagged panel design across 6 months. We used a random intercepts cross-lagged panel model to separate within-from between-person sources of variance in leadership perceptions and employee well-being. Consistent with previous research, at the between-person level of analysis, we found that directive leadership was positively related to both engagement and fatigue, whereas empowering leadership was positively related to engagement and negatively related to fatigue. Interestingly, at the within-person level, we found that some of these relations occur reciprocally, in that directive leadership predicts engagement and, simultaneously, engagement positively predicts perceptions of both directive and empowering leadership. These findings challenge existing assumptions about the directionality of the association between perceived leadership and employee well-being and contribute to an enhanced understanding of the role of employee well-being for the development of leadership perceptions overtime

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-450
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Occupational Health Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (Az. 96 849-1, “Work and Health in the Time of coronavirus disease [COVID-19]: A Longitudinal Study”). Portions of this work were presented at the 2021 Virtual Conference of the European Association for Work and Organizational Psychology

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. American Psychological Association


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