Department of Management

A within-country study of leadership perceptions and outcomes across native and immigrant employees: Questioning the universality of transformational leadership

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  • Ann-Louise Holten, Institut for Psykologi, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Anne Bøllingtoft
  • Isabella Carneiro, National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service and Cancer Research, United Kingdom
  • Vilhelm Borg, The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen Denmark., United Kingdom

This study investigates the universality of transformational leadership with respect to employee perceptions and three outcomes: job satisfaction, self-rated health, and well-being. We do so among employees of different national and cultural backgrounds, yet within a shared national and sectorial setting. Our study has a repeated measures design based on survey data from 2,947 employees (2,836 natives Danes and 111 immigrants) in the Danish elder care sector. While we find no difference between native Danes and immigrants in their perception of transformational leadership, we find that transformational leadership is not a universal predictor of outcomes. Although transformational leadership predicts change in none of the outcomes for immigrants, it does predict change in job satisfaction and well-being for native Danes. Based on our findings, we suggest applying a combination of universalistic and contingency paradigms when leading composite employee groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Management & Organization
Pages (from-to)145-162
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2018

    Research areas

  • global leadership, immigrants, transformational leadership, universality

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