Influence of leadership style on employee wellbeing : exploration of the role of psychological flexibility : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Objective: To investigate if the relationship between leadership style and employee wellbeing (engagement, emotional exhaustion and disengagement) is moderated by psychological flexibility. As a phenomenon, occupational wellbeing has been attracting the interest of organisations and professionals for the past 20 years. The current study explored a gap in existing research by investigating the role of psychological flexibility in employee wellbeing with a relatively un-researched sector using the Job Demands Resources (JD-R) model. Information Technology (IT) professionals in Australia were invited to participate in an online questionnaire, which explored the influence of a leader’s style on burnout and engagement. A cross sectional approach using regression was applied to determine if employee perception of a leader’s style and their own psychological flexibility influenced health, engagement and burnout amongst IT professionals. The results found that psychological flexibility did not moderate the relationship between transformational leadership and participants wellbeing. Conversely, direct effects between leadership style and wellbeing were found. Job demands in the form of transactional and passive avoidant leadership styles were positively related to emotional exhaustion. Participant reporting of transformational leadership as a job resource is reassuring, as it suggests supportive supervisory practices are a resource that positively influences employee engagement. Finding the co-existence of job demands and resources with burnout and engagement in IT project related work provides a reason to extend wellbeing related research beyond front line industries.