One of our best 2016 MBA theses on Authentic leadership

Investigating the mediating effect of perceived organizational support on the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement

By: Theresa Vermeulen 2017

Supervisor: Caren Scheepers



Using positive psychology and the theory of organizational support and reciprocity, we examined whether perceived organizational support (POS) mediates the relationship between authentic leadership and engagement. Authentic leadership and engagement have been investigated extensively however not in relation to POS within the same study.

Given the context of the world of work today, there is a need to move beyond the direct association between leadership and engagement to study how other variables may strengthen or weaken this relationship. Data was collected from 202 employees, working in an international information technology organization and results were analyzed at the group level. Regression analysis was used to test for mediation, followed by statistical tests of the indirect effect as well as bootstrapping.

Differences between subgroups were also investigated and model fit analysis to establish whether the suggested model was a good fit. The results showed that POS partially mediates the relationship between authentic leadership and engagement. Further practical implications of the findings are discussed, together with limitations and ideas for future research.


  • Authentic leadership
  • Work engagement
  • POS
  • Perceived Organizational Support