Authentic leadership, performance, and job satisfaction: the mediating role of empowerment

J Adv Nurs. 2013 Apr;69(4):947-59. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.06089.x. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


Aim: To report a study conducted to test a model linking authentic leadership of managers with nurses' perceptions of structural empowerment, performance, and job satisfaction.

Background: Authentic leadership has been proposed as the root element of effective leadership needed to build healthier work environments because there is special attention to the development of empowering leader-follower relationships. Although the influence of leadership style and empowerment on job satisfaction is well documented, there are few studies examining the influence of authentic leadership on nurses' empowerment and work outcomes.

Design: A non-experimental, predictive survey.

Method: In 2008, a random sample of 600 Registered Nurses working in acute care hospitals across Ontario in Canada was surveyed. The final sample consisted of 280 (48% response rate) nurses. Variables were measured using the Authentic Leadership Questionnaire, Conditions of Work Effectiveness Questionnaire, Global Job Satisfaction Survey, and General Performance scale. The theoretical model was tested using structural equation modelling.

Results/outcomes: The final model fit the data acceptably. Authentic leadership significantly and positively influenced staff nurses' structural empowerment, which in turn increased job satisfaction and self-rated performance.

Conclusion: The results suggest that the more managers are seen as authentic, by emphasizing transparency, balanced processing, self-awareness and high ethical standards, the more nurses perceive they have access to workplace empowerment structures, are satisfied with their work, and report higher performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Power, Psychological*