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Leader to follower contagion: A self-determination theory approach


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Contagion effects refer to the transference of leaders’ moods, attitudes, and behaviors toward follower outcomes. The examination of mood contagion effects dominates the literature, and we extend this by exploring self-determination theory (SDT) dimensions. SDT asserts that a requirement for optimal functioning is the meeting of the three needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness. Thus, those leaders who have these three needs met are likely to have superior wellbeing, and we test this contagion effect on followers' subjective wellbeing. Using a sample of 160 New Zealand managers and 368 followers, and multi-level statistical analysis, we test a model where the leaders’ three needs predict the followers’ three needs, with perceived autonomous support at the team level acting as a mediator of these relationships. Finally, we found followers’ three needs predict their subjective wellbeing. Analysis showed that leaders’ relatedness satisfaction influences followers’ perceptions of an autonomous supportive environment. This support was positively related to follower autonomy, competence and relatedness needs. Furthermore, followers’ three needs were all positively related to follower subjective wellbeing, as was leaders’ relatedness satisfaction and perceptions of autonomous support. Overall, we find support for leaders’ SDT dimensions influencing eudaimonic and hedonic wellbeing outcomes for followers, supporting contagion effects with SDT dimensions.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: leadership, contagion, three needs, subjective wellbeing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Schools > Centre for Business, Information Technology and Enterprise > School of Business and Adminstration
Depositing User: Maree Roche
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2012 03:36
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 03:01

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