Are followers satisfied with conscientious leaders? The moderating influence of leader role authenticity

Thomas Harris, M. Teresa Cardador, Michael S. Cole, Sal Mistry, Bradley L. Kirkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leadership scholars have yet to identify a clear and consistent relationship between leader conscientiousness and followers' satisfaction with a leader. Drawing from socioanalytic theory and related personality research, we argue that the underlying motives of leader conscientiousness can manifest in systematically different behaviors aimed at team task accomplishment, ranging from rigid and order-driven to relatively more adaptable approaches. Importantly, we posit that the relationship between a leader's conscientiousness and adaptability is conditioned by role authenticity (i.e., the extent to which a leader believes a role permits expressions of her or his “true self”). Hence, we articulate a conditional indirect effects model whereby leader conscientiousness and leader role authenticity jointly predict leader adaptability and, in turn, increasing levels of leader adaptability are positively associated with followers' shared satisfaction with their leader. Data from a sample of fire and rescue crews provide partial support for the model. Post hoc analyses suggest that the conditioning influence of leader role authenticity on leader conscientiousness is more informative when subfacets of conscientiousness are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-471
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2019


  • leader adaptability
  • leader conscientiousness
  • leader role authenticity
  • satisfaction with leader
  • teams

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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