Authentic Leadership, Work Engagement and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: A Case of a Petroleum Company in UAE
Al Zaabi, Mohamed S Al Sahi
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Enhancing employees’ performance has always been a major concern for leaders and Human Resources (HR) practitioners in public and private sectors. Employees are regarded as the most valuable asset of an organization and the key to growth and development. Moreover, leaders have a significant and essential influence on employees’ performance. In this regard, authentic leadership theory is considered a newly emerging and promising theory in the field of leadership. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between employees’ perceptions of authentic leadership and positive employee outcomes, such as work engagement and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), in the petroleum industry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as to assess the mediating role of psychological empowerment between authentic leadership, work engagement and OCB. The petroleum industry makes a vital contribution to the national and global economy and as such, small changes in the performance of the petroleum industry can have a great impact from both the local and international perspectives. The study is guided by the following general research question: Is there a relationship between authentic leadership, work engagement and OCB among UAE nationals in the petroleum industry, with psychological empowerment as the mediating factor? This relationship is examined using a non-experimental, quantitative approach. A total of 367 UAE nationals working in one of the major petroleum companies in the UAE were selected as survey participants, and 189 employees fully completed the online survey. Participants were asked to complete a questionnaire consisting of basic demographics and previously validated scales to measure employees’ perceptions of authentic leadership, work engagement, OCB, and psychological empowerment. In addition, the collected data were analyzed through several statistical techniques, such as structural equation modeling (SEM) and statistical package for the social sciences (SPSS). The study assumed that there is a positive relationship between the independent and dependent variables based on the literature review and developed theoretical framework. The findings suggest that first, there is a positive and significant relationship between authentic leadership and positive organization outcomes, namely work engagement and OCB. Second, authentic leadership is positively and significantly related to psychological empowerment. Third, psychological empowerment acts as a mediator between authentic leadership, work engagement and OCB. In summary, authentic leaders in the UAE’s petroleum industry have a significant impact on organizational performance as a result of the positive influence of leaders on employee behaviors. Consequently, several practical and theoretical implications of the findings, as well as future research recommendations are discussed.