Psychological climate for engagement and the role of leader behavior patterns in fostering employee engagement and performance behaviors

Date of Completion

January 2011


Psychology, Industrial|Sociology, Organizational




The current research highlighted the roles of psychological climate for engagement and leader behavior patterns as drivers of employee engagement. Additionally, results emphasized the function of leader behavior patterns in fostering engagement and managing task and contextual (i.e., non-work related) performance behaviors. Building on foundational research that substantiates a link between engagement and performance, the current research focused on motivational processes that precede individual-level engagement. ^ There were two primary objectives of this research project. The first was to model the process through which individual experiences of employee engagement transmit the influence of psychological climate perceptions of engagement and leader behavior patterns on task and contextual performance behaviors. The second was to define the nature of leader behavior patterns in fostering employee engagement among organizational members. ^ A multilevel design, the research model included self-report measures of individual and aggregate level variables. Psychological climate for engagement, employee attitudes about work, and task and contextual performance behaviors represented individual level variables. Aggregate level variables included collective assessments of workgroup members' perceptions of leader engagement and transformational and transactional leadership styles. ^ A social network analysis strategy and interviews with union representatives and the executive committee defined clusters of individuals who worked interdependently and shared common work goals (i.e., workgroups). A multilevel modeling procedure, hierarchical linear modeling, accounted for relationships between the aggregate and individual levels across organizational data.^ Results indicate that employee engagement serves as a robust mediator of the effects of psychological climate for engagement on contextual performance behaviors directed at fellow employees. Psychological climate for engagement is also a chief, direct predictor of respondent reports of task performance. Leader behavior patterns, specifically, leader engagement and transformational leadership, serve as predictors of task performance. Results indicate transformational leadership influences reports of contextual performance behaviors directed at fellow employees, albeit, negatively. Employee engagement is a significant predictor of both forms of contextual performance (employee and organization-directed). Results suggest that the motivational process, through which engagement manifests itself, includes components of the social work environment. Discussions include implications of these results, suggestions for future research, and promising intervention strategies. ^