Uncovering Relations Between Leadership Perceptions and Motivation Under Different Organizational Contexts: a Multilevel Cross-lagged Analysis

  • Marylène GagnéEmail author
  • Alexandre J. S. Morin
  • Kira Schabram
  • Zhe Ni Wang
  • Emanuela Chemolli
  • Mélanie Briand


Surprisingly scant research has adequately examined directional influences between different perceptions of managerial leadership behaviors and different types of work motivation, and even fewer studies have examined contextual moderators of these influences. The present study investigated longitudinal and multilevel autoregressive cross-lagged relations between perceptions of transformational, transactional, and passive-avoidant leadership with autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and amotivation. Multilevel longitudinal models were estimated on data from 788 employees, nested under 108 distinct supervisors, from six Canadian organizations. Results revealed that perceptions of leadership behaviors predicted changes in motivation mostly at the collective level and that some of these relations changed as a function of whether organizations had recently faced a crisis. Collective perceptions of transformational leadership were related to increased collective autonomous and controlled motivation, while individual controlled motivation was related to increased individual perceptions of transactional leadership. In organizations facing a crisis, individual perceptions of transactional leadership were related to decreased individual controlled motivation, while collective perceptions of transactional leadership were related to increased collective autonomous motivation and decreased collective amotivation. In organizations not facing a crisis, collective perceptions of transactional leadership were related to decreased collective autonomous motivation. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.


Transformational leadership Transactional leadership Autonomous motivation Multilevel modeling 



We wish to thank Ramon Rico for a friendly review.

Funding Information

This research was supported in part by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture, and the Society for Human Resource Management awarded to the first author, by a grant from the Australian Research Council (LP140100100) awarded to the second author, and doctoral awards from Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Fonds Québécois de Recherche sur la Société et la Culture granted to the fourth author.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Future of Work InstituteCurtin UniversityPerthAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Foster School of BusinessUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.School of BusinessSouthern Connecticut State UniversityNew HavenUSA
  5. 5.MotiviamoMilanItaly
  6. 6.John Molson School of BusinessConcordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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