Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Employee Resilience and Leadership Styles: The Moderating Role of Proactive Personality and Optimism

Academic journal article New Zealand Journal of Psychology

Employee Resilience and Leadership Styles: The Moderating Role of Proactive Personality and Optimism

Article excerpt

Organisations operate in an increasingly competitive and dynamic context, and their success is a reflection not only of their capacity to survive, but also of their ability to continually adapt in challenging environments (Lampel, Bhalla, & Jha, 2014; Lengnick-Hall & Beck, 2011). Growing evidence that resilient organisations are better able to recover from and even thrive following major crises has placed organisational resilience research in the limelight over the past decade (Fleming, 2012; Lampel et al., 2014; Linnenluecke, 2015). There is general consensus in recent scholarship with regards to the critical contribution of resilient employees to the organisation's capacity to engage in ongoing development, to survive major crises, and to thrive under uncertain circumstances (Carvalho & Areal, 2015; Southwick, Bonnano, Masten, Panter-Brick, & Yehuda, 2014; Van der Vegt, Essens, Wahlstrom, & George, 2015). This underscores the importance of contextualising employee resilience in occupational settings, and framing it as a capability that can be developed over time and as a function of person-organisation exchanges (Robertson, Cooper, Sarkar, & Curran, 2015; Shaw, McLean, Taylor, & Swartout, 2016). Though a behavioural, contextualised approach to individual resilience has been advocated in review papers (e.g., Fletcher & Sarkar, 2013, Robertson et al., 2015), empirical research to date has largely measured resilience as a trait or a coping mechanism (Luthans & Church, 2002). Consequently, studies have thus far conceptualised employee resilience as an individual resource developed and manifested in response to adversity, rather than as a dynamic capability that signals and ensures innovation and preparedness for future crises (Linnenluecke, 2015). To address this gap, the present study adopts a behavioural and workplace-specific approach to employee resilience, which comprises a suite of learning-oriented and relationship-building workplace behaviours, supported by the organisation, that enhance organisational functioning (Naswall, Kuntz, Hodliffe & Malinen, 2015). Based on previous research suggesting that an organisation's capacity to build and maintain resilience capability among its employees is contingent upon its management of resilience-enabling practices and procedures (Bardoel, Pettit, De Cieri, & McMillan, 2014; Lengnick-Hall & Beck, 2011; Shin, Taylor, & Seo, 2012), and that specific individual differences may account for greater likelihood that people exhibit adaptive and learning-oriented behaviours (Sarkar & Fletcher, 2014; Thompson, 2005), we contend that resilient behaviours represent the upshot of both intrapersonal factors, and the availability of enabling organisational factors, including leadership.

The purpose of this study is twofold. First, it tests the unique effects of dispositional variables typically associated with resilience (i.e., proactive personality and optimism) and of enabling leadership styles (i.e., empowering and contingent reward leadership) on the degree to which employees enact resilient behaviours. Second, the study examines whether and how individual differences and perceived style of the leader interact and relate to employee resilience.

Employee Resilience

Individual resilience has largely been operationalised as a dispositional variable responsible for the psychological mechanisms that enable people to bounce back following crises or traumatic events (Bonanno, 2004; Shin et al., 2012; King & Rothstein, 2010; McLarnon & Rothstein, 2013; Moenkemeyer, Hoegl, & Weiss, 2012; Pipe et al., 2012; Youssef & Luthans, 2007). Although in recent years the individual resilience research has expanded its scope from clinical and developmental foci to applications in occupational settings (Avey, Luthans, & Jensen, 2009; King & Rothstein, 2010; Lee, Sudom, & McCreary, 2011; Lengnick-Hall & Beck, 2011; Luthans, 2002), an overview of the recent literature reveals disparate conceptual and operational perspectives of the construct (Linnenluecke, 2015). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.