Authentic leadership occurs when individuals enact their true selves in their role as a leader. This article examines the role of authentic followership in the previously established relationship between authentic leadership and follower in-role and extrarole performance behaviors. Consideration of followers who enact their true selves is important to understand how authentic leadership fosters follower self-determined work motivation and thus work role performance. Using self-determination theory (SDT) as a guiding framework, the authors propose that authentic leadership, authentic followership, and their interplay are positively related to the satisfaction of followers’ basic needs, which, in turn, are positively related to follower work role performance. The authors conducted a survey study of 30 leaders and 252 followers in 25 Belgian service companies. The results provide evidence of positive relationship for both authentic leadership and authentic followership with follower basic need satisfaction in a cross-level model where authentic leadership was aggregated to the group level of analysis. Cross-level interaction results indicated that authentic leadership strengthened the relationship between authentic followership and follower basic need satisfaction. Follower basic need satisfaction was shown to mediate the relationship of authentic leadership and authentic followership with follower work role performance. A test of mediated moderation further demonstrated that basic need satisfaction mediates the interaction of authentic leadership and authentic followership on follower work role performance. The implications for leadership research and practice are explored.

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ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Management
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Leroy, H., Anseel, F. (Frederik), Gardner, W. L., & Sels, L. (Luc). (2015). Authentic Leadership, Authentic Followership, Basic Need Satisfaction, and Work Role Performance: A Cross-Level Study. Journal of Management, 41(6), 1677–1697. doi:10.1177/0149206312457822