Many studies have recently been devoted to transformational leadership in public sector organizations. However, these seldom address the relationship between transformational leadership and work motivation. By combining separate findings in the public administration literature about transformational leadership style and goal setting and about the work motivation of public employees, we construct hypotheses on how transformational leadership style and work motivation are related in a public sector context. Building on this, our analysis, based on a survey in a Dutch municipality, shows several linkages between this leadership style and work motivation. In addition to a direct effect, we anticipated and indeed found two indirect ones. First, goal setting mediates this relationship, with transformational leaders able to set more challenging and more specific goals. Second, transformational leaders seem able to reduce perceptions of procedural constraints among their employees. This is especially important as such constraints can hamper the use of goal setting.

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Review of Public Personnel Administration
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Bronkhorst, B., Steijn, B., & Vermeeren, B. (2015). Transformational Leadership, Goal Setting, and Work Motivation: The Case of a Dutch Municipality. Review of Public Personnel Administration, 35(2), 124–145. doi:10.1177/0734371X13515486