Original Research

Authentic leadership and organisational citizenship behaviour in the public health care sector: The role of workplace trust

Lynelle Coxen, Leoni van der Vaart, Marius W. Stander
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 42, No 1 | a1364 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v42i1.1364 | © 2016 Lynelle Coxen, Leoni van der Vaart, Marius W. Stander | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 April 2016 | Published: 24 October 2016

About the author(s)

Lynelle Coxen, Optentia Research Focus Area, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Leoni van der Vaart, Optentia Research Focus Area, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Marius W. Stander, Optentia Research Focus Area, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The orientation of this study was towards authentic leadership and its influence on workplace trust and organisational citizenship behaviour in the public health care sector.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of authentic leadership on organisational citizenship behaviour, through workplace trust among public health care employees in South Africa. The objective was to determine whether authentic leadership affects organisational citizenship behaviour through workplace trust (conceptualised as trust in the organisation, immediate supervisor and co-workers).

Motivation for the study: Employees in the public health care industry are currently being faced with a demanding work environment which includes a lack of trust in leadership. This necessitated the need to determine whether authentic leadership ultimately leads to extra-role behaviours via workplace trust in its three referents.

Research design, approach and method: A quantitative cross-sectional survey design was used with employees the public health care sector in South Africa (N = 633). The Authentic Leadership Inventory, Workplace Trust Survey and Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Scale were administered to these participants.

Main findings: The results indicated that authentic leadership has a significant influence on trust in all three referents, namely the organisation, the supervisor and co-workers. Both trust in the organisation and trust in co-workers positively influenced organisational citizenship behaviour. Conversely, authentic leadership did not have a significant influence on organisational citizenship behaviour. Finally, authentic leadership had a significant indirect effect on organisational citizenship behaviour through trust in the organisation and trust in co-workers. Trust in the organisation was found to have the strongest indirect effect on the relationship between authentic leadership and organisational citizenship behaviour.

Practical/managerial implications: The main findings suggest that public health care institutions would benefit if leaders are encouraged to be more authentic as this might result in increases in both trust among co-workers and in the organisation. Consequently, employees might be more likely to exert additional effort in their work.

Contribution/value-add: Limited empirical evidence exists with regard to the relationship between authentic leadership, workplace trust in its three referents and organisational citizenship behaviour. This study aimed to contribute to the limited number of studies conducted.


Keywords

indirect effects; public health care sector; public health care employees

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