Original Research

Authentic leadership and follower trust in the leader: The effect of precariousness

Deon J. Kleynhans, Marita M. Heyns, Marius W. Stander
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 47 | a1904 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v47i0.1904 | © 2021 Deon J. Kleynhans, Marita M. Heyns, Marius W. Stander | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 April 2021 | Published: 27 October 2021

About the author(s)

Deon J. Kleynhans, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa; and, Department of Human Resource Management, Faculty of Economic Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Marita M. Heyns, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Marius W. Stander, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa; and, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic Management Sciences, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: In a business context characterised by precariousness and uncertainty, the importance of trusting leader-follower relationships is becoming critical to navigate imminent challenges preventing organisational sustainability and progress. The potential negative impact of related challenges could be reduced by encouraging leaders to adopt an authentic leadership style, culminating in various positive employee and organisational outcomes.

Research purpose: This study investigated the impact of authentic leadership (AL) on follower trust in the leader (TL), while considering the possible indirect influence of perceived precariousness in the form of job insecurity.

Motivation for the study: Establishing a high level of trust among the followers and their leaders employed by a manufacturing organisation under operational and financial pressure might contribute to a more effective functioning of the entity.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative cross-sectional survey design was applied. The Authentic Leadership Inventory, Workplace Trust Survey, and Job Insecurity Scale were administered.

Main findings: Authentic leadership was a significant predictor of TL. Job insecurity did not moderate the relationship between AL and TL.

Practical/managerial implications: Promoting an AL style will benefit manufacturing organisations as it will elevate the trustful relationship between leaders and followers, despite precarious working conditions.

Contribution/value-add: The study emphasises AL’s critical role in cultivating a trustful relationship between followers and their leaders. The non-significant influence of job insecurity on a trustful relationship in a precarious work context was also highlighted.


Keywords

authentic leadership; trust; job insecurity; precariousness; organisational sustainability; mediation; moderation

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