Ups and downs in transformational leadership: A weekly diary study

Manuela Morf, Arnold B. Bakker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We link job design and leadership literature to advance our understanding of the dynamics in transformational leadership. We tested the idea that motivating work characteristics can release positive energy (i.e., vigor) and help leaders who care about others (i.e., high in prosocial motivation) to realize their transformational leadership potential. We conducted a weekly diary study and collected data from leaders of organizations in Switzerland over five weeks (k = 100, N = 500). Multilevel analyses supported our hypotheses: When leaders were exposed to more motivating work characteristics (i.e., task significance, skill variety, and cooperation), they felt more vigorous. When leaders felt more vigorous, they showed more transformational leadership, although this finding was only observed in leaders with high (vs. low) prosocial motivation. Findings provide insights into when and for whom we can observe fluctuations in transformational leadership to guide organizations on supporting leaders to unleash their leadership potential.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-210
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Diary study
  • Job design
  • Prosocial motivation
  • Transformational leadership
  • Well-being

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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