Leader autonomy support in the workplace: A meta-analytic review

Gavin R. Slemp, Margaret L. Kern, Kent J. Patrick, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations

Abstract

Leader autonomy support (LAS) refers to a cluster of supervisory behaviors that are theorized to facilitate self-determined motivation in employees, potentially enabling well-being and performance. We report the results of a meta-analysis of perceived LAS in work settings, drawing from a database of 754 correlations across 72 studies (83 unique samples, N = 32,870). Results showed LAS correlated strongly and positively with autonomous work motivation, and was unrelated to controlled work motivation. Correlations became increasingly positive with the more internalized forms of work motivation described by self-determination theory. LAS was positively associated with basic needs, well-being, and positive work behaviors, and was negatively associated with distress. Correlations were not moderated by the source of LAS, country of the sample, publication status, or the operationalization of autonomy support. In addition, a meta-analytic path analysis supported motivational processes that underlie LAS and its consequences in workplaces. Overall, our findings lend support for autonomy support as a leadership approach that is consistent with self-determination and optimal functioning in work settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)706-724
Number of pages19
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Autonomy support
  • Leadership
  • Meta-analysis
  • Motivation
  • Self-determination theory

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