Are Authentic Leadership and Fairness Connected?

JLOS_72ppiRGB_powerpoint[We’re pleased to welcome Christa Kiersch of University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Dr. Kiersch recently collaborated with Zinta S. Byrne of Colorado State University on their article from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies entitled “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes.”]

Like many interested in leadership and organizational science, I often ask myself (and my perhaps less interested undergraduate students) what it means to be a great leader or to have great leadership. This seems to be a guiding question of much of the research in organizational leadership, and with good cause. If we can better understand what great leadership is, then we may be able to get more of it through improved selection assessments or training and development programs. To go one step further, if we can better understand why certain leadership skills or behaviors or other characteristics are effective, we can offer more precisely targeted recommendations for leaders hoping to make a positive impact (and be more specific regarding what the positive impact will be). This captures the underlying goal of this study, to inform actionable strategies for leaders to positively influence the people and goals of their organization or team.

In our research, we found that being an authentic leader (one based on honesty, self-awareness and transparency) often means being a fair leader, and that one way in which authentic leadership has a positive impact on team members and team outcomes is via perceptions of fair treatment among the team. While I had a hunch that this core relationship between authentic leadership and fairness would be supported in the study, I was intrigued by the complexities of our multi-level findings. I find it interesting that authentic leadership impacts individual perceptions and shared group perceptions (i.e., team climate) a bit differently, and that this impact also appears different depending on the outcome of interest (e.g., turnover intentions vs. employee well-being). I sincerely look forward to continued dialogue regarding these findings and more generally regarding the interesting ways in which leadership impacts (and is impacted by) individuals and groups.

You can read “Is Being Authentic Being Fair? Multilevel Examination of Authentic Leadership, Justice, and Employee Outcomes” from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research from Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!


ChristaChrista E. Kiersch is an assistant professor of Management at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse. Her research interests include leadership, organizational justice, and social responsibility in the workplace.

Zinta S. Byrne is a professor of Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Colorado State University. Her current research interests focus on employee engagement, organizational justice, and computer-mediated exchanges.

This entry was posted in Employees, employers, Firm Performance, Justice, Leadership, Organizational Studies, Performance, Positive Pyschology, Psychology, Turnover, Work environment and tagged , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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