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The relationship between transformational leadership and follower sickness absence: the role of presenteeism

Nielsen, Karina; Daniels, Kevin

Work and stress. Volume 30:Issue 2 (2016); pp 193-208 -- Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group

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  • Title:
    The relationship between transformational leadership and follower sickness absence: the role of presenteeism
  • Author: Nielsen, Karina;
    Daniels, Kevin
  • Found In: Work and stress. Volume 30:Issue 2 (2016); pp 193-208
  • Journal Title: Work and stress
  • Subjects: Job satisfaction--Periodicals; Job stress--Periodicals; Stress (Psychology)--Periodicals; Sickness absenteeism--presenteeism--transformational leadership--multi-level analysis; Dewey: 158.7
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
  • Abstract: ABSTRACT:

    The impact of transformational leaders on employee health and well-being has received much attention. Less research has focused on the relationships between transformational leaders and followers' sickness absenteeism. Transformational leaders promote a group climate that may lead to absenteeism, especially among vulnerable employees (those with high levels of presenteeism). In the present study we examined the relationships between presenteeism, group-level transformational leadership and sickness absence rates in a three-year longitudinal study of postal workers and their leaders in Denmark ( N  = 155). Group-level transformational leadership in year 1 predicted sickness absenteeism in year 2, but not in year 3. In examining conditions under which transformational leadership may be linked to higher levels of sickness absenteeism, we found that presenteeism in year 1 moderated the link between transformational leadership in year 1 and sickness absenteeism in year 3, such that followers working in groups with a transformational leader and who were high in presenteeism reported higher levels of sickness absenteeism. Our results suggest a complex picture of the relationship between transformational leadership and sickness absenteeism; transformational leaders may promote self-sacrifice of vulnerable followers by leading them to go to work while ill, leading to increased risks of sickness absence in the long term.


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100033902181.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 0267-8373; 10.1080/02678373.2016.1170736
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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