Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Marcus W. Dickson


As the workplace becomes increasingly stressful, leaders’ well-being, a critical determinant for follower well-being and organizational effectiveness, rises as an important research direction. Under the theoretical framework of self-regulation and conservation of resources, the current study hypothesized that transformational leadership deters leaders’ affective and cognitive resources from long-term self-growth, resulting in a detrimental effect on leaders’ eudemonic well-being. In addition, organizational culture was hypothesized to moderate the overall negative relationship between transformational behaviors and well-being of the leaders. On the one hand, mastery-approach norms would facilitate restoration of resources, so the association between transformational leadership and well-being becomes positive under a high level of mastery-approach norms. On the other hand, performance-approach and avoid norms would prevent resource gain and exacerbate the negative effect of transformational behaviors on leaders’ well-being.

To test these hypotheses, an empirical study was conducted using a multi-organizational archival dataset, which contains others’ ratings of transformational leadership and leaders’ well-being, as well as employee responses to measurements of organizational culture. These measures were extracted from the Leadership/Impact® (L/I) and Organizational Culture Inventory® (OCI®) published by Human Synergistics International. Given sufficient interrater reliability and agreement, data were aggregated to the leader and organizational levels. Regression and hierarchical linear modeling was used for analyzing the aggregated data.

Results supported the main effect hypothesis that transformational leadership was negatively related to leaders’ eudemonic well-being when controlling for transactional leadership. Results were inconclusive about the cross-level interactions, such that organizational culture, conceptualized as the collective self-regulatory focus, did not significantly moderate the main effect at the leader level, but statistical power was lacking to reveal the potential interactions. These findings are helpful for understanding long-term sustainability of effective leadership. Regardless of organizational context, leaders and organizations need to be aware of and balance the contradiction between effective leadership and leaders’ personal development and fulfillment. Future research should continue incorporating leaders’ well-being for exploring the within-leader processes associated with the dynamic nature of leadership.