Authentic leadership, trust and work engagement amongst health care workers
Ebrahim, Aysha Bibi
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The public health care sector encompasses a volatile working environment that faces an array of challenges. Employees in this environment are often overworked and conduct their work under negative circumstances due to a lack of proper management, a lack of resources and the inability of the employees to remain motivated and engaged. According to literature, the Department of Health has recently included the term ‘leadership’ as one of its main drivers to overcome the obstacles faced by individuals in this sector. In authentic leadership, specifically, the ability of the leader to be transparent and honest with others can have phenomenal benefits, especially in such a demanding work environment. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement through the indirect effects of trust. The study was cross sectional in nature, with a non-probability convenient sampling technique being used. The total sample (N = 633) was obtained. The measuring instruments that were used in this study are the authentic leadership inventory (ALI), the work engagement scale (UWES) and two of the three subconstructs of the workplace trust survey (WTS). In order to conduct the statistical analysis, structural equation modelling was used for the development of the measurement and structural models. These models were used to test the hypotheses in the study. In addition to the measurement models, correlations among latent variables were determined and the structural model analysed the strength and direction (regression) between the latent variables as well as possible indirect effects. In the measurement model, it was found that a significant relationship exists between authentic leadership and work engagement, however the direction of authentic leadership preceding work engagement could not be confirmed by the structural model. The results of the study found that authentic leadership through trust in co-worker had a greater indirect effect on work engagement than through trust in supervisor, although both showed a significant impact.