Yiqing WANG

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)



First Advisor

Prof. CHEUNG Yue-lok, Francis

Second Advisor

Prof. SIU Oi-ling


The authentic leadership model posits that authentic leaders can foster personal development of their subordinates in order to produce better job outcomes. The current study has investigated authentic leadership using the job demands and resources (JD-R) approach to examine how leaders’ authenticity can empower employees in terms of resources-building (e.g. PsyCap, supervisor support); and to examine how these resources can offset negative stressors (e.g. work overload, emotional demands) so that employees may achieve a peak psychological state of flow (Bakker, 2005, 2008) and better job performances. To date, very few studies have tried to explain authentic leader behaviors in the JD-R model which is posited to be widely applicable to different work contexts, let alone studies of such type conducted in Chinese organizations. The current study consists of Study One and Study Two. The major purpose of Study One is to examine the reliability and validity of the authentic leadership and the work-related flow scale in Chinese organizational settings. The major purpose of Study Two is to test the hypotheses of the overall research model using Chinese working samples.

Study One was conducted among Chinese workers in Shanghai (N=135). Confirmatory factor analysis was carried out for the reliability and validity of the authentic leadership and the work-related flow scale. Results confirmed that authentic leadership is best to be depicted as a second-order construct and the Cronbach’s alpha is .94 for the overall instrument. In addition, results also demonstrated that work-related flow has good reliability (Cronbach’s alpha is .96) and construct validity as a three-factor construct.

Study Two aimed to test the proposed research model of the current study. 869 self-reported questionnaires were successfully collected from organizations in Shanghai. Performance was rated by employees’ supervisors to avoid common method bias. Structural equation modeling methods were adopted for data analyses. Results supported most of the hypotheses. Supervisor support (job resource) and PsyCap (personal resource) mediate the relationships between authentic leadership and two job outcomes (work-related flow, performance). Work overload and emotional demands moderate the positive indirect effects of authentic leadership on the job outcomes through supervisor support and PsyCap.

This study has several contributions. First, it has provided a more comprehensive explanation of leadership and the consequent followers’ work behaviors via the JD-R approach. Second, it has linked the similarities in the JD-R model and the flow literature, which were previously studied in separate fields, demonstrating that high flow experience can be obtained only when resources become salient under high demands. Last but not least, the study has provided practical implications on leadership trainings and employee development programs, by pointing out several solutions of organizational improvement for the top management teams.

Recommended Citation

Wang, Y. (2014). A study of authentic leadership adopting the job demands and resources approach in predicting work-related flow and job performance (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from