Purpose - This paper reports the findings of a study examining the relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement through the mediating role of meaning in work.
Design/methodology/approach - Transformational leadership, work engagement and perceptions of meaning in work were assessed in an empirical study based on a sample of 530 full-time employees working in Australia.
Findings - The results from Structural Equation Modelling reveal that the transformational leadership style influences followers’ attributes of work engagement. The direct relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement was found to be partially mediated by employees’ perceptions of meaning in work.
Practical implications - Industry reports show that globally, the number of unengaged employees have increased, costing nations billions in productivity losses. We present a model that could help reduce these losses by providing human resource managers with new insights into developing training programmes that could improve transformational leadership behaviours in the workplace. These programmes could help re-design the context of work to make work more meaningful.
Originality/value - The relationship between transformational leadership style, perceptions of meaning in work and work engagement were explored theoretically and tested empirically in an Australian context.