ORIENTATION : Beneficiary contact moderates the relationship between authentic leadership
and work engagement.
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The objective of this study was to examine the moderating effect of the
breadth, depth and frequency of employee interaction with the beneficiaries of their work on
the positive impact of authentic leadership on work engagement.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Investigating the boundary conditions of the relationship between
leaders and followers is vital to enhance the positive effect of leadership. Authentic leadership
has not previously been examined with respect to beneficiary contact as a specific situational
factor. The researchers therefore set out to ascertain whether beneficiary contact has a
strengthening or weakening effect on the impact of authentic leadership on work engagement.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : The researchers administered the Authentic
Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ), the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-9) and Grant’s
scale on Beneficiary Contact.
MAIN FINDINGS : The findings showed that beneficiary contact had a weakening effect on the
positive relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : Ideally, organisations create environments conducive to
work engagement in which leadership plays an important role. This study found that one
factor in the work environment, namely beneficiary contact, might have an adverse effect on
the positive relationship that authentic leadership has on work engagement. Leaders should
therefore take organisational contextual realities into account, such as regular, intense
interaction of employees with the beneficiaries of their work. This situation could create strain
for individual employees, requiring additional organisational support.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD : Organisations need to recognise the impact of beneficiary contact on
the relationship between authentic leadership and work engagement. The researchers propose further studies on the influence of contextual variables on the relationship between leaders