Louise Ladegaard Bro

Leadership, Motivation and Span of Control

The performance of public organizations is a central question for public administration scholars and practitioners alike. However, increasing demands from the public as well as demands for cost stability (or even cost reduction) can make performance improvements a challenging task. Since public employees are a major part of the service provision, researchers have long suggested employee motivation as a way to accommodate such. The question is how we can support employee motivation, and public administration literature increasingly recognizes leadership as a lever in this regard. This dissertation focuses on transformational leadership as a particularly relevant type of leadership in public organizations. First, the dissertation looks at the effect transformational leadership might have on different types of employee motivation. Second, it looks at span of control as an important determinant of transformational leadership. To increase our knowledge of the causes and consequences of transformational leadership, the dissertation draws on qualitative and quantitative methods as well as cross-sectional and experimental designs. The dissertation finds that transformational leadership seems to have a causal effect on user orientation, and that satisfaction of the need for autonomy, competence and relatedness mediates the relationship between transformational and different types of employee motivation. In regard to span of control, the dissertation shows that increases in the structure can have both positive and negative consequences for transformational leadership, and that positive consequences most likely run through leadership identity.

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