Considering the orphan: Personal identification and its relations with transformational leadership, trust, and performance in a three-path mediation model

Annika Nübold*, Stefan L Dörr, Günter W Maier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)


Transformational leadership research investigating the identification processes of followers has mostly focused on social identification. In contrast, empirical evidence on the role of followers’ personal identification with their leader is still scarce. Furthermore, there has been no attempt to test the links between personal identification and other proposed mediators of transformational leadership. This study examined how a group’s identification with and trust in its leader sequentially combine to mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and supervisor-rated group performance. Using a sample of 343 employees and their supervisors (n = 80), we tested a model in which trust functions as a proximal mediator and personal identification as a distal mediator in the leadership–performance relationship. Results support the hypothesized three-path mediation model. Our findings indicate the importance of trust for the development of personal identification in the leadership process and provide evidence that the group’s identification with the leader results in positive outcomes for organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-254
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

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