Employees’ perceptions of their manager’s authentic leadership: Considering managers’ political skill and gender

Qaiser Mehmood, Melvyn R. W. Hamstra*, Bert Schreurs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to test whether managers' political skill is relevant for employees' authentic leadership perceptions. Political influence theory assumes that political tactics seek to affect others' interpretations of a person or situation. Thus, what matters for employees' perceptions of their manager's authentic leadership may be whether the manager actively seeks to show behavior that can be interpreted as authentic leadership. Combining political influence theory and gender stereotypes research, it is further suggested that manager gender moderates the employees' interpretation of political influence attempts that are ambiguous. Design/methodology/approach Managers (n=156; 49.5 percent female) completed measures of their political skill. Employees (n=427; 39.1 percent female) completed measures of the manager's authentic leadership. Findings Managers' apparent sincerity was positively related to employees' perceptions of managers' authentic leadership; managers' networking ability was negatively related to employees' perceptions of female managers' authentic leadership, but not of male managers. Research limitations/implications - The methodology does not allow claims about causality. Originality/value Findings add knowledge of authentic leadership, such as difficulties that female managers face, and show the value of a fine-grained approach to political skill. Female managers should be aware that networking might have disadvantageous side effects. Conversely, sincere behavior attempts seem favorable for authentic leadership perceptions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-214
Number of pages13
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2019


  • Gender
  • Quantitative
  • Organizational politics
  • Leadership style

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