Scholars have recently begun to investigate job design as one of the contingencies that moderates1 the performance effects of transformational leadership in public sector organizations. Drawing on this stream of research, we used a completely randomized true experimental research design to explore the potential of two extra-task job characteristics—beneficiary contact and self-persuasion interventions—to enhance the effects of transformational leadership on public employee performance. The participants in our field experiment were 138 nurses at a public hospital in Italy. Whereas participants who were exposed to transformational leadership manipulation alone marginally outperformed a control group, the performance effects of transformational leadership were much greater among nurses who were also exposed to either beneficiary contact or self-persuasion interventions. Follower perceptions of pro-social impact partially mediated2 the positive interaction of transformational leadership and each of the two job design features on job performance. Moreover, the performance effects of transformational leadership and the interaction effects of transformational leadership and each of the two job design features were greater among participants who self-reported higher levels of public service motivation. The implications of the experimental findings for public administration research and theory are discussed.
Bellé, N. (2013). Leading to make a difference: A field experiment on the performance effects of transformational leadership, perceived social impact, and public service motivation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 24(1), 109-136.