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Health-oriented leadership communication matters: a trickle-down model to enhance employees' health and well-being during turbulent times

Feifei Chen (Department of Communication, College of Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, USA)
Qiwei Luna Wu (School of Communication, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 29 August 2023

Issue publication date: 2 April 2024




This study explored how organizational leaders at different hierarchical levels may communicatively enhance employees' health and well-being. Drawing on interdisciplinary research, it proposed a model that connects health-oriented leadership communication at supervisory and executive levels with remote workers' self-care and stress levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Data collected through a survey of 363 full-time United States (US) employees were analyzed to test the model.


Results showed health-oriented communication at the two leadership levels directly influenced employees' self-care, which in turn reduced their stress levels. Further, executive leaders' health-oriented leadership communication indirectly impacted remote workers' self-care through its positive association with supervisors' health-oriented leadership communication.

Practical implications

This study offers much-needed guidelines for executive leaders, supervisors and communication practitioners seeking to meet employees' growing expectations for a healthy work environment in today's post-pandemic era.


Although the literature has established organizational leadership as a vital determinant for a healthy workforce, few studies have explored leaders' health-specific communication to enhance employee health. This study is the first to conceptualize health-oriented leadership communication at dual hierarchical levels and uncover its influence on employees. The results suggested the importance of health-oriented leadership communication across hierarchical levels in building a healthy workplace.



Chen, F. and Wu, Q.L. (2024), "Health-oriented leadership communication matters: a trickle-down model to enhance employees' health and well-being during turbulent times", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 384-404.



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