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Engaging leadership in the job demands-resources model

Wilmar B. Schaufeli (Research Unit Occupational & Organizational Psychology and Professional Learning, Leuven University, Leuven, Belgium AND Department of Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 14 September 2015




The purpose of this paper is to integrate leadership into the job demands-resources (JD-R) model. Based on self-determination theory, it was argued that engaging leaders who inspire, strengthen, and connect their followers would reduce employee’s levels of burnout and increase their levels of work engagement.


An online survey was conducted among a representative sample of the Dutch workforce (n=1,213) and the research model was tested using structural equation modeling.


It appeared that leadership only had an indirect effect on burnout and engagement – via job demands and job resources – but not a direct effect. Moreover, leadership also had a direct relationship with organizational outcomes such as employability, performance, and commitment.

Research limitations/implications

The study used a cross-sectional design and all variables were based on self-reports. Hence, results should be replicated in a longitudinal study and using more objective measures (e.g. for work performance).

Practical implications

Since engaged leaders, who inspire, strengthen, and connect their followers, provide a work context in which employees thrive, organizations are well advised to promote engaging leadership.

Social implications

Leadership seems to be a crucial factor which has an indirect impact – via job demands and job resources – on employee well-being.


The study demonstrates that engaging leadership can be integrated into the JD-R framework.



This research was funded by the Research Fund KU Leuven.


Schaufeli, W.B. (2015), "Engaging leadership in the job demands-resources model", Career Development International, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 446-463.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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