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Impact of women authentic leadership on their own mental wellbeing through ego depletion: moderating role of leader's sense of belongingness

Naseer Abbas Khan (Department of Industrial Economics and Project Management, South Ural State University National Research University, Celabinsk, Russian Federation)
Zhang Hui (Research Center of Hubei Micro and Small Enterprises Development and School of Economics and Management, Hubei Engineering University, Xiaogan, China)
Ali Nawaz Khan (School of Economics and Management, Hubei Engineering University, Xiaogan, China)
Mohsin Ali Soomro (School of Economics and Management, Tongji University, Shanghai, China)

Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management

ISSN: 0969-9988

Article publication date: 16 September 2021

Issue publication date: 7 December 2022




Leadership research is of interest to academics and practitioners in the construction industry. Based on the ego-depletion theory and authentic leadership theory, the current study aims to investigate the impact of women authentic leadership on leaders' emotional exhaustion and job engagement in the construction industry.


The data were gathered in two waves using a time lag approach. The responses of 276 women leaders-follower dyads from construction firms in China's eastern provinces were analyzed using a moderated mediation model.


Most of the proposed hypotheses were supported by the findings of this study, which showed that authentic leadership can reduce emotional exhaustion in women leaders and increase work engagement through ego depletion. Furthermore, the leader's sense of belonging, according to this study, moderates the mediating effect of ego depletion.

Research limitations/implications

This study can help managers, policymakers and human resource professionals think about authentic leadership and its impact on women leaders. Furthermore, ego depletion has an impact on the psychological well-being of authentic women leaders. The sense of belongingness of a leader is critical in buffering the negative effects of ego depletion for women in authentic leadership. Thus, women leaders in construction sector should be encouraged to express a sense of belonging to their followers, since this will improve their work engagement and lessen their emotional exhaustion.


This study is unique in that it examines the authentic behavior of women leaders in the Chinese construction sector, which is a challenging profession for women to work in as site managers. This study contributes to the literature on women in leadership by demonstrating how authentic leadership behavior influences the wellbeing and engagement of leaders. In addition, the study indicated that the effect of the mediator (ego depletion) and moderator (leader sense of belongingness) on the relationship between women's authentic leadership and the leader's own psychological wellbeing and job engagement was significant.



This research study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 71672053) and Philosophy and social Science research Key project of Education Department of Hubei Province (Grant No. 19D091).


Khan, N.A., Hui, Z., Khan, A.N. and Soomro, M.A. (2022), "Impact of women authentic leadership on their own mental wellbeing through ego depletion: moderating role of leader's sense of belongingness", Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, Vol. 29 No. 10, pp. 4191-4214.



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