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Authentic leadership and turnover intention: does organizational size matter?

Jinuk Oh (University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada)
Semi Oh (Korea Employment Information Service, Eumseong, Republic of Korea)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 22 August 2017

Issue publication date: 18 September 2017




The purpose of this paper is to address two of the ongoing theoretical and empirical questions in the literature on authentic leadership: does authentic leadership negatively influence employees’ turnover intentions by enhancing their levels of affective commitment? and does organizational size act as a boundary condition for the mediating effects of affective commitment in the link between authentic leadership and turnover intentions?


A moderated mediation model of the affective process linking authentic leadership and turnover intentions was developed and tested on a sample of 375 employees working in South Korean firms.


The negative indirect effects of authentic leadership on employees’ turnover intentions through changes in the levels of affective commitment were significant. Furthermore, the mediated relationship between authentic leadership and turnover intentions via employees’ levels of affective commitment was stronger in smaller organizations.

Practical implications

The findings of the present study may be useful to practitioners who are interested in employee retention. They can mitigate against turnover intentions by enhancing the authentic leadership qualities of the managers. More specifically, this approach is especially ideal for small organizations.


This study corroborates the results of previous studies in highlighting the pervasive effects of authentic leadership on turnover intentions via enhancing employees’ levels of affective commitment. Moreover, organizational size as a boundary condition for the aforementioned relationship was empirically examined.



An earlier version of this paper was delivered as a poster presentation at the Southern Ontario Behavioral Decision Research Conference in London, Ontario, Canada on May 6, 2016. The authors are grateful to Cheon-Hoon Kim and Chang-Soo Woo for their extremely helpful assistance with data collection.


Oh, J. and Oh, S. (2017), "Authentic leadership and turnover intention: does organizational size matter?", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 912-926.



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