To read this content please select one of the options below:

You can't make me! The role of self-leadership in enhancing organizational commitment and work engagement

Kevin G. Knotts (Management and Healthcare Administration Division, Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia, USA)
Jeffery D. Houghton (Department of Management, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 29 April 2021

Issue publication date: 23 June 2021




The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of self-leadership in enhancing work engagement through the mediating mechanisms of affective, normative and continuance organizational commitment.


Data collected from 258 transportation workers were examined in a parallel mediation model in PROCESS.


The results of these analyses suggest that the positive relationship between self-leadership and work engagement is partially mediated by affective commitment and normative commitment, but not by continuance commitment.

Research limitations/implications

The findings imply that organizational decision makers should implement practices designed to increase self-leadership in the workplace and enhance employee work engagement. These practices include empowering leadership, recruitment and selection of self-leading employees, and self-leadership training interventions. The study was subject to limitations common to attitudinal survey research.


This study responds calls to explore the mediating mechanisms through which self-leadership affects organizational outcomes and helps explain why self-leadership affects employee work engagement.



Knotts, K.G. and Houghton, J.D. (2021), "You can't make me! The role of self-leadership in enhancing organizational commitment and work engagement", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 42 No. 5, pp. 748-762.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles