Revisiting the relationships between leadership and job satisfaction

Olli-Pekka Kauppila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Most studies in management and leadership argue that employees' job satisfaction is higher when they have a competent leader who provides social support and expects high performance. However, based on research on job attitudes, we could also draw very different conclusions, such that employees observe and judge their leaders from different attitudinal viewpoints, depending on whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs. This study explicitly investigates whether job satisfaction functions as an antecedent or an outcome of employees' experiences of leader behavior. Utilizing a cross-lagged panel design with two data-collection points, we analyzed a sample of 638 individuals working across 34 organizations in Finland. Our findings underscore that the positive associations between employees' job satisfaction and favorable perceptions of leaders' behavior are primarily driven by job satisfaction itself. In light of these results, we introduce the “Job Attitude–Interpretation Model of Leader Perceptions,” offering valuable insights into how job satisfaction acts as an attitudinal lens that biases employees' evaluative judgments about their leaders.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalEuropean Management Review
Publication statusPublished - 01.02.2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • employee perceptions
  • evaluative judgments
  • job satisfaction
  • leader support
  • performance expectations


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