Module 1 Assignment 1.2: Qualitative Observation & Field Notes


Module 1 Assignment 1.2: Qualitative Observation & Field Notes


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As we learned in this week’s readings, qualitative inquiry is perhaps most fundamentally different from quantitative in that it seeks to understand people and phenomena in context, that is, situated within and cognizant of their natural environments, through the researcher’s participation. A researcher’s participation can be active or passive, and can take many forms, some of which we’ll explore this term. But simply by doing qualitative inquiry and being present in that context, and then applying your own analysis (wrapped up in multiple layers of your own context!), you are participating in the environment and influencing the data and our eventual understanding of your findings. Put simply: in qualitative inquiry, we actively embrace and make space for the researcher as a part of the research, rather than something to exclude, protect from, guard against, or control. You are an active co-constructor of the knowledge generated through your qualitative study.

This is a key point: You, as a qualitative researcher, will have a hand in every step of the process of conducting a qualitative study, you cannot avoid this, and this is not a problem or limitation or mistake.

This week, we will gain some light practice in co-constructing qualitative data in what I hope will be an interesting and fun activity. Suppose you are conducting a qualitative inquiry on the culture of coffee shops in your local community. Your exact research question might be something like, “What do the behaviors and interactions of [your local coffee shop’s name] customers indicate about the culture of the restaurant?” To answer this question, you’ll spend some time in the field observing and keeping detailed field notes.

For this activity, you should head to your favorite café, coffee shop, diner, informal restaurant, or other similar setting, armed with a pen and notebook, find a comfortable spot, and observe the interactions and behaviors of others for a minimum of one hour.

1. What patterns do you see?

2. What can you infer, and what conclusions can you come to about the culture of your local coffee shop?

3. Your assignment is simply to take rich, robust field notes and submit them – no need to write them up or do any formal academic work with them just yet. Rather, this is about getting into the habit of noticing and analyzing the world around us.

During your observation, you should note interesting interactions, the ways people behave, common social patterns, questions that come up for you, and conclusions you might make about the people and environment you encounter. The following prompts are some things you might pay attention to:

· Do people stay and linger, or order and leave quickly? Why?

· What do you think brings people here?

· Do people talk to others, or have headphones in, or otherwise self-isolate?

· What’s the seating pattern like? Do people sit near others, or far? Why might that be?

· Describe the setting.

· What do people do once they get there?

· What do you hear?

· How does the space make you feel?

· What are you thinking while you do this observation?

· What questions are you left with?

· What common trends or similarities do you see?

These are just a handful of examples; what matters is noting what stands out to you as the researcher.

1.What do you see that gives you some data about the culture of this local establishment?

Please submit scans/photos of at least two pages of your field notes from this exercise.

Following your observation you will write a reflection on your experience in Group Discussion 1.

Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 45-50

1576-5962/$ – see front matter © 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados

Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology Revista de Psicología del

Trabajo y de las Organizaciones

Vol. 29, No. 2, August 2013

ISSN: 1576-5962

Jesús F. Salgado

Associate Editors
Francisco J. Medina
Silvia Moscoso
Ramón Rico
Carmen Tabernero

Journal of Work and
Organizational Psychology

Authentic leadership and organizational culture as drivers of employees’ job

Garazi Azanzaa*, Juan Antonio Morianob y Fernando Molerob

aUniversidad de Deusto, Spain
bUNED, Spain


The promotion of a flexibility-oriented organizational culture, based on support and
innovation, may provide a great value in today’s competitive economy. This type of organizational
culture may be a breeding ground for authentic leadership, which, in turn, has positive effects on
employees’ attitudes. This study examines how flexibility-oriented organizational cultures
facilitate positive outcomes at the employee level through its impact on authentic leadership.
Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze the data from 571 employees belonging to
several Spanish private organizations. The results show that authentic leadership partially
mediates the positive relationship between flexibility-oriented organizational cultures and
employees’ job satisfaction. These findings advance theory on the integration of organizational
culture in authentic leadership research and provide guidelines for improving employees’ job

© 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. All rights reserved.

Liderazgo auténtico y cultura organizacional como impulsores de la satisfacción
laboral de los trabajadores


La promoción de una cultura organizacional orientada a la flexibilidad, basada en el apoyo y la
innovación, puede ser valiosa en la economía competitiva actual. Este tipo de cultura organizacional
se presenta como el caldo de cultivo para el liderazgo auténtico, el cual, a su vez, tiene efectos
positivos en las actitudes de los trabajadores. El objetivo de este estudio es examinar cómo la
orientación de flexibilidad en las culturas organizacionales facilita resultados positivos en los
trabajadores a través de su impacto en el liderazgo auténtico. Se utilizaron análisis de regresión
múltiple para analizar los datos de 571 empleados españoles. Los resultados muestran que el
liderazgo auténtico media parcialmente la relación entre las culturas orientadas a la flexibilidad
y la satisfacción laboral. Este estudio contribuye a la extensión teórica de la investigación sobre el
liderazgo a través de la integración de la cultura organizacional en la investigación sobre liderazgo
auténtico y proporciona claves para mejorar la satisfacción laboral de los trabajadores.

© 2013 Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. Todos los derechos reservados.

Nowadays companies operate in a very competitive global
environment, punctuated by the financial crisis. Given the rapid and
substantial changes occurring in the economic environment,

organizations have to adapt to the market and work to become and
remain competitive. While market forces, competitive positioning,
strategy, and technology are evidently important, highly successful
companies have capitalized on the value that resides in developing
and managing a unique organizational culture. This culture can be
created by the founder, can emerge over time as an organization
faces challenges and obstacles, or be developed by the management
to improve their company’s performance (Cameron & Quinn, 2006).

*Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Garazi Azanza
Martínez de Luco. Avda. de las Universidades 24. Universidad de Deusto. 48007
Bilbao. E-mail:


Authentic leadership

Organizational culture

Job satisfaction

Palabras clave:
Liderazgo auténtico
Cultura organizacional
Satisfacción laboral


Manuscript received: 11/03/2013
Revision received: 01/08/2013
Accepted: 01/08/2013


46 G. Azanza et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 45-50

In this context, people are more and more interested in working
in companies with a flexible organizational culture, in which it has
been found that employees show higher levels of job satisfaction
(e.g., Lund, 2003; McKinnon, Harrison, Chow, & Wu, 2003;
Silverthorne, 2004). Furthermore, flexibility-oriented organizational
cultures, by focusing on the support and development of employees
and the promotion of innovation, may provide a competitive
advantage to face the economic crisis. However, this flexible
perspective is a challenge for companies that hold a traditional
culture, commonly based on control, rigid structures, and hierarchy.
Therefore, analyzing the leadership style that could grow in
flexibility-oriented cultures and have a positive impact on employees
will provide some guidelines for the companies to improve their
efforts towards innovation and employee development. Thus, in this
study, flexibility-oriented culture is presented as a breeding ground
for authentic leadership (Avolio & Gardner, 2005; Avolio, Gardner,
Walumbwa, Luthans, & May, 2004; Gardner, Avolio, Luthans, May, &
Walumbwa, 2005; Luthans & Avolio, 2003), a positive form of
leadership that has been found to be related to follower positive
outcomes (e.g., Moriano, Molero, & Lévy-Mangin, 2011; Peterson,
Walumbwa, Avolio, & Hannah, 2012; Wong & Laschinger, 2012).

The aim of this article is twofold. First, we examine the relationship
between organizational culture and authentic leadership, which has
not been previously examined in the authentic leadership literature.
Second, we analyze the mediating role of authentic leadership in the
relationship between organizational culture and job satisfaction.

Organizational culture

Organizational culture is defined as “the set of key values,
assumptions, understandings, and norms that is shared by members
of an organization and taught to new members as correct” (Daft,
2005, p. 422). Organizational culture has been associated with job
satisfaction and employee retention (Macintosh & Doherty, 2010;
Park & Kim, 2009), leadership behavior (Tsai, 2011), and organizational
effectiveness (Gregory, Harris, Armenakis, & Shook, 2009). Given
these relationships, organizational culture appears to permeate
every facet of the organization.

In this study, organizational culture is considered on the basis of
Quinn and Rohrbaugh’s (1983) competing values model. This model
consists of two dimensions with contrasting poles: internal vs.
external orientation and flexibility vs. control. The first dimension
reflects the organization’s point of view. The focus can be internally
directed, when the central issue of the organization is the organization
itself, its processes or its people, or, on the other hand, externally
directed, when the central issue is the relation of the organization
with the market. The second dimension measures the flexibility, the
tendency towards decentralization and differentiation, and on the
opposite pole the control, i.e., stability and order as the central
issues. The combination of both dimensions creates four
organizational culture orientations: support, innovation, rules and
goal orientation (Van Muijen et al., 1999).

The flexibility dimension is particularly relevant to the discussion
of culture and its effects on employees’ well-being and leadership
processes. In fact, organizational development interventions are
designed to create flexible organizations, empower line employees,
and increase the quality of work life (Bennis, 1969; Burke, 1994).
Thus, this study focuses on the flexibility dimension of organizational
culture described by Quinn and Rohrbaugh (1983).

Following this model, flexibility-oriented cultures encompass
innovation orientation, characterized by openness to new ideas, and
support orientation, characterized by personal confidence and
support for development (Van Muijen et al., 1999). These cultures are
characterized by spontaneity, change, openness, and responsiveness
and are based on adaptability and readiness to achieve growth,
innovation, and creativity (Henri, 2006).

Authentic leadership

As Schein (1985) pointed out, organizational culture provides a
system of expectancies that sets norms and a standard of behavior
for employees, providing a reason for leadership behavior. Thus, a
relationship between authentic leadership and organizational
cultures that are in line with authentic leadership may be expected.

Authentic leadership is defined as “a process that draws from
both positive psychological capacities and a highly developed
organizational context, which results in both greater self-awareness
and self-regulated positive behaviors on the part of leaders and
associates, fostering positive self-development” (Luthans & Avolio,
2003, p. 243). Thus, an authentic leader shows hope, trust, positive
emotions, optimism, relational transparency, and a moral and ethical
orientation towards the future (Avolio et al., 2004). Walumbwa,
Avolio, Gardner, Wernsing, and Peterson (2008) identified and
validated four components to describe authentic leadership: self-
awareness, which refers to understanding not only their own
strengths and limitations, but how they affect others; balanced
processing, which involves analyzing all relevant information
objectively before coming to a decision; relational transparency,
which refers to openly sharing the authentic self, their true thoughts
and feelings to followers; and internalized moral perspective, which
refers to self-regulation guided by internal moral standards and

Previous studies have examined the relationship between
authentic leadership and various organizational outcomes, finding
that authentic leadership was positively related to employees’ job
performance (Peterson et al., 2012) and job satisfaction (Bamford,
Wong, & Laschinger, 2012), followers’ commitment (Leroy, Palanski,
& Simons, 2012), work engagement (Walumbwa, Wang, Wang,
Schaubroeck, & Avolio, 2010), employees’ organizational citizenship
behavior (Edú, Moriano, Molero, & Topa, 2012), and employees’ extra
effort, (Moriano et al., 2011), among others.

The authentic leadership model by Luthans and Avolio (2003)
included the positive psychological capacities and a positive
organizational context as antecedents of the authentic leadership.
Regarding the context in which authentic leadership is developed,
the authors highlighted the importance of organizational context,
including organizational vision, strategy, and culture as antecedents
of authentic leadership development and characterizing this
organizational culture as an authentic, mature, and highly developed
culture which would motivate and support optimal leadership
development (Luthans & Avolio, 2003). As far as we know, however,
the influence of organizational culture on authentic leadership
remains unexplored.

Regarding the relationship between flexibility-oriented cultures
and authentic leadership, through honest and transparent relations
with employees, the internal characteristics of authentic leaders that
are supposed to stimulate employees’ creativity and innovativeness
may be perceived by others. Thus, we suggest that in a highly
innovative organizational culture we are likely to see authentic
leaders who foster innovative behavior on followers. Moreover,
support-oriented cultures value and respect participation,
collaboration, egalitarianism, and interpersonal relationships (Maier,
1999). Those values may be shared among employees through
authentic leadership and the relational transparency of the authentic
leader may serve as a catalyst to foster the support and positive
development of employees.

Therefore, analyzing organizational cultures focused on
innovation and support and their relationship with authentic
leadership and their positive effects on employees can provide the
key for today’s human resources management. Hence, the following
hypothesis is proposed:

H1: Flexibility-oriented cultures will be positively related to
authentic leadership.

G. Azanza et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 45-50 47

Job satisfaction

For organizations and managers, the interest in satisfaction
comes from its relationship with work-related behaviors and job
performance (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001; Riketta,
2008). Job satisfaction is defined as “the pleasurable emotional
state resulting from the perception of one’s job as fulfilling or
allowing the fulfillment of one’s important job values” (Locke,
1976, p. 1342).

Regarding organizational culture, the effect that different types of
organizational culture or cultural dimensions have on job satisfaction
has been previously examined. For instance, Lund (2003), based on
Cameron and Quinn’s (1999) typology of cultures, identified a
positive relationship between flexibility and internally oriented
cultures and job satisfaction and a negative relationship between
control and externally oriented cultures. Similarly, Silverthorne
(2004) found that job satisfaction is more likely when culture is
supportive, then when it is innovative and finally when it is
bureaucratic. In the same way, McKinnon et al. (2003) suggested that
respect for people, innovation, and stability had a positive effect on
job satisfaction.

Despite these studies, the relationship between organizational
culture and job satisfaction is still unclear and there is a lack of
empirical evidence to suggest a strong link between these variables.
Nevertheless, we suggest that, in line with previous research, certain
cultural orientations, such as flexibility orientation, which includes
innovation and support, may predict job satisfaction through its
impact on authentic leadership. Thus, the following hypothesis is

H2: Flexibility-oriented cultures will be positively related to job
Among the diverse outcome variables of leadership, job

satisfaction has been widely related to authentic leadership in
scientific literature. For example, in a study conducted in 11
multinationals Walumbwa et al. (2008) found that followers’
perception of authentic leadership of their supervisors was
positively related to followers’ job satisfaction. More recently,
Giallonardo, Wong, and Iwasiw (2010) examined this relationship
in a sample of 170 graduate nurses finding that nurses paired with
leaders perceived as authentic, feel more engaged and are more
satisfied. Similarly, a positive relationship between authentic
leadership and job satisfaction was found by Wong and Laschinger
(2012) in a sample of 280 nurses. Consequently, the following
hypothesis is proposed:

H3: Authentic leadership will be positively related to employees’
The ability to understand and work within an organizational

culture has been considered a condition for leadership effectiveness
(Hennessey, 1998). Leaders must deeply understand the
organizational culture to communicate and implement new visions
and inspire follower commitment to the vision (Schein, 1990).
Leaders facilitate the accomplishment of goals that otherwise may
not have been attempted and encourage the need for change
(Rousseau, 1996; Schein, 1985; Trice & Beyer, 1993) and, therefore,
they may be the key to foster the development of certain types of
culture through their impact on followers’ positive attitudes.

A flexibility-oriented culture may be found in the positive
organizational context defined by Luthans and Avolio (2003) as the
framework in which authentic leadership development occurs. In
this context, authentic leaders may have the ability to understand
and share the values of a flexibility-oriented culture, specifically
those aspects related to follower development and the promotion of
new ideas through balanced processing. Thus, an authentic leader
may emerge in flexibility-oriented cultures due to the shared values
of the organization and the leader and an authentic leader would, in
turn, facilitate the accomplishment of the cultural values through

his/her impact on employees’ job satisfaction. Therefore, we suggest
that flexibility-oriented culture has a positive, indirect effect on job
satisfaction through authentic leadership.

H4: Authentic leadership will mediate the relationship between
flexibility-oriented organizational culture and employees’ job



The sample consisted of 571 employees from 114 Spanish private
companies belonging to different sectors: industry (20%), trade
(17.9%), IT (9.5%), scientific, and technical activities (8.8%), health
(7.9%) and administration (6.2%), among others. The companies were
small (60.8%), medium (26.1%), and large (13.1%). In this sample,
53.8% of the participants were female, the average age was 35.62
years (SD = 8.61), and the average seniority was 7.85 years (SD =
7.32); 41.7% of participants had a college degree and 21.9% were
graduated from vocational school.


Organizational culture. We used the Spanish version (González-
Romá, Tomás, & Ferreres, 1995) of the FOCUS 93 questionnaire (Van
Muijen et al., 1999), which assesses how frequent certain situations
in your workplace are. Flexibility-oriented culture was measured
with 4 items from the support scale (e.g., “How often do management
practices allow freedom in work?”, α = .80) and 9 items from the
innovation scale (e.g., “How often does your organization search for
new markets for existing products?”, α = .82). A six-point Likert scale
from 1 (never/nobody) to 6 (always/everyone) was employed. The
alpha coefficient for this study was .85.

Authentic leadership. This variable was measured using the 13-
item Spanish adaptation (Moriano et al., 2011) of the Authentic
Leadership Questionnaire (ALQ) developed by Walumbwa et al.
(2008), assessing relational transparency, internalized moral
perspective, balanced processing, and self-awareness. A sample item
is “My leader says exactly what he or she means”. A seven-point
Likert scale from 1 (never) to 7 (always) was employed. The alpha
coefficient for the ALQ in this study was .91.

Job satisfaction. A seven-item scale dealing with several aspects of
employees’ job satisfaction (e.g., co-workers, work conditions, and
salary) was used. A version of this scale was used previously in other
studies showing a good reliability (Molero, Cuadrado, Navas, &
Morales, 2007). A sample item is “I am satisfied with my salary”. A
seven-point Likert scale from 1 (strongly dissatisfied) to 7 (strongly
satisfied) was employed. The alpha coefficient for this scale in the
current study was .87.

Socio-demographic data. The following socio-demographic data
were collected: age, gender (coded as 1 = male and 2 = female),
educational level (coded as 1 = primary education, 2 = secondary
education, 3 = vocational training, 4 = graduate degree),
organizational size (coded from 1 = micro to 4 = large, depending on
the number of employees), seniority, and years working with the
same leader.


Employees belonging to working groups with the same leader
were asked to complete a questionnaire. The number of participants
per work team ranged between 3 and 6 (not including the manager
or supervisor) and the mean was 4.97 employees per work team (SD
= 0.36). Subjects participated on a voluntary basis and were assured
confidentiality. IBM Statistics SPSS (version 21) was used to analyze
our data.

48 G. Azanza et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 45-50


Since we collected all data in a cross-sectional survey, Harman’s
single factor test (Harman, 1967) was carried out to address the issue
of common method variance (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff,
2003). While one factor contributing to more than 50% of total
variance is considered an indication of common method bias, the
first factor in our analysis accounts for only 35% of the total variance.
This suggests that common method bias is not likely to be a serious
problem with this data.

The descriptive results (Table 1) revealed medium levels of
authentic leadership perceived by the employees in their leaders (M
= 4.25, SD = 1.20). The correlations between the variables of the study
were calculated, obtaining significant and positive relationships
between flexibility-oriented culture and authentic leadership (r =
.59, p < .01) and job satisfaction (r = .53, p < .01), and between authentic leadership and job satisfaction (r = .55, p < .01). Few relationships were found between the demographics and the study variables. Business size was found to be related to authentic leadership (r = .10, p < .05) and job satisfaction (r = .15, p < .01). Although the variables in our study were highly correlated, statistical checks suggest multicollinearity is not a significant concern (VIF < 2.5, tolerance > .40; cf., Allison, 1999).

In the first hypothesis, flexibility-oriented culture was suggested
to be positively related to employees’ perceptions of their leader’s
authentic leadership. Hierarchical multiple regression revealed that
37% of the variance in authentic leadership was explained by
flexibility-oriented culture (R2 = .37, F = 56.20, p < .01).

Regarding job satisfaction, authentic leadership and flexibility-
oriented culture were posited to positively predict employees’ job
satisfaction. As shown in Table 2, 32% of the variance in job satisfaction
was explained by flexibility-oriented culture (R2 = .32, F = 45.87, p < .01). When authentic leadership was entered into the regression, flexibility-oriented culture and authentic leadership accounted for 39% of the variance in job satisfaction (R2 = .39, F = 53.11, p < .01). Furthermore, flexibility-oriented culture and authentic leadership were both significant predictors of job satisfaction (β = 0.35, t = 8.49, p < .01 and β = 0.33, t = 8.97, p < .01), supporting Hypotheses 2 and 3.

In the fourth hypothesis, it was proposed that authentic leadership
mediates the relationship between flexibility-oriented cultures and
job satisfaction. According to Baron and Kenny (1986), four conditions
are required to establish mediation: (1) the independent and
mediating variables must be significantly related, (2) the independent
and dependent variables must be significantly related, (3) the
mediator and dependent variable must be significantly related, and
(4) the relationship between the independent variable and dependent
variable should be non-significant or weaker when the mediator is

In the present study, flexibility-oriented culture was positively
related to authentic leadership (β = 0.60, p < .01); thus, condition (1) and Hypothesis 1 were supported. Flexibility-oriented culture was positively and significantly related to job satisfaction (β = 0.55, p < .01) and thus, supported condition (2) for mediation and Hypothesis 2. Authentic leadership was positively related to job satisfaction (ß = .33, p < .01) and thus, supported condition (3) and Hypothesis 3. Furthermore, results show that after authentic leadership was taken into account the effects of flexibility-oriented culture (ß = .35, p < .01) became weaker, albeit still significant, which suggests partial mediation (Table 2). To further assess the significance of the mediation, a Sobel test (1982) was applied (Sobel test: z = 8.99, p < .001, MacKinnon et al., 2002). Results show that the mediating effect of authentic leadership for flexibility-oriented culture and job satisfaction was significant. Thus, Hypothesis 4 was partially supported.


The aim of this study was to examine how flexibility orientation
in organizational cultures facilitates positive outcomes at the
employee level through its impact on authentic leadership. The
findings confirm that flexibility-oriented cultures exert their positive
effects on employees’ job satisfaction through partially authentic

Table 1
Means, standard deviations and correlation coefficients of the study variables (N = 571)

M (SD) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

1. Gender (1 = male) 1.54 (0.49)

2. Age 35.62 (8.61) -.068

3. Education 3.60 (1.58) -.004 -.085*

4. Business size 2.12 (1.08) -.018 -.128** -.116**

5. Seniority 7.85 (7.32) -.157** .650** -.056 -.224**

6. Years with leader 4.81 (4.74) -.111** .353** -.065 .113** .562**

7. Flexibility-oriented culture 4.18 (0.98) .009 .042 .022 -.074 .046 .017

8. Authentic leadership 4.25 (1.20) .021 -.005 -.032 .107* -.003 .012 .592**

9. Job satisfaction 4.74 (1.15) .051 -.008 .010 .150** -.007 .041 .537** .556**

* p < .05, ** p < .01

Table 2
Linear regression model on job satisfaction

Model 1 Model 2 Model 3

Variables B B B

Gender 0.059 0.054 0.048

Age -0.0013 -0.026 -0.017

Education level 0.031 0.022 0.031

Seniority 0.031 0.017 0.009

Years with leader 0.013 0.006 0.015

Company size 0.157** 0.195** 0.141**

Flexibility-oriented culture — 0.551** 0.350**

Authentic leadership — 0.334**

R2 0.027 0.328 0.398

Adjusted R2 0.018 0.321 0.390

∆R2 0.027* 0.301** 0.070**

Note. Standardized coefficients reported: * = p < 0.01, ** = p < 0.001.

G. Azanza et al. / Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology 29 (2013) 45-50 49

Organizational culture literature has underlined the role of
leaders in maintaining particular types of culture (Schein, 1985) and
fostering organizational change through the knowledge of
organizational culture (Brooks, 1996). In addition, the literature on
leadership points out that understanding and working within a
culture fosters leadership effectiveness (Block, 2003). Specifically,
authentic leadership flows through to the followers and finally
becomes part of the fabric of the organizational culture (May, Chan,
Hodges, & Avolio, 2003), and it may be the key to foster job
satisfaction in flexibility-oriented cultures.

Our first hypothesis examined the relationship between
organizational culture and authentic leadership by finding that
employees’ reported levels of flexibility-oriented culture were related
to the perception of their leader’s authentic leadership. Furthermore,
flexibility-oriented culture was related to job satisfaction, supporting
our second hypothesis. Regarding authentic leadership, those
employees who perceived their leaders to be more authentic also
reported higher levels of job satisfaction, supporting our third
hypothesis. These findings suggest that the promotion of a flexibility-
oriented culture in which leaders provide a context for cooperation
and support could provide a great value due to its relationship with
authentic leadership, which, in turn, produces positive effects on
followers and organizations, such as job satisfaction.

Supporting our fourth hypothesis, a mediating effect of authentic
leadership on the relationship between flexibility-oriented
organizational culture and satisfaction was found. These findings
could mean that the effects of certain types of cultures are expressed
through the leadership that embodies the values of a culture. An
authentic leader fosters the effects of flexibility-oriented culture on
employees due to the shared values of the organization and the
leader. This proposition has implications for organizational culture
and authentic leadership development: hiring or training authentic
leaders would enhance employees’ job satisfaction in flexibility-
oriented organizations.

Regarding the control variables, employees from large
organizations reported higher levels of job satisfaction. These results
are in line with the statements made by Goldschmidt and Chung
(2001), who proposed that employees in large organizations tend to
be more satisfied with the facets of pay and promotion.

The results support the mediating role of authentic leadership in
the relationship between flexibility-oriented culture and job
satisfaction, which has been largely related to job performance
(Judge et al., 2001; Riketta, 2008). Thus, this study contributes to a
theoretical extension of the research on leadership through the
integration of organizational culture in the research on authentic
leadership, which has not been sufficiently explored in the past, and
serves as a stimulus for future research.

As a limitation of this study, the exclusive use of self-report
measures to analyze the variables should be noted. Self-reported
data contain several potential sources of bias that should be noted as
limitations, such as social desirability, and inflation of the observed
relationship between the measured constructs (Podsakoff et al.,
2003). It is essential for the development of research in this area to
include objective measures that affect organizations. Therefore,
future research should analyze how these relationships have an
impact on business objectives and indicators of job performance,
absenteeism and sales, among others. Another limitation of the
present study is that job satisfaction was the only outcome variable
examined. It would be interesting to analyze other outcomes.
Performance and unit effectiveness would be particularly interesting
to investigate in future studies in order to assess the effects of
flexibility-oriented culture and authentic leadership on employees
and organizations.

Given our results and the highly competitive nature of today’s
economy, which highlights the increasing value of human capital as
a key element in organizational growth, this study provides a

framework for understanding the context in which authentic
leadership occurs and its effects on followers by offering guidelines
for promoting employees’ job satisfaction.

Conflicts of interest

The authors of this article declare no conflicts of interest.


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