Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 20, Issue 4, pp 1217–1240 | Cite as

Linking Managerial Coaching and Leader–Member Exchange on Work Engagement and Performance

  • Jussi TanskanenEmail author
  • Liisa Mäkelä
  • Riitta Viitala
Research Paper


This study investigates how individual- and unit-level performance can be fostered by supervisors’ behavioural styles (managerial coaching) and the personal relationship between supervisor and subordinate (leader–member exchange, LMX). The JD-R model holds that good leadership serves as a job resource and triggers a motivational process that will lead through work engagement to good performance. This study first introduces and validates novel measurement instruments for managerial coaching, LMX, and self-rated performance. Then, the study utilizes multilevel methodology (MSEM) to investigate the connections between study variables at the individual- and unit-level. A sample from two organizations (N = 655) was utilized in the measurement validation and a sample from multiple organizations (N = 879) in the hypothesis testing. Samples using self-rating measurements were collected from different Finnish organizations between 2011 and 2012. The results show that, while managerial coaching was connected more to the unit-level performance, LMX had stronger effect to the individual performance and work engagement, which was connected with the unit-level performance. Analysing two leadership constructs at the same time suggests that there are different mechanisms driving managerial coaching and the LMX relationship in the motivational process and towards good performance as the JD-R model proposes. The study also contributes to literature by introducing and validating measurement instruments.


Managerial coaching Leader–member exchange Work engagement Performance JD-R model Mediation 



This work was supported by The Finnish Work Environment Fund (Grant No. 110314).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementUniversity of VaasaVaasaFinland

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