Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communication Department


Date of this Version



Stewart Wherry, H. M. (2012). Authentic leadership, leader-member exchange, and organizational citizenship behavior: A multilevel analysis. Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Sciences (Leadership Studies), Under the Supervision of Professor Gina S. Matkin. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Heather M. Stewart Wherry


This field study examined the relationship between leaders’ authentic leadership (as rated by leader and follower) and five constructs of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) (altruism, civic virtue, conscientiousness, courtesy, and sportsmanship) as moderated by leader-member exchange.

Data were collected from 32 leader participants and 243 raters from seven for-profit organizations in the Midwest. A multilevel data analysis was conducted using Hierarchical Linear Modeling. Three of the five OCB constructs (conscientiousness, courtesy, and civic virtue) were analyzed as multi-level. Altruism and sportsmanship were analyzed using regression.

First, the direct effect of the leader’s level of authentic leadership was tested on each of the OCB constructs. Leaders rating as authentic had a positive effect on follower altruistic behavior (helping behaviors). Leaders rating as authentic had a positive effect on civic virtue and courtesy at the group level. This means that leader authenticity, influences behaviors that support the organization (civic virtue) and foster organizational communication (courtesy).

Leader authenticity was significant at the individual level, but not at the group level in conscientiousness. Leaders rated as authentic only influence individual followers behaviors regarding rules and regulations. The leader will not influence the group. Leader authenticity did not influence follower sportsmanship behaviors.

Leader-member exchange (LMX) was examined as a moderating variable. LMX positively moderated the relationship between authentic leadership and altruism – high LMX will yield followers’ engagement in altruistic behaviors.

The constructs of conscientiousness and courtesy were partially moderated by LMX. LMX moderated conscientiousness at the individual level, but not at the group level, indicating LMX has a positive effect on individual conscientious behaviors – but not the overall group. In courtesy, LMX was significant at the group level, but only within groups. LMX will only influence courteous behaviors on a group by group basis. Comparisons between groups are not possible.

Civic virtue and sportsmanship were not moderated by LMX. The leader-follower relationship has no effect on follower behaviors that support the organization nor will followers refrain from petty complaints.

Advisor: Gina S. Matkin