IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Leaders enhance group members’ work engagement and reduce their burnout by crafting social identity


  • Steffens, Niklas K.
  • Haslam, S. Alexander
  • Kerschreiter, Rudolf
  • Schuh, Sebastian C.
  • van Dick, Rolf


Previous research has examined burnout and work engagement as a function of demands and resources at work. Yet we know little about the ways in which these are determined by people’s social experience as a member of their workgroup as shaped, in particular, by leaders’ management of shared identity. To address these issues, we propose a model in which leaders’ identity entrepreneurship (the degree to which the leader promotes understanding of shared group identity) impacts on group performance through burnout and work engagement. We tested our model in a field study with 641 participants from the US working population who responded to their workgroup leader and indicated their health. Results indicated that when leaders acted as identity entrepreneurs, group members not only reported higher group performance but also experienced less burnout and were more engaged at work. Moreover, the relationship between identity entrepreneurship and group performance was mediated by an increase in work engagement and a reduction in burnout both of which in turn facilitated group performance. These findings suggest that what it means for health-protective leaders to be ‘transformational’ is being capable of facilitating the development of a special sense of ‘us’ that they and group members share.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffens, Niklas K. & Haslam, S. Alexander & Kerschreiter, Rudolf & Schuh, Sebastian C. & van Dick, Rolf, 2014. "Leaders enhance group members’ work engagement and reduce their burnout by crafting social identity," Zeitschrift fuer Personalforschung. German Journal of Research in Human Resource Management, Rainer Hampp Verlag, vol. 28(1-2), pages 173-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:rai:zfpers:doi:10.1688/zfp-2014-01-steffens

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Mark Stevens & Tim Rees & Niklas K Steffens & S Alexander Haslam & Pete Coffee & Remco Polman, 2019. "Leaders’ creation of shared identity impacts group members’ effort and performance: Evidence from an exercise task," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 14(7), pages 1-19, July.
    2. Anouk Decuypere & Wilmar Schaufeli, 2021. "Exploring the Leadership–Engagement Nexus: A Moderated Meta-Analysis and Review of Explaining Mechanisms," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(16), pages 1-34, August.
    3. Motyka Błażej, 2018. "Employee engagement and performance: a systematic literature review," International Journal of Management and Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of World Economy, vol. 54(3), pages 227-244, September.
    4. Won‐Moo Hur & Hanna Kim & Hyun Kyung Kim, 2018. "Does customer engagement in corporate social responsibility initiatives lead to customer citizenship behaviour? The mediating roles of customer‐company identification and affective commitment," Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 25(6), pages 1258-1269, November.
    5. Anne Armant & Florian Ollierou & Jules Gauvin & Christine Jeoffrion & Baptiste Cougot & Mathias Waelli & Leila Moret & Kristina Beauvivre & Ghozlane Fleury-Bahi & Gilles Berrut & Dominique Tripodi, 2021. "Psychosocial and Organizational Processes and Determinants of Health Care Workers’ (HCW) Health at Work in French Public EHPAD (Assisted Living Residences): A Qualitative Approach Using Grounded Theor," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 18(14), pages 1-23, July.
    6. Ana Lisbona & Abel Las-Hayas & Francisco J. Palací & Miguel Bernabé & Francisco J. Morales & Alexander Haslam, 2020. "Team Efficiency in Organizations: A Group Perspective on Initiative," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 17(6), pages 1-17, March.

    More about this item


    leadership; health; burnout; social identity; identity entrepreneurship;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rai:zfpers:doi:10.1688/zfp-2014-01-steffens. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Rainer Hampp (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.