Modern day organizations are in a constant state of flux and often experience large-scale change; hence the guidance of visionary leadership is vital to the success of any business. According to Jones and Harter (2005), “engagement leads to human benefits for the individual who experiencing it,” (p. 79) and since supervisors are most likely to have daily contact and influence over the subordinate, they are also most important to the discussion of leadership because of their ability to influence employees to stay motivated and engaged at work (Koppula, 2008). Based on investigations, traditional methods of leadership and management in today’s wavy world do not work anymore (Leithwood, 1992; Liontos, 1992). So, behavioral science researchers are seeking for appropriate managerial ways to soar up the level of employee’s commitment and enthusiasm toward working. Nowadays organizations need such managers and leaders that can develop zeal and commitment among subordinates by using behavioral and personality characteristics such as charisma, the ability of high influence and extended vision which will lead to utilize the total amount of talent and effort behalf of achieving organizational goals. These leaders are called transformational leaders (Bass and Avolio, 1997). Transformational leaders can encourage employees toward gaining valuable organizational goals include higher productivity, presenting better services and solving social problems (Spector, 2004). They prepare real and challenging purposes and enlarge the sense of identification, competency and worthiness among jobholders.
Transformational leadership and work engagement
The Bass et al. (2003) divides transformational leadership into four areas which embrace: Idealized influence, Inspirational motivation, Intellectual stimulation and Individualized consideration. Idealized influence; means making a glorious image along with profound and self-confidence based respect in presence of employees. Inspirational motivation; refers to leaders that draw a strict and positive view of future for their subordinates and stimulate them to go toward organizational aims and chief missions. Intellectual stimulation; in this manner, leader emphasizes on actualizing creativity and invention and using novel ways in doing works. Individualized consideration; this dimension represents the leader’s own attention to subordinates and treating them in the best route.
Another variable in this study is work engagement which is composed of three dimensions that include absorption, vigor and dedication. Absorption means concentration and being engrossed in people’s work, whereby passing time will be intangible and being detached from the job has some difficulties for them (Gonzalez-Roma et al., 2006; Langelaan et al., 2006; Liorens et al., 2007). Furthermore, it is pleasurable to have job experience for individuals. They do that, only for having that and paying high expenditure for job is not such important issue which it is for the others (Bakker and Demerouti 2007). Vigor is another aspect of work engagement that implies high levels of energy and mental resilience while working. There is also a determined investment in the actual work, together with high levels of persistence even when faced with difficulties (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004). Salanova et al. (2005) propose that this aspect can be determined based on Atkinson’s motivational theory (Atkinson, 1965). Motivation is strength of doing work or resistance against that. So, strength and resistance are addressed as aspects of work engagement and their concept is constant with popular definition of motivation (Latham and Pinder, 2005; Steers et al., 2004). The third dimension is dedication that refers to a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge (Schaufeli and Bakker, 2004, 2010). In another word, this aspect can be seen when a person has a great involvement with his or her job (Brown, 1996). Dedication has a lot of things in common with job involvement which is known as the amount of attachment and identification with job. Previous studies have shown that job resources (e.g., autonomy; for reviews, see Bakker, 2009; Halbesleben, 2010) and personal resources (e.g., self-efficacy; Xanthopoulou et al., 2007; Xanthopoulou et al., 2009), due to their motivational potential, are important antecedents of work engagement.
Several studies have examined the relationship between leadership and employee engagement, however, only a few have attempted to study the linkage specifically between the multidimensional constructs of transformational leadership and employee work engagement. The concept of work engagement has gained momentum because of its predictive value for job performance (Bakker, 2009; Schaufeli and Salanova, 2007). Leadership plays an important role while dealing with diverse mix of employees that are increasing rapidly in organizations (Sparks et al., 2001), and transformational leadership style help followers to coordinate with each other effectively increases followers’ satisfaction level (Shibru, 2011). Transformational leadership has positive impact on employees’ behaviors (Al-Swidi et al., 2012). This research study focuses on Bass’s conceptualization and measurement of leadership. Bass (1999) as one of the foremost researchers of leadership studies categorized leaders as being either transactional or transformational and suggested that transformational leaders displayed “superior leadership performance” (p. 21) when they appealed to the elevated spirit of individuals, to motivate them to transcend their individual self-interest for the greater good. Other definitions of transformational leadership have been proposed by Avolio et al. (1999) who defined transformational leaders as being charismatic and influential in their ability to make employees do more than what was expected of them at work. Likewise, Seltzer and Bass (1990) asserted that transformational leaders commanded by inspiring and encouraging their subordinates to use novel methods to solve problems. Several adjectives have also been used in workplace literature to describe transformational leaders, such as charismatic, powerful, influential, trustworthy, confident, inspirational, motivating, exciting, world-class, and considerate (Bass et al., 1987; Bass, 1985a).
In the latest investigations, the relationship between transformational leadership and organizational effectiveness (Moore, 2008), job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Pillai et al., 1999), turnover (Chan, 2005), withdrawal behaviors (Walumbwa, 2005), job performance (Bass et al., 2003), and job motivation (Macey and Schneider, 2008) had been resulted. Determining the relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement is required in research field. In their recent review, Macey and Schneider (2008) listed various different definitions of work engagement. Work engagement is the amount of energy a person spends for doing his or her own works, and also, the earned effectiveness and efficiency of that work (Maslach et al., 2001). However, and in line with Schaufeli and Bakker’s (2004) definition, work engagement may also be observed as a state that may fluctuate within the same person. In this case, Sonnentag et al. (2010) demonstrated that generally engaged employees may have off-days, since “not all days are created equally”. However, it is indicated that work engagement has relationship with high productivity, and also, meeting customers’ needs and pleas (Brown, 1996). It worth mentioning to name some antecedents of work engagement include job stress (Demerouti et al., 2001), social, mental and physical characteristics of job (Bakker et al., 2005), education and independence at work (Bakker et al., 2007), and work-family conflict (Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). So, the main purpose of this study is to investigate the interrelationships between the multidimensional constructs of transformational leadership, as conceptualized by Avolio et al. (1999), and employee work engagement, as conceptualized by Schaufeli et al. (2002).