Leading authentically- a prosocial engagement model for middle level bureaucrats in Malaysia

Ahmad, Hal Mahera (2023) Leading authentically- a prosocial engagement model for middle level bureaucrats in Malaysia. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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In Malaysia, several reports indicate that leaders in the public sector are expected to be value-driven, authentic and empower their staff to make better decisions in order to promote positive organisational behaviour. In this regard, much attention has been given to the study of specific leadership styles such as transformational leadership and servant leadership in the context of Malaysian public administration. However, there are very few studies that focus on the influence of authentic leaders on their followers and view leadership as a collaborative process. Therefore, this study examines the behaviour of middle-level bureaucrats through four factors: sustainable authentic leadership (SAL), prosocial behaviour (PSB), public service motivation (PSM) and subjective well-being (SWB). Based on self-determination theory (SDT), authentic leadership theory (ALT) and the contingency model, this study assumes that middle-level bureaucrats can engage in prosocial behaviour when they are exposed to authentic leaders, when they are motivated to serve and when they feel good. All these factors and theories are interwoven and form a model for prosocial engagement.

This study used a cross-sectional, mixed method design, including qualitative interviews to explore authentic leadership from the practitioners perspective and instrument development. Questionnaires are used for the quantitative method. The population of this study includes civil servants in Malaysia under the Administrative and Diplomatic Service (ADS) in middle-level management positions. Data were collected through face-to-face interviews with 15 senior managers, 127 respondents during the pilot study and online surveys with 398 respondents from various public sector agencies and ministries in Malaysia.

Qualitative data analysis was conducted using Nvivo, and three main themes define authentic leadership in the Malaysian context: 1) spiritual connection, 2) purposeful intention, 3) sustainable legacy. Quantitative data analysis was employed using Partial Least Square Structural Equation Modelling (PLS- SEM) via SmartPLS 4.0 analysis software. Statistical analysis include Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), Composite Confirmatory Analysis (CCA), CTA-PLS, IPMA, mediation and moderation analysis. The results showed that all constructs have good composite reliability values (CR) ranging from 0.7-0.9 and achieved both discriminant and convergent validity. Key findings include that perceived sustainable authentic leadership influences individuals' prosocial behaviour, that subjective well-being mediates the relationship between AL and prosocial behaviour, and that seniority moderates the well-being and prosocial behaviour of middle-level bureaucrats in the Malaysian public sector.

Overall, the results of this work recognise Sustainable Authentic Leadership (SAL) is a construct that includes self-awareness, an internalised moral perspective, balanced processing of information, and relational transparency and spirituality. In addition, this study has also established the correlation between authentic leadership and public service motivation as well as subjective well-being. In other words, sustainable authentic leadership is the predictor of all three factors – for public service motivation, subjective well-being and prosocial behaviour. Accordingly, understanding of the impact of authentic leadership approach and prosocial behaviour is enhanced. The findings demonstrate the importance of prosocial engagement and thus offer new theoretical insights and practical suggestions. Thus, this study highlights the importance of collaborative culture among employees in creating a positive workplace in the public sector.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Kaliannan, Maniam
Mutum, Dilip
Keywords: Authentic leadership; prosocial behaviour; Malaysian Public Administration; middle managers
Subjects: H Social sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Faculties/Schools: University of Nottingham, Malaysia > Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 73991
Depositing User: Ahmad, Hal
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2023 04:40
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/73991

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