Does transformational leadership stimulate user orientation? Evidence from a field experiment

Louise Ladegaard Bro, Ulrich Thy Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


While doing good for specific citizens and users is often considered a powerful motivator among public service employees, little research has rigorously evaluated how public managers can promote individualized prosocial motivation. We follow recent studies on the behavioural implications of ‘user orientation’ to explore how public managers can use a specific leadership strategy—transformational leadership—to reinforce employees' individualized prosocial motivation. Combining a field experiment with 80 childcare centre managers and survey reports from their 590 preschool teachers, we assess the effect of a transformational leadership training programme on user orientation. The results show a positive effect on user orientation three months after the training programme but no persistent effect 15 months after the intervention. This implies that, at least in the short term, public managers can use transformational leadership behaviours to stimulate user orientation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-193
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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