Studies have shown that job crafting and leader autonomy support are reciprocal processes that predict employee well-being. Less is known, however, about how leaders themselves, who are at the top of their organisational hierarchy and thus should have high levels of autonomy, experience autonomy support and how this impacts their job crafting, and in turn their wellbeing. This study aimed to address this gap.
By working with a network of organisational leaders in Australia, we recruited a sample of senior executives (N = 138) who were at the top of their organisational hierarchy, and examined whether perceived autonomy support and job crafting predicted leader psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, as well as their well-being. Results showed that when leaders’ autonomy was supported from those to whom they are accountable (e.g., board members), they did more job crafting. This process predicted the satisfaction and thwarting of their basic needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which in turn, predicted workplace well-being and the perceived meaningfulness associated with work.
Overall, findings suggest that perceived autonomy support and job crafting are two potential pathways through which senior organisational leaders can enhance their well-being by helping them to satisfy their basic psychological needs.