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Identity Leadership, Employee Burnout and the Mediating Role of Team Identification: Evidence from the Global Identity Leadership Development Project

van Dick, Rolf; Cordes, Berrit L.; Lemoine, Jérémy E.; Steffens, Niklas K.; Haslam, S. Alexander; Akfirat, Serap Arslan; Ballada, Christine Joy A.; Bazarov, Tahir; Aruta, John Jamir Benzon R.; Avanzi, Lorenzo; Bodla, Ali Ahmad; Bunjak, Aldijana; Černe, Matej; Dumont, Kitty B.; Edelmann, Charlotte M.; Epitropaki, Olga; Fransen, Katrien; García-Ael, Cristina; Giessner, Steffen; Gleibs, Ilka H.; Godlewska-Werner, Dorota; González, Roberto; Kark, Ronit; Laguia Gonzalez, Ana; Lam, Hodar; Lipponen, Jukka; Lupina-Wegener, Anna; Markovits, Yannis; Maskor, Mazlan; Molero, Fernando; Monzani, Lucas; Moriano Leon, Juan A.; Neves, Pedro; Orosz, Gábor; Pandey, Diwakar; Retowski, Sylwiusz; Roland-Lévy, Christine; Samekin, Adil; Schuh, Sebastian; Sekiguchi, Tomoki; Song, Lynda Jiwen; Story, Joana; Stouten, Jeroen; Sultanova, Lilia; Tatachari, Srinivasan; Valdenegro, Daniel; van Bunderen, Lisanne; Van Dijk, Dina; Wong, Sut I.; Youssef, Farida; Zhang, Xin-an; Kerschreiter, Rudolf

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Rolf van Dick

Berrit L. Cordes

Jérémy E. Lemoine

Niklas K. Steffens

S. Alexander Haslam

Serap Arslan Akfirat

Christine Joy A. Ballada

Tahir Bazarov

John Jamir Benzon R. Aruta

Lorenzo Avanzi

Ali Ahmad Bodla

Aldijana Bunjak

Matej Černe

Kitty B. Dumont

Charlotte M. Edelmann

Katrien Fransen

Cristina García-Ael

Steffen Giessner

Ilka H. Gleibs

Dorota Godlewska-Werner

Roberto González

Ronit Kark

Ana Laguia Gonzalez

Hodar Lam

Jukka Lipponen

Anna Lupina-Wegener

Yannis Markovits

Mazlan Maskor

Fernando Molero

Lucas Monzani

Juan A. Moriano Leon

Pedro Neves

Gábor Orosz

Diwakar Pandey

Sylwiusz Retowski

Christine Roland-Lévy

Adil Samekin

Sebastian Schuh

Tomoki Sekiguchi

Lynda Jiwen Song

Joana Story

Jeroen Stouten

Lilia Sultanova

Srinivasan Tatachari

Daniel Valdenegro

Lisanne van Bunderen

Dina Van Dijk

Sut I. Wong

Farida Youssef

Xin-an Zhang

Rudolf Kerschreiter


Do leaders who build a sense of shared social identity in their teams thereby protect them from the adverse effects of workplace stress? This is a question that the present paper explores by testing the hypothesis that identity leadership contributes to stronger team identification among employees and, through this, is associated with reduced burnout. We tested this model with unique datasets from the Global Identity Leadership Development (GILD) project with participants from all inhabited continents. We compared two datasets from 2016/2017 (n = 5290; 20 countries) and 2020/2021 (n = 7294; 28 countries) and found very similar levels of identity leadership, team identification and burnout across the five years. An inspection of the 2020/2021 data at the onset of and later in the COVID-19 pandemic showed stable identity leadership levels and slightly higher levels of both burnout and team identification. Supporting our hypotheses, we found almost identical indirect effects (2016/2017, b = −0.132; 2020/2021, b = −0.133) across the five-year span in both datasets. Using a subset of n = 111 German participants surveyed over two waves, we found the indirect effect confirmed over time with identity leadership (at T1) predicting team identification and, in turn, burnout, three months later. Finally, we explored whether there could be a “too-much-of-a-good-thing” effect for identity leadership. Speaking against this, we found a u-shaped quadratic effect whereby ratings of identity leadership at the upper end of the distribution were related to even stronger team identification and a stronger indirect effect on reduced burnout.


van Dick, R., Cordes, B. L., Lemoine, J. E., Steffens, N. K., Haslam, S. A., Akfirat, S. A., …Kerschreiter, R. (2021). Identity Leadership, Employee Burnout and the Mediating Role of Team Identification: Evidence from the Global Identity Leadership Development Project. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(22), Article 12081.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 17, 2021
Publication Date 2021
Deposit Date Jan 19, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jan 19, 2022
Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Print ISSN 1661-7827
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 22
Article Number 12081
Public URL


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Copyright Statement
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited

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