This study proposes that leaders and followers in university team projects should have authentic leadership (AL) themselves in order to improve the overall performance of the team project. While previous studies have focused mainly on achieving performance through AL on the firm level, this study endeavored to examine the relationship between university students who are expected to serve in an organization’s human resources department in the future and followers’ project performance (FPP). This study also considers both followers’ positive psychological capital (FPPC) and their authentic followership (AF), which can be affected by the degree of AL. In order to verify the hypotheses, we adopted a partial least square-structural equation model (PLS-SEM) with 175 samples of valid data from two universities in South Korea. Results showed that all four hypotheses, including the direct and indirect effects, were significantly corroborated. In compliance with these results, this study suggests that a leader’s AL should be a prerequisite to improve FPP. Furthermore, this study establishes the importance of FPPC through the fact that when a leader is authentic, FPPC and FPP can be cultivated. Having compared our findings with previous research, we predict that if students develop AL at university before becoming part of an organization, they will contribute to the performance of the university as well as to attaining the organization’s sustainable performance as a member.
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