2.1. Sustainability in Leadership for Education
Organizations need the leadership to develop resources, particularly emphasizing intangible human resources in a changing environment for sustainability [13
]. Recently, leadership has been discussed academically for a variety of topics, such as the moral behavior of transformational leadership [12
], organizational innovation and leadership [18
], and diverse leadership and integration [11
]. Elkins and Keller [19
] argued that a transformational leader who provides intellectual incentives and inspiration to employees in technology-based companies improves interrelationships between employees leading to improve projects’ performance within teams. Also, Koene, Vogelaar and Soeters [3
] suggested that charismatic leadership and caring leadership have a significant impact on an organization’s mood and performance, while structure-driven leadership does not have a positive effect on them. In other words, the more charismatic or caring a leader is, the better employees communicate with organizational efficiency and prepare for greater innovation. It means that charismatic and caring leadership, rather than initiating structure leadership helps an organization’s sustainability. Likewise, in addition to tangible assets, intangible human leadership that warms inside of follower’s heart needs to be managed and developed for the sustainability of the organization.
On the other hand, human resource management (HRM) activities that can enhance human resources with knowledge, abilities, and skills, providing economic value to organizations can improve their performance [20
]. Most of the human resources considered the core assets of organizational growth, are quasi-employees who are educated at universities and consist of undergraduate or graduate students. The last step before entering society, universities are expected to play a key role in improving students and business sustainability by educating students in leadership.
For example, organizations around the world are struggling for growth recently due to the Brexit in the UK, the trade war between the US and China, and the diplomacy and trade war between Korea and Japan [4
]. Besides, with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, technology has grown exponentially, and organizations are turning to digital businesses. To keep up with digital speed, organizations have begun to focus on developing human resources, business management and technology appropriate for digital transformation [22
]. It demonstrates that the organization emphasizes on creative thinking in fighting against human talent and this means that it is crucial for employees to share various ideas through free thinking. In order to overcome these challenges and changes, organizations need new leadership that can cope with change more actively than leadership that induces mutual competition within an organization. In the future, it is expected that we will need AL, more inclusive leadership, rather than the transformational and charismatic leadership. Forming transparent and interactive relationships with employees based on sincerity, AL contributes to the sustainable growth of employees and the organization by providing employees with trust and psychological stability in their relationships with leaders [16
]. AL-embracing employees will enhance both employees’ psychological capital and organizational growth, encourage them to communicate with leaders and other employees to complement their self-centered propensity, and contribute to the stagnant economic sustainability.
2.2. Reviews on AL and AF
The stream of research on AL has focused on solving problems that may arise within an organization, such as behavioral leadership, organizational goals, and interpersonal fit that have been addressed by previous research on leadership [14
]. Table 1
shows the central literature on AL that has been empirically investigated.
Walumbwa, et al. [25
] asserted that the effect of AL has a positive influence on organizational citizenship behavior and employee engagement assessed by a supervisor, and the relationships are mediated by the degree of identification with the employee’s boss and the perception of the discretion of the job. Rego, et al. [26
] examined the relationship between AL and the psychological capital and creativity of employees. Likewise, the encouraging effect of FPPC on creativity increased as the leader utilized AL better. In other words, the more authentic a leader is, the more employees are inspired to be creative, which in turn can lead the company to organizational efficiency and opportunity. Wang, et al. [27
] empirically analyzed the relationship between AL and employees’ performance as the moderating effect of PPC and the mediating effect of exchange between leader and employee. Unlike other existing literature, this study found that the relationship between AL and employee performance is stronger when FPPC is low. Conversely, if employees have psychological capital, such as high hopes, optimism, recovery, and efficiency, it seems that the need for leaders to make up for the lack of employees is likely to be reduced [28
]. Promoting the manifestation of AL can affect hopes and positive emotions of employees, and lead the creative performance of employees who play significant roles in achieving organizational performance.
While AL has been mainly studied to the extent that employees are aware of the degree of leader’s appreciation, other studies have begun to pay attention to AL that employees perceive themselves. Shamir and Eilam [34
] defined AF as “the employee follows a leader with authenticity and the leader-employee has an authentic relationship.” Gardner, Avolio, Luthans, May and Walumbwa [23
] regarded AF as “a process in which employees approach the relationship between work, ownership and candor about an organization for promoting employees’ autonomous motivation.” In other words, high AF for employees facilitates an interaction with the leader and authenticity embodied naturally and inherently allows to deliver the leader’s AL more effectively [23
]. For example, Leroy, et al. [35
] contended that AL and AF have a positive effect on employee satisfaction with basic needs and that AL strengthens the relationship between AF and satisfaction with basic needs. The satisfaction of employees’ basic needs has a positive effect on employee performance and mediates the relationship between AL, AF, and employee performance. In other words, AL and AF are directly or indirectly related to employee performance.
2.3. The Positive Relation between AL and AF
From the perspective of leaders working with employees, AL is defined as a leader’s behavioral pattern and promotes both positive psychological capital and an ethical climate to develop self-awareness, internalized moral perspectives, balanced information processing, and relational transparency [16
]. Self-awareness is the degree to which a leader perceives his or her strengths and weaknesses, how employees view themselves, and how they affect others [16
]. Balanced information processing refers to the extent to which a leader objectively analyzes relevant information and requests opinions before making a decision [16
]. An internalized moral perspective is the degree to which leaders set high standards for moral and ethical conduct, behave under their internalized moral standards and values, guide employees, and express decisions and actions consistent with internalized values [14
]. Relational transparency refers to the extent to which leaders express their authenticity to their employees, share information, and express their thoughts and feelings. This relational transparency enhances openness, an opportunity to present leaders’ thoughts, challenges, and opinions [26
]. A leader’s transparent behavior increases mutual trust by minimizing the display of inappropriate feelings and by sharing the leader’s sincerity, feelings, and information with employees [36
Leaders with AL characteristics act on their deep personal values and beliefs to earn respect and trust from employees. It also encourages diverse views and forms collaborative relationships with employees to engage employees and form their sincerity [17
]. Based on internalized moral character, AL maintains a transparent relationship with employees and interacts with employees by acting in a way that leaders recognize themselves and act on their organizational beliefs and values [14
]. In other words, authentic leaders link organizational common objectives or tasks to employees, identifying their strengths, helping them directly, and training them appropriately [38
In AL theory, the influence of the employee’s followership, as well as the authenticity of the leader, is becoming increasingly important [14
]. The followership plays an active role in the leader-employee relationship [35
]. AF ensures that employees follow the leader for authenticity and that they have an authentic relationship with the leader [34
]. The purpose of this study is to define the AF as an AL that team members perceive themselves while the leadership of the leader and the members collaborate due to the leader’s leadership in the team project.
When employees with AF feel that their behavior is in line with their leaders’ values or beliefs, they have a desire to share values and beliefs and follow authentic leaders honorably without expecting personal rewards [34
]. In explaining how employees become more autonomous, AF can explain how employees approach relationships between work-related workloads, ownership of the company, honesty, and defensiveness [23
]. In the self-verification theory, people try to maintain their beliefs and behavior through individual verification and use the results of the verification as a standard to predict and understand the reactions of others and explain how to act on others [41
]. AF shows how AL develops within the organization and can help employees improve their self-awareness and self-regulation, leading to improved performance [23
]. In short, AF has become an essential factor that cannot be excluded in AL development, since it exhibits behavior equivalent to the main characteristics of AL.
The characteristics of AL are likely to affect the team’s employees rather than the team leader’s influence, which may affect the team’s project performance. AL generated through the interaction between the leader and the employee does not only mean that the leader is authentic and that the employee’s performance and commitment to work are improved. Instead, the followership of an employee can be expressed if the employee feels authenticity from the leader.
Hypothesis 1 (H1).
AF will have a positive impact on AF.
2.4. The Effect of AF on FPPC and FPP
Organizational research focusing on human resources and psychological capital suggests that development, measurement, and management are needed to improve performance [44
]. Although scholarly attention has been paid to emphasizing that human and social capital have a positive impact on organizational performance, an organization must be psychologically healthy to be competitive [20
]. Psychological capital is a fundamental capacity for human and social capital to be promoted by each employee and contributes to the competitive advantage of a sustainable organization [47
]. Psychological capital is discussed as four main factors: self-efficacy, optimism, a hope and resilience [48
]. In this study, PPC is defined as the psychological positiveness that can be obtained by the participation of university students in various group projects.
The AL theory arises from the intersection of leadership, ethics, and existing academic literature [15
] and is considered the fundamental concept of a positive leadership model for leaders to possess, such as innovative, charismatic, ethical, and servant leadership [14
Several empirical studies on AL agree that the underlying basis for organizational performance is the psychological capital of its members [15
]. First, if an employee can have enough psychological capital, an AL can occur even if they do not provide training or incentives for the employee [51
]. Second, authentic leaders have a great deal of self-efficacy, hopes, optimism, and resilience, and are well equipped with facing the challenges of the business environment by understanding employees and recognizing the vision of potential employees [52
]. In other words, authentic leaders have positively influenced employees’ stability, trust, and loyalty through trust-based PPC [2
A growing awareness of the importance of psychological capital has led to research showing that AL affects the psychological state of employees [17
]. Rego, Sousa, Marques and e Cunha [26
] argued that authentic leaders also influence employees’ optimism by empathizing with their leaders and improving their positive emotions. Avolio, Gardner, Walumbwa, Luthans and May [17
] found that authentic leaders have hopeful and credible abilities that not only establish employee willpower but also embrace employee waypower, thereby enhancing employee hopes and enhancing employee self-efficacy.
As such, empirical research has often been implemented that AL stimulates PPC. Rego, Sousa, Marques and e Cunha [26
] showed that AL had a positive effect on the psychological capital and creativity of the employee and that the employee’s psychological capital positively correlated with creativity. The more authentic the leader of the employee, the higher the PPC and creativity of the employee. Woolley, Caza and Levy [51
] directly or indirectly examined the impact of AL on employee PPC. AL has been shown to not only increase psychological capital directly but also indirectly through a positive organizational climate. In other words, leaders recognized as authentic by their employees contribute to creating a more favorable climate within the organization, and employees have a higher PPC in a positive climate.
Hypothesis 2 (H2).
AF will have a positive impact on FPPC.
Job performance refers to the effectiveness of the job to the extent that employees in the organization can achieve their goals [54
]. Since job performance is derived from employees’ characteristics and efforts on their jobs and is used to predict their achievements [55
], this study defines these job performances as the achievements of lectures as students through team projects (i.e., FPPC), as well as project completion, finishing, process stability, and compliance with requirements.
Authentic leaders are aware of themselves and self-regulated, not only contributing to their development but also affecting job performance [14
]. Also, authentic leaders maintain a transparent relationship with their employees and act with integrity to help them trust their leaders. If leaders are transparent in this relationship and barriers to self-projection are not high, leaders can build trust with employees [2
]. This high level of trust between leaders and employees makes them more committed to their work [56
]. Rich, et al. [57
] argued that employees engaged in the job spend a lot of time at work and pay more attention to tasks responsibly because they invest emotional, physical, and cognitive energy in their workplace.
Since authentic leaders are a classic example of high moral standards, honesty, and integrity, their favorable reputation will promote positive expectations among employees and increase the trust and willingness to collaborate with leaders for the benefit of the organization. As authentic leaders control themselves and avoid negative reputations, they feel that they are given more autonomy to do the activities required for successful job performance [17
]. Peterson, et al. [58
] figured out that the influence of the leader on the positive emotions of employees in an organization was partly positive for job performance. Employees who worked for authentic leaders experience fewer negative emotions and more positive emotions than those who do not. Ultimately, the positive emotions created by these ALs enable employees to work efficiently and achieve improved performance. Ertürk [59
] argued that the most robust way for leaders to improve organizational performance is to earn employee trust. Hsieh and Wang [33
] found that leaders themselves showed a higher level of authenticity; employees became more credible to their leaders, which allowed them to be more engaged. In other words, when leaders recognize that they exhibit AL, they can increase their trust in the leader, leading to improved performance within the organization.
Under the above discussion, this study attempts to examine whether the AL viewed by the staff directly defined in this study has a positive effect on the FPP, unlike the existing literature based on the AL viewed by the staff. Therefore, this study assumes the following hypothesis.
Hypothesis 3 (H3).
AF will have a positive impact on FPP.
2.5. The Positive Relation between FPPC and FPP
Avey, et al. [60
] argued that employee attitudes include job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and psychological well-being by attempting to verify the relationship between psychological capital and the attitudes, behavior, and performances of employees through meta-analysis. Improving the FPPC is suitable for developing employees’ attitudes and behaviors in a superior way, and their behavior and attitudes toward work improve the performance of the organization. In other words, it shows that FPPC is crucial for improving company performance and promoting the development of human resources. In addition, Alessandri et al. (2018) found that the increase in positive psychological capital encourages employee participation and, in turn, increases performance. In other words, psychological capital is the decisive factor that affects the motivation and behavior of followers in an organization. Thus, organizations should focus on managing and developing authentic leadership continuously. Similarly, Peterson, et al. [61
] found that an increase in FPPC improves both employee performance and organizational performance at the same time, but decreasing FPPC reduces employee performance and performance of an organization. It means that FPPC is directly related to employee and organization’s performance. On the other hand, studies have often been conducted on PPC as a concept and each element. Luthans, Avolio, Avey and Norman [48
] argued that the combined PPC, rather than the individual, had a more positive effect on performance and satisfaction of an organization. Luthans, et al. [62
] verified that employees’ positive status of hopes, optimism, and resilience, and PPC which is a fundamental concept that combines those three elements, are all related to employee performance. Highly resilient employees are creative, adaptable to change, and continuously address adversity. Furthermore, the more hopeful employees are the more motivated and more confident they are at work, and the more likely they are to find an alternative. The positive mentality of these employees enables them to achieve improved performance in a rapidly changing work environment. As a result, when all factors are combined rather than each of them, employees’ sentiment seems to change more positively, having a more positive impact on performance. This study establishes that the student’s PPC formed by the psychological stability of the leader handles the task efficiently, which leads to improved performance. Therefore, this study suggests the following hypothesis.
Hypothesis 4 (H4).
F PPC will have a positive impact on FPP.
shows the summarized relationship between hypothesized paths.