Thriving in Times of COVID-19: Through Transformational Leadership and Coworkers' Support

Marijn Exterkate, Desirée H. van Dun, Ridwan Saptoto

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Since many employees are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, we investigated how transformational leadership (TFL) could still enable employee thriving at work, in particular employee vitality and learning. Positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA) were included as mediators, and coworkers’ support as a moderator. Our mixed-methods research design utilized a survey (N = 259) and an open question (N = 219) among Dutch employees. The hypotheses were tested using stepwise regression, Hayes’ PROCESS macro, and Sobel tests, as well as structural equation modeling. The qualitative data were content analyzed. We found that the direct supervisors’ TFL is related to employee thriving through reducing NA. Interestingly, coworkers’ support moderated the relationship between TFL and NA but not the relationship between TFL and PA. Reduced social interaction and connection to the organization were identified as drawbacks of forced remote work, while the respondents still perceived a degree of organizational support. Our findings extend the social exchange and broaden-and-build theories to a virtual setting by showing how both leaders’ TFL and coworkers’ support can provide solace to employees during forced remote work. Team leaders are thus encouraged to display TFL, also during virtual interactions with their members, as well as establish a supportive (remote) work environment for employees. Coworkers could mitigate employee NA further by initiating social interactions, also when their colleagues are not in the office.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2022
Event82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2022: "Creating a Better World Together" - Seattle, United States
Duration: 5 Aug 20229 Aug 2022
Conference number: 82


Conference82nd Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2022
Abbreviated titleAOM 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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