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An exploration of the relationship between leadership style and subordinate appraisal of workplace stress.

Student: Yvonne Overste

Supervisors: Dr Graeme Ditchburn

Honours Study Completed: 2012

Stress related absenteeism and presenteeism are costing Australian employers $10.11 billion and the Australian economy $14.81 billion each year. The current study explored the conceptual overlap between stress literature and leadership literature to discover whether leadership style is associated with subordinate appraisal of workplace stress. The aim was to ascertain whether leadership style could be utilised to moderate the effect of workplace stress. Results from a survey of 95 employees, working in both the private and public sectors, showed that transformational leadership is negatively associated with subordinate threat appraisals, and both transformational and transactional leadership are positively associated with subordinate challenge appraisals. Transactional leadership is not associated with threat appraisals. The findings from this exploratory study provide important direction for future research. By better understanding the relationship between leadership style and subordinate appraisal of workplace stress, the most suitable leadership style can be developed and delivered to encourage subordinates to appraise stressful workplace situations in constructive ways.