Toward a Relational Theory of Employee Engagement: Understanding Authenticity, Transparency, and Employee Behaviors

Hua Jiang, Hongmei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Based on the relationship management paradigm and the job demands-resources model, we proposed a relational theory of employee engagement integrating employees’ immediate supervisors’ authentic leadership behaviors and perceived transparent organizational communication as antecedents of employee engagement and contextual performance behavior and turnover intention as behavioral outcomes that engagement leads to. Employee survey (N = 727) results identified perceived transparent communication and employee engagement as key mediators between perceived authentic leadership and individual employee behavioral outcomes. Our study provided a fresh, interdisciplinary perspective to revisiting relationship management function, testing immediate supervisors’ leadership exchange and an overall transparent organizational communication climate as both relationship cultivation strategies and supportive workplace resources. Our findings also reinforced the value of transparent organizational communication in cultivating relationships with and fostering engagement of an organization’s stakeholders that prior literature called for more research about. In addition, it added more into the relatively limited but growing body of research on authentic leadership in association with organizational communication, engagement and other employee behavioral and organizational outcomes. We also discussed theoretical and practical implications of the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)948-975
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Business Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • authentic leadership
  • contextual performance
  • employee engagement
  • public relations
  • transparent organizational communication
  • turnover intention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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