In order to gain more knowledge on how the positive leadership concept of authentic leadership impacts follower strain, this study tries to uncover procedural justice as an underlying mechanism. In contrast to previous work, we exclusively base our theoretical model on justice theories. Specifically, we hypothesize that authentic leadership negatively predicts emotional exhaustion through perceptions of procedural justice. We assume that this indirect effect is conditional on followers\' amount of emotional demands, and that the procedural justice-emotional exhaustion relationship is stronger when emotional demands are high. This finally results in a stronger exhaustion-reducing effect of authentic leadership. The proposed moderated mediation model was tested in a sample of N=628 employees nested in 168 teams using lagged data from three waves. Results provide support for all hypotheses. Authentic leadership is critical to employees\' well-being as it contributes to an elevated perception of positive work conditions (procedural justice), especially in contexts with high emotional demands. Limitations and practical implications on leadership development are discussed.
2016 by National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health