Unlocking the mask: A look at the process by which authentic leaders impact follower attitudes and behaviors

Bruce J. Avolio, William L. Gardner, Fred O. Walumbwa, Fred Luthans, Douglas R. May

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

762 Scopus citations


The conceptual and empirical links between authentic leadership and follower attitudes, behaviors, and performance outcomes have not been fully developed. Although we have a number of articles developing the theory of authentic leadership and testing propositions that will appear in a forthcoming special issue of The Leadership Quarterly (Vol. 16, Issue 3, 2005), the focus of this article is to provide some of the initial foundation work for the broader theoretical framework of how authentic leaders influence follower attitudes, behaviors, and performance. Here, we draw from positive organizational behavior, trust, hope, emotion, identification, and identity theories to describe the processes by which authentic leaders exert their influence on followers' attitudes and behaviors. Research propositions based on the proposed theoretical model and implications for future theory building and research are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)801-823
Number of pages23
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004



  • Authentic leadership
  • Follower attitudes and behaviors
  • Identity theories
  • Positive organizational behavior

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