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Durham University

Research & business

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Publication details for Professor Olga Epitropaki

Zheng, Y., Graham, L., Epitropaki, O. & Snape, E. (2020). Service Leadership, Work Engagement and Service Performance: The Moderating Role of Leader Skills. Group & Organization Management 45(1): 43-74.

Author(s) from Durham


By using social learning theory, the Job Demands-Resources model and Idiosyncrasy credit theory, the present study casts additional light on the explanatory mechanisms underlying the effects of service leadership on service performance. We specifically examine employee work engagement as an important mediator of this relationship and further explore the moderating role of leader task-based professional and managerial skills on the indirect relationship between service leadership and service performance via work engagement. Drawing upon 903 leader-follower dyads nested in 187 teams, with data collected from two sources, we find that after controlling for transformational leadership, employees’ work engagement mediates the relationship between service leadership and followers’ service performance. Furthermore, the results support the moderating role of task-based professional skills, but not of managerial skills. Specifically, the indirect effect of service leadership on service performance via work engagement is stronger when leaders display high levels of task-based professional skills. Theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.