D4 Published development or research report or study
Miltä johtotehtävä tuntuisi? : johtotehtävien seurauksiin liittyvät huolenaiheet korkeasti koulutetuilla asiantuntijoilla, niiden selittäjät ja seuraukset (2019)

Feldt, T., Tsupari, H., Kilponen, K., Auvinen, E., Huhtala, M., Muotka, J., & Mauno, S. (2019). Miltä johtotehtävä tuntuisi? : johtotehtävien seurauksiin liittyvät huolenaiheet korkeasti koulutetuilla asiantuntijoilla, niiden selittäjät ja seuraukset. Jyväskylän yliopisto. Jyväskylän yliopiston psykologian laitoksen julkaisuja, 356. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7804-4

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Feldt, Taru; Tsupari, Heidi; Kilponen, Kiia; Auvinen, Elina; Huhtala, Mari; Muotka, Joona; Mauno, Saija

eISBN: 978-951-39-7804-4

Journal or series: Jyväskylän yliopiston psykologian laitoksen julkaisuja

ISSN: 0782-3274

Publication year: 2019

Number in series: 356

Number of pages in the book: 72

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-7804-4

Publication open access: Other way freely accessible online

Publication channel open access:


This study investigated Worries about Leadership (WAL) among highly educated professionals who were not currently working in leadership tasks. These worries refer to personal negative evaluations that one makes when considering the potential consequences of accepting a leadership role. The first aim of the study was to examine the psychometric properties (reliability and construct validity) of the 16-item Worries about Leadership scale (WAL; Aycan & Shelia, 2018) among Finnish professionals. The scale includes three sub-dimensions: 1) worries about failure, 2) worries about harm, and 3) worries about work-life imbalance. Second, we investigated different antecedents of leadership-related worries, both individual (demographic background factors, personal psychological factors) and contextual (intensified job demands, learning climate in the work place). Our third main goal was to study how worries about leadership associate with well-being (work engagement, burnout) and career plans (applying to leader positions). Altogether 1,147 professionals (non-leaders) participated in the survey in spring 2017. They represented professors (9 %), university researchers and other academics (51 %), business school graduates (21 %), and technical academics) (20 %). Of the participants, 56 % were women. Their age ranged between 25 and 75 years (M = 45.5). The results showed that all three WAL dimensions had high reliabilities. Based on a confirmatory factor analysis, the three-factor model had a moderate fit to the data among the participated professionals. From the demographic background factors that were included in the study, gender, age, previous leadership experience and family situation were associated with worries about leadership. Women, parents of underage children and those having a spouse/partner reported more worries about work-life imbalance when considering leadership positions. Female and under 35-year-old professionals had more worries about failure than male and older professionals. A lack of previous leadership experience was associated with worries about failure and harm. Of the studied individual psychological factors, especially strain related to errors was related to worries about leadership. Also, motivation to lead had significant effects: those professionals whose motivation to lead was characterized by affective-identity motivation, (i.e., they felt that they were “born to lead”) had less worries about the negative consequences of leadership tasks. From the work environmental factors, strong learning climate and work intensification were associated with higher levels of worries. Worries about leadership (especially worries about harm) were associated with low willingness to apply to leader positions. Worries about leadership were also related to well-being at work: The more worries the participants reported, the less work engagement and the more burnout they experienced. Taken together, our findings showed that the worries that highly educated professionals have about leadership roles should be taken into consideration in general discussions and decision-making concerning work life. In order to ensure that suitable people apply for leadership positions, it is also important to acknowledge that worries about leadership can become a barrier for these career plans.

Keywords: leadership (activity); managers and executives; university-educated labour; work; work engagement; work burden; motivation (mental objects); exhaustion; concern; professors; Bachelors of Economic Sciences; researchers

Free keywords: worries about leadership; error orientation; intensified job demands; motivation to lead; burnout; work engagement; leadership aspirations; professors; academics; economists; engineers

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

Last updated on 2022-24-11 at 22:18