Empirical evidence links transformational school leadership to teachers’ autonomous motivation and affective organizational commitment. Little empirical research, however, has focused on the emotional mechanisms behind these relations. Following the argument in the literature that transformational leadership can transform followers’ emotions, we examine whether teacher’s experience of emotional reframing by principal mediates the relationships between transformational school leadership and these work-related outcomes (i.e., teachers’ motivation and commitment).
Questionnaires were used to collect information from 639 primary school teachers nested in 69 randomly sampled schools. The data were analyzed using multilevel path analysis software.
The results indicated that the effect of transformational school leadership behaviors on teachers’ autonomous motivation was fully mediated by emotional reframing, and that the effect of transformational school leadership on affective organizational commitment was partially mediated by it. We further found an indirect relationship of transformational school leadership with affective organizational commitment through emotional reframing and autonomous motivation.
The present study makes a unique contribution to the literature by confirming that teachers’ sense of emotional reframing is a key affective mechanism by which school leaders influence teachers’ motivation and commitment.