Research Shows the Critical Importance of Good Leadership and Its Impact on Work-Life Balance and Job Satisfaction | Pollack Peacebuilding Systems

April 8, 2021by Natalie Davis0

Summary of:

Freire, C., & Bettencourt, C. (2020). Impact of ethical leadership on job satisfaction: the mediating effect of work-family conflict. Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 41(2), 319-330. DOI 10.1108/LODJ-07-2019-0338

Background & Theory

This article explores how work-family conflict is not only affected by but can be a mediator for the relationship between ethical leadership and job satisfaction. We know that leadership styles can affect job morale and satisfaction, but evaluating the lens through work-family conflict shows us another important facet of this.

Research Questions

Freire and Bettencourt in “Impact of ethical leadership on job satisfaction: the mediating effect of work-family conflict” (2020), seek to address the following questions:

    1. How does ethical leadership affect one’s job satisfaction?
    2. What role does work-family conflict (or work/life balance) play in this relationship?


The study included 234 participants (~80% female/~20%male; various ages, marital status, educational degrees, and job roles), all of whom worked in a Portuguese healthcare facility in a healthcare role. The participants were asked questions on a questionnaire related to their thoughts regarding their supervisors’ ethical leadership, their own job satisfaction, and how they view their work-family conflict. The data was then analyzed and underwent statistical analysis.


The results showed that ethical leadership and job satisfaction are certainly related, and that supervisors can play a large role in what kind of atmosphere they create staff and how much those staff enjoy their job. The survey directly correlates more positive leadership with higher job satisfaction. The survey also confirms that ethical leadership can greatly affect one’s work-family conflict, which then can impact one’s job satisfaction, suggesting that work-life conflict is at least a partial mediator in the relationship between ethical leadership and job satisfaction. This can be for numerous reasons, such as work impeding on family time, etc.

What This Means

  • How a manager leads an organization, how the organization functions as a whole, and what they do to honor the staff’s time and work-balance can make a huge difference on overall job satisfaction.
  • This also implies that good leaders who care about their subordinates will reduce conflict both in the workplace and at home when finding ways to support a quality work-life balance.

Final Takeaway

For consultants: Finding ways to encourage/train quality leaders and help organizations realize the needs of their staff can go a long way in ultimately preventing and reducing conflict.

For everyone: Finding an organization and a manager that supports you and cares about your well-being is invaluable and can lead to an overall more peaceful life.

Natalie Davis

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