Does managers' motivation matter? Exploring the associations between motivation, transformational leadership, and innovation in a religious organization

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Religious organizations are social systems operating in a complex and changing environment. By looking to an authority beyond themselves, religious organizations have comparatively little control over defining their own goals. In this juggling between sticking to the ultimate goal of an organization and adapting to complex changing environments, that is, in the juggling between tradition and renewal, transformational leadership seems to play an important role in religious organizations. The extensive body of literature on transformational leadership has focused more on the outcomes of transformational leadership than on its antecedents. We extend the existing literature by linking managers' motivation to their transformational leadership behaviors in a religious organization. More specifically, we examined the associations of intrinsic and prosocial motivation with transformational leadership, and we investigated the relationship between transformational leadership and innovation among 252 managers in the largest nonprofit organization in Norway, the Church of Norway. Analyses in structural equation modeling revealed a positive relationship between intrinsic motivation and transformational leadership, whereas the relationship between prosocial motivation and transformational leadership was not significant. Transformational leadership was positively associated with innovation. Based on the results of the study, we discuss practical implications regarding how to support intrinsic motivation, transformational leadership, and innovation in religious organizations.


External organisations
  • Catholic University of Leuven
  • North-West University
  • VID Specialized University
  • University of Turin
  • PGM as
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
  • Work Sciences


  • innovation, intrinsic motivation, prosocial motivation, religious organizations, transformational leadership
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-589
Number of pages21
JournalNonprofit Management and Leadership
Issue number4
Early online date2020 Feb 14
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch