Dinkum Journal of Economics and Managerial Innovations (DJEMI).

Publication History

Published: February 01, 2023




Al-Harath Abdulaziz Mohammed, Behram Harfi, & Li Chen, (2023). The role of leadership mindfulness on employee well-being through mediating role of ethical leadership. Dinkum Journal of Economics and Managerial Innovations, 2(02):71-81.


© 2023 DJEMI. All rights reserved

The Role of Leadership Mindfulness on Employee Well-Being through mediating Role of Ethical LeadershipOriginal Article

Dr. Al-Harath Abdulaziz Mohammed 1, Behram Harfi2, and Li Chen3,*

  1. Asstt. Professor Al-Madinah International University, Malaysia; futurerectify01@gmail.com
  2. King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; behram_b8701@gmail.com
  3. King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang; chen_li50@gmail.com

*             Correspondence: chen_li50@gmail.com

Abstract: The practice of mindfulness can be traced back to a variety of academic fields, including clinical psychology, sociology, and philosophy, in addition to a number of subfields within the pure sciences, such as mathematics and neuroscience. The philosophical and psychological insights of mindfulness of leaders have been used by a number of academics for the purpose of better understanding and implementation in the context of an organizational setting. This is because ethical leadership is a multi-faceted phenomenon. Numerous studies on the effects of mindful leadership on employee well-being have been conducted and found to have positive outcomes. This study has investigated the effect that mindful leadership has on the meaning that workers derive from their work. The study has adopted the quantitative study design, and data will collect with primary data collection techniques from people having industrial experience of at least 20 years and have worked as HODs in any industry. For data analysis, SEM-AMOS was utilized, and the snowball sampling method was utilized with random selection. They were questioned about others and their leader who also belonged to the population of interest and asked to identify them. There were a total of N=270 questionnaires filled out, and out of those, 202 were deemed to be helpful. In addition to that, outliers were inspected for possible typographical errors, and additional normality checks were also carried out. The findings of this research’s analysis indicate that an employee’s perception of a leader’s capacity for mindfulness can have a positive impact on the meaningfulness of the work they do. The meaningfulness of the work for employees is a critical factor in determining whether or not they are engaged in their work, how committed they are, and how satisfied they are. The capacity for mindfulness possessed by a leader has the potential to foster a culture in which the leader’s belief system is not regarded as being superior to the belief system held by their followers in order to inspire meaningful work on the part of employees.

Keywords: ethical leadership, mindfulness, employees, well-being


The concept of mindfulness has its underlying roots in clinical psychology, sociology, philosophy, and several disciplines of pure sciences such as mathematics and neurosciences. However; there is only a small amount of research that has been done on how it can be applied to management and human resource management practices [1]. The philosophical and psychological insights of mindfulness of leaders have been used by several scholars for the purpose of better understanding and implementation in the context of an organizational setting [2]. It has an effect on worker performance, and more research needs to be done on it. The idea of practicing mindfulness can be traced all the way back to ancient times and views awareness as the primary factor in its determination [3]. It is a mental state in which the leader is very aware of what is going on around them and is paying close attention to it. Although the concept of awareness is quite distinct from other mental perspectives, such as emotions, motives, and cognition, awareness is still considered to be an essential component when describing mindfulness. The importance of mindfulness has been emphasized by a number of theorists representing a number of different multidimensional schools of psychotherapy and personality [4]. These theorists have supported open awareness, attention, and being observant of one’s own well-being and self-regulation. There have been many empirical studies conducted on ethical leadership, with a particular focus on incorporating leadership theories and models. On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of studies out there that look at how the mindfulness of leaders affects employees [5]. Leaders in today’s world are confronted with a myriad of challenges, the most prominent of which are the rapid evolution of social norms, the emergence of new technologies, and the passing of generations [6]. Furthermore, these demands are not higher than the capabilities of the leaders, and they require new strategies and procedures that can make the leaders cater to the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities presented by the outside world. The impact of mindfulness on employee autonomy, engagement, satisfaction, and commitment is also present [7], as is its explanation of the Role that mindfulness plays in the well-being of employees in recent studies. Meaningfulness of work is thought to enhance performance-related consequences, and as a result, it is getting more attention from researchers in the recent research literature. When people talk about how meaningful their work is, they are referring to the significant and positive contributions that their jobs make to their lives. Additionally, it refers to how content the worker is with his or her position [8]. The issues related to employees, such as turnover, absenteeism, low productivity, lack of motivation, and commitment toward the organization, continue to be a constant source of concern for the organization. As a result, researchers place a greater emphasis on the factors that have the potential to produce intrinsic motivation. Because of its central role in determining employee engagement, commitment, loyalty, and affective attachment [9], researchers are strongly encouraged to concentrate their efforts on the meaningfulness of work. The relationship between ethical leaders’ mindfulness and employee meaningfulness of work is explained using the Self-Determination Theory (SDT). SDT assumes that psychological well-being is affected by the motivational orientation of the individual. SDT separates the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators based on the motives of the behavior. Employees who are self-determined and autonomous are enthusiastic, which has a positive effect on well-being. The leader’s mindfulness and employee meaningfulness of work is of direct relationship. Employee behavior gets increases towards the work positively if his leader is mindful [10]. The performance level, motivational level, and well-being of the employees also depend on the leader. An unaware or less mindful leader will have lesser chances of knowing what is happening, what needs to be done, how it should be done, when it should be done, and with whom it can be done. Thus, the mindfulness of the leader is of significant importance. Ethical leadership mindfulness and meaningfulness of work from employees’ perspectives haven’t been studied in the existing literature. Since the meaningfulness of the tasks has been found to be linked with job satisfaction, and organizational commitment, it is necessary to assess the leadership’s Role to improve the work’s meaningfulness.


Mindfulness is defined as an individual perception focused on the value of the work, goal, or purpose. Studies considered this term a characteristic or trait of a human in which awareness regarding his emotions, thought, and feelings are the focal point. The literature extracted from clinical and psychology has indicated that mindfulness is one characteristic that indicates the degree to which a person is mentally and physically healthy [12]. Since mindfulness is a state of mind in which a person is fully conscious or aware, it varies from one person to another and from time to time [13]. It analyzed mindfulness from the workplace and it’s Role in well-being and career development. They proposed that it requires a certain degree of personal effort, both cognitive and intentional [14]. It is a multidimensional phenomenon that integrates several components, such as non-judgmental acceptance of the events, internal physical processes, and awareness of the internal and external environment, indications, and opening oneself to new experiences. Contemporary studies from organizational psychology have asserted that mindfulness is a form of learned behavior. Hence, from the integration of training and conscious practices, an individual can learn to exhibit mindfulness [15]. Ethical leadership revolves around managing and inspiring individuals through the adoption of appropriate behaviors. The people-centric approach towards management is connected with the achievement of goals and objectives in contemporary organizations, which is aligned with the concept of self-awareness of a leader to understand the needs of subordinates [16]. A study assessed mindfulness as a personal characteristic of the leader and its impact on their well-being. The perspective of a mindful leader is someone who abstains from a judgmental attitude at the workplace, avoiding filtering the behaviors and conducts of employees based on past experiences and already holding stereotypical information in mind. It described that a mindful leader is aware of their internal and external environmental processes and has been better able to attend, stimulate and inspire subordinates [17]. Awareness of self and the outer world is one of the basic aspects of mindfulness. It aids in assessing the employees’ present needs and supporting them to achieve their goals and objectives based on a non-biased and non-judgmental attitude [18]. A study defined mindful leaders as flexible, adaptable, and supportive because they are not likely to make use of cognitive filtration to draw stances about employees and their behaviors [19]. It has characterized mindfulness as a leadership approach that welcomes or is open to new experiences, as it implies showing a dynamic willingness of the leader to experience and face new situations. These challenges tend to be both pleasurable and hostile. Such leaders can act as role models for their employees by showcasing and teaching subordinates, which implies improving the individual ability to face and cope with uncertainty with patience and tolerance [20]. A recent study asserted that a mindful leader has certain values and goals, which implies developing understandings and actions under these underlying value systems. This mindfulness aspect enables leaders to transform their visions into reality by integrating information processing with goals and value systems. Since mindful leaders are open to new experiences, they can better communicate their vision by analyzing internal processes and making sense of the external world [21]. Humans search to find meaning in their lives, and understanding it is endless. It asserted that meaningfulness search has four drivers, a sense of self-worth and efficacy, a sense of purpose, and defining values that act as guidelines for behavior and provide valid justifications for certain conducts [22]. Organizations are making efforts to attract and retain talented people to achieve their goals and objectives. However, it is undeniable that people possessing exceptional capabilities and skills require meaningful work to remain affiliated with an organization [23]. A study attempted to provide a more specific view of work meaningfulness by integrating the value of a work or objective and its assessment made by an individual based on their values and standards. Constructs developed by [24] have three pillars of meaningfulness: personal capabilities, values that act as a guide, and intrinsic personal motivations [25]. The view is that a person derives meaning from his work when he can understand his work with a broader sense of purpose. Drivers of Meaningfulness of work in the workplace have been strengthened and justified by several theories, such [26] model that has integrated various personal values and work dimensions that motivate and satisfy individuals. Concerning the workplace, the importance of meaningfulness has been established in past theories of motivation. For example, Herzberg two factor theories have attempted to identify extrinsic and intrinsic factors that impact employee job satisfaction [27]. It believes that when people have a positive perception of their work, they tend to focus their efforts and are better able to achieve their goals than those who consider their work less important and meaningful to themselves and others [28]. Similarly, they have asserted that work’s meaningfulness acts as a coping agent to face and recover from challenges in challenging situations. On the other side, a lack of meaningfulness is less likely to allow people to self-expression and exhibit motivating behavior leading to ineffective and inefficient use of personal and organizational resources [29]. This study has developed three facets of employee perception of work meaningfulness. The first dimension is related to the sense of self, which is the exhibition of certain workplace capabilities to satisfaction [30]. The sense of work is related to the worth of the job to the person and the degree to which the job contributes to accomplishing organizational goals and objectives. The third tier is related to the sense of balance in mind, body, and spirit to achieve the organizational goal. These aspects derived by [31] have shown that the task’s meaningfulness is more perception-oriented. It is humanitarian as the way an individual from the workplace perceives the job and develops his perception of the meaningfulness of work.

Figure 01: Dimensions of Leader Mindfulness developed by [11]

Human Resource Management has been exposed to transformation, which has negatively impacted the balance of personal and professional lives. An employee often demands more than an employment opportunity from their organization, and acknowledgment of such job-related demands is necessary to increase job commitment [33]. Since jobs have become more complex and are linked with employee stress and fatigue, adopting strategies has become a necessity to be undertaken by organizations to reduce the psychological and physical burden on employees [34]. Studies have been of the view that employees spend most of their daily time at the workplace. Hence, the sense of belongingness and the relationship they develop at the workplace is of significant importance, as it is directly linked with the meaningfulness that they derive from their work; hence their moral and ethical conduct directly impact the organization [35]. When an employee finds such an aware leader who notices even what is happening within him, that creates a positive impact on the employee’s personality in terms of self-awareness and meaning-making (first internally and then professionally) as he is under the influence of his leader and would like to adopt his style [35].

H1: Inner awareness of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

The leader, through his charismatic personality, impresses his followers by proving himself in difficult times by handling himself (at the time of anger or other external factors) due to his ability to be mindful. That requires meaning-making, which would be, for instance, “My anger will help me make a mistake; it is better to stay calm and think about what should be done.”Thus, this meaning-making would influence his followers, and they would learn how to respond and progress [37].

H2: Outer awareness of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

It’s never easy to feel accepted by the surroundings. Leaders’ quality of knowing their capabilities, acceptance for their deeds, both good and bad, and resentment for mistakes sets examples for their followers in meaning-making of themselves, which further makes it work like, “my leader did not get carried away due to his blunder, he faced us everyone with courage, and without judging himself, thus we have no more issues with him, this is what makes him a great leader [38].”

H3: Leaders’ ability to accept is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

How and why should the leader deal with his emotions and manage his anger or fear? A solution to this would make an employee know about tactics (meaning-making) that will help him overcome these distractions and distressing modes, which is an outcome of leaders’ openness to experience [39].

H4: Leaders’ ability to be open is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

Observing and understanding attitude comes up with a price of more and more thoughts, feelings, and emotions. So, when to react and what to react to is the key to being a mindful leader. This attitude of a mindful leader encourages their employees to learn it with reasoning, which opens the door to meaningfulness in work [40].

H5: Decentering of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

A mindful leader always gives himself the liberty to accept that he may be proved wrong, things can change, things can go wild, he may not be right every time, and so forth. Still coping with it and making the call is what great and mindful leaders do. Thus, this behavior in a leader helps employees to first follow it and then understand it (meaning-making).

H6: Relativity of thoughts of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

When the leader works, he works like nothing can divert his attention, and thus efficiency is achieved. This ability of the leader helps employees do the same, which further leads to meaning-making like, “Due to my focus on work and not on the controversy going on, I will achieve that.”

H7: The ability to act with awareness of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful Work for Employees

The time when a leader identifies and understands his self-created problems, or his needlessly made difficulties, makes him a mindful leader. Making his employees do the same for themselves makes the work meaningful for them.

H8: Insightfulness of the leader is positively associated with Meaningful work for Employees.

Figure 02: Dimensions of Meaningful Work developed [32]


Using managers’ support, leaders were identified. Only those selected for this study who has an industrial experience of at least 20 Years and worked as HODs in any industry and, similarly, the managers working under them for at least 5 Years. Data is collected from two sources, leaders and their subordinates. Two structured questionnaires were administered: one to the leaders and the other one to their subordinates. Each leader received a questionnaire enquiring to self-assess his/her ability to be mindful. His managers were asked to rate their leader’s ability to be mindful and their self-assessment of finding the meaning of their work. SEM-AMOS is utilized for this study, Snowball Sampling was utilized, and an initial group of employees was selected at random. They were asked to identify others and their leader who belong to the target population of interest. Subsequent respondents are selected based on the referrals. The scale for all the variables discussed was adopted. The questions regarding the Mindfulness of Work Scale (CHIME) consist of 37 questions and are adopted from [41]. The questions regarding the meaningfulness of work are adopted. As a whole, the questionnaire was composed of a single section, and 47 questions were required to rate their degree of agreement with the respondents, in which “1” represented “Almost Never,” “2” represented “UsuallyNever,” “3” represented “Sometimes Disagree,” “4” represented “UsuallyTrue,” and “5” represented “Almost Always .”After the questionnaires were filled, data was entered in SPSS, and type, values, and measures were also allocated to each of the questions, and reverse questions were also converted. Then the data was cleaned, and all the questionnaires having missing values were eliminated. A total of 270 questionnaires were filled, out of which 202 were found useful. Moreover, outliers were also checked to clear typo errors, and further normality checks were also performed. As suggested by [42], all items below the threshold value of 0.50 shall be deleted from the model. Thus, the following values were below the threshold and hence were deleted.


For validity and reliability, different tests are done, and values are analyzed; CR is a measure of the overall reliability of a collection of heterogeneous but similar items, and its threshold is CR > 0.70. AVE (Average Variance Extracted) is the degree to which a latent variable discriminates from the other latent variable. Its threshold value is > 0.50; another requirement for AVE is that AVE for each variable should be greater than the shared variances of the other factors in the model. This indicates the discriminant validity of the scale. MSV (Maximum Shared Variance) is defined as to what extent a variable can be explained in another variable. ASV (Average Shared Variance) states how much variance captured by the latent variable in a structural equation model is shared among other variables.

Table 01: Validity & Reliability

As the value of CR is greater than 0.7 for each variable, this proves the reliability of the scales. Similarly, as the value of AVE is greater than 0.5, this proves the convergent validity of the scales. For Discriminant validity, the value of MSV should be less than AVE, the value of ASV should be less than AVE and the square root of AVE should be greater than inter-construct correlations. Thus, as per the thresholds, no validity and reliability concerns were identified. The following tests were conducted to evaluate the data’s model fitness, Normed Chi-Square measures for evaluating overall model fit by minimizing the impact of sample size on the Model Chi-Square [43]. CFI (Comparative Fit Index) statistic assumes that all latent variables are uncorrelated (null/independence model) and compares the sample covariance matrix with this null model. RMSEA= Root means the square error of approximation tells us how well the model, with unknown but optimally chosen parameter estimates, would fit the population covariance matrix.

Table 02: Model Fitness

After completion of the CFA, the following model was constructed to test the hypothesis.

Table 03: Hypothesis Testing

Estimates are also known as beta values and show that an increase in one variable causes an increase or decrease in the other variable. As the value is positive, it shows that the relationship is directly proportionate. Similarly, the P-value proves less significant. If the p-value is less than 0.05, it proves that the relationship is significant. While *** shows the value is less than 0.001, which means 99.99% sure that the relationship exists and is positive.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between mindful leadership and meaningful work performed by employees and to determine the extent of that relationship. The existing body of research on the topic of mindfulness in leadership hints that mindful leaders do, in fact, have an impact on employee commitment and job satisfaction. The findings of this research’s analysis indicate that an employee’s perception of a leader’s capacity for mindfulness can have a positive impact on the meaningfulness of the work they do. The meaningfulness of the work for employees is a critical factor in determining whether or not they are engaged in their work, how committed they are, and how satisfied they are. The capacity for mindfulness possessed by a leader has the potential to foster a culture in which the leader’s belief system is not regarded as being superior to the belief system held by their followers in order to inspire meaningful work on the part of employees. Being mindful means being willing to listen to a variety of points of view and being open to new ideas. A leader must demonstrate this quality. When a leader is transparent with their team, it fosters a strong connection, which in turn leads to more devoted and involved employees. The openness of a leader helps to make stronger connections with the employees and increases engagement, which ultimately leads to the employees’ increased motivation and more sense-making or meaning-making, as it is asserted that increased motivation is an important component of meaningfulness at work. The study’s findings showed that the dimensions of leader mindfulness have direct effects on the dimensions of meaningfulness of work, with the exception of inner awareness. This is because the inner awareness of the leader is typically unknown or only partially known to the workers in the organization. Aside from that, it has been demonstrated that a positive relationship exists between meaningful work and all other dimensions, including awareness of external experiences, accepting a nonjudgmental attitude, nonreactive decentering, openness to experience, awareness of thoughts, and insightful understanding. In light of this, we can deduce that the level of mindfulness exhibited by the leader is directly correlated to the degree to which employees value their work. The significance of relationship that exists between management and staff members becomes an essential component of the implementation of change. It is essential for businesses to focus not only on enhancing the skills of their employees but also on transforming the leadership practices and education they provide for their employees. Because training and development can help leaders become more mindful, it makes it possible for leaders to become more aware of both themselves and the world around them. This study suggests extending the model further and testing the impact of meaningful work variables on Employee Development or adding a moderator or mediator will also be of significant importance. Similarly, examining using longitudinal data can also prove significant. Moreover, this research focused on the overall Industry and required further evidence by examining and comparing it industry-wise. This study is examined only in a particular geological area. Researches from other developed and underdeveloped areas need to be done


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Publication History

Published: February 01, 2023




Al-Harath Abdulaziz Mohammed, Behram Harfi, & Li Chen, (2023). The role of leadership mindfulness on employee well-being through mediating role of ethical leadership. Dinkum Journal of Economics and Managerial Innovations, 2(02):71-81.


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