Spiritual Leadership and Meaningful Work: The Roles of Intrinsic Motivation and Gender


  • Fidelis Udahemuka Strathmore Business School, Strathmore University, Nairobi
  • Prof. Fred O. Walumbwa Florida International University, College of Business, Miami USA,
  • Dr. Ben Ngoye Strathmore Business School, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya




Spiritual leadership, meaningful work, intrinsic motivation, gender


In recent years, many employees have come to view their work not only as a means to earn a living but also as a source of personal fulfillment and purpose. This shift in perception is driven by various factors, including changes in societal values and the human desire to make a difference in the world. As such, organizations with insufficient knowledge of employees’ need for meaningful work suffer reduced performance and productivity, higher employee turnover, and employees’ physical and mental work-related health conditions. Although prior studies have found that spiritual leadership positively and significantly influences employees’ meaningful work, relatively little is known about the underlying mechanism and the condition under which this relationship occurs. This empirical study aims to investigate how and when spiritual leadership relates to employees’ meaningful work focusing on intrinsic motivation as a mediator and employee gender as a moderator using data from employees of public and private commercial banks in Kenya. The study’s cross-sectional design adopted a self-reported data collection approach. The banks were stratified into three tiers: 1, 2, and 3, and 532 questionnaires were distributed to randomly selected respondents from the tiers, and 448 valid responses were received. A semi-structural equation modeling using SmartPLS 4 was used to analyze the data. The results reveal that spiritual leadership, directly and indirectly, impacts meaningful work partially mediated by intrinsic motivation, while gender moderates this relationship. The study contributes to theory by examining intrinsic motivation and gender as the underlying mechanisms of how and when spiritual leadership translates into employees’ meaningful work. Practically, the findings suggest that incorporating spiritual leadership as a potential leader behavior in the banking sector and paying attention to employees’ gender can improve the perception of meaningful work, which has been found to relate to employees’ well-being and positive job outcomes. Implications of our findings and recommendations for future research are further discussed.

Author Biographies

Prof. Fred O. Walumbwa, Florida International University, College of Business, Miami USA,

Chair & Professor, Department of International Business

Knight-Ridder Byron Harless Endowed Eminent Scholar Chair in Management

Phone: 305.348.4982 (Direct) | 305.348.2791 (Office)

Dr. Ben Ngoye, Strathmore Business School, Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya

Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Decision Making at Strathmore University, Strathmore Business School, Nairobi, and Visiting Scholar, Logos Business School, Nigeria.