Presentation M O11

M O11 (Oral Presentation):
Supervisor autonomy & considerate leadership style are associated with likelihood to accommodate back injured workers

Presented by: Connor Ryan McGuire

Download PDF


McGuire C1, Kristman VL1,2,3,4, Williams-Whitt K5, Reguly P1, Shaw WS6, Soklaridis S1,7,8

  1. Department of Health Sciences, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
  2. Institute for Work & Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
  3. Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  4. Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
  5. Faculty of Management, University of Lethbridge, Calgary, AB, Canada
  6. Center for Disability Research, Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Boston, MA, USA
  7. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, ON, Canada
  8. Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada



Supervisors play a key role in the return to work (RTW) process for injured workers. They are important gatekeepers and facilitators of temporary job modifications. Supervisors may be asked to interpret medical restrictions, document job demands, create modified duty positions, or temper production demands. Yet, we have little understanding of factors influencing their decision-making process. Our objective was to determine the association between supervisors’ leadership style and self-perceived autonomy and their likelihood of supporting job accommodations for back-injured workers.


We conducted a cross-sectional study of supervisors recruited from a non-random, convenience sample of Canadian and US employers. Supervisors’ likeliness to support job accommodation was measured using the Job Accommodation Scale (JAS). Leadership style (Initiating Structure and Consideration) was measured using the Leader Behavior Description Questionnaire (LBDQ). Self-perceived autonomy was measured using questions from the Job Content Questionnaire. We conducted univariate analysis of all variables, including potential confounders, and bivariate analysis using the JAS score with each of the independent variables. A multivariable generalized linear modeling strategy was used to determine the association between supervisors’ decision to support workplace accommodation and supervisor leadership and autonomy. Final reduced models for each exposure were obtained after assessing several supervisor characteristics and organizations/job factors as potential effect modifiers and confounders.


A total of 796 eligible supervisors from 19 employers participated. LBDQ Consideration (β= .012; 95% CI: .009; .016) and autonomy (β= .065; 95% CI: .024; .111) were positively associated with supervisors’ likeliness to accommodate. We found no significant association between LBDQ Initiating Structure and supervisors’ likeliness to accommodate (β = .002; 95% CI: -.001; .006).


Self-perceived autonomy and a considerate leadership style were positively associated with supervisors’ likeliness to accommodate back-injured workers. Future workplace interventions enhancing supervisor autonomy and strengthening considerate leadership styles may help employers facilitate early RTW.

Schedule Details

Monday September 29
10:45 - 12:15 Morning Concurrent Sessions (M O1 - M O12 and Seminar 1)
Session: Supervisors’ involvement in Work Disability
Room A