Introduction: Policymakers, researchers, and practitioners have recently begun treating employability-an individual's ability to possess and continuously adjust and acquire up-to-date competencies, flexibility, adaptability, and openness to change-as crucial to enabling employees to respond to ubiquitous and rapid changes in organizations (e.g., changing tasks and work-related processes). Research into ways to enhance employability, particularly through supervisor leadership, which, for example, facilitates training and competence development, has thus grown in popularity. A review on leadership as an antecedent of employability is both evident and timely. This review thus addresses the question of whether a supervisor's leadership influences employees' employability, and in which contexts and through which mechanisms it does so. Methods: As preliminary study we conducted a bibliometric analysis (which corroborated employability's recent rise in popularity) and as main study we conducted a systematic literature review. For this, the authors independently searched for articles, which met the inclusion criteria and subsequently were included for full text analysis. The authors also independently used the forward and backward snowballing technique for identifying additional articles which met the inclusion criteria and subsequently were included for full text analysis. The procedure resulted in 17 articles in total. Results: Most of the articles identified positive relationships among several conceptualizations of supervisor leadership and employee employability, such as transformational leadership and leader-member exchange, and to a lesser extent, servant leadership and perceived supervisor support. This review suggests that such relationships occur across different work contexts, such as educational, SMEs, healthcare, and several other industries, and these contexts also vary geographically. Discussion: The relationships among supervisor leadership and employee employability are largely explained using a social exchange perspective, which means that the positive influence of leadership on employability is itself influenced by a two-way social exchange relationship between supervisor and employees. The quality of the dyadic relationship between leader and followers thus determines the extent to which leaders offer valuable resources such as training and feedback, which subsequently enhances employees' employability. This review demonstrates that investing in supervisors' leadership is a valuable HRM strategy that fosters employability, and it identifies practical implications that inform policy and practice and sets an agenda for future employability research.
- social exchange theory
- systematic literature review