When and how does LMX differentiation influence followers’ work outcomes?The interactive roles of one’s own LMX status and organizational context

Olli-Pekka Kauppila*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The fundamental premise of the leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is that leaders' relationships with their followers vary in quality. Although LMX differentiation (i.e., within-group variation in the quality of LMX) is generally considered a sound leadership practice, its effects on group members' work outcomes remain poorly understood. Drawing on LMX and upper echelons theories, this study suggests that employees' reactions to LMX differentiation depend on the personal LMX status of employees and the characteristics of the organizational context. Analyses of multilevel data collected from 502 employees organized into 135 work groups in 34 firms show that the impact of LMX differentiation on work outcomes is more positive (or less negative) for employees with lower rather than higher LMX. The findings highlight the importance of organizational boundary conditions for these interactions: The negative moderation by one's own LMX status is stronger when top managers decentralize responsibilities to lower hierarchical levels and weaker when top managers impose a shared vision to guide the organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-393
Number of pages37
JournalPERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY
Volume69
Issue number2
Early online date2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • LEADER-MEMBER EXCHANGE
  • RELATIONSHIP QUALITY
  • SOCIAL-EXCHANGE
  • CHARISMATIC LEADERSHIP
  • BEHAVIORAL COMPLEXITY
  • CITIZENSHIP BEHAVIOR
  • PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT
  • CENTRIPETAL FORCES
  • GROUP-PERFORMANCE
  • DECISION-MAKING

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