Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Marketing Research

The Influence of Subordinate Affect and Self-Monitoring on Multiple Dimensions of Leader-Member Exchange

Academic journal article International Journal of Management and Marketing Research

The Influence of Subordinate Affect and Self-Monitoring on Multiple Dimensions of Leader-Member Exchange

Article excerpt


In this research we investigate possible differential effects of subordinate positive trait affect and negative trait affect upon four dimensions of supervisor-rated leader member exchange: affect, loyalty, contribution, and professional respect. In addition, self-monitoring is tested for its potential moderating effect upon these relationships. Data was collected from 267 subordinate/supervisor dyads in six different organizations. Results revealed that subordinates' negative trait affect is negatively related to the supervisor-rated dimensions of affect, loyalty, and respect, while subordinate positive affect is positively related to the dimensions of contribution and professional respect. Conversely, the hypothesized moderating effect of self-monitoring upon the relationships received no support, despite existing research to the contrary. We conclude with a discussion of the implications for theory, practice, and future research.

JEL: M12

KEYWORDS: LMX, Affect, Self-Monitoring


The fable "The Two Dogs," by Ivan Kriloff, ends with this exchange between Barbos, the yard dog, and Joujou, the housedog:

"How did you, Joujou, who were so small and weak, get taken into favor, while I jump out of my skin to no purpose? What is it you do?" '"What is it you do?' A pretty question to ask!" replied Joujou, mockingly. "I walk upon my hind legs."

This excerpt illustrates an idea drawn from conventional wisdom - that those who are able to act in a manner pleasing to others will reap the rewards for doing so, even if they have to bear the cost of a certain degree of discomfort. Individuals who are adept at reading social cues and altering their behavior to please others are known as high self-monitors (Snyder, 1974; Gangestad & Snyder, 2000), and there is evidence that high self-monitors are more embedded in social relationships at work (Sasovova, 2006) and establish a greater number of mentoring relationships (Blickle, Schneider, Perrewé, Blass, & Ferris, 2008). Conversely, low self-monitors prefer congruency between their inward state and outward behavior, regardless of the social context (Gangestad & Snyder, 2000).

A number of studies have identified favorable outcomes associated with a positive exchange relationship between subordinate and supervisor, such as increased job satisfaction (Masterson, Lewis, Goldman, & Taylor, 2000) and higher performance ratings and level of delegation (Scandura & Schriesheim, 1994; Schriesheim, Neider, & Scandura, 1998). However, few studies have investigated the role of dispositional traits such as affect, or the tendency to experience positive or negative emotional states, upon this relationship (Day & Crain, 1 992), and none have investigated the potential moderating impact of self-monitoring ability.

When managers are trained to provide resources to subordinates in an equal manner, subordinates who have low quality exchange relationships with their supervisors often show improvements in productivity and job satisfaction (Scandura & Graen, 1984). Higher quality supervisor/subordinate relationships have also been found to ameliorate the inhibiting effects of introversion on job performance for new executives (Bauer, Erdogan, Liden, & Wayne, 2006). However, not all organizations may be willing or able to provide this type of relationship training to their supervisors. Therefore, it becomes the subordinate's responsibility to develop an awareness of how dispositional factors influence his/her relationship with the supervisor and then make the decision as to whether it would be more advantageous to modify his/her behavior or seek a new situation with a different supervisor. Our research answers calls for additional studies into the effects that the individual traits of affect and self-monitoring have on the leader-member exchange (LMX) relationship (Barsade & Gibson, 2007; Brower, Schoorman, & Tan, 2000; Engle & Lord, 1997) as well as to deconstruct these effects by LMX dimension. …

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