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Extending a Model of Leader-Member Exchange Development: Individual and Dyadic Effects of Personality, Similarity and Liking Open Access

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Most current conceptualizations view leadership as a process of reciprocal, albeit often asymmetric, influence. The mechanisms underlying this shared influence are embedded in interpersonal relationships. Although many types of relationships are important in organizational settings, none is perhaps more germane to understanding leadership than the relationship between a leader and his or her followers. Consequently, the relational process of leadership can be more fully appreciated by understanding how these relationships develop and why differences emerge within these relationships. Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is the predominant theory in the leadership literature focusing on leader-follower relationships. Although there is a considerable body of evidence supporting its importance in organizational contexts, much of the extant literature regarding LMX has focused on the outcomes associated with varying LMX relations rather than the formative processes leading to the development of high quality LMX. Recently, a model of the LMX development process was proposed (Dulebohn, Bommer, Liden, Brouer, & Ferris, in press), based on a meta-analysis of the antecedents and outcomes associated with LMX. Using a sample of supervisor and subordinate dyads, this dissertation tested this model using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM). Evidence supporting a majority of the hypothesized relationships was found. In addition, this study adapted the fit procedures developed by Edwards (1994, 2002, 2007) to a structural equation model framework using latent variables to investigate the effects of congruence between leader and follower dimensions of personality, perceptions of similarity, and interpersonal affect. Significant results suggesting the existence of such effects with respect to leader and follower perceived similarity were interpreted using mediated polynomial regression and response surface modeling to examine the direct, indirect, and total effects of leader and follower perceived similarity on follower LMX, as partially mediated by follower affect toward the leader. These initial findings have several practical and theoretical implications and suggest several areas for future investigation.

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