Management Department Research Seminar: Getting along with the boss! Why the quality of the relationship with the manager is important for determining work outcomes.
According to Leader-member Exchange (LMX) theory managers develop different quality relationships with their followers that range from low to high quality. Research has consistently shown that the quality of the relationship the follower has with his/her manager is a reliable predictor of follower’s well-being and performance. This presentation will examine the implications of when managers have different quality relationships with followers in their team (i.e., there is within-team variation in LMX quality: termed ‘LMX differentiation’). The result of LMX differentiation is a specific pattern/distribution of LMX quality relationships within the team. Within-team LMX variation is seen as having negative consequences for individuals and the team. The presentation will examine: how to conceptualize LMX differentiation as a property of the leader or the follower, the main properties of differentiation (e.g., variation and relative position) and how these impact on important work outcomes. Particular emphasis is placed on LMX differentiation as a social construction and therefore the importance of perceptual processes in interpreting actual differentiation. This research shows the need to move beyond the leader-follower dyad and to understand how followers view their LMX relationship within the context of other LMX relationships within their work team.