Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Debra A. Major

Committee Member

Janis Sanchez

Committee Member

Alexis Fink

Abstract

Subordinates interpret and react to the behaviors of their leaders. Based on a theory of organizational trust, it was argued that greater trust between subordinate and leader is required to respond appropriately to relations-oriented behaviors than task-oriented behaviors due to a higher level of personal risk to the subordinate. As a consequence of responding appropriately to relations-oriented behaviors, a subordinate immediately becomes identified with or connected to a leader. Such identification requires the specific LMX currency of professional respect be present in order for an adequate amount of trust to be developed. In contrast, task-oriented behaviors ally the subordinate with job and task responsibilities, not necessarily their leader. In these instances, any of the LMX currencies (i.e., professional respect, affect, contribution, or loyalty to the leader) may generate sufficient trust to counter the lower risk involved. In higher-risk situations, professional respect is mandatory for trust to be developed. This variable importance of LMX currencies in developing adequate levels of trust is both consistent with theory and a newer area of LMX research expanded upon by the present study. Therefore, the relationship between a subordinate and leader was hypothesized to increase the effectiveness of specific leader behaviors in raising subordinate performance. Seven mid-level leader behaviors divided into either a task-oriented or relations-oriented factor were examined. It was hypothesized that relations-oriented behaviors (i.e., supporting, mentoring, recognizing, and consulting) required professional respect to be present in the leader-subordinate relationship in order to successfully raise subordinate performance. Task-oriented behaviors (i.e., delegating, clarifying, and inspiring) in contrast, required only one currency of the LMX relationship (i.e., professional respect, affect, contribution, or loyalty) to be present for the behavior to be effective. Data were collected from 240 subordinates at two different high-technology manufacturing organizations located in the Western United States. Two surveys, one at three months job tenure measuring leader behaviors and the LMX relationship and one at six months job tenure measuring performance, were used. A two-factor leader-behavior structure was confirmed using structural equation modeling before hierarchical linear regression was used to examine the relationship between leader behaviors and subordinate performance. The interaction of the leader behavior and the LMX currency was added in the second step of the hierarchical analyses. The relationship between task-oriented behaviors and performance was moderated by the currencies of LMX such that when high levels of any of the currencies were present, greater amounts of the leader behavior were related to higher subordinate performance. For relations-oriented behaviors, only professional respect moderated the performance relationship. At high levels of professional respect, higher amounts of relations-oriented behaviors were related to higher subordinate performance. Implications for both theory and practice are discussed.

DOI

10.25777/v32a-qn12

ISBN

9781124131580

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