Thumbnail Image

Relationships Between Supervisor Behaviour and Subordinates' Work Attitudes: The Role of LMX

This study investigated the relationship between supervisor behaviour and the work experience of subordinate employees and assessed the role of the interpersonal exchange relationship between supervisor and subordinate. Participants completed a questionnaire asking them to rate their supervisor’s behaviour (initiating structure, tolerance of subordinate independence, perceived support, integration and consideration of subordinates), the quality of their leader-member exchange relationship (LMX) with their supervisor, perceived job autonomy, and role ambiguity. To assess subordinates’ work experience, respondents were also asked to report on their level of work engagement, citizenship behaviour, job motivation, commitment to the organisation, and team commitment. Two hundred and fifteen responses were collected and, following a factor analysis, mediation analyses were conducted using the supervisor behaviours as predictors, LMX, autonomy, and ambiguity as mediators and subordinate attitudes and behaviour as outcomes. The results provided support for the proposed mediated relationships with 30 out of 36 indirect relationships being significant. The findings confirmed that 1) supervisory behaviour had indirect effects on subordinate attitudes and behaviour. 2) LMX, job autonomy, and role ambiguity significantly predicted subordinate employees’ work attitudes and behaviour. 3) The behaviours of supervisors helped determine LMX, job autonomy and role ambiguity. These results confirmed that there is a strong relationship between the behaviour of supervisors and the work experience of subordinate employees. Although causation cannot be inferred based on the results of this study, the findings indicate that the supervisor may contribute to the work experience of subordinates. The findings may suggest that if supervisors were to change their role behaviour by the way they deal with subordinates and introduce structure in the workplace this my help reduce subordinates’ role ambiguity, raise perceived job autonomy, lead to a higher quality exchange relationship, and positively influence work outcomes. This would enhance employee work engagement, organisation-directed citizenship behaviour, intrinsic motivation, commitment to organisation and work team benefiting both the organisation and the employees. Longitudinal research into an integrated model of supervisor behaviour and LMX using experimental or observational study designs is recommended in order to develop a model of causal relationships between supervisor behaviour, LMX, and subordinate outcomes. Further investigation of the measurement of supervisor behaviour may be appropriate in order to validate or revise the LBDQ scales, since factor analyses on these scales prompted substantial changes. Additionally, the results of this study indicated that perceived supervisor support and LMX may not be distinct constructs. Further research into the measurement and theoretical grounding of these measures is recommended.
Type of thesis
Van Lamoen, N. K. (2012). Relationships Between Supervisor Behaviour and Subordinates’ Work Attitudes: The Role of LMX (Thesis, Master of Applied Psychology (MAppPsy)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6520
University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.