The Importance of Being Psychologically Empowered: Buffering the Negative Effects of Employee Perceptions of Leader-Member Exchange Differentiation

Cecile Emery, Jonathan Booth, Georgios Michaelides, Alexander Swaab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Although differentiated relationships among leaders and their followers are fundamental to Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory, research provides limited knowledge about whether employees’ responses to individual perceptions of LMX differentiation are uniform. In a field study, we examined whether individual-level psychological empowerment buffers the negative relationship between perceived LMX differentiation and job satisfaction, and found that the negative relationship is strongest under low employee psychological empowerment conditions, as compared to high psychological empowerment. Furthermore, in a multi-wave field study and an experiment, we extended these initial findings by investigating employees’ perceptions of supervisory fairness as a mediator of this moderated relationship. We found that the indirect effect between perceived LMX differentiation and job satisfaction, through supervisory fairness perceptions, is strongest under low employee psychological empowerment, as compared to high psychological empowerment. Collectively, our findings showcase the importance of psychological empowerment as a tool for employees to use to counteract the negative effect of perceived differentiated contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-592
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Volume92
Issue number3
Early online date5 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • LMX Differentiation
  • Psychological Empowerment
  • Supervisory Fairness

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