A two-study investigation of item wording effects on leader-follower convergence in descriptions of the leader-member exchange (LMX) relationship

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15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership focuses on the quality of relationships built between leaders and subordinates; LMX measures are designed to assess the quality of these relationships. Since the leader and subordinate are jointly embedded in the relationship, it is reasonable to assume that their ratings of their relationship will converge to some reasonable extent. However, leader-member convergence on the most widely used measures, the LMX-7 and SLMX-7 scales, has historically been low. To address this, we conduct two studies to investigate whether item wording and content might be a cause of poor LMX convergence. The obtained results support the conclusion that the wording and content of these measures are, in fact, introducing attributional and social desirability biases into the rating process and causing some of the poor LMX convergence that is commonly seen. Implications for extant and future LMX research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)881-892
Number of pages12
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

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Social Desirability
follower
leader
Research
rating
Exchange relationships
Follower
Leader-member exchange
exchange theory
social desirability
leadership

Keywords

  • Leader-member exchange
  • Leader-member exchange convergence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

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title = "A two-study investigation of item wording effects on leader-follower convergence in descriptions of the leader-member exchange (LMX) relationship",
abstract = "The leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership focuses on the quality of relationships built between leaders and subordinates; LMX measures are designed to assess the quality of these relationships. Since the leader and subordinate are jointly embedded in the relationship, it is reasonable to assume that their ratings of their relationship will converge to some reasonable extent. However, leader-member convergence on the most widely used measures, the LMX-7 and SLMX-7 scales, has historically been low. To address this, we conduct two studies to investigate whether item wording and content might be a cause of poor LMX convergence. The obtained results support the conclusion that the wording and content of these measures are, in fact, introducing attributional and social desirability biases into the rating process and causing some of the poor LMX convergence that is commonly seen. Implications for extant and future LMX research are discussed.",
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AB - The leader-member exchange (LMX) theory of leadership focuses on the quality of relationships built between leaders and subordinates; LMX measures are designed to assess the quality of these relationships. Since the leader and subordinate are jointly embedded in the relationship, it is reasonable to assume that their ratings of their relationship will converge to some reasonable extent. However, leader-member convergence on the most widely used measures, the LMX-7 and SLMX-7 scales, has historically been low. To address this, we conduct two studies to investigate whether item wording and content might be a cause of poor LMX convergence. The obtained results support the conclusion that the wording and content of these measures are, in fact, introducing attributional and social desirability biases into the rating process and causing some of the poor LMX convergence that is commonly seen. Implications for extant and future LMX research are discussed.

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