Abusive retaliation of low performance in low-quality LMX relationships
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonJournal of General Management. 2020;45(2):57-70 https://doi.org/10.1177/0306307019874529
In the current study, we investigated the occurrence of abusive retaliation in response to low performance. More specifically, we hypothesize an association between low work performance and abusive supervision, as well as leader-member exchange (LMX) as a moderator of the association. Furthermore, we explored a potential link between abusive supervision and social loafing, and whether work-related negative affect would mediate this link. Data were collected from business organizations in Norway. To alleviate potential common method variance, data were collected separately from leaders and followers. In line with our expectations, we present results indicating that low performing followers are more prone to be abused by their supervisor, particularly if they are in a low quality LMX relationship. Conversely, LMX relationships can have a “buffering” effect on the performance/abusive supervision association. Furthermore, our results suggest abused followers reacted with both work-related negative affect and social loafing. The implications of this latter finding are discussed in light of the ongoing conversation regarding the role of emotions in exchange processes.