When are transgressing leaders punitively judged? An empirical test.

Published on Jan 1, 2011in Journal of Applied Psychology
· DOI :10.1037/a0021442
Debra L. Shapiro42
Estimated H-index: 42
(UMD: University of Maryland, College Park),
Alan D. Boss9
Estimated H-index: 9
(UW: University of Washington)
+ 2 AuthorsMary Ann Von Glinow27
Estimated H-index: 27
(FIU: Florida International University)
Using Hollander's (1958) idiosyncrasy credit theory of leadership as the theoretical backdrop, we examined when and why organizational leaders escape punitive evaluation for their organizational transgressions. In a sample of 162 full-time employees, we found that leaders who were perceived to be more able and inspirationally motivating were less punitively evaluated by employees for leader transgressions. These effects were mediated by the leaders' LMX (leader-member exchange) with their employees. Moreover, the tendency of leaders with higher LMX to escape punitive evaluations for their transgressions was stronger when those leaders were more valued within the organization. Finally, employees who punitively evaluated their leaders were more likely to have turnover intentions and to psychologically withdraw from their organization. Theoretical and practical implications associated with relatively understudied leader-transgression dynamics are discussed.
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