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An investigation of the determinants of exchange quality in supervisor-subordinate relationships
The exchange quality of a supervisor-subordinate relationship influences attitudes and behaviors of both the supervisor and the subordinate. Unfortunately, there are few studies investigating the determinants of exchange quality in these important relationships. The present research was designed to address this important but neglected area. Specifically, this research was designed to address the question, "what are the determinants of exchange quality in supervisor-subordinate relationships?" Theory and research on leadership, upward influence, and impression management offered potential answers to this question. Based on insights from these areas, a conceptual model of the determinants of exchange quality was developed and tested. The model suggests that subordinate behaviors, including impression management and objective performance level, influence the quality of exchange. Further, it is proposed that these behaviors affect exchange quality through their influence on supervisor liking toward the subordinate and ratings of subordinate performance. Finally, the model identifies individual characteristics and situational factors as potential determinants of impression management. A laboratory experiment and field study were conducted to examine relationships proposed in the model. The laboratory experiment results suggested that subordinate impression management was associated with supervisor liking and performance appraisal. In addition, objective performance level was significantly related to performance appraisal. In turn, liking and performance appraisal were found to be significant determinants of exchange quality. The field study identified three types of impression management: job-focused, supervisor-focused, and self-focused. The major findings indicated that supervisor-focused impression management was associated with supervisor liking and that liking influenced performance appraisal ratings. Contrary to predictions, job-focused impression management was negatively related to performance appraisal. Additionally, liking, but not performance appraisal, was found to be a significant determinant of exchange quality. The results of the two studies indicate that subordinate impression management is useful in enhancing the degree of liking of the supervisor toward the subordinate. Further, this affective response is an important determinant of performance appraisal and exchange quality. The theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed.
1987 Dissertation W359
Supervision of employees
Impression formation (Psychology)
Wayne, Sandra Jean (1987). An investigation of the determinants of exchange quality in supervisor-subordinate relationships. Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from
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