A fundamental tenet of Leader–Member Exchange (LMX) theory is that leaders develop different quality relationships with their employees; however, little research has investigated the impact of LMX differentiation on employee reactions. The current research investigates whether perceptions of LMX variability (the extent to which LMX relationships are perceived to vary within a team) affects employee job satisfaction and wellbeing beyond the effects of personal LMX quality. As LMX variability runs counter to principles of equality and consistency, which are important for maintaining social harmony in groups, it is hypothesized that perceptions of LMX variability will have a negative effect on employee reactions, via its negative impact on perceived team relations. Two samples of employed individuals were used to investigate the hypothesized relationships. In both samples, an individual's perception of LMX variability in their team was negatively related to employee job satisfaction and wellbeing (above the effects of LMX), and this relationship was mediated by reports of relational team conflict.
- LMX Variability