From self-defeating to other defeating: Examining the effects of leader procrastination on follower work outcomes

Alison Legood*, Allan Lee, Gary Schwarz, Alexander Newman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This research examines the influence of leader procrastination on employee attitudes and behaviours. While previous studies have typically viewed procrastination as a form of self-defeating behaviour, this research explores its effects on others in the workplace. In Study 1, using data collected from 290 employees, we demonstrate the discriminant and relative predictive validity of leader procrastination on leadership effectiveness compared with laissez-faire leadership and directive leadership. In Study 2, based on dyadic data collected in three phases from 250 employees and their 23 supervisors, we found that leader procrastination was associated with follower discretionary behaviour (organizational citizenship behaviour and deviant behaviour). Additionally, job frustration was found to mediate the relationship between leader procrastination and follower outcomes. The quality of the leader-follower relationship, as a boundary condition, was shown to mitigate the detrimental effects of leader procrastination. Together, the findings suggest that leader procrastination is a distinct form of negative leadership behaviour that represents an important source of follower job frustration. Practitioner points: Leader procrastination is different from laissez-faire and directive leadership and can be detrimental to followers. Job frustration mediates the relationship between leader procrastination and follower discretionary behaviour. Organizations should facilitate high-quality LMX relationships as a method for mitigating the negative effects of leader procrastination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-439
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number2
Early online date26 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

© 2018 The Authors. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of the British Psychological Society

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


  • Discretionary behaviour
  • Job frustration
  • Laissez-faire leadership
  • Leader procrastination
  • Leader-member exchange
  • Leadership effectiveness


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