SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Lee, Allan, Gerbasi, Alexandra, Schwarz, Gary and Newman, Alexander (2019) 'Leader-Member Exchange Social Comparisons and Follower Outcomes: The Roles of Felt Obligation and Psychological Entitlement.' Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 92 (3). pp. 593-617.

Text - Accepted Version
Download (671kB) | Preview


In the current study, we aim to extend the understanding of how and when leader-member exchange social comparison (LMXSC) influences followers’ work behaviour. Based on social exchange theory, we argue that felt obligation to one’s leader is a mediator of the relationship between LMXSC and follower outcomes. Further, we posit that the relationship between LMXSC and felt obligation will occur over and above overall LMX quality. We also investigate whether the effect of LMXSC is not consistent across employees but influenced by their level of psychological entitlement (PE). We found evidence that LMXSC was associated with followers’ organizational commitment in Study 1 (using data collected in two phases from 188 employees) and both organizational commitment and job performance in Study 2 (based on data collected in two phases from 300 employees and their 34 supervisors) via felt obligation toward the leader. In both studies, we found this relationship was significant while controlling for LMX quality, suggesting that perceptions of relative LMX standing are more influential than overall LMX quality. Moreover, high levels of PE reduced employees’ feelings of obligation to reciprocate positive treatment and the extent to which they exhibit higher levels of organizational commitment and job performance. Our findings show that individual differences play a significant role in determining the outcomes of exchange relationships.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Leader-Member Exchange (LMX); Social Comparison (LMXSC); Psychological Entitlement; Felt Obligation.
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Finance & Management
ISSN: 20448325
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The British Psychological Society. This is the version of the article accepted for publication in Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology published by Wiley
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2018 09:40
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... ournal/20448325 (Publisher URL)

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item