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The relationship between leader‐member exchange and outcomes as rated by leaders and followers

Birgit Schyns (University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)
Hans‐Joachim Wolfram (University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 19 September 2008




Leader‐member exchange (LMX) is positively related to outcome criteria in many studies. In most of these studies, these correlations were obtained using solely follower‐rated LMX. This paper aims to include both follower and leader ratings of LMX and to address the question of the extent to which these are related to a variety of outcomes.


The authors conducted a questionnaire study among a sample of employees and their supervisors in banks and insurances.


It was found that follower‐rated LMX is related to followers' attitudes and followers' well‐being whereas leader‐rated LMX is related to the performance of the group.

Research limitations/implications

A common source bias could be assumed from the results, as only data stemming from the same source (leader versus follower) are significantly related. On the other hand, it could also be assumed that LMX is related to followers' attitudes and well‐being in a different way than it is related to performance, perhaps because the two parties involved in LMX may consider different outcomes to be important for their mutual relationship.

Practical implications

For followers, LMX may “need” a kind of support that leads to positive attitudes and well‐being, whereas for the leader, performance is a part of LMX. This differentiated conception can also be found in literature dealing with other dyadic leadership approaches.


The study sheds light on the different relationships that follower‐ and leader‐rated LMX has on other concepts. It is one of the few studies that comprise both follower and leader ratings of LMX.



Schyns, B. and Wolfram, H. (2008), "The relationship between leader‐member exchange and outcomes as rated by leaders and followers", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 7, pp. 631-646.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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