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Leader empathy, ethical leadership, and relations‐oriented behaviors as antecedents of leader‐member exchange quality

Rubina Mahsud (Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, USA)
Gary Yukl (UAlbany, Albany, New York, USA)
Greg Prussia (Seattle University, Seattle, Washington, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 17 August 2010

Abstract

Purpose

Leader empathy, ethical values, and relations‐oriented behavior all appear to be relevant for effective leadership, but nobody has examined how all three variables are jointly related to leader‐member exchange quality (LMX). The purpose of this study is to examine these relationships and test a proposed model describing them.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected with a questionnaire from subordinates of leaders in several organizations, and SEM path analysis was used to test alternative models.

Findings

The results indicated that a leader's relations‐oriented behavior fully mediated the relationship between leader empathy on LMX and partially mediated the relationship between ethical leadership and LMX. Recommendations for future research to verify and extend the results were provided.

Originality/value

This is the first empirical study to simultaneously examine the complex relationships among these four different aspects of leadership (i.e. a skill, values, behaviors, and exchange relationship). The authors' measure of ethical leadership minimizes confounding with other constructs, which is a problem in earlier studies. The practical implication is that leader empathy and ethical leadership should be included in leadership selection and development programs.

Keywords

Citation

Mahsud, R., Yukl, G. and Prussia, G. (2010), "Leader empathy, ethical leadership, and relations‐oriented behaviors as antecedents of leader‐member exchange quality", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 25 No. 6, pp. 561-577. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683941011056932

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited