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Leader behavior and LMX: a constructive replication

Mark O'Donnell (Department of Business Administration, York College of Pennsylvania, York, Pennsylvania, USA)
Gary Yukl (Department of Management, UAlbany (State University of New York), Albany, New York, USA)
Thomas Taber (Department of Management, UAlbany (State University of New York), Albany, New York, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 10 February 2012




The purpose of this paper is to determine if the relationships found between a leader's behavior and the quality of the exchange relationship with a subordinate can be replicated using a different measure of leader‐member exchange (LMX) and a different sample.


The paper reports the result of a survey study with a sample of 239 employees who rated specific behaviors of their manager and the quality of the LMX relationship.


In a regression analysis that included several other important leader behaviors, supporting, delegating, and leading by example were statistically significant predictors of LMX.

Research limitations/implications

The findings suggest that the positive relationship found in several earlier studies between LMX and a broad measure of transformational leadership was not interpreted correctly.

Practical implications

The results from this study identify specific leader behaviors that are likely to be useful for developing a stronger exchange relationship with individual subordinates.

Social implications

The leader behaviors identified in the present study also have clear implications for the effectiveness of top executives and political leaders.


More types of leadership behavior were measured than in earlier LMX studies, the limitations of broadly‐defined behaviors were avoided, and a different measure of LMX was used than in most prior studies on the relationship of leader behaviors to LMX.



O'Donnell, M., Yukl, G. and Taber, T. (2012), "Leader behavior and LMX: a constructive replication", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 143-154.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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