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The roles of supervisor support, employee engagement and internal communication in performance: a social exchange perspective

Hassan Imam (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan) (University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan)
Anu Sahi (Apeejay Institute of Management & Engineering Technical Campus, Jalandhar, India)
Mobina Farasat (Faculty of Management and Administrative Sciences, Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 28 November 2022

Issue publication date: 17 April 2023




Organizations generally seek to achieve higher productivity and performance from employees but leave out the vital roles of engagement and communication. Employees' role at the micro, meso and macro levels cannot be ignored in organizational growth. However, the question remains: how to engage employees to reap performance benefits? This study examines how leaders' support and communication increase subordinates' engagement and performance by applying social exchange theory (SET).


Dyadic data of 249 full-time (middle-level) employees and their leaders were collected from the Indian automobile sector through a survey. After achieving the goodness-of-fit indices, the hypothesized framework was analyzed.


The authors found that employees who perceived support from their leaders were engaged, which consequently adds to their performance. Similarly, the results of moderation analysis highlighted that internal communication is a crucial factor in engagement.

Practical implications

By measuring employee engagement across three dimensions (cognitive, emotional, and physical), this study adds to the business communication literature and calls attention to human resource professionals to update the organization's policies to enable managers to engage their subordinates for better performance. Organizational development specialists can improve internal communication, which further enhances the relationship between leaders' support and engagement.


This study advanced the literature by discussing the marginally discussed role of internal communication in the nexus of engagement–performance. Additionally, this study contributes to our understanding of the engagement–performance nexus as an outcome of leadership.



Imam, H., Sahi, A. and Farasat, M. (2023), "The roles of supervisor support, employee engagement and internal communication in performance: a social exchange perspective", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 489-505.



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