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Why do you treat me in such ways? An attachment examination on supervisors’ early family environment and subordinates’ responses

Daiheng Li (School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)
Yihua Zhang (Graduate School of Education and Psychology, Pepperdine University, Los Angeles, California, USA)
Mingyu Zhang (School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)
Wen Wu (School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)
Wenbing Wu (School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)
Pan Liu (School of Economics and Management, Beijing Jiaotong University, Beijing, China)

Chinese Management Studies

ISSN: 1750-614X

Article publication date: 27 May 2021

Issue publication date: 17 June 2021

299

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to fill important gaps by using the attachment theory and examining the effects of supervisors’ early family environment on their behaviors toward subordinates and subordinates’ responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used samples of 334 supervisor–subordinate pairs from a manufacturing company.

Findings

The study finds that supervisors’ harmonious family environment has a positive influence on subordinates’ responses (job satisfaction, work-to-family enrichment and task performance) through the effect of supervisors’ positive working model and caregiving behavior. On the contrast, supervisors’ conflicting family environment has a negative influence on subordinates’ responses through the effect of supervisors’ negative working model and aggressive behavior.

Originality/value

Existing studies mainly explore the influence of organizational environment on supervisors’ treatment of their subordinates. However, few have examined the relationship between supervisors’ early family environment and their treatment of their subordinates.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Beijing Jiaotong University Science and Technology Fund Project.

2018JBWZB003.

Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education.

20YJC630162.

Authors are very grateful to the editorial team of Chinese Management Studies and the anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments during the review process. They also acknowledge the assistant of Shaoxue Wu and Liang Hou for revising the manuscript. The study is supported by the Beijing Jiaotong University Science and Technology Fund Project (No. 2018JBWZB003). This research is also funded by the Humanity and Social Science Youth Foundation of the Ministry of Education (No. 20YJC630162).

Citation

Li, D., Zhang, Y., Zhang, M., Wu, W., Wu, W. and Liu, P. (2021), "Why do you treat me in such ways? An attachment examination on supervisors’ early family environment and subordinates’ responses", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 575-597. https://doi.org/10.1108/CMS-09-2019-0333

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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