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Leader–member exchange and employee health: an exploration of explanatory mechanisms

Brian Gregory (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA)
Talai Osmonbekov (Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 15 August 2019

Issue publication date: 12 September 2019




The impact of employee health on organizations, individual employees and society as a whole is vast. The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between leadership–member exchange (LMX) and employee mental and physical health. Additionally, two variables with strong empirical and theoretical ties to employee health (empowerment and stress) are explored as potential mediators.


Survey responses from 182 employees across two organizations were collected to measure study variables. Structural equation modeling techniques were used to analyze data and test hypotheses.


An association between LMX and employee health was found to be fully mediated by both empowerment and stress.


These findings contribute to the literature by providing evidence of the association between leadership and both the mental and physical health of employees. This phenomenon highlights the significant impact that leaders have on subordinates both at work and in their general lives outside of the workplace. Understanding the mediating pathways through which leadership comes to impact employee health creates new knowledge regarding the manner in which constructs as disparate as leadership and employee health come to form an association.



Gregory, B. and Osmonbekov, T. (2019), "Leader–member exchange and employee health: an exploration of explanatory mechanisms", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 40 No. 6, pp. 699-711.



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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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