The Effects of LMX Differentiation on Team Performance: Investigating the Mediating Properties of Cohesion

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Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

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Although conceptualized initially as a dyadic-level theory, scholars have since broadened the theoretical underpinnings of leader–member exchange (LMX) to account for its effects on group-level phenomena. LMX differentiation, for example, captures the extent to which variance in LMX quality within teams affects numerous outcomes (e.g., performance). However, the specific mechanisms by which LMX differentiation affects team-level outcomes remains virtually unknown. In an attempt to address this limitation, this study investigates the extent to which task and social cohesion mediate the effects of LMX differentiation on team performance. Results indicate that the negative effect of LMX differentiation on team performance is mediated by task cohesion but not by social cohesion. In addition, LMX differentiation was found to have a negative effect of social cohesion, which was also mediated by task cohesion. A discussion is offered in which the implications of these results are entertained.


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