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Keywords:

  • perceived organizational support;
  • leader–member exchange;
  • reciprocity

Summary

We present three studies providing an increased understanding of the interdependence between perceived organizational support (POS) and leader–member exchange (LMX). Using employees from a social service agency and new hires from a variety of organizations, we report evidence for a relational chain leading from supervisors' perceptions of support by the organization (supervisor POS) to the formation of high-quality LMX relationships with their subordinates (first link), who interpret high-quality LMX as support from the organization (subordinate POS, second link) and, ultimately, repay the organization with increased dedication and effort (examined here in terms of reduced withdrawal behavior). The relationship between supervisor POS and LMX with subordinates was strongly moderated by supervisor fear of exploitation in exchange relationships (reciprocation wariness), holding only for supervisors with low reciprocation wariness. Consistent with the view that employees perceive the organization as partly responsible for treatment received from supervisors, LMX was found to be more strongly related to POS when employees highly identified their supervisors with the organization (supervisor's organizational embodiment), and this interaction extended to reduced withdrawal behavior. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.