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What does team–member exchange bring to the party? A meta-analytic review of team and leader social exchange

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Summary

Both leader–member exchange (LMX) and team–member exchange (TMX) measure the quality of reciprocal exchange among employees in the workplace. Although LMX focuses on supervisor–subordinate relationships while TMX examines the relationships among team members, both have theory-based and empirically proven relations with workplace outcomes such as job performance, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and turnover intentions. However, it is not yet known which has more of an impact on such workplace outcomes—specifically, it is not clear if an employee's time is best spent developing vertical relationships among supervisors and subordinates (LMX) or on the horizontal relationships among team members (TMX). Accordingly, this meta-analysis explores the incremental validity and relative importance of these two social exchange-based constructs. The theoretical logic underlying LMX and TMX is clarified, and the parameter estimates between LMX, TMX, and work outcomes are reported. Results demonstrate that TMX shows incremental validity above and beyond LMX for some outcomes (organizational commitment and job satisfaction), but not others (job performance and turnover intentions). Also, LMX shows greater relative importance across all four outcomes. In sum, the clarification of the theoretical and empirical landscape lays a foundation for recommendations for future research. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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