Person-organization fit relationship with job satisfaction and turnover: the mediating influence of leader-member exchange.

Author:Jutras, Renaud


Leader-member exchange (LMX) research suggests that, through a dyadic relationship, leaders develop a differentiated and unique relationship with each of their followers (Harris, Li, & Kirkman, 2014). These relationships, of variable quality, influence follower's attitudes and behaviors in the workplace (Vidyarthi, Liden, Anand, Erdogan, & Ghosh, 2010). Furthermore, a perceived good fit with the direct supervisor helps shape followers' organizational outcomes (E.g. job satisfaction, turnover intention) (Tak, 2011). However, a sense of congruity with organization is also believed to have an impact on followers' organizational outcomes; Person-organization fit (P-O fit) being extensively studied by academics (Hoffman & Woehr, 2006). Both LMX and P-O fit relationships with job outcomes are widely studied independently. Yet, supervisors tend to be, on a daily basis, representatives of head management and organization (Eisenberger, Stinglhamber, & Vandenberghe, 2002). As such, we propose that both perceived LMX and P-O fit are interwoven in the eyes of employees. We believe that it is crucial to study both frameworks simultaneously in order to understand their full effect on employees' overall satisfaction and turnover.

The goals of this theoretical study are twofold. Firstly, this article is originally designed as a review of both Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) and Person-Organization fit (P-O fit) literature in relationship with job satisfaction, turnover intention and actual turnover. Therefore, we synthetized knowledge in both theoretical frameworks independently. Secondly, we hope to shed light on the relationship between both LMX and P-O fit relationships with job satisfaction, turnover intention and actual turnover by a comparative study of their respective theoretical frameworks. Both LMX and P-O fit relationships with job satisfaction, turnover intention and actual turnover relationship have been the subject of sustained focus by academics but, to our knowledge, very few comparative studies have tried to incorporate both theoretical frameworks.

However, we suggest that considering both theories may give an interesting insight on how employee's perception of one's leader and organization (i.e. LMX and P-O fit) may influence overall job satisfaction and turnover. Therefore, we suggest that this study may provide possible future avenues for academics aspiring to take a holistic approach into understanding organizational factors influencing the said outcomes. LMX and P-O fit represents real life aspects of jobs for employees, and thus, influence attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. The last goal of this study is to propose a possible interactive relationship between LMX and P-O fit in regards to expected outcomes. Our main argument, in partial accordance with Jung & Takeuchi's (2014) findings, is that both LMX and P-O fit are interrelated when it comes to employees' attitudes and behaviors. We therefore suggest that not only both LMX and perceived P-O fit affect job satisfaction, turnover intention and actual turnover but also that LMX may act as a mediator influencing P-O Fit-Job satisfaction, turnover relationship. The originality of the present theoretical article lies in the fact that we combine two theories that have, so far, been studied independently.

H.1 LMX and P-O fit have an interactive influence on overall Job Satisfaction and Turnover


LMX-Job Outcomes Framework: Key Components Overview

Leader-member exchange theory's (LMX) impact on job outcomes, presented as an individual dyadic relationship, has been a burgeoning subject of interest in the past years and a now well studied alternative path on traditional leadership research. LMX, as a theory, suggests that outcomes of the dyadic relationship between a leader and a follower are predicted at an individual, group and organizational level, depending on the quality of the relationship (Gerstner & Day, 1997). Moreover, followers and leaders alike, in LMX theory, tend to adjust their behaviors, in order to meet each other's expectations (Chen, Wang, Chang, & Hu, 2008). Accordingly, many job outcomes such as turnover intention, actual turnover and job satisfaction, are extensively studied as outcomes of LMX and are now arguably generally accepted as being correlated with the latter (Gerstner & Day, 1997; Harris, Wheeler, & Kacmar, 2009; Mardanov, Maertz, Jr, & Sterrett, 2008). In fact, studies show that LMX is a "key variable in explaining employee attitudes and behaviors" (Erdogan & Enders, 2007, p.327). LMX, as a multidimensional concept, is comprised of underlying dimensions, notably contribution and affect, both having a distinct influence on specific LMX-subordinate-related work outcomes, such as organizational commitment and job satisfaction (Bhal, Gulati, & Ansari, 2009).

LMX theoretical framework also proposes that a high quality relationship between a follower and a leader may prevent employees from leaving their organization (Morrow, Suzuki, Crum, Ruben, & Pautsch, 2005). Additionally, supervisors, in order to achieve high quality LMX must increase employees' commitment and help enhance both self-efficacy and team mean efficacy (Walumbwa, Cropanzano, & Goldman, 2011). Furthermore, communicating consideration, respect and support is also believed to foster higher-quality relationships (Jacques, Garger, Thomas, & Vracheva, 2012). Nonetheless, high-quality LMX often implies that influence and support from the leader go beyond basic requirements (Zacher, Rosing, Henning, & Frese, 2011), leading to a high-quality relationship with expected mutual exchange (Yukl, O'Donnell, & Taber, 2009).

To understand the implications of the relationship between LMX and job outcomes, such as turnover intention and actual turnover, it is therefore important to address both the leader and the member's perceptions of the relationship, which may differ, in order to understand the "true dyadic nature" of the relationship (Sherman, Kennedy, Woodard, & McComb, 2012). In other words, LMX gives a framework for the study of follower's contributions to the relationship. This focus on the interrelation between the follower and the leader, often an employee and his or her manager, helps to understand the outcomes of this relationship.

LMX Quality, Job Satisfaction and Turnover

Not surprisingly, when reviewing existing literature on LMX-job outcomes relationship, the first arguably striking observation is the impressive number of studies that have been carried to understand how LMX relationship quality influences job satisfaction, turnover intention and actual turnover. In fact, it is generally accepted that LMX is linked to job satisfaction (Stringer, 2006). Yet, LMX-job satisfaction relationship is believed to be reciprocal with job satisfaction also potentially affecting the quality of LMX (Volmer, Niessen, Spurk, Linz, & Abele, 2011). Moreover, LMX and turnover are believed to be fully mediated by job satisfaction (Han & Jekel, 2011).

Implicit leadership profile could be regarded as employees' expectations toward their leader (Stock & Ozbek-Potthoff, 2014). Employees' perception of differences between this implicit leadership profile, and the actual profile of their leader, is argued to translate into lower quality LMX, thus in turn indirectly affecting employees' attitudes and well-being (Epitropaki & Martin, 2005). On the other hand, being satisfied with one's supervisor is also believed to be associated with lower levels of turnover intention (Vecchio & Norris, 1996). Moreover, the quality of the relationship between an employee and his or her direct supervisor is believed to positively influence work engagement and innovative work behaviour and to be negatively related to turnover intention (Agarwal, Datta, Blake-Beard, & Bhargava, 2012). Accordingly, LMX, as a construct, is proposed to play a critical role in both employee's organizational commitment and their commitment to their career.

Kim, Lee, and Carlson (2010) propose that LMX may be negatively related with turnover intention, regardless of status and position within the organization. However, the relationship between LMX quality and turnover intention seems to be reinforced in the case of individuals with high political skills (Harris, Harris, & Brouer, 2009). Furthermore, Harris, Wheeler, & Kacmar (2009) propose those employees' empowerment acts as a moderator between LMX and outcomes such as job satisfaction, turnover and job performance. Furthermore, the authors suggest that empowerment level may be negatively correlated with the importance of LMX to the outcomes.

LMX Differentiation, Job Satisfaction and Turnover

LMX differentiation is a critical notion in LMX Theory. It refers to the fact that a leader will develop differentiated and unique relationships with each of his or her followers (Le Blanc & Gonzalez-Roma, 2012). These varying exchanges (i.e. LMX differentiation) may foster higher or lower levels of LMX among employees, leading to varied consequences (Steiner, 1997). The social environment and perceived comparison between individuals within a group may provide a point of reference for a group member and affect one's perceived LMX relationship with his or her leader (Henderson, Wayne, Shore, Bommer, & Tetrick, 2008).

As proposed by Henderson, Liden, Glibkowski, & Chaudhry (2009), "the influence of organizational-level cultural prescriptions on LMX differentiation patterns is mediated by work group-level cultural norms and values" (p.524). Furthermore, lower mean levels of LMX, in case of high differentiation, may results in a higher rate of conflicts among teammates, by creating competition and problems derived from perceived inequity (Boies & Howell, 2006). As a matter of fact, employees' behaviors are believed to be influenced by their perceived relationship with their leader, in comparison with others...

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