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Leader-Member Exchange Relations Essay


Problem Identification

The given research article focuses on leader-member exchange relations (LMX) in terms of ethical leadership and empowering leadership. The core problem that authors aimed to address is associated with the multitude of scandals, economic downturns, and crisis, involving leaders of both private and public sectors. Hassan et al. refer to the fact that the mentioned factors caused the decrease of employees’ commitment to work (133).

With this in mind, they review a set of the recent studies regarding ethical and empowering leadership impact on subordinates’ motivation, satisfaction, and loyalty. It is suggested that such leadership relates to the opportunity of enhancing the organizational behavior issues that, in their turn, are likely to facilitate change in the contemporary attitude towards the problem. In other words, the essence of the problem lays in the lack of appropriate leadership able to foster personnel’s effectiveness.


Based on the previous research, the authors propose six hypotheses each of which is supported by the evidence. The first assumptions reflected by Hassan et al. can be identified as follows: ethical leadership has the positive connection with LMX (135). It is noted that trustworthiness, respect, and fairness are the qualities of a leader that encourage subordinates’ satisfaction. The second hypothesis supposes the same for empowering leadership.

Focusing on the affective commitment that implies the emotional attachment to work, the authors of the article emphasize that the organizational commitment is likely to be facilitated through the open atmosphere and shared values. The third and the fourth hypotheses are related to the potential of LMX to intercede relations between ethical leadership and employees’ commitment and between empowering leadership and subordinates’ loyalty, respectively. According to the fifth and the sixth hypotheses, LMX may act as a mediator between employees’ views on leader effectiveness in terms of ethical and empowering leadership as such.

Need for the Study

The need for the given study is caused by the inability of the traditional leadership strategies to handle difficulties set by the economic downturns worldwide. However, it is possible to learn more from failures than from successes by improving on what was already done and adjusting it to the modern requirements. The authors of the article pinpoint that leaders are to be more effective to serve as behavioral examples for their subordinates as the latter tend to copy organizational attitudes of the former. More to the point, one may note the need to enhance esprit de corps that refers to morale and commitment of employees.

The authors reckon that such aspects of leadership as ethics and empowerment present the great potential to address the mentioned challenge through articulating the mechanisms of their implementation and impact on employee efficiency.


In order to either confirm or reject the mentioned hypotheses, the authors utilize the mixed method research, employing questionnaires, descriptive statistics, and equation modeling. The sample consists of 259 respondents, the graduates of MBA program, who answered questions related to their perception of a leader, including his or her interpersonal skills, communication, extent of trustworthiness, decision-making abilities, etc.

In an attempt to minimize bias, data collection was performed in two stages, within the first of which participants completed questionnaires on ethical and empowering leadership and pinpointed their perception of LMX during the second one. The Ethical Leadership Questionnaire (ELQ), the Managerial Practices Survey (MPS), LMX-7 instrument, the Organizational Commitment Scale measures were used to access the collected data. After that, the authors employ the descriptive statistics in order to interpret the results and present them to the target audience.

Literature Review Summary

With the aim of enlightening the theme in a comprehensive manner, the authors of the given article review it from the different perspectives. It seems essential to point out that they distinguish between ethical leadership and empowering leadership, clearly stating that they are independent factors that affect leader success. To specify the problem, they refer to the studies by Brown and Trevino, 2006, Trevino and Brown, 2004, and De Cremer et al., 2011 that emphasize the role of the identified leadership in terms of the corporative behaviors along with the need for the immediate action.

Furthermore, the researches by Chen et al., 2011, De Hartog and De Hoogh, 2009, Huang et al., 2010, etc. are noted to specify the link between LMX and the mentioned leadership initiatives. Reviewing the ideas by Brown and Trevino, 2006, Graen and Scandura, 1987, and Liden et al., 1997, the authors claim that truth, openness, appeal to emotions and morale as well as respect are the focal elements of high-quality LMX.

The literature overview also backs up the hypotheses stated by the article authors. Thus, Kirkpatrick and Locke, 1991, Kouzes and Posner, 1992, and Posner and Schmidt, 1992 are cited to present the role of leader integrity and honesty in the interaction with employees. The assumptions regarding the affirmative commitment are based on the research by Brown et al. 2005 who believe that the emotional constituent of leadership is a rather important issue as subordinates tend to follow those leaders who understand them, manifesting the adequate extent of sensitivity. In addition, a range of other credible articles is also noted in the study under discussion that indicates the scholar nature of the latter.

Assumptions, Limitations, and Future Research

The study assumptions may be referred to the hypotheses that were signalized earlier in this paper. As for the limitations, the authors relate them to the survey methods, pinpointing that students composed the sample, yet some of them were full-time workers. The above fact may create some bias in the validity of the results. The second limitation concerns the fact that the mentioned bias could affect the results of the study. The utilization of cross-sectional data is the third limitation, implying limited casualty consideration.

With this aforementioned study and limitations to it in mind, the authors propose the model of leadership behavior and conclude that the future research should embrace various sources of information to ensure validity of findings. They also propose the independent investigation of ethical leadership and empowering leadership. Ultimately, such mediators as internationalization of values or quality of leader decisions may be explored.

Conclusion of the Study Finding

Based on the thorough research analysis and interpretation of results, the authors state that all the hypotheses proved to be correct. In particular, they claim that ethical and empowering leadership has positive relations with LMX and may be employed as a powerful tool to enhance employee motivation and effectiveness. The discussion section clearly identifies the implications of these results.

For example, the outcome of the study corresponds to the social exchange theory, thus reflecting its significance to the theoretical statements regarding leadership efficiency. As for the practical implications, Hassan et al. consider that the results will be beneficial in attracting new employees and building appropriate relationships within an organization (139). The results present a set of guidelines that will help leaders to initiate change through management development and ethical behavior programs. Furthermore, the employment of the results is likely to benefit society in the context of increasing social responsibility.

Article Critique

The given article uncovers a rather significant issue of leadership effectiveness and, thus it can be evaluated as the one that contributes to management theory and practice. In order to provide the readers with valuable information, the authors conduct the review of scholarly literature and also properly reference it. The evidence employed by the authors can also be proved by other studies on the specified themes, such as ethical and empowering leadership (Avey et al. 23; Johansson et al. 148).

Furthermore, a range of articles provides valuable assumptions regarding other aspects of the mentioned leadership, including comparison of the traditional approach to leadership and the potential of ethics and empowerment (Martin et al. 1373; Mayer et al. 153). The research by Yukl et al. provides essential insights on the measurement of ethical leadership (39). The above brief overview of the related literature allows concluding that the discussed study presents the genuine importance and concerns the pertinent problem.

Speaking of the article’s structure, one may note that it is properly organized, and the corresponding headings are utilized to lead a reader. More to the point, the authors visualize their findings, so that it would be understandable for the target audience. It should also be noted that each of the hypotheses is verified separately and independently. In this connection, one may state that the article organization helps to analyze and evaluate its ideas. The article presentation seems to be comprehensible for both an average reader and an expert in the field of the managerial organization due to the fact that all the terms are explained and interpreted as appropriate.

The methods of qualitative and quantitative research design are used accurately and appropriately, leaving no room for bias and errors. Considering that leadership is based on the interaction with people, the emotional constituent is considered to be of great importance, and it is better to study it through qualitative methods as the authors do it. After that, the collected data is analyzed with the help of the descriptive statistics that is also beneficial for achieving non-biased results. All the numerical indicators are supported with the apparent explanation.

However, there are also some drawbacks of the given article. For instance, it would be better if the article focused on more relevant sources instead of referencing those of the beginning of the 21st century. In spite of the fact that the authors used scholarly sources, some of them seem to be outdated. In addition, a range of limitations identified by the authors that was also listed earlier in this paper illustrates that they are aware of the existing deficiencies and are ready to address them in the future research.

Moreover, they express views on what should be involved in the perspective studies – the independent research of variables as well as the exploration of some other leadership mediators, including psychological empowerment and perception of leader behavior. Such a presentation of limitations and perspectives shows that the authors study the issue in an in-depth manner and plan to continue their work.

Summing it up, one may conclude that the article discussed in this paper is a rather important and relevant in the context of the modern environment. The economic crisis made it difficult to create and maintain employees’ commitment, thus causing the need for change. The hypotheses tested by the authors were proved and thoroughly interpreted, contributing to both theory and practice of management.

Works Cited

Avey, James B., et al. “Exploring the Process of Ethical Leadership: The Mediating Role of Employee Voice and Psychological Ownership.” Journal of Business Ethics, vol. 107, no. 1, 2012, pp. 21–34.

Hassan, Shahidul, et al. “Ethical and Empowering Leadership and Leader Effectiveness.” Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 28, no. 2, 2013, pp. 133–146.

Johansson, Catrin, et al. “Conceptualizing Communicative Leadership.” Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19, no. 2, 2014, pp. 147–165.

Martin, S. L., et al. “Directive versus Empowering Leadership: A Field Experiment Comparing Impacts on Task Proficiency and Proactivity.” Academy of Management Journal, vol. 56, no. 5, 2012, pp. 1372–1395.

Mayer, D. M., et al. “Who Displays Ethical Leadership, and Why Does It Matter? An Examination of Antecedents and Consequences of Ethical Leadership.” Academy of Management Journal, vol. 55, no. 1, 2012, pp. 151–171.

Yukl, G., et al. “An Improved Measure of Ethical Leadership.” Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, vol. 20, no. 1, 2013, pp. 38–48.

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"Leader-Member Exchange Relations." IvyPanda, 30 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/leader-member-exchange-relations/.

1. IvyPanda. "Leader-Member Exchange Relations." July 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/leader-member-exchange-relations/.


IvyPanda. "Leader-Member Exchange Relations." July 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/leader-member-exchange-relations/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Leader-Member Exchange Relations." July 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/leader-member-exchange-relations/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Leader-Member Exchange Relations'. 30 July.

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