A critique of the Leader-Member Exchange construct: Back to square one (2020)
Nearly all of the scholarship in the area of leader-follower relationships hinges on one construct: Leader-Member Exchange (LMX). Given the central role of this construct in leadership and organizational studies, it is critical that LMX be clearly understood and both measured and analyzed in a valid manner. This critique identifies systemic conceptual (e.g., unclear definition and unclear nomological net), measurement (e.g., measures that do not capture LMX's theoretical foundations and misalignment between conceptualization and measurement) and treatment (e.g., endogeneity) issues associated with the construct. Collectively, these issues lead us to conclude that the LMX construct is incapable of serving the needs of the theories it has traditionally served, and as currently constituted, is unlikely to advance leadership theory and practice in significant or meaningful ways. We conclude with recommendations for how scholars can move forward with the opportunity and challenge of replacing the LMX construct.
CitationGottfredson RK, Wright SL, Heaphy ED (2020). A critique of the Leader-Member Exchange construct: Back to square one. Leadership Quarterly. 101385-101385.
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KeywordsLeader-Member Exchange; LMX; Critique; Leader-Follower Relationships; Endogeneity; Causality
ANZSRC Fields of Research35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3507 - Strategy, management and organisational behaviour::350707 - Leadership
35 - Commerce, management, tourism and services::3507 - Strategy, management and organisational behaviour::350709 - Organisation and management theory
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