Abusive Supervision and Organizational Deviance: A Mediated Moderation Model
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In the current dissertation I investigated how abusive supervision promoted subordinate organizational deviance, by integrating and extending past work on mixed relationships (relationships characterized by both conflict and support) and self-determination theory. Past work on mixed relationships has suggested that positive and negative characteristics can co-exist within the same supervisor-subordinate relationship. Based on this, I argued that abusive supervisory behaviors would occur within high quality supervisor-subordinate relationships (i.e., high leader-member exchange, or LMX). Moreover, as mistreatment within a high quality relationship is likely to violate expectations and thus be experienced more intensely, I hypothesized that the effects of abusive supervision were more pronounced within a high quality supervisor-subordinate context. Beyond testing this interaction, I also examined the underlying psychological mechanisms through which abusive supervision and its interaction with LMX affected subordinate organizational deviance. Applying self-determination theory, I hypothesized that subordinate basic need satisfaction mediated the effects of abusive supervision and its interaction with LMX on subordinate organizational deviance. These hypotheses were tested in three multi-wave studies. In Study 1, data from 268 full-time employees were collected across two waves. Confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that abusive supervision and LMX were two independent constructs. In addition, hierarchical regression analysis demonstrated that LMX moderated the relation between abusive supervision and subordinate organizational deviance, such that the relationship was exacerbated when LMX was high rather than low. To replicate these findings and investigate the mediating role of needs, I conducted a follow up study. Data from 256 full-time employees were collected across three waves. Using Edwards and Lambert’s approach to test mediated moderation models, I demonstrated that: 1) LMX moderated the relation between abusive supervision and subordinate basic need satisfaction, such that high LMX exacerbated the negative relation; and 2) basic need satisfaction mediated the moderating effect of LMX on the abusive supervision and organizational deviance relation, such that the mediating effects of basic need satisfaction was stronger when LMX was high rather than low. One limitation of Study 2 was that commonly investigated mediators of the relation between abusive supervision and organizational deviance were not controlled. To address this issue, I conducted a constructive replication of Study 2, including two alternative mediating mechanisms: justice perceptions and organizational social exchange. In Study 3, data from 260 full-time employees were collected across three waves. The results replicated Study 2 and demonstrated that when alternative mediators were included, basic need satisfaction remained the only significant mediating mechanism. The results from these three studies were discussed in terms of their theoretical implications to the abusive supervision and mixed supervisor-subordinate relationship literature. As well, the practical implications of the mediated moderation model tested in the current dissertation were discussed.