Examining the moderating effects of work unit size and task analyzability in the relation between leader's communication style and leader-member exchange

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There is a consensus regarding the impact of the leaders communication on the relationship with their followers and on the achievement of organizational outcomes. This study seeks to contribute to clarifying the impact that contextual factors have on the leaders communication in order to know how leaders should adjust their communication style, depending on the job characteristics, to build high quality relationships with their followers. Therefore, the current research examines the moderating role of two context factors in the effectiveness of leaders communication in generating the leader-member relationship. Through a moderation analysis on a sample of 149 white-collar workers, this research study analyzes how work unit size and task analyzability interact regarding six dimensions of leader communication style in relation to LMX. Results suggest that the work unit size moderates the relationship between two dimensions of leaders communication style (preciseness and verbal aggressiveness) and LMX. Specifically, the positive effect of preciseness on LMX smooths as the work unit size increases. The negative effect of verbal aggressiveness on LMX becomes more intense as work unit size increases. Furthermore, task analyzability moderates the positive relationship between emotionality and LMX for low levels of task analyzability. As a result, this study contributes by deepening on why leaders communicative behaviors can have favorable/unfavorable results in specific contexts and on how a leader can modulate his/her communication style according to the context, in order to improve the LMX. Implications are discussed.
Leader-member exchange theory (LMX), Leaders communication style, Work unit size, Task analyzability, Organizational communication, Managerial communication
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Brown, O., & Paz-Aparicio, C. (2021). Examining the moderating effects of work unit size and task analyzability in the relation between leader’s communication style and leader-member exchange. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 619060.