Are two cynics better than one? Toward understanding effects of leader–follower (in-)congruence in social cynicism

Olivia A.U. Byza (First Author), Sebastian C. Schuh (Participant Author), Matthias Spörrle (Participant Author), Günter W. Maier (Participant Author), Stefan L. Dörr (Participant Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal

17 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Prior research suggests that leaders' social cynicism can undermine important follower outcomes such as followers' motivation and performance. However, these studies have exclusively focused on leaders' social cynicism and neglected that followers' views on the social world might also influence the leadership process. On the basis of theories of social beliefs and person–supervisor fit, we offer an integrative perspective and predict that it is the congruence between leaders' and followers' social cynicism that shapes leadership dynamics. Data from 116 leader–follower dyads from a broad range of organizations and industries support our model: Polynomial regression and response surface analyses show significant congruence effects of leaders' and followers' social cynicism on followers' extra-role behaviors and followers' proactive work behaviors. These positive effects of congruence on follower outcomes are transmitted by leader–member exchange quality. Finally, congruence effects are stronger when leaders' and followers' social cynicism is low rather than high. Overall, our study suggests that it is the correspondence between leaders' and followers' social cynicism that influences followers' leader–member exchange, extra-role, and proactive behavior. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of these findings for designing functional leader–follower dyads in organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1246-1259
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume38
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Corresponding author email

olivia@byza.de

Keywords

  • person-environment fit
  • person-supervisor fit
  • polynomial regression
  • social cynicism

Indexed by

  • ABDC-A*
  • Scopus
  • SSCI

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