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Process and Structure in Leader-Member Exchange

Raymond T. Sparrowe and Robert C. Liden
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 22, No. 2 (Apr., 1997), pp. 522-552
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/259332
Page Count: 31
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Process and Structure in Leader-Member Exchange
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Abstract

Theory supporting the key premise of the leader-member exchange (LMX) approach to leadership, that leaders differentiate between subordinates, has not been fully developed. We address this deficiency by (a) returning LMX research to its historical roots in exchange processes by introducing a framework for understanding relationship quality that is based on reciprocity, and (b) extending the traditional domain of LMX research beyond the formal leader-subordinate relationship in order to offer a more complete explanation of the differentiation process. We employ insights derived from social network analysis to describe how social structure facilitates the exchange processes through which leaders assist in incorporating some members into the inner life of an organization but exclude others.

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