Employee Perceptions of Leader-Member Exchange and Usage of Family Leave Policies

Open Access
Author:
Cordeiro, Bryanne Lisa
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
December 08, 2005
Committee Members:
  • Alicia Grandey, Committee Chair
  • James Lewis Farr, Committee Member
  • Jeanette Cleveland, Committee Member
  • Alexander Colvin, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • family-friendly policies
  • family leave
  • leader-member exchange
  • LMX
  • occupational status
  • gender
  • blue-collar
Abstract:
Many organizations offer family policies to help employees balance their work and family roles. Supervisor support has been found to be an important predictor of employee leave utilization. However, previous researchers have focused on supervisor support for family rather than supervisor support for work, and these studies tend to be atheoretical. Furthermore, no known research investigates reasons why employees decide to use or not use leave policies. Leader-member exchange theory offers a useful model for examining the impact of the employee-supervisor relationship on usage of family policies. Drawing on this theory, the present study proposed that LMX would be related to both past use of and future intentions to use family leave; however, this relationship could be either positive or negative and for different reasons. Three mediators were suggested to explain the proposed relationships: fear of career consequences, informal support, and indebtedness. The effects of gender and occupational status on the hypothesized relationships were also investigated. Data gathered from 368 employees at four manufacturing facilities indicated that LMX did affect employee intentions to use personal leave and this relationship was curvilinear. Employees with both higher and lower quality relationships with their supervisors were less likely to intend to use personal leave than those with medium quality relationships. Results also indicated that indebtedness mediated the relationship between LMX and intentions to use personal leave for those with high levels of LMX. Exploratory analyses found that gender moderated the relationship between LMX and intentions to use parental leave such that high and low LMX females were less likely to intend to use parental leave than those with medium levels of LMX and there was no relationship between LMX and leave intentions for men. In addition, occupational status moderated the relationship between LMX and intentions to use personal leave such that blue-collar workers with high and low LMX relationships were less likely to intend to use personal leave than those with medium LMX relationships, and white-collar workers with high LMX had lower intentions to use personal leave than those with low LMX. Implications of these findings and directions for future research are discussed.