Relationships between leader reward and punishment behavior and subordinate attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors: A meta-analytic review of existing and new research

Philip M. Podsakoff, William H. Bommer, Nathan P. Podsakoff, Scott B. MacKenzie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

235 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite decades of research on the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and employee attitudes, perceptions, and performance, no comprehensive examination of these relationships has been reported in the literature. This paper reports the results of two studies that address this issue. In the first study, data from 20 new samples were gathered on the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and some criterion variables that have not been examined extensively in previous research. In the second study, a meta-analytic review was conducted incorporating both the new and existing research in order to provide estimates of the bivariate relationships between these leader behaviors and a variety of employee criterion variables across 78 studies containing 118 independent samples. Results of regression analyses designed to control for the effects of the other leader behaviors showed that: (a) the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and employee attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors were more functional when the rewards or punishments were administered contingently than when they were administered non-contingently, and (b) these leader reward and punishment behaviors were strongly related to two variables (employees' perceptions of justice and role ambiguity) that were expected to be key mediators of the relationships between these leader behaviors and the employee criterion variables. In addition, meta-analytic evidence from longitudinal studies suggested that the same leader behavior can be a cause of some employee criterion variables, and a consequence of others. Implications of these findings for future research in the area are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-142
Number of pages30
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contingent reward and punishment behavior
  • Leader reward and punishment behavior
  • Leadership meta-analysis
  • Transactional leadership behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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