This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Exploring process of LMX from the perspective of attachment style




Hou, Ning

Type of Degree





The adult attachment theory has been introduced to leadership research recently, and leader-member exchange (LMX) has been a popular construct to study the relationship between leader and follower. This dissertation reviewed how employees with different attachment styles form different qualities of LMX under different leaders. I hypothesized that different levels of leaders’ benevolence would activate the followers’ attachment strategies differently while followers’ leader-member exchange social comparison (LMXSC) and proactive behaviors would mediate the process of LMX formation. A theoretical model was proposed. The participants were 342 employees nested under 93 leaders (i.e. teams) from a variety types of organizations in east coast of China. Results supported the mediation role of LMXSC between attachment anxiety and LMX but not the mediation role of proactive behaviors or for attachment avoidance. The overall model showed fair model fitness. Theoretical and practical implications as well as future directions are discussed.