This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Connecting in a digital world: How information and communication technologies shape the leader-subordinate experience




Smith, Adam

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation




The present study investigated how the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) impacts leader-member exchange (LMX) quality and its resulting organizational outcomes. The primary hypothesis of interest was to determine if heavy use of ICT for communicating with one’s leader directly results in lower LMX quality. Additionally, it was hypothesized that technology acceptance, transformational leadership, and personality facets may serve as moderators of the ICT-LMX relationship. Data were collected across two time-points from a US sample of 227 participants from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Hypotheses for the direct and moderating effects between ICT use and LMX were not supported. However, LMX was a significant predictor of leadership satisfaction, communication satisfaction, and turnover intentions. Structural equation modeling also revealed that technology acceptance partially mediates the relationship between both ICT use and media quality on the prediction of LMX quality, resulting in a good fitting SEM model. Based on analyses, when controlling for the effects of technology acceptance, ICT use does in fact directly negatively impact LMX quality, such that the more ICTs are used to communicate between leader and subordinate, the less likely they will have a high-quality relationship. While technology may have a negative impact on relationship quality, this finding does not occur in isolation and the impact of other factors is necessary to further explain this effect. Additional findings and implications are also discussed.