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How Far Can Support Go? Supported Supervisors’ Performance and Subordinate Dedication

Abstract

Purpose

The present study builds on prior research involving organizational support theory and the trickle-down effects of supervisors’ perceived organizational support (POS). We examine benefits of supervisor POS for the supervisors themselves (enhanced affective commitment and in-role performance), and a behavioral mechanism through which supervisors’ POS may lead to subordinate dedication, a multifaceted conceptualization of performance.

Design/Methodology/Approach

Using three sources of data (from 139 human resource professionals, their 47 supervisors, and the 22 bosses of their supervisors) we assessed the hypothesized relationships using multilevel path modeling.

Findings

Supervisors’ POS related positively to supervisors’ affective commitment to their organization, resulting in better supervisor in-role performance two months later. Also, having better performing supervisors resulted in more dedication by employees in the form of extra-role performance, as rated by their supervisor 2 months later, and extra hours worked.

Implications

It appears providing organizational support to supervisors may result in beneficial outcomes for the supervisors and the organization in terms of supervisors’ enhanced emotional attachment to the company, and better performance in their job, with consequences for subordinate dedication in terms of extra hours worked and extra-role performance.

Originality/Value

These findings contribute to organizational support theory by showing initial evidence that supervisor in-role performance can serve as an explanatory mechanism through which supervisors’ POS trickles down to aid subordinates.

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Notes

  1. Forty-seven of the Phase 1 participants were identified as supervisors. Thus, in Phase 1, these 47 participants answered the self-report attitude measures (e.g., POS and affective commitment) and identified their direct supervisor. They also participated in Phase 2 by rating the performance of their subordinates. Their performance was also rated in Phase 2 by their bosses.

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Correspondence to Haley M. Woznyj.

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Woznyj, H.M., Dunn, A.M., Shanock, L.R. et al. How Far Can Support Go? Supported Supervisors’ Performance and Subordinate Dedication. J Bus Psychol 32, 627–639 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9472-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10869-016-9472-7

Keywords

  • Perceived organizational support
  • Affective commitment
  • Trickle-down effects
  • Supervisor performance
  • Subordinate dedication