A network perspective of multiple social exchange relationships
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Members of organizations form relationships with many different people in their organization. Exchange theory provides a basis for analyzing how these organizational relationships function in two different ways. Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory describes how an employee's relationship with his/her leader influences his/her attitudes and behaviors, while coworker exchange theory (CWX) focuses on the attitudes and behaviors that result from relationships between coworkers. Few researchers have investigated how leader-member exchange theory and co-worker exchange theory work together to affect employee level attitudes and behaviors. In this dissertation, I use a social network framework to synthesize and articulate the confluence of leader-member exchange and coworker exchange theories. Based on a review of the literature on leader-member exchange and coworker exchange, I argue that these co-occurring social exchange processes combine to affect attitudes and behaviors. Using outcome measures of performance and affective commitment, I develop hypotheses testing how employees' social networks of coworkers affect these employees' behaviors and attitudes in the leader-member relationship. This study uses employees in a large USA-based retail organization. I gather data from multiple sources including the employees and their leaders. Using the computer program UCINET, I calculate social network matrix manipulations. I also use SPSS to calculate regressions to test my hypotheses. This dissertation contributes to our understanding of 1) joint effects of various social exchange relationships in the context of specific leader member relationships and 2) the different aspects of a social network framework that differentially influence organizational outcomes.