In pursuit of power: The role of authoritarian leadership in the relationship between supervisors' Machiavellianism and subordinates' perceptions of abusive supervisory behavior

Kohyar Kiazad, Simon Lloyd D. Restubog, Thomas J. Zagenczyk, Christian Kiewitz, Robert L. Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this paper, we considered both supervisor (personality and leadership behavior) and victim characteristics (organization-based self-esteem) in predicting perceptions of abusive supervision. We tested our model in two studies consisting of supervisor-subordinate dyads from Australia and the Philippines. Specifically, we found that: (1) supervisor Machiavellianism was positively associated with subordinate perceptions of abusive supervision; (2) subordinate perceptions of authoritarian leadership behavior fully mediated the relationship between supervisor Machiavellianism and abusive supervision, and (3) organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) moderated the relationship between authoritarian leadership and abusive supervision, such that low-OBSE employees were more likely to perceive higher levels of authoritarian leadership as abusive. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)512-519
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010



  • Abusive behavior
  • Aggression
  • Authoritarianism
  • Hostile treatment
  • Interpersonal behavior
  • Machiavellianism personality
  • Organization-based self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Psychology(all)

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