Social exchange spillover in leader-member relations: A multilevel model

Ying Chen, Zhen Xiong Chen, Lifeng Zhong, Jooyeon Son, Xiujuan Zhang, Zhiqiang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on role theory and the cultural theory of collectivism, we developed and tested a multilevel model of social exchange spillover in leader-member relations in the Chinese context. In Mplus analyses of a sample of 213 subordinates from 47 groups, we found that, at the individual level, a dimension of leader-member guanxi (LMG), leader-member personal life inclusion (LMG-P), which is defined as the extent to which leaders and members include each other in their personal or family lives, can spill over to affect subordinates' contextual performance (i.e., interpersonal facilitation and job dedication); furthermore, this effect was moderated by subordinates' horizontal collectivism orientation, such that LMG-P spilled over to affect contextual performance only for those who were low in horizontal collectivism orientation. At the group level, the variance of LMG-P within a group, which is referred to as LMG-P differentiation, was related negatively to group performance when the supervisors had a low horizontal collectivism orientation. At the cross level, LMG-P differentiation moderated the relationship between LMG-P and job dedication, such that the relationship was positive only when LMG-P differentiation was low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-697
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Collectivism
  • Leader-member exchange (LMX)
  • Leader-member guanxi (LMG)
  • Multilevel
  • Performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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