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Leader impression management and employee voice behavior: Trust and suspicion as mediators

Xingchi Zhou (Huazhong University of Science and Technology), Jian-qiao Liao (Huazhong University of Science and Technology), Yuhao Liu (Huazhong University of Science and Technology), Shudi Liao (Huazhong University of Science and Technology)
Cite this article:  Zhou, X., Liao, J., Liu, Y., & Liao, S. (2017). Leader impression management and employee voice behavior: Trust and suspicion as mediators. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 45, 1843-1854.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2224/sbp.6686
Publication date: December 2017

Abstract


We explored the relationship between employee perceptions of leader impression management behavior (self-serving and prosocial) and employee voice behavior from the perspectives of social exchange and social cognition theories. We built a conceptual model in which the importance of the mediating effects of trust and suspicion were emphasized, in order to explain the mechanism of how leader impression management affects employee voice behavior. To test the model, we analyzed empirical data from 71 supervisors and 241 subordinates (71 supervisor–subordinate dyads) employed by companies in central and southern China. The results showed that trust and suspicion both played significant mediating roles in the relationship between leader impression management and employee voice behavior. These findings suggest counterintuitively that trust and suspicion are separate constructs. Managers should consider not only building employee trust but also minimizing employee suspicion as 2 distinct areas of management practice.


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