A temporal study on subordinate’s response to destructive leadership: voice withdrawal as a conflict coping mechanism

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The literature on destructive leadership has largely ignored the perspective of the subordinate, especially in terms of conflict coping mechanisms. This study aims to integrate research on destructive leadership and subordinates’ voice behaviour as a conflict coping mechanism. Drawing on the social exchange, conservation of resources and social identity theories, it argues that destructive leadership negatively affects employees’ voice behaviour and that this relationship is moderated by subordinate personality and organization climate.

The proposed model was tested on a sample of 275 professionals working in the banking and insurance sector in India using a temporal research design with data collected in two phases six months apart. Partial least squares structural equation modelling was used for data analysis.

The results support the main effect relationship between destructive leadership and subordinates’ voice behaviour and the moderation of subordinates’ personality and organizational climate. Temporal analysis indicates that the nature of some relationships changed across the two time periods.

Practical implications:
A greater understanding of destructive leader behaviour and resultant coping strategies of subordinates is likely to provide insights for managers facing such situations. The findings of this study will inform the creation of redressal and voice mechanisms in organizations.

This is among the first studies to examine the impact of negative forms of leadership on subordinates’ conflict coping mechanisms using a temporal lag design across two time periods.



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