Reward and Punishement

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Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 99 (2006) 113–142 www.elsevier.com/locate/obhdp

Relationships between leader reward and punishment behavior and subordinate attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors: A meta-analytic review of existing and new research Philip M. PodsakoV a,¤, William H. Bommer b, Nathan P. PodsakoV c, Scott B. MacKenzie a b

Indiana University, USA Cleveland State University, USA c University of Florida, USA

a

Received 7 June 2004 Available online 9 November 2005

Abstract Despite decades of research on the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and employee attitudes, perceptions, and performance, no comprehensive examination of these relationships has been reported in the literature. This paper reports the results of two studies that address this issue. In the Wrst study, data from 20 new samples were gathered on the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and some criterion variables that have not been examined extensively in previous research. In the second study, a meta-analytic review was conducted incorporating both the new and existing research in order to provide estimates of the bivariate relationships between these leader behaviors and a variety of employee criterion variables across 78 studies containing 118 independent samples. Results of regression analyses designed to control for the eVects of the other leader behaviors showed that: (a) the relationships between leader reward and punishment behaviors and employee attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors were more functional when the rewards or punishments were administered contingently than when they were administered non-contingently, and (b) these leader reward and punishment behaviors were strongly related to two variables (employees’ perceptions of justice and role ambiguity) that were expected to be key mediators of the relationships between these leader behaviors and the employee criterion variables. In addition, meta-analytic evidence from longitudinal studies suggested that the same leader behavior can be a cause of some employee criterion variables, and a consequence of others. Implications of these Wndings for future research in the area are discussed.  2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Keywords: Leader reward and punishment behavior; Contingent reward and punishment behavior; Transactional leadership behavior; Leadership meta-analysis

Ever since leader reward and punishment behaviors were introduced into the Weld in the 1970s (cf. Scott, 1977; Sims, 1977; Sims & Szilagyi, 1975) they have been seen as central to the role of leaders, because they are important determinants of employee attitudes, percepCorresponding author. Fax: +1 812 855 8679. E-mail addresses: podsakof@indiana.edu (P.M. PodsakoV), w.bommer@csuohio.edu (W.H. Bommer), podsakof@uX.edu (N.P. PodsakoV), mackenz@indiana.edu (S.B. MacKenzie). 0749-5978/$ - see front matter  2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.09.002 *

tions and behavior. For example, in what he termed a reinforcement analysis of leadership, Sims (1977) proposed that leadership itself may be viewed as the management of reinforcement contingencies in work settings, and that the administration of reinforcing events contingent upon desirable or appropriate forms of employee behavior is critical to the development and maintenance of employee performance. From this perspective, positive reinforcers made contingent upon appropriate task behaviors should increase subordinate performance,

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P.M. PodsakoV et al. / Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 99 (2006) 113–142

while negative reinforcers (or aversive stimuli) should increase escape and/or avoidance responses on the part of employees. If these escape responses include functional task behaviors, then negative feedback may also lead to increases in employee performance. Similar predictions regarding the eVects of leader...
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