Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Southern Communication Journal 59:3 (1994), pp. 215–226.

doi: 10.1080/10417949409372940


Copyright © 1994 Southern States Communication Association; published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


This research examined the effects of centralization of authority on employees’ perceptions of the likelihood of attempting upward influence and their perceptions of supervisory trust and leader-member exchange. Three hundred and sixty-two employees from five different organizations responded to a questionnaire that assessed perceptions of centralization, attitudes toward upward influence, leader-member exchange, and supervisory trust. Consistent with earlier formulations, centralization was operationalized as perceptions of participation in decision making and job autonomy (Hage, 1980; Hage & Aiken, 1967). Results revealed that both job autonomy and participation in decision making significantly affect subordinates’ attitudes toward attempting upward influence and the levels of trust and leader-member exchange they report concerning their supervisory relationship. The results are used to support the argument that centralization of authority acts as a structuring process in organizations to the extent that it constrains and most likely sustains variation in supervisory relational quality and attitudes toward attempting upward influence.