Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Management 29:4 (2003), pp. 511–532; doi 10.1016/S0149-2063_03_00023-0 Copyright © 2003 Elsevier Inc. Published by Sage Publications on behalf of the Southern Management Association. Used by permission. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2000 Academy of Management Meetings, Toronto.


The present study examines both positive and negative norms of reciprocity in managerial work relationships by assessing three components of reciprocal behavior: immediacy, equivalence, and interest motive. The findings show that subordinate reports of immediacy, equivalence, and self-interest were negatively associated, and mutual-interest was positively associated, with relationship quality as reported by both subordinates and managers (other-interest was not significant). These components of reciprocity were also subjected to cluster analysis to identify groupings of reciprocity styles. The results indicate styles reflecting high quality (n = 65), low quality (n = 120), and negative social exchanges (n = 23). Analyses addressing reciprocity configurations and work outcomes showed that the higher quality exchange relationships had higher levels of perceived organizational support and altruism (but not commitment) than the lower and negative exchange groups, while only the negative reciprocity group showed lower levels of performance and conscientiousness as rated by the manager.