Department of Management


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Management 18:1 (1992), pp. 59–76; doi: 10.1177/014920639201800105 Copyright © 1992 by the Southern Management Association; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission.


Results from a field study with 152 members of a large urban hospital indicate that the relationship between the quality of leader-member exchange (LMX) and subordinate performance is moderated by perceptions of task analyzability and variety: LMX and performance are found to be significantly related when task challenge is either very high or very low. Under these task conditions, data indicate that there is a positive link between LMX and performance such that a higher quality leader-member exchange correlates with higher levels of performance. On the other hand, analyses also reveal that when tasks are perceived to be moderately challenging, no significant relationship between LMX and performance is present. In other words, these data suggest that characteristics of the task act as moderating agents of the LMX performance relationship. Results are discussed in terms of theory development, managerial implications, and future LMX research.