Dual Leadership in the Matrix: Effects of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) and Dual-Leader Exchange (DLX) on Role Conflict and Dual Leadership Effectiveness

Ben Sahlmueller*, Niels Van Quaquebeke, Steffen R. Giessner, Daan van Knippenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

While strategic management theories have heavily engaged with the reality of matrix organizations, leadership theories that actually focus on the people working within such arrangements are missing. We argue that (a) followers perceive dual leadership effectiveness to be more than the sum of each leader's effectiveness, (b) a core detriment to perceived dual leadership effectiveness is role conflict experienced by the follower, and (c) Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) needs to be theoretically extended to the triadic level to capture the influence of dual leadership. Specifically, followers’ role conflict and leadership effectiveness perceptions are driven not only by how they perceive their LMX relationships with both leaders, but also how they perceive the relationship quality between their leaders (dual leadership exchange, DLX). As such, even though higher LMX is still better than lower LMX, having a similar exchange relationship with both leaders reduces employees’ role conflict and, by extension, heightens dual leadership effectiveness. Additionally, we reason that when employees lack a good relationship with one of the leaders, higher DLX can act as a substitute. We find support for our hypotheses by applying polynomial regression analyses to a dataset of 111 managers from a matrix organization who report to both a regional and business unit leader.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)270-288
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Leadership and Organizational Studies
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 May 2022

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