Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Organizational Behavior

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Trait Theories vs. Behavioral Theories of Leadership

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:03 Blending of Roles
  • 0:55 The Part of the Theory
  • 3:12 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

As we work with our managers and leaders, we begin to develop a level of trust between us. The employee trusts the leader will be good and fair, and the leader also develops trust in the employee's ability to do his job.

Blending of Roles

Many of us are lucky enough to have a person we work with that we trust a great deal. That person that does the work and gets the results we want. Many managers have that person on their team, and they look to that person for help in getting all the work done. Many managers do not have to manage that particular person too closely; they have developed a bond or a trust with that person.

Now, there are also people that we do not trust as much or have as good of a relationship with. Those individuals are people that work for a manager but with whom the manager does not feel a connection with or have a sense of confidence in that they will get the work done the right way.

What we are talking about here is the basis of leader-member exchange theory, which is a theory that explains how managers develop relationships with team members. Those relationships can be good relationships or bad ones, so let us look at what makes up leader-member exchange theory.

The Part of the Theory

Several different parts or concepts are present in leader-member exchange theory. Actually, they kind of work in steps from the first part to the last and explain or show how the relationship between the employee or the manager is formed.

  • Role taking: This is the first step, if you will. In this step, the manager and the employee meet, and the manager starts to assess the abilities of the employee.
  • Role making: In this step, team members begin working on projects, and the manager begins to see how devoted they are to the work that needs to be done. Managers expect employees to work hard, be loyal and also be trustworthy. Thus, during this stage, managers, whether they know it or not, begin to separate employees into two different groups.

The first group is called the in-group. Very simply, this is the group the manager trusts. They start to get more challenging roles, and there is more give and take as it relates to communication. The manager, we could say, trusts the members in this group and begins to bond with them.

Then, we have the out-group, or the group the manager does not really trust. Since the manager does not trust the members in this group as much, their work is less challenging and less critical, and the communication is more directive than give and take. The manager tells these employees what he or she wants done, whereas with the in-group, there is more discussion relating to tasks.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account