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Leader–Member Exchange: A Commentary on Long-Term Staying Power and Future Research Directions  

Terri A. Scandura and Kim Gower

In 1975, the phrase “vertical dyad linkage” (VDL) was introduced to begin examining the quality of the roles between the leaders and direct reports, and it was soon discovered that the linkages ranged between high quality and low quality. That linkage progressed into “leader–member exchange” (LMX) in 1982. In essence, research reached a point where it found a continuum of the quality of the relationship between the two members. High-quality relationships put the employees into the leader’s “ingroup,” while low-quality relationships left employees on the outside looking in. It followed that those in the ingroup would have some say in the decision-making, would have easier access to the leader, and would garner more respect and “liking.” Researchers have used the LMX-7 to examine how the quality of superior/subordinate relationships affects individual, interpersonal, and organization factors like job satisfaction, communication motives, and organizational identification (as did the original LMX scale). Although the LMX-7 remains one of the most prominent psychometric measures of LMX, researchers still debate whether the construct should be considered unidimensional or multidimensional. While the intricacies of LMX-7 versus LMX have been argued, and with teams becoming more of an organizational resource, team–member exchange (TMX) was found to be a supported extension of LMX. While at this point TMX is lacking in the volume and pace of research, due to the difficulties of measurement among a group of people who might have a variety of leaders during the process, the existing research has produced some results that are extremely relevant, now and in the future. Examples of what has been found when the team exchange relationship is high include reduced stress, increased psychological empowerment, increased creativity, increased team performance, increased individual performance, increased organizational citizenship behaviors, increased organizational commitment, and increased job satisfaction, just to name a few. In sum, the investigation into LMX provides a history of the field of LMX and its many iterations and the role it plays in leadership studies. This research includes LMX antecedents, consequences, moderators, mediators, and outcomes, as any field in which over 4,500 papers have been published needs an effective way to highlight the progress and pathways.

Article

Multicultural Identities at Work  

Yih-Teen Lee and Nana Yaa Gyamfi

Cultural identity, a specific form of social identity that refers to a person’s degree of identification and sense of belonging to a specific cultural group, has been extensively examined as a kind of social identity over the past decades, especially in the fields of migration, cross-cultural psychology, and applied international management. Meanwhile, exposure to settings with different cultures typically triggers a process of acculturation, enabling individuals to develop multicultural identities, whereby people see things from multiple cultural groups’ perspectives, feel at one with the cultural groups, and act according to the norms of those cultural groups. Individual organizational members serve as the conduit by which culture influences and is influenced by organizational life. There exist various forms of multicultural identities with different psychological and behavioral implications on individuals. In terms of plurality, to date, extant studies accumulated extensive knowledge on biculturalism, which focuses on individuals having two distinct cultural identities and how these identities intersect and influence the individual. Beyond biculturalism obtained through birth, ancestry, or immersive foreign experience, individuals may become multicultural by being simultaneously immersed in more than two cultures: a situation common among children of immigrants (i.e., second-generation immigrants), children raised in multicultural households, third culture individuals who spend their formative years outside their passport country, and individuals living within multicultural societies. A key to understanding multicultural identities is how these multiple identities are structured within individuals. Scholars largely agree that the structural pattern of identities affects the outcomes and degree of synergy among multiple identities. Widely accepted modes of structuring multiple identities include relative strength of identities involved and how multiple identities relate to each other. Scholars have built on these lines of thinking to examine specific forms of multicultural identities and their outcomes. Furthermore, research indicates that multiculturals possess unique identity resources relevant to organizational life, including cognitive strengths, relational capital and belonging, and leadership-related competencies. Although there is evidence for responsiveness of multicultural identity to situational cues, there are also strong arguments made in favor of the agency of individuals over their multiple identities. The foregoing notwithstanding, individuals with multicultural identities must balance their agentic enactments of identity with societal requirements of legitimacy. In particular, business organizations play a vital role in providing identity workspaces and other enabling factors which legitimize multicultural identities. Additionally, business organizations play the role of balancing power, status and other dynamics between multicultural and non-multicultural members.

Article

The Kaleidoscope Career Model  

Sherry E. Sullivan and Shawn M. Carraher

The kaleidoscope career model (KCM) was developed by Mainiero and Sullivan in 2006 based on data from interviews, focus groups, and three surveys of over 3,000 professionals working in the United States. The metaphor of a kaleidoscope was used to describe how an individual’s career alters in response to alternating needs for authenticity, balance, and challenge within a changing internal and external life context. As a kaleidoscope produces changing patterns when its tube is rotated and its glass chips fall into new arrangements, the KCM describes how individuals change the pattern of their careers by rotating the varied aspects of their lives to arrange their work–nonwork roles and relationships in new ways. Individuals examine the choices and options available to create the best fit among various work demands, constraints, and opportunities given their personal values and interests. The ABCs of the KCM are authenticity, balance, and challenge. Authenticity is an individual’s need to make choices that reflect their true self. People seek alignment between their values and their behaviors. Balance is an individual’s need to achieve an equilibrium between the work and nonwork aspects of life. Nonwork life aspects are defined broadly to include not only spouse/partners and children but also parents, siblings, elderly relatives, friends, the community, personal interests, and hobbies. Challenge is an individual’s need for stimulating work that is high in responsibility, control, and/or autonomy. Challenge includes career advancement, often measured as intrinsic or extrinsic success. All three parameters are always active throughout the life span, and all influence decision-making. One parameter, however, usually takes priority; this parameter has greater influence in shaping an individual’s career decisions or transitions at that point in time. Over an individual’s life, the three parameters shift, with one parameter moving to the foreground and intensifying in strength as it takes priority at that time. The other two parameters will lessen in intensity, receding into the background, but they remain active.