The crossover of psychological distress from leaders to subordinates in teams

The role of abusive supervision, psychological capital, and team performance
This study examines the underlying mechanism of the crossover process in work teams. Drawing on conservation of resources theory, we hypothesize that a leader's psychological distress positively influences subordinates' psychological distress through abusive supervision. We further hypothesize that team performance attenuates the association between a leader's psychological distress and abusive supervision. In addition, we expect that psychological capital attenuates the positive relationship between abusive supervision and subordinates' psychological distress. Participants were drawn from 86 business teams, and multisource data were collected. The hypotheses were tested with multilevel analysis. Results supported the crossover of psychological distress from leader to subordinates, and abusive supervision serves as a mediating mechanism. The positive relationship between a leader's distress and abusive supervision is stronger when team performance is lower. In addition, the positive relationship between abusive supervision and subordinates' psychological distress is stronger when subordinates' psychological capital is lower.

Source: Li, Yuhui; Wang, Zhen; Yang, Liu-Qin; Liu, Songbo. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol 21(2), Apr 2016, p. 142-153. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0039960

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