How team helping influences abusive supervision and empowering leadership: The role of team affective tone and performance

Jenny M Hoobler, Jarvis Smallfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Leaders' perceptions of their teams are critical sources of contextual social information influencing leadership behaviors. In this paper, we extend affect-associal-information theory to understand how and why team helping behaviors predict leaders' mistreatment of their teams in the form of abusive supervision and positive leader behavior in the form of empowering leadership, both through leaders' perceptions of team positive affective tone. In addition, based on social information processing, we examine the cue of leaders' perceptions of team task performance as a factor that helps us understand when the relationship between positive affective tone and leadership behaviors may be attenuated. In two text-based scenario studies, a video-based scenario study, and a multisource field study, we found evidence that team helping behavior is antecedent to abusive and empowering leadership behaviors and that this relationship is fully mediated by leaders' perceptions of team positive affective tone. Moreover, our results support team task performance as a factor that decreases the degree to which affective tone is related to abusive supervision. We discuss our findings as a caution to scholars' assumptions about the directionality of leader-team influence, emphasizing the need to acknowledge upward effects in workplace mistreatment research in the leader–team relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
StatePublished - May 11 2020

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