Drawing on social exchange processes in leader-member exchange (LMX), we posit that expressive relational schema (ERS) and instrumental relational schema (IRS), which refer to knowledge structures in social exchange processes, act as antecedents of follower-rated LMX. Specifically, we discuss how leader-follower relational schema congruence/incongruence informs follower-rated LMX. Using polynomial regression models, we analyze 205 leader-follower dyads and test the congruent/incongruent effects on follower-rated LMX. The findings show that ERS congruence has a positive effect on follower-rated LMX, while IRS congruence has a negative effect on follower-rated LMX. Results also demonstrate that ERS incongruence impairs more follower-rated LMX than does ERS congruence, and IRS incongruence and IRS congruence have the same follower-rated LMX. Implications for LMX theory and research are discussed.
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