Title

Supervisor Support: Does Supervisor Support Buffer or Exacerbate the Adverse Effects of Supervisor Undermining?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2014

Publication Title

Journal of Applied Psychology

Volume Number

99

Issue Number

3

DOI

10.1037/a0035313

Abstract

Empirical investigations concerning the interplay between supervisor support and supervisor undermining behaviors and their effects on employees yielded contradictory findings, with some studies suggesting that support buffers the adverse effects of undermining, and others suggesting that support exacerbates these adverse effects. Seeking to explain such contradictory findings, we integrate uncertainty-management perspectives with coping theory to posit that relational uncertainty is inherent in the mixture of supervisor support and undermining. Hence, whether supervisor support buffers or exacerbates the adverse effects of supervisor undermining on employee health and well-being depends on factors pertaining to employee ability to resolve and manage such relational uncertainty. Specifically, we hypothesize a buffering effect for employees with high self-esteem and high quality of work life, and an exacerbating effect for employees with low self-esteem and low quality of work life. Analyses of 2-wave data collected from a probability stratified sample of U.S. Air Force personnel supported our predictions. Two supplementary studies of the U.S. military replicated our core findings and demonstrated its practical significance.

ISSN

0021-9010

First Page

484

Last Page

503

Link Out URL

https://doi.org/10.1037/a0035313

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