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Original Article

The Relative Effects of Constructive, Laissez-Faire, and Tyrannical Leadership on Subordinate Job Satisfaction

Results From Two Prospective and Representative Studies

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1027/2151-2604/a000189

Knowledge on short and long-term effects of perceived leadership behaviors on subordinates’ job satisfaction, and particularly so regarding the relative influences of constructive and destructive forms of leadership, is scarce. Based on two prospective and representative surveys, with time lags of 6 months (Study 1) and 2 years (Study 2), respectively, we investigated the relative influence of constructive, laissez-faire, and tyrannical leadership behaviors, respectively, on followers job satisfaction. Interestingly, destructive forms of leadership were the sole significant predictors in both studies. Tyrannical leadership predicted a decrease in subordinate job satisfaction over a 6-month period, while laissez-faire leadership turned out as the sole predictor of job satisfaction over a 2-year time lag. A reversed relationship was found between job satisfaction and subsequent perceived constructive leadership over the 6-month lag. Dissatisfied subordinates did not, however, report increased exposure to destructive forms of leadership, disconfirming the gloomy perception mechanism of dissatisfied and stressed subordinates to perceive their leaders in an ever more negative way. Hence, destructive forms of leadership seem to be better predictors of job satisfaction than are constructive forms of leadership which is in line with the notion that “bad is stronger than good.”

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