ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 44 ›› Issue (12): 1677-1686.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2012.01677

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Abusive Supervision and Employee’ Performance: Mechanisms of FSB and Learning Goral Orientation

SHEN Chuan-Gang;MA Hong-Yu;YANG Jing;LIU Teng-Fei   

  1. (1 Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education, Wuhan 430079, China) (2 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, and Hubei Human Development and Mental Health Key Laboratory, Wuhan 430079, China) (3 Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China) (4 Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China)
  • Received:2011-09-20 Published:2012-12-25 Online:2012-12-25
  • Contact: MA Hong-Yu

Abstract: The literature on abusive supervision has consistently demonstrated the negative relationship between member perception of supervisor's abusive behavior and member performance. The process through which relationship supervisor's abusive behavior influences subordinates’ performance, however, is still not fully understood. The present study provides a mechanism for the process. Specifically, we predict that the feedback seeking behavior (FSB) of members mediates these relationships, and learning goal orientation moderates the relationship between abusive supervision and FSB. In order to avoid the common method variance problem, two sources of survey were administrated. Data was from a total of 306 matched supervisor-subordinate dyads in 7 enterprises located in Hubei, Zhejiang, Xiamen. Two structured questionnaires were employed as the research instrument for this study. One consisted of three scales designed to measure abusive supervision, FSB and learning goal orientation. Among the major measures, the 15-items abusive supervision was adopted from Tepper (2000); FSB was measured via 6 items that was adopted from Saori Yanagizawa (2008); the five item learning goal orientation scale was adopted from Vandewalle & Cummings (1997). We used a scale adopted from Tusi et al. (1997) in the other questionnaire to measure supervisor-rated subordinates’ performance. Results show that the Cronbach's alpha coefficients for these above measures range from 0.75 to 0.94. Hierarchical regression and the total effect moderation model were utilized to examine the proposed hypotheses. In line with predictions, results of hierarchical regression demonstrate that abusive supervision is negatively related to FSB, supervisor-rated performance, and FSB partially mediate the relationship between abusive supervision and supervisor-rated performance. Specifically, the negative effect of abusive supervision on subordinates’ performance was partially mediated by subordinates’ FSB. In addition, results of total effect moderation model analysis reveal that subordinates’ learning goal orientation moderate the relationship between abusive supervision and FSB. Abusive supervision was more strongly related to FSB when subordinates’ learning goal orientation was low. The present study extends our understanding of social exchange between supervisor and subordinate in the link between abusive supervision and subordinate’s performance. Finally, the theoretical and managerial implications of the findings, limitations and future research directions were also discussed.

Key words: abusive supervision, performance, feedback seeking behavior, learning goal orientation