Demographic similarity /difference, intercultural sensitivity, and leader -member exchange: A multilevel analysis
This field study examined the effects of demographic similarity or difference between leaders and followers, and intercultural sensitivity of leaders as predictors of followers' perceptions of fairness.
Data were collected from 255 followers and 72 leaders from three higher education institutions in the U.S. A multilevel data analysis was conducted using hierarchical linear modeling. A significant predictive relationship was found between leaders' levels of intercultural sensitivity and followers' ratings of Leader-Member Exchange (LMX). Specifically, as leaders' levels of intercultural sensitivity increased, followers' rating of LMX also increased. Perceived Supervisor Support (PSS) was eliminated from the final model as it correlated perfectly with LMX (r = 1.0). Retaining both LMX and PSS would have created unacceptable redundancy in the model. LMX was retained, as it is a more well studied concept with greater research links to the concept of workplace fairness.
Demographic similarity or difference did not have a predictive relationship with followers' ratings of LMX; however, 87% of the variability in the model occurred at the individual level. Only 1% of this variability was accounted for by demographic similarity or difference indicating that other factors at the individual level need to be explored.
The combination of these findings provides cautious optimism for the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce in higher education. Leaders were not perceived as creating high or low LMX relationships based on demographic similarity or difference. Additionally, increases in intercultural sensitivity showed a corresponding increase in higher LMX. Given this combination, the possibility exists that leaders with higher levels of intercultural sensitivity can create organizational environments that are perceived as fair, regardless of the demographic similarity or differences between employees and leaders.
0745: Higher education