Deakin University

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Relationships of leader reward behavior with employee behavior: fairness and morale as key mediators

journal contribution
posted on 2012-01-01, 00:00 authored by E M Jackson, M E Rossi, E Rickamer Hoover, Russell Johnson
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine employee perceptions of fairness and work morale
as mediators of the relationship between leader reward behavior and employee behavior.
Design/methodology/approach – A matrix of meta-analytic estimates containing the focal
variables (leader reward behavior, fairness, morale, and employee behavior) was constructed following
a literature review of published studies. This matrix was then analyzed using structural equation
modeling to test a series of nested models.
Findings – Leader reward behavior is positively related to higher task performance and
organizational citizenship behavior, and fewer intentions to turnover. These relationships are mediated
by employees’ perceptions of fairness and work morale.
Research limitations/implications – The paper extends the leadership literature by identifying
two mechanisms (viz., fairness and morale) through which leader reward behavior relates to employee
behavior. Possible limitations are the drawbacks associated with meta-analysis (e.g. inability to make
causal inferences).
Practical implications – Rewarding subordinate performance alone is not sufficient to increase task
performance and organizational citizenship behavior and decrease turnover intentions. Instead,
managers must ensure that their contingent reward behaviors are seen as fair by employees in order to
have favorable effects.
Originality/value – To date, research on possible mediators of the effects of leader reward behavior
has been scarce.



Leadership & organization development journal






646 - 661


Emerald Publishing Group


Bingley, Eng.





Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2012, Emerald Group Publishing