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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

We review research in the variability in leader–member exchange relationships (LMX), called LMX differentiation, since its conception in LMX research. We examine the relevant theories of social comparison, relative deprivation, and organizational justice to underpin the motives and consequences of LMX differentiation. We also outline the overlap and distinction between these competing theories. We provide a comprehensive narrative of extant theoretical and empirical research that has examined various facets of LMX differentiation. Our detailed review identifies antecedents, moderators, and consequences at the individual level, meso level, and group level of analysis. We also highlight gaps in research to outline criticisms of extant studies. Finally, we provide theoretical directions and ideas for empirical investigation in future research.

Keywords: Leadership, LMX, LMX differentiation, Individual and group level

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