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date: 15 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Leader–member exchange (LMX) is a highly influential leadership theory that has continued to evolve over the past four decades. Compared with other scholarly approaches in the study of leadership, LMX stands out with its focus on the (potentially) unique relationship between a leader and a follower. The purpose of this essay is to give an overview of important developments within LMX research as indicated by highly cited publications and to understand how LMX theory relates to other active approaches to leadership (specifically, personality-based, contextual, information processing, and new leadership schools). Finally, the essay provides future directions for the LMX theory-building and research by suggesting that the latest methodological tools, as well as the theoretical roots of LMX, can inform and stimulate deeper understanding and study of the relational leadership.

Keywords: Leader–member exchange, relational leadership, vertical dyad linkage, leadership theories, research methods, multilevel models

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