Moving From Abuse To Reconciliation: A Power-Dependence Perspective On When And How A Follower Can Break The Spiral Of Abuse



Despite the burgeoning research on abusive supervision, the literature lacks an in-depth understanding of how followers can successfully break the spiral of abusive supervision over time and influence their leaders to engage in reconciliatory behaviors following abusive supervision. Using power-dependence theory as our framework, we first examine the specific state of power dependence that predicts abusive supervision. We then heorize balancing operations as coping strategies that the follower can use to address the persistence of abusive supervision over time by changing the power imbalance within the dyad. We hypothesize that through the follower’s approach balancing operations, the leader is more likely to regard the abused follower as someone who is instrumental to his or her pursuit of goals and resources, resulting in a reduction in future abuse and an increase in the leader’s future reconciliation. After developing and validating measures of balancing operations, we test the hypotheses using a three-wave panel design with field data from a real estate company (Study 1). In addition, we strengthen our conclusions by replicating our results through a different field sample in a commercial bank (Study 2). The findings’ theoretical and practical implications for abusive supervision and followership are discussed.

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