Getting What You Want: How Fit between Desired and Received Leader Sensitivity Influences Emotion and Counterproductive Work Behavior


We challenge the intuitive belief that greater leader sensitivity is always associated with desirable outcomes for employees and organizations. Specifically, we argue that followers' idiosyncratic desires for, and perceptions of, leader sensitivity behaviors play a key role in how followers react to their leader's sensitivity. Moreover, these resulting affective experiences are likely to have important consequences for organizations, specifically as they relate to employee counterproductive work behavior (CWB). Drawing from supplies-values (S-V) fit theory and the stressor-emotion model of CWB, the current study focuses on the affective and behavioral consequences of fit between subordinates' ideal leader sensitivity behavior preferences and subordinates' perceptions of their actual leader's sensitivity behaviors. Polynomial regression analyses reveal that congruence between ideal and actual leader sensitivity influences employee negative affect and, consequently, engagement in counterproductive work behavior.


Psychological Science

Keywords and Phrases

Controlled Study; Counterproductive Work Behavior; Emotion; Employee Attitude; Female; Human; Job Performance; Job Stress; Leader Sensitivity; Leadership; Male; Occupational Health; Priority Journal; Work; Implicit Leadership Theory; Stressor-emotion Model

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2016 American Psychological Association (APA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Oct 2016