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Engaging and Retaining Women Lawyers: Examining the Role of High-Quality Leader-Member Exchange and Gender Differences in Need-Satisfaction

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Law firms continue to identify the retention of women lawyers as a major problem, but the reasons that women lawyers leave more frequently than men remain ambiguous. To understand the gender difference in turnover rates in law firms, this study draws on self-determination theory (SDT) and leader-member exchange (LMX) theory to examine how high-quality relationships with direct supervisors might boost work-related well-being (in the form of engagement) and reduce turnover intent for all lawyers, but especially for women lawyers. Specifically, the study examined whether SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting mediated the relationships between LMX’s communal dimension (which includes the facets of affect and loyalty) and the outcome variables of engagement and turnover intent and whether those mediated relationships were moderated by the follower’s gender. The study found that both facets of LMX’s communal dimension were significantly related to engagement and turnover intentions in the expected directions and that all relationships were mediated by SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting. However, those mediated relationships between the two LMX facets and the outcome variables were not moderated by the follower’s gender. This means that high-quality relationships with direct supervisors benefitted all lawyers and did not provide an added boost for women. The study’s most important findings relate to the role that the SDT needs played in lawyers’ job attitudes. Compared to LMX, SDT need-satisfaction/thwarting had larger relationships with the outcome variables. The results suggest that teaching law firm leaders to engage in behaviors that satisfy SDT needs and to avoid need-thwarting behaviors may help raise engagement and reduce turnover intent of all lawyers, not only women lawyers.
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Running Head: ENGAGING WOMEN LAWYERS!1!
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Engaging and Retaining Women Lawyers: Examining the Role of High-Quality Leader-Member
Exchange and Gender Differences in Need-Satisfaction
Anne Brafford
October 23, 2017
Master’s Thesis
Claremont Graduate University
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Abstract
Law firms continue to identify the retention of women lawyers as a major problem, but the
reasons that women lawyers leave more frequently than men remain ambiguous. To understand
the gender difference in turnover rates in law firms, this study draws on self-determination
theory (SDT) and leader-member exchange (LMX) theory to examine how high-quality
relationships with direct supervisors might boost work-related well-being (in the form of
engagement) and reduce turnover intent for all lawyers, but especially for women lawyers.
Specifically, the study examined whether SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting mediated
the relationships between LMX’s communal dimension (which includes the facets of affect and
loyalty) and the outcome variables of engagement and turnover intent and whether those
mediated relationships were moderated by the follower’s gender. The study found that both
facets of LMX’s communal dimension were significantly related to engagement and turnover
intentions in the expected directions and that all relationships were mediated by SDT need-
satisfaction and need-thwarting. However, those mediated relationships between the two LMX
facets and the outcome variables were not moderated by the follower’s gender. This means that
high-quality relationships with direct supervisors benefitted all lawyers and did not provide an
added boost for women. The study’s most important findings relate to the role that the SDT
needs played in lawyers’ job attitudes. Compared to LMX, SDT need-satisfaction/thwarting had
larger relationships with the outcome variables. The results suggest that teaching law firm
leaders to engage in behaviors that satisfy SDT needs and to avoid need-thwarting behaviors may
help raise engagement and reduce turnover intent of all lawyers, not only women lawyers.
Keywords: Self-determination, leader-member, gender, engagement, turnover, lawyer
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Table of Contents
The Problem of Turnover in Law Firms ............................................................................................... 7!
Work Engagement ................................................................................................................................... 9!
Psychological Needs Under Self-Determination Theory ....................................................................10!
Leader-Member Exchange ................................................................................................................... 14!
SDT Psychological Need-Satisfaction and Need-Thwarting as Mediators ...................................... 16!
between LMX and Engagement ........................................................................................................... 16!
The Role of Gender in Need Satisfaction ............................................................................................ 17!
Potential Gender Differences in SDT Need-Satisfaction ....................................................................17!
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Relatedness ..................................19!
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Autonomy ....................................22!
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Competence ..................................24!
Evidence of Gender Differences in Information-Processing that May Affect Perceived Need-
Satisfaction ..........................................................................................................................................25!
Hypotheses ............................................................................................................................................. 28!
LMX-Affect, Need-Satisfaction, and Engagement .............................................................................28!
LMX-Affect, Need-Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions .................................................................28!
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Satisfaction, and Engagement ...........................................................................29!
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions ...............................................................29!
LMX-Affect, Need-Thwarting, and Engagement ...............................................................................29!
LMX-Affect, Need-Thwarting, and Turnover Intentions ...................................................................30!
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Thwarting, and Engagement .............................................................................30!
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Thwarting, and Turnover Intentions) ................................................................30!
Method .................................................................................................................................................... 31!
Participants and Procedures ................................................................................................................31!
Measures for Predictor Variables ........................................................................................................31!
Measures for Outcome Variables ........................................................................................................33!
Controls ...............................................................................................................................................34!
Results ..................................................................................................................................................... 35!
Pre-Analysis Data Cleaning ................................................................................................................35!
Descriptive Statistics ...........................................................................................................................36!
Reliability ............................................................................................................................................36!
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Pearson Correlations ...........................................................................................................................37!
Bootstrap Regressions .........................................................................................................................37!
Discussion ............................................................................................................................................... 44!
Large Effects of STD Need-Satisfaction and Need-Thwarting ..........................................................45!
Interpreting The Absence of Gender Effects ......................................................................................47!
Theoretical Implications ......................................................................................................................49!
Practical Implications and Future Directions ......................................................................................50!
Limitations ..........................................................................................................................................54!
Conclusion .............................................................................................................................................. 57!
References .................................................................................................................................... 58!
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Engaging and Retaining Women Lawyers: Examining the Role of High-Quality Leader-Member
Exchange and Gender Differences in Need-Satisfaction
A walk through the halls of the nation’s largest law firms will reveal a conspicuous
absence of women’s names on the doors of corner offices. A recent study by the National
Association of Women Lawyers found that, in the largest 200 law firms, only 18% of equity
partners and 29% of non-equity partners are women (Scharfl, Liebenberg, & Amalfe, 2014). This
shortage of women in law firms’ upper echelons cannot be explained simply by a pipeline
deficit. This is so because, since the mid-1980s, more than 40% of law school graduates have
been women (Scharfl et al., 2014). Additionally, there are a pool of women candidates
concentrated in the lower ranks of law firms: 47% of associates are women (Scharfl et al., 2014).
Something is happening that culls out women along the path of law school graduation, early
career positions, and equity partnership and management. Indeed, women are leaving law firms
at about twice the rate of men (Levit & Linder, 2010).
Much of the organizational scholarship that studies workplace obstacles for women
focuses on gender biases and overt discrimination (Hirsch, 2014; Roscigno & Yavorksy). While
that topic is important, the full explanation of the attrition of women lawyers surely is more
complex. The focus in this study is on whether there may, in fact, be real gender differences that
undermine women’s engagement at work and contribute to the higher attrition rate in law firms.
While there have been many theories to explain gender disparities over the decades, the one that
has not been tried yet is “different but equal” (Baumeister, 2010, p. 38). While most gender
differences in abilities are so small as to be meaningless, the same might not be true for patterns
of motivation (Baumeister, 2010). Since the law firm model was constructed by men for men, it
may be that firms have been molded to the shape of men’s motivational patterns. A question
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arising from the high attrition of women lawyers is whether the leadership style and work
climate in large firms are less likely to satisfy women’s psychological needs.
Self-determination theory (SDT) is a motivational theory that postulates that
psychological health and optimal functioning depend on the satisfaction of basic psychological
needs (Hardré & Reeve, 2009). SDT holds that everyone has the same basic psychological needs
but that they may be satisfied in different ways. This study seeks to advance SDT research by
examining whether there are gender differences in how psychological needs are satisfied and
whether such differences impact women’s experience in large law firms.
The quality of relationships between law firm leaders and their followers also may
provide insight into the attrition rate of women lawyers. SDT connects to leadership theory in
that leaders can play a significant role in cultivating optimal conditions for need-satisfaction.
One leadership theory that pays close attention to the quality of relationships and culture that
leaders and followers co-create is leader-member exchange (LMX). LMX theory postulates that
high-quality relationships involving mutual trust, respect, and obligation contribute to the best
individual and organizational outcomes (Graves & Luciano, 2013). LMX has been linked to
positive business outcomes, including work engagement, job satisfaction, reduced turnover, and
performance (Collins, Burrus, & Meyer, 2014; Gerstner & Day, 1997).
Research attempting to explain why LMX is effective has begun exploring the role of
SDT need-satisfaction as a possible mediator (e.g., Graves & Luciano, 2013). Research has
shown that LMX positively relates to the satisfaction of SDT needs which, in turn, is linked to
job satisfaction, organizational commitment, vitality (Graves & Luciano, 2013), and engagement
(Van den Broeck, Vansteenkiste, Hans, De Witte, & Lens, 2008). To date, however, only limited
research has investigated whether gender differences may affect how SDT or LMX play out in
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the workplace.
This study examines whether SDT and LMX might explain variation in engagement and
turnover of lawyers and whether variations differ by gender. I first discuss the problem of
turnover in law firms and prior research studying reasons for turnover. Next, to provide the
theoretical foundation of the study, I explain the constructs of engagement, LMX, and SDT.
Following that, I discuss the evidence suggesting the existence of gender differences that may
moderate or influence how SDT and LMX play out in large law firms. That review is followed
by the study’s results and a discussion of their import.
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The Problem of Turnover in Law Firms
Attrition rates in large law firms are high for both women and men (NALP Foundation,
2015). About 50 % of new lawyers leave their law firms within three years. By the fifth year,
80 % will have left (Levin & MacEwen, 2014). While the attrition rate generally is high, women
lawyers depart at a much higher frequency (Levit & Linder, 2010). When asked recently to
identify major obstacles for women advancing to equity partner, 31 % of the nation’s largest law
firms said attrition (Scharfl et al., 2014). Nearly all (94 %) reported that retaining women
lawyers was a problem for the firm.
But why employees leave is a complex question. Expansive meta-analyses have
identified a multitude of motivational and other factors that correlate with turnover across the
U.S. workforce (Cotton & Tuttle, 1986; Griffeth, Hom, & Gaertner, 2000; McEvoy & Cascio,
1985). Even where factors are reliably linked to turnover, however, they typically explain only a
small portion of variance. Accordingly, some scholars have begun to advocate for studies at a
more specific level of analysis, such as by occupation, in recognition that factors contributing to
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turnover are highly contextual (Carmelli & Weisberg, 2006). One study has shown, for example,
that turnover rates and antecedents of turnover intentions varied significantly among lawyers,
financial officers, and social workers (Carmelli & Weisberg, 2006).
A number of studies have sought to explore reasons for turnover specifically of women
professionals and managers (e.g., Krishnan, 2009; Metz, 2011; Singh et al., 2013). A commonly
accepted explanation for the drop-out rate of women in such jobs is that women (more often than
men) lose the negotiation of work-life conflicts (e.g., Metz, 2011; Rosin & Korabik, 1990). A
recent study of large law firms reported that 38% of firms believe that work-life balance issues
are obstacles to retention of women lawyers (Scharfl et al., 2014).
Consistent with this, some evidence reflects that a common reason women give for
leaving law firms is work-life balance issues (Levit & Linder, 2010; Rikleen, 2006). Work-life
balance challenges may be just one factor embedded in a complicated patchwork of motives that
lead women to leave. Evidence of this can be found in studies of women professionals in which
the work-life family category was not a primary reason for their intention or decision to quit
(Cropsey et al., 2008; Rosin & Korabik, 1990; Stroh, Brett, & Reilly, 1996). Other studies of
professional women have shown that lack of job satisfaction was a bigger contributor to turnover
for women than men (Hoonakker, Carayon, & Korunka, 2013) and that working in male-
dominated workplaces was significantly related to low job satisfaction and a high propensity to
leave the firm (Rosin & Korabik, 1991).
Following recent calls for turnover research at a more specific level of analysis, this study
examines factors contributing to turnover of lawyers in private practice within law firms. The
study focuses particularly on potential gender differences in factors contributing to turnover.
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Work Engagement
One possible contributor to the higher turnover rate among women lawyers in law firms
is reduced levels of work engagement. While there is no single definition or measure of
engagement, in academic research, it most often is defined as a positive and fulfilling work-
related state with three dimensions: vigor, dedication, and absorption (Bailey, Madden, Alfes, &
Fletcher, 2017; van Beek, Taris, & Schaufeli, 2011). Vigor is characterized by high energy and
mental resilience while working, the willingness to invest effort, and persistence in the face of
difficulties (van Beek et al., 2011, p. 469). Dedication means to be strongly involved in work and
“experiencing a sense of significance, enthusiasm, inspiration, pride, and challenge” (van Beek et
al., 2011, p. 469). Absorption “refers to being fully concentrated and deeply engrossed in one’s
work, whereby time passes quickly and one has difficulties detaching oneself from work” (van
Beek et al., 2011, p. 469).
Explaining engagement via the job demand-resources model. Academic researchers
are coming to a growing consensus that the job demand-resources (JD-R) model is a fitting
explanatory framework for work engagement (Bakker et al., 2013; Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). The
JD-R model explains the relationship between engagement and burnout as a function of job
demands and resources (Bakker et al., 2013). A job demand is any negatively-valued aspect of
the job (physical, social, or organizational) that consumes energy and can lead to exhaustion
(Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). A job resource is a positively-valued aspect of a job that has
motivational potential and may lead to engagement. Resources help achieve work goals, reduce
job demands, or spur personal growth and development. Resources and demands can be
contextual (i.e., part of the environment) and personal (i.e., part of the self; Schaufeli & Taris,
2014). Employees’ contextual job resources include factors like their supervisors’ leadership
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style and supervisory support (Van den Broeck et al., 2008).
The JD-R model uses the heuristic of a balance (Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). On one hand
are job demands; on the other are job resources. When the scale tips in favor of resources,
employees feel engaged. Engagement has been linked to many desirable business outcomes
including, as is most relevant here, lower turnover intentions (e.g., Bailey et al., 2017; Harter,
Schmidt, & Hayes, 2002). But when excessive demands or lack of enough opportunity for
recovery tip the scale, employees must exert increasing levels of energy to sustain performance
(Schaufeli & Taris, 2014). The result may be, for example, disengagement, burnout, and turnover
(Hoonakker et al., 2013; Schaufeli & Taris, 2014; Van den Broeck et al., 2008).
Gender and work engagement. Little research has been conducted on women’s work
engagement (Banihani & Syed, 2017). Banihani, Lewis, and Syed (2013) have argued that the
work engagement concept cannot be fully understood without taking gender into account. This is
so, they argue, because women generally do not have the same opportunities as men to
experience the conditions that generate work engagement. For example, the lower value
generally placed on women’s needs and strengths in the workplace likely serve as an obstacle for
women’s engagement (Banihani et al., 2013; Banihani & Syed, 2017). Thus, it is possible that
women lawyers have lower work engagement due to a shortage of job resources to satisfactorily
meet their psychological needs. Accordingly, analyzing work engagement may contribute to the
understanding of retention and turnover rates in law firms.
Psychological Needs Under Self-Determination Theory
JD-R is only a generic, descriptive model of relationships between classes of variables
that does not provide any particular psychological explanations for those relationships (Schaufeli
& Taris, 2014). Independent psychological theories are needed to explain why particular
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demands interact with particular resources to produce engagement, burnout, and other outcomes
of interest. SDT is one such theory on which researchers have relied (Schaufeli & Taris, 2014;
Trépanier, Forest, Fernet, & Austin, 2015).
SDT is a well-established theory of human motivation. It starts from the positive premise
that people have an active tendency toward psychological growth—to seek challenges, discover
new things, express their talents, and fulfil their potential (Ryan & Deci, 2002). They also tend
toward integration, which means that they seek to organize, synthesize, and unify their
knowledge with their personalities, which helps create a coherent sense of self.
According to SDT, people’s social environments are critical to this process of growth and
integration. The social environment can facilitate or hinder individual development.
Environments that support healthy functioning are those that help satisfy three basic
psychological needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness. SDT posits that these needs must
be satisfied for people to grow, persist, and thrive (Ryan & Deci, 2002).
The three basic needs. The first basic need is for autonomy, which often is
misunderstood. It is not synonymous with an internal locus of control, independence,
individualism, or detachment (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Gagné & Deci, 2014). Rather, the autonomy
need is satisfied when people act volitionally and endorse their own behavior—even when being
influenced by others (Gagné & Deci, 2014). It is the sense of choice that people experience when
they behave willingly and in a way that is congruent with their own values and interests (Moreau
& Mageau, 2012, p. 270).
The next basic need is for competence, which is a desire to feel effective, master new
skills, and express one’s capacities (Schüler, Sheldon, & Frohlich, 2010; Sheldon, Turban,
Brown, Barrick, & Judge, 2003). This need leads people to seek optimal challenges and to
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continually maintain and enhance their skills (Ryan & Deci, 2002). Competence under the STD
framework means perceived competence rather than an objective measure of ability. It is a sense
of confidence in one’s ability to be effective (Ryan & Deci, 2002).
The third need is for relatedness, which refers to the desire for secure connections—to
give and receive love and care (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2002). SDT’s concept of
relatedness includes a sense of belongingness to groups or organizations (Dysvik, Kuvaas, &
Gagné, 2013). It represents people’s need to connect with others and feel accepted (Ryan &
Deci, 2002).
Consequences of need-satisfaction. The satisfaction of these three needs is proposed as
necessary and sufficient to promote growth and optimal functioning (Deci & Ryan, 2000).
According to SDT, optimal functioning is possible only to the extent that people’s social context
satisfies these needs or to the extent that people are able to individually construct sufficient inner
resources to satisfy their own needs. Generally, the degree to which needs are satisfied will
predict the degree of positive (or negative) outcomes (Deci & Ryan, 2014).
In organizational contexts, studies have found a positive relationship between need-
satisfaction and many positive business outcomes (Van den Broeck, Ferris, Chang, & Rosen,
2016). As is most relevant here, need-satisfaction has been found to have a positive relationship
with engagement (e.g., Van den Broeck et al., 2008; Van den Broeck et al., 2016) and a negative
relationship with turnover intentions (Dysvik & Kuvaas, 2008; Gillet, Gagné, Sauvagère, &
Fouquereau, 2013; Van den Broeck et al., 2016). In fact, Meyer and Gagné (2008) has proposed
need-satisfaction under SDT as a guiding framework for the engagement construct. Studies also
have found that job resources under the JD-R model contribute to need-satisfaction (e.g.,
Trépanier et al., 2015).
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Consequences of need-thwarting. Studies have begun to examining need-thwarting
independently of need-satisfaction based on the perspective that low need-satisfaction is not the
same as having needs actively frustrated (e.g., Bartholomew, Ntoumanis, Ryan, & Thøgersen-
Ntoumani, 2011; Chen et al., 2015; Gunnell, Crocker, Wilson, Mack, & Zumbo, 2013; Trépanier
et al., 2015). They have done so based on evidence that need-satisfaction often is not as strongly
associated with negative outcomes (e.g., ill-being) as positive outcomes (e.g., well-being;
Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013). For example, Bartholomew et al. (2011) found that coaches’ need-
thwarting (but not need-satisfying) behaviors were associated with athletes’ eating disorders and
depression whereas need-satisfaction was associated with vitality and positive affect. In a recent
cross-cultural study, Chen et al. (2015) found that need-thwarting was associated with depressive
symptoms but need-satisfaction was not, while need-satisfaction was associated with vitality but
need-thwarting was not. Both were significantly associated with life satisfaction, but the positive
relationship between need-satisfaction and life satisfaction was much stronger than the negative
relationship with need-thwarting.
This perspective that need-satisfaction and need-thwarting should be analyzed separately
was further supported by a recent meta-analysis of antecedents and outcomes of SDT need-
satisfaction in the workplace, which found that satisfaction of needs was less predictive of
negative forms of motivation and, to a lesser extent, more negative forms of well-being (Van den
Broeck et al., 2016). As a result, scholars recently have called for an increased practice of
measuring both need-satisfaction and need-frustration, arguing that such an approach is
necessary for the full appreciation of the effects of the SDT needs (Van den Broeck et al., 2016).
They propose that SDT may have a stronger relationship with negative outcomes when
examining need frustration or thwarting rather than need-satisfaction (Van den Broeck et al.,
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2016).
Leader-Member Exchange
Leadership style has the potential to act as a job resource that contributes to need-
satisfaction. Leader-member exchange (LMX) is one such leadership style that focuses on the
interactions between followers and leaders (Graves & Luciano, 2013). It is among the first
leadership theories to focus on the dyadic relationship between leaders and followers rather than
solely on leader traits and behaviors (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995). According to the theory, leaders
develop distinct relationships with each follower that may vary in quality. High-quality
relationships—which have the most positive impact—are characterized by mutual trust, respect,
and obligation (Graves & Luciano, 2013). High-quality LMX has been found to positively relate
to engagement (Bailey et al., 2017) and negatively relate to turnover (Collins et al., 2014; Graves
& Luciano, 2013; Liden & Maslyn, 1998).
The four dimensions of LMX. A few studies have construed LMX as a
multidimensional construct with four facets: affect, loyalty, contribution, and professional
respect (Collins et al., 2014; Liden & Maslyn, 1998). The first two facets represent the
communal dimension of LMX, while the second two represent the agentic dimension (Collins et
al., 2014). As for the communal dimension, the “affect” facet (referred to below as “LMX-
Affect”) means mutual affection between leader and follower; they simply like each other and
enjoy being in each other’s company (Liden & Maslyn, 1998). Affect focuses on the quality of
the interpersonal relationship rather than professional values. “Loyalty” (referred to below as
“LMX-Loyalty”) means that leaders publicly support followers’ goals and character (Collins et
al., 2014; Liden & Maslyn, 1998).
As for the agentic dimension, “contribution” (“LMX-Contribution”) is the level of work-
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related activity that a leader and follower contribute to their shared goals (Liden & Maslyn,
1998). It includes leaders’ perceptions about how followers handle responsibility and engage in
good citizenship behaviors beyond their assigned duties. It also includes followers’ perceptions
about the extent to which leaders provide resources and opportunity. “Professional respect”
(“LMX-Professional Respect”) encompasses one’s reputation for excelling at work (Liden &
Maslyn, 1998).
LMX and gender. Research suggests that leader-follower relationships with high-quality
communal behaviors may be particularly beneficial for women. For example, in a study based on
LMX theory, Collins et al. (2014) examined whether the positive relationships between each of
LMX’s four facets (affect, loyalty, contribution, and professional respect) and job satisfaction
were mediated by job embeddedness and whether these mediated relationships were moderated
by gender. The study conceptualized job embeddedness as the extent to which employees feel
connected to their jobs or organization.
Using two different samples, Collins et al. (2014) found that subordinate gender
moderated the mediating influence of job embeddedness on the relationships between the two
communal LMX facets (affect and loyalty) and job satisfaction. For example, in Study 1, they
found that LMX-Affect led to higher levels of job embeddedness for females but not males,
which subsequently impacted job satisfaction for females (B = .29, p < .01) but not males (B =
.09, n.s.). They also found that LMX-Loyalty led to higher levels of job embeddedness for
females but not males, which impacted job satisfaction for females (B = .27, p < .01) but not
males (B = .09, n.s.). The study found no gender differences with respect to the agentic
dimension. In other words, the mediating role that job embeddedness played between the LMX
facets of contribution and professional respect and job satisfaction did not differ significantly
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between men and women. Given these findings, the present study focused on the LMX
communal dimension as a likely source of gender differences in subordinate work experiences
and attitudes.
SDT Psychological Need-Satisfaction and Need-Thwarting as Mediators
between LMX and Engagement
SDT proposes that significant others (like leaders) play a central role in cultivating social
environments that help or hinder need-satisfaction (Ryan & Deci, 2002). As discussed above, the
JD-R model proposes that job resources—such as leadership style—are antecedents to
engagement, while job demands can undermine engagement. SDT may help explain these
relationships: Leadership style may boost engagement by acting as a job resource that
contributes to the satisfaction of employees’ basic needs or may harm engagement and contribute
to turnover intentions by thwarting employees’ basic needs.
A recent meta-analysis examining the antecedents and consequences of SDT need-
satisfaction found that, generally, the SDT needs had positive and significant relationships with
all of the job resources included in the study (Van den Broeck et al., 2016). The study included
leadership-related resources, including LMX, leader support for autonomy, and leader support
for relatedness. These job resources were significantly, positively related to satisfaction of all
three needs. Similarly, a prior study found that LMX positively relates to the satisfaction of SDT
needs. This, in turn, was positively associated with job satisfaction, organizational commitment,
and vitality (Graves & Luciano, 2013).
Other recent research has found that job demands served to frustrate SDT needs, which
uniquely contributed to dysfunctional work outcomes such as psychological distress, low
engagement, and reduced performance (Trépanier et al., 2015). On the other hand, job resources
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contributed to SDT need-satisfaction which, in turn, was associated with higher work
engagement. Consistent with the JD-R model and in alignment with this prior work, the general
hypothesis here is that high-quality LMX is a job resource that helps satisfy basic needs which,
in turn, enhances engagement and buffers against the stress of job demands that can lead to
turnover. On the other hand, low-quality LMX serves to thwart basic needs which, in turn,
reduces engagement and increases turnover intentions. As discussed more below, high-quality
LMX is a resource that might be particularly well-suited for satisfying the basic needs of women
in the workplace.
The Role of Gender in Need Satisfaction
Potential Gender Differences in SDT Need-Satisfaction
The potential for gender differences in psychological needs under SDT has not received
significant attention. Deci and Ryan (2000) have taken the position that the meaning of the need
constructs as well as their theoretical processes universally apply to everyone. But they do
recognize that individual differences may arise from contextual factors, which may affect the
degree to which people experience need-satisfaction, the quality of their experience, and their
well-being (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Ryan & Deci, 2002). They acknowledge that “different people
seem to respond differently to the same events” (Deci & Ryan, 1985, p. 110). However, SDT
does not specify what contextual factors—such as features of a work environment—will be
associated with any particular individual’s sense of relatedness, competence, or autonomy. To
date, there has been little research on this topic—and very little research concerning whether
gender differences might affect how SDT needs are satisfied in the workplace. Thus, while it
may be clear that autonomy, competence, and relatedness all are necessary for the well-being of
both men and women, questions remain as to whether those needs are satisfied in the same way.
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Directly asking men and women how their workplaces support or thwart their
psychological needs is not likely to elicit useful responses. SDT’s basic needs are considered to
be deeply embedded in the structure of the human psyche and may not be accessible at a
conscious level (Deci & Ryan, 2000; Schüler et al., 2010). This suggests that women lawyers
who do not have sufficient inner resources to continually nourish their needs on their own may
not consciously realize that their employers are undermining their vitality by failing to contribute
to their needs or by actively thwarting them. Rather than stepping up efforts to satisfy their
needs, women in this predicament may “make accommodations that lessen their direct attempts
to satisfy needs” and develop defenses or need substitutes (Deci & Ryan, 2000, p. 231). Such
defensive adaptions can diminish vitality, integrity, and health (Deci & Ryan, 2000). Women
who experience such a downward spiral may explain it to themselves and others by the rationale
that is most consciously-accessible to them: They are losing the work-life balance battle. Since
this explanation fits women’s social role expectations, it may be accepted as an inevitable reason
for the high attrition of women lawyers.
In general, very little research has addressed gender differences in outcomes as a function
of motivational processes (Dysvik et al., 2013; Vecchione, Alessandri, & Marsicano, 2013).
Likewise, little research has investigated the possibility of the existence of gender differences
that may affect the degree to which men or women will experience need-satisfaction in particular
contexts. Still, some evidence suggests that differences might exist and that research examining
gender differences related to SDT might be fruitful.
For example, in a study of 6,226 practicing lawyers, Krieger and Sheldon (2015) found
that autonomy, relatedness, and competence all were highly correlated with lawyer well-being.
They also found notable gender differences. Overall, men had greater autonomy- and
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competence-satisfaction and women showed greater relatedness-satisfaction. In a supplemental
analysis of the data, Sheldon found that, in firms with over 100 lawyers, women had less
relatedness-satisfaction and less autonomy-satisfaction (K. M. Sheldon, personal communication,
November 19, 2014). Sheldon also found a near significant gender difference (p = .06) in
perceived autonomy-support, with women perceiving lower autonomy-support.
Additional evidence reflects that professional women perceive less autonomy-support (A-
S; Baard, Deci, & Ryan, 2004) and less satisfaction of the need for relatedness (Baard et al.,
2004; Louka, 2012) than their male counterparts. But, as Baard et al. (2004) noted, it is not clear
whether observed gender differences have resulted from actual differences in treatment of men
and women or, alternatively (1) differences between the genders in how the basic needs are
satisfied, or (2) differences in how men and women process, perceive, and interpret information
such that the same work environment can lead to different perceptions and, thus, different levels
of need-satisfaction. As discussed below, evidence exists to support both propositions for the
three SDT needs—relatedness, autonomy, and competence.
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Relatedness
Supporting the possibility of a gender difference in how the relatedness need is satisfied
is evidence that women benefit from a different kind of relationship with managers compared to
men. For example, as noted above, a study based on LMX theory found that mutual affection and
loyalty with one’s supervisor were positively related to job embeddedness for women but not for
men (Collins et al., 2014). Collins et al. (2014) concluded that men and women perceive
relationships with supervisors “through qualitatively different lenses” (p. 668).
This finding is consistent with other studies indicating that women set a higher value on
good social relations and rapport with managers than men (Hoonakker et al., 2013; Souza-Poza
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& Souza-Poza, 2000; Warr, 2009) and that a perceived lack of supervisory support is more
important to turnover intentions among women than men (Hoonakker et al., 2013; Hoonakker,
Carayon, Schoepke, & Marian, 2004). These findings provide some evidence that men’s and
women’s psychological need for relatedness is not satisfied in identical ways in the workplace.
A woman’s inability to connect sufficiently with her manager could generate feelings of
social rejection—which may be exacerbated in male-dominated law firms where women may
already feel a sense of social exclusion. The impact that perceived social rejection and exclusion
has on the satisfaction of the need for relatedness is a well-established predictor of self-
regulation failure (Baumeister, DeWall, Ciarocco, & Twenge, 2005; Baumeister & Heatherton,
1996). Self-regulation failure can trigger anti-social and self-defeating behavior (Mueller &
Lovell, 2013) as well as negative psychological effects such as procrastination (Twenge,
Cantanese, & Baumeister, 2003), reduced stamina (Vohs, Baumeister, & Ciarocco, 2005),
lethargy (Twenge et al., 2003), and depression (DeWall, Gilman, Sharif, Carboni, & Rice, 2012).
Gender differences in socializing patterns and stress response. The proposition that
there may be gender differences in how the need for relatedness is satisfied is consistent with
gender differences observed in patterns of socializing and stress responses, which may have
evolutionary and biological underpinnings. Research reflects that women’s self-concept is more
strongly based on connectedness to others (Seidel et al., 2013) and that women demonstrate
higher implicit motives for affiliation and intimacy than men (Denzinger, Backes, Job, &
Brandstatter, 2016). Evidence suggests that women tend to prefer close, caring bonds and
reciprocal relationships (Baron-Cohen, 2002; Baumeister, 2010). Men tend to develop large
networks of less-intimate connections and value power, politics, and competition (Baron-Cohen,
2002; Baumeister, 2010). They tend to be more dominance-oriented than females—a gender
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difference thought to be nearly universal (and potentially a product of evolution; Dambrun,
Duarte, & Guimond, 2004). Further, males are more likely than females to rate social status as
more important than intimacy and are quicker to establish hierarchies of dominance (Baron-
Cohen, 2002). Men tend to be much more oriented toward proving who is better at doing things
and to withhold respect until one has proven himself (Baumeister, 2010). In male-created
institutions, people tend to be treated more instrumentally, which clashes with the female
tendency to create intimate relationships where individuals are valued and respected
automatically (Baumeister, 2010).
A growing body of neuroscience research suggests that gender differences in brain
biology contribute to these different patterns of motivation and behavior relating to affiliation
and dominance (e.g., Annis & Merron, 2014; Case & Oetama-Paul, 2013; Dulebohn et al., 2016).
For example, testosterone is ten-times as concentrated in the male bloodstream (Zak, 2013).
Testosterone inhibits either the release or uptake of oxytocin, which is a hormone that promotes
affiliation (Kivlighan, Granger, & Booth, 2005; Taylor et al., 2000; Zak, 2013).
Notably, research has found that placing a lower value on a basic need like affiliation
does not extinguish the need or the benefits of having it satisfied (Chen et al., 2015). Practically,
this means that men experience the benefits of affiliation and social support from others (Taylor
et al., 2000) and are harmed by the lack of it (see Joiner, 2011). Women just seek it much more
often (Taylor et al., 2000). In a workplace context, this means that, although men might not be
naturally inclined toward affiliation, they still can benefit from an environment that fosters it.
LMX’s capacity to address gender differences in the psychological need for
relatedness. The foregoing suggests gender differences in how the psychological need for
relatedness is satisfied. It also suggests that intentional efforts to reshape law firm cultures to
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enhance affiliation behaviors may make law firms a better match for the psychological needs of
women and men. Such a culture change might be catalyzed by developing a flexible leadership
style that recognizes that many women may benefit from closer, caring relationships and
respectful verbal and non-verbal communication. As Collins et al. (2014) have shown, LMX’s
communal dimension of affect and loyalty is likely to contribute to the cultivation of such caring,
respectful relationships and provide a more satisfying work experience for women.
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Autonomy
The next SDT need is the need for autonomy. Research suggests that professional women
report less support and satisfaction of the need for autonomy (Baard et al., 2004; Krieger &
Sheldon, 2015; K. M. Sheldon, personal communication, November 19, 2014). There also is
evidence that women tend to be more autonomy-oriented than men and that men are more
control-oriented than women (Deci & Ryan, 1985, p. 110). Control-oriented individuals tend to
motivate themselves by, for example, looking to the environment for rules, rewards, and
deadlines (Ryan & Deci, 2002). This means that, on average, men are more inclined to regulate
their behavior based on reward contingencies and social controls (Deci & Ryan, 1985; Kasser &
Ryan, 1993; Vecchione et al., 2013).
Therefore, law firm managers who use a command and control leadership style (with
orders, deadlines, and threats) may be better tailored to motivate people with control-oriented
motivational patterns—which tend to be men. This same leadership style, however, will be, at
best, ineffective and, at worst, alienating, for people who are more autonomy oriented—which
tend to be women. Accordingly, an autonomy-supportive leadership style may be particularly
beneficial for women.
There appears to be significant overlap between the concept of A-S under SDT and high-
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quality LMX, both of which are enhanced by mutual trust, respect, and obligation. Autonomy-
supportive managers, for example, show responsiveness to peoples’ perspectives, use non-
controlling language, give a meaningful rationale for requests, offer opportunities for choice, and
maximize people’s sense of self-initiation (Moreau & Mageau, 2012; Su & Reeve, 2011).
Controlling managers, on the other hand, neglect or frustrate employees’ inner motivation and
pressure them to behave in specific ways, thereby ignoring needs and feelings (Hardré & Reeve,
2009). They rely on external contingencies to motivate employees, such as incentives, directives,
assignments, deadlines, and compliance requests (Hardré & Reeve, 2009).
A recent meta-analysis of 19 A-S training interventions identified the A-S behaviors that
are most effective at supporting others’ autonomy (Su & Reeve, 2011). The study found that
training managers to use non-controlling language significantly influenced their behavior and
had positive outcomes. In fact, it had the highest effect size (d = .95) of all of the behaviors that
were taught during the A-S interventions under study. Use of non-controlling language means to
communicate work assignments and feedback in an informational and flexible style rather than
telling employees what to do or pressuring them with demanding language and bribes (Hardré &
Reeve, 2009).
Other behaviors that were the subject of A-S training interventions and had significant
effect sizes were the following: taking employees’ perspective and acknowledging their feelings;
giving rationales for work requests; and nurturing inner motivational resources such as interests,
preferences, and a sense of valuing their work (Su & Reeve, 2011). Such behaviors reflect the
mutual trust, respect, and obligation that are the hallmark of high-quality LMX. Therefore, high-
quality LMX likely will positively influence lawyers’ autonomy-satisfaction (Graves & Luciano,
2013). Given evidence that, on average, women are more autonomy oriented than men, the LMX
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leadership style may be particularly beneficial for women.
Evidence of a Gender Difference in Satisfaction of the Need for Competence
The last SDT need is the need for competence. Some evidence suggests that women
lawyers experience less competence satisfaction at work (Krieger & Sheldon, 2015). Perceived
competence is closely tied to the notions of confidence and self-esteem, for which there is further
evidence of gender differences. Studies have found that, even where men and women are equally
qualified, women tend to lack self-confidence while men tend to overestimate their abilities (Kay
& Shipman, 2014). Studies also consistently have found that, generally, women have lower self-
esteem than men (Bleidorn et al., 2016), and self-esteem is correlated with confidence (Kay &
Shipman, 2014). Lower confidence can cause people to question their skill and ability to perform
a particular task, which can have a cascading effect on cognitive skills, such as attention,
memory, and judgment (Estes & Felker, 2012).
Additionally, a longitudinal study of women who were juggling work and family roles
showed that, as stress at work increased, the centrality of their employment decreased through a
diminished sense of mastery in the employee role (Norton, Gupta, Stephens, Martire, &
Townsend, 2005). “Role centrality” is the degree to which a role provides as person’s source of
identity or self-definition (Norton et al., 2005). The researchers theorized that women may have
gradually devalued the importance of their employee role as a means to cope with stressful work
experiences that threatened their feelings of competence, mastery, or control at work. On the
other hand, heightened rewards at work (e.g., seeing results of work, using skills and abilities)
bolstered women’s perceptions of mastery along with the centrality of the employee role.
According to the researchers, rewarding work experiences may have provided evidence to the
women of their competence at work, which led women to perceive work as more central to their
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identity. Other research has linked high job centrality to high life satisfaction which, in turn,
negatively related to turnover intentions (Amara, 2014).
The foregoing suggests that, while men and women both have a basic need to feel
competent, behaviors to support that need may need to be more tailored to account for gender
differences in perceived self-confidence. The high-quality exchange between leader and follower
that characterizes LMX is likely to positively relate to satisfaction of the need for competence.
High-quality LMX includes working closely with the leader, receiving encouragement and
support, having opportunities for independent work and career development, working on
challenging assignments, and benefitting from respectful constructive feedback (Graves &
Luciano, 2013). These opportunities and benefits are likely to contribute to the satisfaction of
followers’ need for competence.
Evidence of Gender Differences in Information-Processing that May Affect Perceived
Need-Satisfaction
Gender differences in information-processing also could influence perceptions of need-
satisfaction. If, for example, women detect more signals (verbal and nonverbal) in their
environments, interpret signals differently than men, or both, then women may have materially
different work experiences than men who sit in the very same offices working with the same
managers. A growing body of evidence suggests that this might be true (e.g., Annis & Merron,
2014; Case & Oetama-Paul, 2013; Dulebohn et al., 2016).
For example, researchers have found evidence of sex differences in brain anatomy and
function that may create real differences in what women and men perceive and pay attention to
(Cahill, 2005). While male and female brains are mostly alike, differences have been found in
structure and chemistry that may influence thinking patterns (Kay & Shipman, 2014; Kret & De
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Gelder, 2012; Stevens & Hamann, 2012; Whittle, Yücel, Yap, & Allen, 2011). Studies of sex
differences in brain functioning show greater limbic activation in females in response to
emotional stimuli, which may facilitate quicker and more accurate perceptions of emotion
(Whittle et al., 2011). Studies have shown that females have an advantage over males across the
lifespan in decoding nonverbal cues—especially when both auditory and visual cues are present
(Hall, 1978; Gulabovska & Leeson, 2014). Nonverbal decoding is the ability to correctly
interpret emotions conveyed through nonverbal behaviors and cues. Because nonverbal
communication is estimated to be as high as 93% of all communication, it constitutes a highly
significant part of interpersonal interactions (Gulabovska & Leeson, 2014).
Further, differences in amygdalae (the primitive fear center) functioning may make it
more likely for women to form strong emotional memories of negative events and ruminate
about them (Kay & Shipman, 2014; Lithari et al., 2010; Sawada et al., 2014). Studies have
shown that females have a more rapid and stronger response to emotional stimuli in general
(Sawada et al., 2014), and to negative stimuli, specifically (Lithari et al., 2010; Thompson &
Voyer, 2014). Also, women have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, which is the “worrywart
center” that recognizes errors and weighs options (Kay & Shipman, 2014, April). From an
evolutionary perspective, these differences were beneficial: “[W]omen seem to be superbly
equipped to scan the horizon for threats. Yet such qualities are a mixed blessing today” (Kay &
Shipman, 2014, April, p. 15; see Hall, 1978). Evidence of such sex differences in brain biology
potentially could mean that women detect more emotional stimuli and more threats in their work
environments, which could affect whether they perceive their work environment as satisfying or
thwarting their psychological needs.
These biological sex differences may at least partially explain studies reflecting that
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women detect more hostile and offensive messages in their work environments. For example, in
incivility studies, women detected significantly more uncivil behaviors than men while watching
identical video clips of a Senate hearing (Montgomery, Kane, & Vance, 2004); women lawyers
practicing in federal court reported far more incidents of incivility than male lawyers (Cortina et
al., 2002); the category of behavior that women define as offensive is broader than for men
(Cortina, Kabat-Farr, Leskinen, Huerta, & Magley, 2013); and women reported significantly
higher exposure to workplace incivility than men which, in turn, predicted turnover intentions
(Cortina et al., 2013).
While Cortina et al. (2002, 2013) attributed their results entirely to a motive by the
instigators to specifically target women for incivility, that is not the only possible explanation. In
those studies, there was no effort to evaluate whether women, in fact, were targets of uncivil
conduct more frequently than men, whether women identified more uncivil behaviors because
they have stronger detectors for subtle nonverbal and verbal cues than men, whether they
interpreted a broader range of conduct as uncivil or offensive compared to men, or all of the
above. Further, an explanation that rests solely on a view that women are targets of incivility
more frequently than men does not fit the results of the study by Montgomery et al. (2004) in
which women detected more incivility than men in identical video clips. This suggests that, even
when men and women experience the same conduct, women may interpret it as more offensive
or threatening.
Whether due to gender differences in brain functioning, perception, interpretation, or
something else, the foregoing research suggests that women experience stimuli that potentially
undermine all three basic needs more frequently than men do. The result may be that depleting
work environments have a more significant impact on women and make them less willing or able
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to cultivate the resources needed to remain resilient under job and home stress. A work
environment in which high-quality connections recommended by LMX prevail, women may
develop greater internal resources, which enhances engagement and reduces turnover intentions.
LMX’s communal dimension, which focuses on socio-emotional support (affect and loyalty),
may play a particularly significant role for need-satisfaction for women lawyers.
Hypotheses
This study analyzes whether the relationships between the communal dimension of LMX
(LMX-Affect and LMX-Loyalty) and the outcome variables (engagement and turnover
intentions) are mediated by SDT need-satisfaction, need-thwarting, or both. The study further
analyzes whether follower gender moderates the mediating role played by SDT need-satisfaction
or need-thwarting. The specific hypotheses are as follows (see Figure 1):
LMX-Affect, Need-Satisfaction, and Engagement
H1a: LMX-Affect is positively related to engagement.
H1b: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement will be mediated by SDT
Need-Satisfaction.
H1c: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement will be moderated by
follower gender.
H1d: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement that is mediated by SDT
Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender.
LMX-Affect, Need-Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions
H2a: LMX-Affect is positively related to turnover intentions.
H2b: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions will be mediated by
SDT Need-Satisfaction.
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H2c: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions will be moderated by
follower gender.
H2d: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions that is mediated by
SDT Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender.
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Satisfaction, and Engagement
H3a: LMX-Loyalty is positively related to engagement.
H3b: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement will be mediated by SDT
Need-Satisfaction.
H3c: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement will be moderated by
follower gender.
H3d: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement that is mediated by SDT
Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender.
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Satisfaction, and Turnover Intentions
H4a: LMX-Loyalty is negatively related to turnover intentions.
H4b: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions will be mediated by
SDT Need-Satisfaction.
H4c: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions will be moderated
by follower gender.
H4d: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions that is mediated by
SDT Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender.
LMX-Affect, Need-Thwarting, and Engagement
H5a: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement (H1a) will be mediated by
SDT Need-Thwarting.
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H5b: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement will be moderated by
follower gender.
H5c: The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement that is mediated by SDT
Need-Thwarting will be moderated by gender.
LMX-Affect, Need-Thwarting, and Turnover Intentions
H6a: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions (H2a) will be
mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting.
H6b: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions will be moderated by
follower gender.
H6c: The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions that is mediated by
SDT Need-Thwarting will be moderated by follower gender.
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Thwarting, and Engagement
H7a: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement (H3a) will be mediated by
SDT Need-Thwarting.
H7b: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement will be moderated by
follower gender.
H7c: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement that is mediated by SDT
Need-Thwarting will be moderated by gender.
LMX-Loyalty, Need-Thwarting, and Turnover Intentions
H8a: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions (H4a) will be
mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting.
H8b: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions will be moderated
by follower gender.
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H8c: The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions that is mediated by
SDT Need-Thwarting will be moderated by follower gender.
Method
This study was a cross-sectional design using an online survey tool (Qualtrics) to collect
data from lawyers who were currrently practicing law in private law firms or who had left only
recently. The study’s methods are described in detail below.
Participants and Procedures
Data for the study was collected using an anonymous survey; no identifying information
was requested. The survey included a statement of consent that informed participants of their
rights and ensured them of confidentiality. A total of 355 individuals responded to the survey but
only 240 participants’ survey responses were analyzed. As discussed below, 115 respondents
were excluded from the analysis because they did not answer any questions beyond the initial
consent and screening questions.
Participants targeted for this study were lawyers who currently or within the past two
years had practiced law at a private law firm for at least one full year. Participants were recruited
electronically through social media (i.e., Facebook and LinkedIn) and email based on the
author’s personal contacts. Participants also were recruited from a single law firm that agreed to
distribute the survey internally to all lawyers who were not at the partner level. For that group, a
law firm staff member distributed a link to the survey via the law firm email account to all 230
associates and counsel located in offices in the United States. The demographics for all
participants are set out below in the results section.
Measures for Predictor Variables
Leader-member exchange. LMX was measured using the Multidimensional Measure of
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Leader-Member Exchange (LMX-MDM; Liden & Maslyn, 1998). The LMX-MDM consists of
four subscales: Affect (3 items), Loyalty (3 items), Contribution (3 items), and Professional
Respect (3 items). Example items are: “I like my supervisor very much as a person” (Affect),
“My supervisor defends my decisions, even without complete knowledge of the issue in
question” (Loyalty), “I do not mind working my hardest for my supervisor” (Contribution), and
“I respect my supervisor’s knowledge and competence on the job” (Professional Respect)
(Collins et al., 2014; Liden & Maslyn, 1998). Participants completed an online survey using a 7-
point Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly disagree). Items were averaged within
the scales to create a composite score for each dimension. Items were coded such that higher
scores indicate higher levels of the dimension.
The study of LMX was somewhat complicated in this study by the fact that junior
lawyers rarely have only one supervisor, and partners and other senior lawyers typically have no
day-to-day supervisors. To address this issue, participants were asked to think about the
supervisor or firm leader with whom they have most frequently and directly involved in work-
related matters in the prior year.
SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting. As previously discussed, SDT needs can be
evaluated from the perspective of whether they have been satisfied or thwarted. Research has
shown that need-thwarting is not the same thing as a lack of need-satisfaction (Gunnell et al.,
2013). Research also has shown that measures of need-thwarting predict additional variance
beyond need-satisfaction when predicting ill-being (Gunnell et al., 2013). Therefore, both types
of measures were used here.
For both the need-satisfaction and need-thwarting measure, participants used a 7-point
Likert scale from “not at all true” (1) to “very true” (7). To reduce the number of variables in the
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tested models, overall indexes were calculated by averaging the responses across the three needs
and creating a single composite score for need-satisfaction and for need-thwarting. Use of
composite scores like this has been deemed appropriate in other studies (e.g., Gillet, Fouquereau,
Forest, Brunault, & Colombat, 2012; Van den Broeck et al., 2008).
Need-satisfaction. The Basic Need Satisfaction at Work Scale (BNSWS; Deci et al.,
2001) was used to measure need-satisfaction. The scale measures the degree to which
employees’ needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness are satisfied. Example questions
include, “At work, I feel a sense of choice and freedom in the things I undertake” (autonomy),
“At work, I feel capable at what I do” (competence), “I feel that the people I care about at work
also care about me” (relatedness).
Need-thwarting. To measure the experience of need-thwarting behaviors, I adapted the
Psychological Need Thwarting Scale (PNTS; Bartholomew et al., 2011) to the work setting. It
originally was designed to assess psychological need-thwarting felt by athletes but has been
adapted to a work context previously (e.g., Gillet et al., 2012). Participants were asked to
indicate how strongly they agreed with 12 items relating to autonomy, competence, and
relatedness. Example items include, “I feel prevented from making choices with regard to the
way I engage in work activity” (autonomy), “There are times when I am told things that make
me feel incompetent” (competence), and “I feel others can be dismissive of me” (relatedness).
Measures for Outcome Variables
Work engagement. The 17-item version of the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale
(UWES) was used to measure work engagement (Schaufeli, Salanova, Gonzalez-Roma, &
Bakker, 2002). An example item is, “At my work, I feel bursting with energy.” A 7-point Likert
scale was used, ranging from “never” (1) to “always” (7).
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Turnover intentions. Because obtaining actual turnover data from law firms is unlikely,
the study measured turnover intentions. Turnover intentions generally are a strong predictor of
actual turnover (Griffeth et al., 2000). Turnover intentions were assessed by using a five-item
scale developed in a prior LMX study (Wayne, Shore, & Liden, 1997). Example items are, “I am
seriously thinking about quitting my job” and “I think I will be working at [company name] five
years from now” (reversed scored). Participants were asked to respond based on a 7-point scale
with anchors of “strongly disagree” (1) and “strongly agree” (7).
Controls
The following control variables were selected for the study.
Age. Evidence reflects that turnover and turnover intentions decline with age for both
men and women (Griffeth et al., 2000; Miller & Wheeler, 1992). However, the rates differ in
that, as they age, women are more likely to remain on than job than men (Griffeth et al., 2000).
Further, prior research indicates that job changes are more likely to occur early in a persons’
working career. One possible explanation is that older workers may have adapted over time
psychologically and non-behaviorally to dissatisfying jobs by, for example, adjusting their
expectations to be more in line with what the job provides (Griffeth et al., 2000).
Tenure. Research indicates that job attitudes and attitudes about one’s manager may be
influenced by years of work experience, organizational tenure, and years working with a current
manager (Graves & Luciano, 2013). Therefore, a control was included for the length of time
lawyers had worked for their current organization.
Dual-income household. Whether lawyers feel able to leave may be tied, in part, to
whether they have a working spouse/partner. A notable difference between men and women
lawyers is the occupational status of their spouses. One study reflected that 77% of female
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lawyers have a spouse who works full-time outside the home while the same is true for only 24%
of male lawyers (Levit & Linder, 2010). Therefore, whether a lawyer comes from a dual-income
household was used as a control.
Leader/follower gender. The gender of the leader was analyzed and controlled for to
evaluate whether there is any association between the quality of the leader-follower relationship
and the gender of the leader compared to the gender follower.
Results
The purpose of this study was to examine whether gender differences in the way
psychological needs are satisfied are associated with greater benefits to women lawyers when
their leaders provide socio-emotional support. This study analyzed whether gender moderates the
mediating role that SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting plays between LMX’s communal
dimension (which includes the facets of affect and loyalty) and the work outcomes of
engagement and turnover. Below is a report of pre-analysis data cleaning procedures, descriptive
statistics for the sample, a reliability analysis of the study subscales, Pearson correlation
analyses, and bootstrap regression analyses.
Pre-Analysis Data Cleaning
As noted above, a total of 355 individuals responded to the survey. Prior to analysis, the
data were screened for missing responses. There were 115 respondents who did not answer any
questions beyond the initial consent and screening questions. These respondents were excluded
from the analysis. Among the remaining participants, missing responses to the instrument items
(i.e., for LMX, SDT need-satisfaction/need-thwarting, work engagement, and turnover intention)
were imputed using fully conditional specification imputation in SPSS where possible. All other
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missing data were pairwise excluded, meaning that each individual analysis utilized all of the
necessary available data.
Descriptive Statistics
A complete list of frequencies and percentages for all categorical study variables are
presented in Table 1. Means and standard deviations for the continuous study variables are
presented in Table 2. Most of the leaders were men (n = 155, 64.6%) who were over 50 years old
(n = 150, 62.5%). The type of leader position most frequently reported by participants was
practice group leader (n = 77, 32.1%) followed by partner or shareholder (n = 70, 29.2%).
Among participants who performed work with their leader, the largest proportion indicated they
performed 50% of their work with their leader (n = 54, 22.5%).
A near equal number of men and women participated (n = 121 or 50.4% were female),
and most indicated that their race was Caucasian (n = 156, 65.0%). The majority of participants
were in the 30-39 (n = 70, 29.2%) or 40-49 (n = 67, 27.9%) age range. Most were married or had
a partner (n = 146, 60.8%), and 42.1% of participants (n = 101) had a partner who worked full-
time. The largest proportion of participants reported an annual household income of $201,000-
$300,000 (n = 51, 21.3%). The largest proportion of participants indicated that they had 17-25
years of experience (n = 48, 20.0%), and the largest proportion of participants had been
employed by their firm for 1-3 years (n = 59, 24.6%). The most commonly reported position
among the participants was partner or shareholder (n = 80, 33.3%). Finally, the largest proportion
of participants indicated that their firm employed 201-500 lawyers (n = 53, 22.1%).
Reliability
To assess the reliability of the subscales used in this study, Cronbach’s alpha inter-item
reliability coefficients were computed. The results of the reliability analysis are presented in
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Table 3. Inter-item reliability was high for all subscales, with Cronbach’s alpha values ranging
from .84 to .95.
Pearson Correlations
A correlation matrix was constructed for the main variables of interest in the study (see
Table 4). LMX-Affect was significantly positively correlated with work engagement (r = .27, p <
.01) and significantly negatively correlated with turnover intentions (r = -.45, p < .01).
Therefore, Hypotheses 1a and 2a are supported.
LMX-Loyalty was significantly, positively correlated with work engagement (r = .17, p <
.01) and significantly negatively correlated with turnover intentions (r = -.35, p < .01).
Therefore, Hypotheses 3a and 4a are supported. Contrary to the study’s hypotheses, follower
gender did not have a significant relationship with any outcome variable. Possible reasons for
this result are discussed below in the Discussion section.
The study proposed no hypotheses relating to the relationship between the outcome
variables and LMX-Total, which is the composite score that averages all four dimensions of
LMX (affect, loyalty, contribution, and professional respect). It is interesting to note, however,
that LMX-Total was significantly positively correlated with engagement (r = .26, p < .001),
meaning that participants with higher LMX-Total scores tended to have higher engagement.
LMX-Total was significantly negatively correlated with turnover intentions (r = -.44, p < .001),
meaning that participants with higher LMX-Total scores tended to have lower turnover
intentions.
Bootstrap Regressions
To address the mediation and moderation hypotheses of the study, a series of
bootstrapped regressions were performed using the Hayes (2013) PROCESS macro in SPSS.
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Model 8 (moderated mediation) was the model type selected for the analysis. Indirect effects in
each regression were estimated based on 10,000 bootstrapped samples, as recommended by
Hayes (2013, p. 111). In each regression, the moderator variable was follower gender (1 =
“male” and 2 = “female”). Age, tenure, dual-income household (1 = “yes” and 0 = “no”), and
leader gender (1 = “male” and 2 = “female”) were included as control variables in each
regression.
Regression 1. In this regression, the outcome variable was engagement and the predictor
variable was LMX-Affect. The mediator variable in this regression was need-satisfaction. This
regression tested Hypothesis 1b (The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement will be
mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction), Hypothesis 1c (The relationship between LMX-Affect and
engagement will be moderated by follower gender), and Hypothesis 1d (The relationship
between LMX-Affect and engagement that is mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction will be
moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 1b was supported; Hypotheses 1c and 1d were not.
The results of the regression model predicting engagement are presented in Table 5. The
overall regression model was significant, F(8, 196) = 14.42, p < .001, R2 = .37. Need-satisfaction
was significantly positively related to engagement (B = 0.58, p < .001), indicating that
participants with higher need-satisfaction tended to have higher engagement.
The LMX-Affect x follower gender interaction was not significant (B = 0.03, p = .648),
indicating that follower gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-
Affect and engagement. Mediation was assessed by examining 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of
the conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs for males [0.04, 0.18] and females [0.09, 0.21] did
not contain zero, indicating significant mediating effects of need-satisfaction. The 95% CI for the
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index of moderated mediation contained zero [-0.04, 0.14], suggesting that the mediating effect
of need-satisfaction was not moderated by follower gender.
Regression 2. In this regression, the outcome variable was turnover intentions and the
predictor variable was LMX-Affect. The mediator variable in this regression was need-
satisfaction. This regression tested Hypothesis 2b (The relationship between LMX-Affect and
turnover intentions will be mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction), Hypothesis 2c (The relationship
between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions will be moderated by follower gender), and
Hypothesis 2d (The relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions that is mediated
by SDT Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 2b was supported;
Hypotheses 2c and 2d were not.
The results of the regression model predicting turnover intentions are presented in Table
6. The overall regression model was significant, F(8, 191) = 18.43, p < .001, R2 = .44. Need-
satisfaction was significantly negatively related to turnover intentions (B = -0.98, p < .001),
indicating that participants with higher need-satisfaction tended to have lower turnover
intentions. LMX-Affect was significantly negatively related to turnover intentions (B = -0.36, p
= .048) even after controlling for need-satisfaction in the regression model. This indicates that
participants who reported higher LMX-Affect tended to have lower turnover intentions and that
LMX-Affect explained additional variance in turnover intentions even after need-satisfaction
was taken into account. The LMX-Affect x follower gender interaction was not significant (B =
0.06, p = .576), indicating that follower gender did not significantly moderate the relationship
between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions. Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of
the conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs for males [-0.32, -0.05] and females [-0.39, -0.17]
did not contain zero, indicating significant mediating effects of need-satisfaction. The 95% CI
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for the index of moderated mediation contained zero [-0.26, 0.05], suggesting that the mediating
effect of need-satisfaction was not moderated by follower gender.
Regression 3. In this regression, the outcome variable was engagement and the predictor
variable was LMX-Loyalty. The mediator variable in this regression was need-satisfaction. This
regression tested Hypothesis 3b (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement will
be mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction), Hypothesis 3c (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty
and engagement will be moderated by follower gender), and Hypothesis 3d (The relationship
between LMX-Loyalty and engagement that is mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction will be
moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 3b was supported; Hypotheses 3c and 3d were not.
The results of the regression model predicting engagement are presented in Table 7. The
overall regression model was significant, F(8, 196) = 14.36, p < .001, R2 = .37. Need-satisfaction
was significantly positively related to engagement (B = 0.60, p < .001), indicating that
participants with higher need-satisfaction tended to have higher engagement. The LMX-Loyalty
x follower gender interaction was not significant (B = 0.04, p = .544), indicating that follower
gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement.
Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs
for males [0.02, 0.20] and females [0.08, 0.21] did not contain zero, indicating significant
mediating effects of need-satisfaction. The 95% CI for the index of moderated mediation
contained zero [-0.07, 0.15], suggesting that the mediating effect of need-satisfaction was not
moderated by follower gender.
Regression 4. In this regression, the outcome variable was turnover intentions and the
predictor variable was LMX-Loyalty. The mediator variable in this regression was need-
satisfaction. This regression tested Hypothesis 4b (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and
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turnover intentions will be mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction), Hypothesis 4c (The relationship
between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions will be moderated by follower gender), and
Hypothesis 4d (The relationship between high LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions that is
mediated by SDT Need-Satisfaction will be moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 4b was
supported; Hypotheses 4c and 4d were not.
The results of the regression model predicting turnover intentions are presented in Table
8. The overall regression model was significant, F(8, 191) = 17.32, p < .001, R2 = .42. Need-
satisfaction was significantly negatively related to turnover intentions (B = -1.03, p < .001),
indicating that participants with higher need-satisfaction tended to have lower turnover
intentions. The LMX-Loyalty x follower gender interaction was not significant (B = -0.13, p =
.297), indicating that follower gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between
LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions. Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the
conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs for males [-0.34, -0.03] and females [-0.42, -0.15] did
not contain zero, indicating significant mediating effects of need-satisfaction. The 95% CI for the
index of moderated mediation contained zero [-0.29, 0.09], suggesting that the mediating effect
of need-satisfaction was not moderated by follower gender.
Regression 5. In this regression, the outcome variable was engagement and the predictor
variable was LMX-Affect. The mediator variable in this regression was need-thwarting. This
regression tested Hypothesis 5a (The relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement [H1a]
will be mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting), Hypothesis 5b (The relationship between LMX-
Affect and engagement will be moderated by follower gender), and Hypothesis 5c (The
relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement that is mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting
will be moderated by gender). Hypothesis 5a was supported; Hypotheses 5b and 5c were not.
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The results of the regression model predicting engagement are presented in Table 9. The
overall regression model was significant, F(8, 196) = 5.32, p < .001, R2 = .18. Need-thwarting
was significantly negatively related to engagement (B = -0.17, p = .001), indicating that
participants with higher need-thwarting tended to have lower engagement. The LMX-Affect x
follower gender interaction was not significant (B = 0.07, p = .300), indicating that follower
gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-Affect and engagement.
Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs
for males [0.02, 0.12] and females [0.02, 0.12] did not contain zero, indicating significant
mediating effects of need-thwarting. The 95% CI for the index of moderated mediation contained
zero [-0.04, 0.05], suggesting that the mediating effect of need-thwarting was not moderated by
follower gender.
Regression 6. In this regression, the outcome variable was turnover intentions and the
predictor variable was LMX-Affect. The mediator variable in this regression was need-
thwarting. This regression tested Hypothesis 6a (The relationship between LMX-Affect and
turnover intentions [H2a] will be mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting), Hypothesis 6b (The
relationship between LMX-Affect and turnover intentions will be moderated by follower
gender), and Hypothesis 6c (The relationship between low LMX-Affect and turnover intentions
that is mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting will be moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 6a
was supported; Hypotheses 6b and 6c were not.
The results of the regression model predicting turnover intentions are presented in Table
10. The overall regression model was significant, F(8, 191) = 13.84, p < .001, R2 = .37. Need-
thwarting was significantly positively related to turnover intentions (B = 0.52, p < .001),
indicating that participants with higher need-thwarting tended to have higher turnover intentions.
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The LMX-Affect x follower gender interaction was not significant (B = -0.01, p = .931),
indicating that follower gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-
Affect and turnover intentions. Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the conditional
indirect effects. The 95% CIs for males [-0.32, -0.08] and females [-0.33, -0.12] did not contain
zero, indicating significant mediating effects of need-thwarting. The 95% CI for the index of
moderated mediation contained zero [-0.15, 0.10], suggesting that the mediating effect of need-
thwarting was not moderated by follower gender.
Regression 7. In this regression, the outcome variable was engagement and the predictor
variable was LMX-Loyalty. The mediator variable in this regression was need-thwarting. This
regression tested Hypothesis 7a (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement [H3a]
will be mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting), Hypothesis 7b (The relationship between LMX-
Loyalty and engagement will be moderated by follower gender), and Hypothesis 7c (The
relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement that is mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting
will be moderated by gender). Hypothesis 7a was supported; Hypotheses 7b and 7c were not.
The results of the regression model predicting engagement are presented in Table 11. The
overall regression model was significant, F(8, 196) = 4.89, p < .001, R2 = .17. Need-thwarting
was significantly negatively related to engagement (B = -0.20, p < .001), indicating that
participants with higher need-thwarting tended to have lower engagement. The LMX-Loyalty x
follower gender interaction was not significant (B = 0.09, p = .241), indicating that follower
gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-Loyalty and engagement.
Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs
for males [0.03, 0.14] and females [0.03, 0.12] did not contain zero, indicating significant
mediating effects of need-thwarting. The 95% CI for the index of moderated mediation contained
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zero [-0.07, 0.05], suggesting that the mediating effect of need-thwarting was not moderated by
follower gender.
Regression 8. In this regression, the outcome variable was turnover intentions and the
predictor variable was LMX-Loyalty. The mediator variable in this regression was need-
thwarting. This regression tested Hypothesis 8a (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and
turnover intentions [H4a] will be mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting), Hypothesis 8b (The
relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions will be moderated by follower
gender), and Hypothesis 8c (The relationship between LMX-Loyalty and turnover intentions that
is mediated by SDT Need-Thwarting will be moderated by follower gender). Hypothesis 8a was
supported; Hypotheses 8b and 8b were not.
The results of the regression model predicting turnover intentions are presented in Table
12. The overall regression model was significant, F(8, 191) = 13.07, p < .001, R2 = .35. Need-
thwarting was significantly positively related to turnover intentions (B = 0.58, p < .001),
indicating that participants with higher need-thwarting tended to have higher turnover intentions.
The LMX-Loyalty x follower gender interaction was not significant (B = -0.22, p = .084),
indicating that follower gender did not significantly moderate the relationship between LMX-
Loyalty and turnover intentions. Mediation was assessed by examining 95% CIs of the
conditional indirect effects. The 95% CIs for males [-0.36, -0.09] and females [-0.35, -0.12] did
not contain zero, indicating significant mediating effects of need-thwarting. The 95% CI for the
index of moderated mediation contained zero [-0.16, 0.14], suggesting that the mediating effect
of need-thwarting was not moderated by follower gender.
Discussion
The overarching goal for this study was to make progress in identifying factors that may
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contribute to the retention of women lawyers in private law firms. To do so, the study examined
whether leaders’ development of mutually affectionate relationships and displays of loyalty with
their followers would be associated with higher engagement and lower turnover intentions for
women lawyers compared to men lawyers due to gender differences in the way psychological
needs are satisfied. Specifically, the study analyzed whether SDT need-satisfaction and need-
thwarting mediated the relationships between LMX’s communal dimension (which includes the
facets of affect and loyalty) and the outcome variables of engagement and turnover and whether
those mediated relationships were moderated by gender. The study found that both facets of
LMX’s communal dimension were significantly related to engagement and turnover intentions in
the expected directions and that all relationships were mediated by SDT need-satisfaction and
need-thwarting. However, those mediated relationships between the two LMX facets and the
outcome variables were not moderated by gender. Thus, all hypotheses were supported except
for the hypotheses proposing gender as a moderator.
Large Effects of STD Need-Satisfaction and Need-Thwarting
The study’s most important findings relate to the role that the SDT needs played in
lawyers’ job attitudes. Compared to LMX, SDT need-satisfaction/thwarting had larger
relationships with the outcome variables. LMX-Total had only a small positive relationship with
engagement (r = .26, p < .01) and a medium negative relationship with turnover intentions (r = -
.44, p < .01). By contrast, SDT need-satisfaction had a large positive relationship with
engagement (r = .59, p < .01) and a large negative relationship with turnover intentions (r = -.58,
p < .01). Similarly, SDT need-thwarting had a medium negative relationship with engagement (r
= -.38, p < .01) and a large positive relationship with turnover intentions (r = .53, p < .01).
Further, as hypothesized, SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting mediated all
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relationships between the LMX facets and the outcome variables of engagement and turnover. In
fact, in all but one regression analysis (Regression 2), there no longer was a significant
relationship between LMX and the respective outcome variable once SDT need-satisfaction or
need-thwarting were included in the models—indicating full mediation by the SDT needs.
Further, the correlation analysis (see Table 4) indicates that SDT need-satisfaction (r = .37, p <
.01) and need-thwarting (r = - .39, p < .01) had only a medium relationship with LMX-Total. As
discussed below, from a practical perspective, the results raise questions as to whether it makes
sense to devise leader training based on LMX rather than focusing directly and primarily on how
law firm leaders can support followers’ SDT needs.
The findings here that SDT needs have important relationships with work-related
outcomes align with existing literature (e.g., Ryan & Deci, 2017; Van den Broeck et al., 2016).
For example, a recent meta-analysis of the antecedents and outcomes of SDT found that the three
needs correlated in expected directions with a wide variety of work attitudes and behaviors. The
meta-analysis included the outcome variables used in this study, finding that all three needs
significantly negatively correlated with turnover intentions (autonomy: r = -.31, competence: r =
-.05, relatedness: r = - .21) and positively correlated with engagement (autonomy: r = .54,
competence: r = .33, and relatedness: r = .40). The study also found that each SDT need had a
significant positive relationship with LMX (autonomy: r = .63, competence: r = .53, relatedness:
r = .59). Although the study here did not analyze relationships with each separate need as in the
meta-analysis, it appears that, here, the relationships between SDT needs and the outcome
variables generally were stronger and the relationship between SDT and LMX was weaker.
This study’s findings also align with other recent research that reflected that SDT is a
highly useful framework for exploring lawyer motivation and well-being. In a study of 6,000
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lawyers working in a wide variety of legal jobs, Krieger and Sheldon (2015) examined the
relationships between subjective well-being and SDT need-satisfaction. They also explored other
variables on which the legal profession often focuses as important sources of happiness—such as
income, prestigious jobs, and law school class rank. They found that, by far, satisfaction of the
three SDT needs had the strongest relationships with subjective well-being—and the
relationships were quite large (autonomy: r = .66, competence: r = .63, and relatedness: r = .65).
The current study together with Krieger and Sheldon’s (2015) study suggest that further SDT-
based research in the legal profession is very worthwhile and may help resolve some of the well-
being, motivation, and attrition problems.
Interpreting The Absence of Gender Effects
While the findings support further SDT-based research in the legal profession, the study
was not able to support a key hypothesis that gender differences in SDT needs could help explain
the high attrition of women lawyers in private law firms. The study was not able to detect any
gender effects. As the correlation matrix reflects, participants’ gender was not significantly
associated with any important variable in the study. Further, the study did not confirm any of the
hypotheses that gender would moderate the relationships between the LMX facets of LMX-
Affect and LMX-Loyalty and the outcome variables.
The result here was not consistent with Collins et al. (2014) who found that leaders’
socio-emotional support of followers aided job embeddedness, which improved job satisfaction
for women more than men. Specifically, they found that job embeddedness mediated the positive
relationship between LMX and job satisfaction and that gender moderated the mediated
relationship between LMX-Affect and LMX-Loyalty and job satisfaction. A number of possible
reasons might explain why gender effects were not detected here.
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First, the quality of the sample may have affected the results. As discussed below in the
limitations, this study did not have a representative and randomly selected sample. Further, the
study may have been under-powered. The gender differences detected in Collins et al. (2014)
were not large. Thus, even with a sample size here of over 200 participants, odds were relatively
low of detecting gender differences even if they actually existed.
Second, it is possible that the findings in Collins et al. (2014) were spurious and
incapable of replication. This seems unlikely, however, based on the amount of literature
showing, for example, that women generally seek and benefit more from socio-emotional
support.
Third, the different outcomes may somehow be attributable to the different variables used
in the two studies. Collins et al. (2014) examined LMX, job embeddedness, and job satisfaction;
here the variables were LMX, SDT needs, engagement, and turnover intention.
Fourth, it may be that the women lawyers in the present study differed in some
meaningful way from each other or from the women in the Collins et al. (2014) study. In Study 1
of the Collins et al. study, they collected data from employees (N = 193) from all aspects of a
single organization in the recreational products industry. Study 2 collected data from employed,
non-traditional students taking senior-level business management courses at a large southern
university (N = 146). Here, all participants were practicing lawyers who currently (or in the
recent past) worked in law firms. There is some evidence to suggest that female lawyers who
began practicing law in the 1970s are more masculine than younger female lawyers as a result of
their need to fit in to the male-dominated, masculine culture that they entered (Daicoff, 2006).
Some evidence also reflects that female litigators have higher testosterone and are more
aggressive than female non-litigators (Daicoff, 2006). Accordingly, there is a possibility that
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female lawyers differ in some relevant way than the women in the prior study. There also is a
possibility that differences in age, work experience, or other relevant factors of the female
lawyers who responded to the survey muted any gender effect.
Theoretical Implications
From a theoretical perspective, this study responded to the call by Van den Broeck and
colleagues (2016) to analyze both need-thwarting and need-satisfaction within the same study. It
is notable that turnover intent did not have a stronger relationship with need-thwarting (r = .53)
than with need-satisfaction (r = - .58). This result runs somewhat contrary to recent theorizing
that, compared to the positive perspective of need-satisfaction, the negative perspective of need-
thwarting is likely to have a stronger relationship with negative outcomes and, therefore, both
need-satisfaction and need-thwarting should be measured simultaneously in studies of SDT
needs (Bartholomew et al., 2011; Chen et al., 2015; Trépanier et al., 2015; Van den Broeck et al.,
2016).
The finding here that need-satisfaction and need-thwarting have equally strong
relationships with turnover intent does not suggest, however, that measuring both need constructs
is not worthwhile. It suggests only that, compared to need-satisfaction, need-thwarting will not
universally have a stronger relationship with negative outcomes. Additionally, because of the
statistical methods used here (i.e., need-satisfaction and need-thwarting were not included in the
regression models together), this study cannot provide any guidance on whether need-thwarting
explains any unique variance in outcomes after taking need-satisfaction into account. Moreover,
consistent with the rationale for analyzing both need constructs, work engagement had a much
stronger relationship with need-satisfaction (r = .59) than with need-thwarting (r = -.38), and
need-thwarting had a stronger relationship with turnover intentions (r = .53) than with work
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engagement (r = -.38). Accordingly, the argument that studies of basic needs should include both
need-satisfaction and need-thwarting measures should continue to be explored.
Further, this study extended the exploration of SDT need-satisfaction as a mediator of
relationships between LMX and work-related outcomes. Prior research by Graves and Luciano
(2013) examined whether high-quality LMX would facilitate SDT need-satisfaction, which
would positively relate to autonomous motivation which, in turn, would be positively associated
with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and vitality. They confirmed their
hypothesized model and also found that LMX and the three SDT needs had direct relationships
with the work-related outcomes. In the present study, autonomous motivation was not used as an
intervening variable and different outcome variables were measured. Additionally, I am not
aware of any prior research that has examined, as this study did, whether SDT need-thwarting
mediates the relationships between LMX and any outcomes of interest.
This study also complemented the study by Collins et al. (2014), which found that
gender moderated the mediating role that job embeddedness played in the relationship between
LMX’s communal dimension (affect and loyalty) and job satisfaction. In their limitations
section, Collins et al. (2014) cautioned that their results should be interpreted only with regard to
the measured variables. They recommended that future studies examine the moderating effect of
gender on other work-related outcomes. This study did so, and found that the gender effects
detected by Collins et al. (2014) might be limited to the circumstances in that study.
Practical Implications and Future Directions
An important impetus for this study was a desire to develop empirical support for a
leadership training intervention in the legal profession. My view was that, if the study showed
that high-quality LMX enhances lawyer engagement and reduces turnover intent and that need-
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satisfaction plays a mediating role, then the next step would be to develop and test a training
program to teach LMX skills to law firm leaders that satisfy SDT needs. The results of this
study, however, suggest that it will be more cost-effective to develop a leader training
intervention based directly on SDT rather than focusing on LMX skills. In this study, LMX was
proposed as a distal predictor of the outcome variables and SDT was proposed as a more
proximate predictor that would mediate the relationships between the LMX and the outcome
variables. While these hypotheses were confirmed, the SDT variables had stronger relationships
with the outcome variables than LMX. Accordingly, it would be more cost-effective to develop a
leader development intervention based directly on the proximal predictors (SDT) than focusing
on the distal predictor (LMX).
The proposal to focus directly on SDT and omitting LMX is bolstered by the fact that
there is little existing guidance on how to teach managers LMX. In fact, a major criticism of the
LMX theory is that it is entirely theoretical and fails to explain how, practically, leaders can
create high-quality exchanges in the workplace (Management Study Guide, 2012). There are few
(if any) LMX intervention studies. Given this very limited guidance on developing effective
LMX interventions, the question becomes whether, from a cost-benefit perspective, devoting
limited resources to developing one from scratch for law firm leaders makes sense.
Based on the findings in this study, the answer appears to be no. As noted above, SDT
needs (the proximal predictors) had large relationships with the study’s variables and accounted
for most of the variance in outcomes contributed by LMX (the distal predictor). Krieger and
Sheldon’s (2015) study provides further support for applying SDT in the legal profession.
Moreover, at least some limited work has been done on creating interventions to train managers
how to support SDT needs in the workplace. For example, a number of intervention studies have
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found that managers can be trained to use more autonomy-supportive behaviors (Su & Reeve,
2011). Further, to have the best chance of success, leader training programs should be strongly
grounded in a theoretically-based framework that is simple and well-defined (Conger, 2010).
SDT potentially meets these criteria. Trying to combine SDT with the LMX framework may
confuse participants and hinder their mastery with no added benefit. Finally, high-quality LMX
is characterized by mutual trust, respect, and obligation. Training leaders to support followers’
SDT needs will, in effect, teach them much about developing high-quality LMX.
Another practical implication arises from the study’s age-related findings. The results
suggest that older lawyers experience higher SDT need-satisfaction, lower need-thwarting, and
that the quality of interactions with their leaders may be less important to their work attitudes.
Specifically, age had a positive relationship with need-satisfaction (r = .30, p < .01), engagement
(r = .20, p < .01), and job satisfaction (r = .25, p < .01), and a negative relationship with need-
thwarting (r = - .21, p < .01), LMX-Affect (r = -.09, n.s.), LMX-Loyalty (r = -.14, p < .05),
LMX-Total (r = - .14, p < .05), and turnover intentions (r = -.14, n.s.). This provides some
support for the development of training that focuses particularly on how to support SDT needs of
younger lawyers. This focus aligns with law firm attrition data, which reflects that the highest
turnover occurs between younger lawyers in their third through fifth years (Levin & MacEwen,
2014). Teaching partners and other supervising lawyers to better support the SDT needs of more
junior lawyers might help change this pattern.
Future studies also should try to address challenges identified by prior research in
accurately measuring women’s work attitudes and fairly comparing them to men’s. A consistent
pattern has emerged in the literature—labeled “the paradox of the contented female worker”
(Davidson, 2014, p. 196)— of findings that women report job satisfaction as high or higher than
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men even when, objectively, they appear worse off (Hagan & Fiona, 2007; Magee, 2013; Zou,
2015). Similarly, some research has indicated that, compared to men, women do not report a
greater intent to leave their jobs or differ significantly in their reported job attitudes (Weisberg &
Kirschenbaum, 1993). But women, in fact, leave more frequently—by close to a two-to-one
female: male turnover ratio in a study conducted by Weisberg and Kirschenbaum (1993).
A number of explanations have been proposed as contributing to this paradox, including
women’s tendency to internalize work problems (Hagan & Kay, 2007) and to respond to anxiety
by referencing standards that counterbalance decreases in job satisfaction (e.g., affiliation with
coworkers; Magee, 2013), as well as gender differences in work orientation (Zou, 2015) and
sense of entitlement (Davidson, 2014).
For example, in a study of Canadian lawyers, Hagan and Kay (2007) sought to explain
why female lawyers generally report equal or greater levels of job satisfaction as male lawyers
while still leaving large law firms disproportionately more than male lawyers. In that study, they
found that female lawyers tended to internalize work problems whereas male lawyers tended to
externalize them. The result was that, while women experienced more symptoms of depression
stemming from work, they externally reported job satisfaction equally as high as men. Hagan and
Kay (2007) concluded that studies of work dissatisfaction in the legal practice and other types of
work that do not include measures of negative depressed affect are open to concerns about model
misspecification. While their recommendation was aimed at measures of job satisfaction, their
concern may apply to other measures that are influenced by attitudes and emotions, such as
turnover intent and work engagement. This is an area that needs further exploration.
Although this study did not find gender effects, there is as substantial basis in the
literature (some of which is discussed above) suggesting that continued efforts to discover
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gender differences that affect work attitudes, motivation, and behavior might be fruitful. This
area appears to have a gap in the literature that needs filling, with some scholars having criticized
the “paucity” of research on whether motivational processes operate differently between genders
(Vecchione et al., 2013, p. 124) and finding that “[v]ery little research has addressed gender
differences in outcomes as a function of motivation” (Vallerand, Fortier, & Guay, 1997, p.
1171). In a recent review of trends in motivational psychology, Vansteenkiste and Mouratidis
(2016) identified increased interest in the question of whether motivational dynamics apply
universally or instead depend on certain constraining factors like gender.
Limitations
This study had a number of notable limitations. First, the study did not have a
representative and randomly selected sample. While the use of bootstrapping (a non-parametric
procedure) eliminates the need to recruit a sample that is large enough to ensure the satisfaction
of the assumptions underlying parametric statistics, a concern with bootstrapping arises if the
sample does not adequately represent the population from which the sample was derived (Hayes,
2013). If the sample is not representative of the population, it will be hard to trust the results of
the bootstrapping process (Hayes, 2013). Here, the sample likely was not representative of the
population. This is so because, rather than using a random sampling procedure, the study relied
on a convenience sample. This undermines the external validity of the study (Crano, Brewer, &
Lac, 2015).
Second, the study created a composite score for need-satisfaction by averaging the three
need measures into an overall need-satisfaction score. The same was done for need-thwarting.
Van den Broeck et al. (2016) recently criticized this common practice as not theoretically or
empirically supported. In their view, the empirical evidence reflects that the three needs are
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correlated but not so strongly as to suggest they are interchangeable, cannot compensate for each
other in a composite score, and are unlikely to always co-occur. Further, the theoretical
conceptualization of the SDT needs is that they are separate, noncompensatory entities. They
contend that, while it is possible that use of a composite score is sometimes appropriate, more
empirical work needs to be done to support the practice.
Third, asking participants to rate only one leader on the LMX measure may have tainted
the results. Law firm associates often have multiple “leaders”—they often work with several
partners on different matters at the same time. To take this into account, the questionnaire asked
participants to “think of one individual whom you perceive as your immediate manager/leader.
For example, for associates, this person might be one of your primary supervising partners. For
partners, this might be a more senior partner, a Practice Group Leader, a Chairperson, etc.
This approach was taken rather than lengthening the survey by asking participants to
complete the LMX scale multiple times. But few lawyers worked solely or predominately with a
single leader, which undermines the accuracy of the results. The survey asked participants the
following question: “If this leader directly supervises your work, what percentage of your work
do you perform with this leader?” As Table 1 reflects, a total of 42.5% chose 50% or less, while
34.2% chose “not applicable.” Only 23% of the respondents performed 75-100% of their work
with the selected leader. While this approach was taken to try to avoid the attrition that might be
caused by a lengthy survey, it likely influenced the results. For associates, the effect might have
been that extreme leader behaviors (good or bad) were washed out in the averaging process,
diluting relationships with leader behavior measured by the LMX scale and the study’s other
variables.
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Fourth, as discussed above, prior research has suggested problems with comparing job
attitude scores between men and women due, for example, to women’s tendency to internalize
work problems rather than externalize them in expressions of dissatisfaction. While this study
focused on work engagement and turnover intent rather than job satisfaction, there is the
potential that those measures are vulnerable to similar effects. It would have been prudent,
therefore, to have included a measure of negative affect or depressive symptoms, as
recommended by Hagan and Kay (2007).
Fifth, the study relied entirely on self-report measures, which raised the risks associated
with common method bias in organizational settings (Donaldson & Grant-Vallone, 2002). To
help reduce this bias, the original research plan had been to split the survey into two parts and
deliver each a week or more apart. However, that plan turned out to be practically impossible.
Nonetheless, the potential for common method bias was reduced by a number of inherent
characteristics of the study and steps taken according to gudiance provided by Podsakoff,
Mackenzie, and Podsakoff (2012). First, a benefit of studying lawyers is that they are highly
educated and many have high verbal ability. According to Podsakoff et al. (2012), these qualities
mean that lawyers likely are able to provide accurate answers and are less likely to respond
stylistically and to be highly susceptible to method bias. Second, a cover story was included
about the reason for the study to help motivate participants to invest their attention and provide
accurate answers. Third, the survey tool was set so that particpants could not review prior
answers. This made it more difficult for participants to compare answers in an effort to make
them consistent at the expense of accuracy.
Sixth, this study had a cross-sectional design, which negates the possibility of causal
inferences and determinations about the direction of relationships. For example, lawyers with
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high need-satisfaction or work engagement might have been more inclined to rate their leaders
high on the LMX scales—irrespective of whether the leader actually contributed to that need-
satisfaction or engagement.
Conclusion
A primary goal of this study was to make progress in explaining gender differences in
law firm attrition to inform organizational interventions aimed at retaining women lawyers.
To do so, the study examined whether a leadership style characterized by mutual affection and
loyalty would better satisfy the psychological needs of women lawyers and, thus, enhance their
work engagement and reduce turnover intentions. Although the study did not detect any gender
effects, it did make findings that will be helpful to the general challenge of attrition in law firms.
In particular, SDT need-satisfaction and need-thwarting had strong relationships with work
engagement and turnover intent. Accordingly, designing interventions to train partners and other
law firm leaders to be supportive of followers’ psychological needs may prove highly beneficial.
Additionally, although gender effects were not detected here, prior empirical and
theoretical work provides a basis to believe that continuing a program of research aimed at
identifying gender differences in motivational patterns is warranted. If, in fact, gender
differences exist in psychological need-satisfaction, law firms and other organizations that
tolerate poor leadership will appear superficially gender-neutral but may have a disparate impact
on women in the form of, for example, lower work engagement and higher turnover. If that is the
case, law firms that adopt leadership styles to better satisfy the psychological needs of both men
and women may build more highly engaged workforces overall and also reduce the attrition of
women lawyers.
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Figure 1. Hypothesized model
76
Variable
Frequency
Percent
Leader gender
Male
155
64.6
Female
84
35.0
Missing/No response
1
0.4
Leader age
25-34 years old
5
2.1
35-42 years old
19
7.9
43-50 years old
65
27.1
Over 50 years old
150
62.5
Missing/No response
1
0.4
Leader position
Chairperson
16
6.7
Managing Partner or Managing Shareholder
56
23.3
Practice Group Leader
77
32.1
Partner or Shareholder
70
29.2
Counsel
10
4.2
Associate
4
1.7
Other
6
2.5
Missing/No response
1
0.4
Work performed with leader
About 25%
48
20.0
About 50%
54
22.5
About 75%
27
11.3
77
Nearly all
28
11.7
Not applicable
82
34.2
Missing/No response
1
0.4
Follower gender
Male
86
35.8
Female
121
50.4
Missing/No response
33
13.8
Race
African American
8
3.3
Asian/Pacific Islander
26
10.8
Hispanic
9
3.8
Native American
1
0.4
Caucasian
156
65.0
Other
7
2.9
Missing/No response
33
13.8
Years of experience
1-3 years
37
15.4
4-6 years
26
10.8
7-11 years
37
15.4
12-16 years
32
13.3
17-25 years
48
20.0
More than 25 years
27
11.3
Missing/No response
33
13.8
Years employed by current firm
Less than one year
24
10.0
1-3 years
59
24.6
4-6 years
33
13.8
7-11 years
47
19.6
78
12-16 years
18
7.5
17-25 years
18
7.5
More than 25 years
8
3.3
Missing/No response
33
13.8
Position at firm
Associate
77
32.1
Counsel
34
14.2
Partner or Shareholder
80
33.3
Other
11
4.6
Missing/No response
38
15.8
Age
29 years old or younger
25
10.4
30-39 years old
70
29.2
40-49 years old
67
27.9
50-59 years old
30
12.5
60 years and over
14
5.8
Missing/No response
34
14.2
Marital status
Single
45
18.8
Married/Domestic Partnership
146
60.8
Divorced
13
5.4
Other
2
0.8
Missing/No response
34
14.2
Partner employment
Not employed
35
14.6
Employed part-time
17
7.1
Employed full-time
101
42.1
Not applicable
52
21.7
79
Missing/No response
35
14.6
Annual household income
Less than $100,000
5
2.1
$101,000-$200,000
39
16.3
$201,000-$300,000
51
21.3
$301,000-$400,000
37
15.4
$401,000-$500,000
22
9.2
$501,000-$600,000
16
6.7
$601,000-$700,000
9
3.8
Over $700,000
25
10.4
Missing/No response
36
15.0
Lawyers employed by firm
Less than 50
40
16.7
51-200
19
7.9
201-500
53
22.1
501-750
43
17.9
Over 750
51
21.3
Missing/No response
34
14.2
80
Variable
Mean
Std. Deviation
LMX-Affect
5.32
1.57
LMX-Loyalty
5.46
1.45
LMX-Total (Communal + Agentic)
5.64
1.18
Need-Satisfaction
5.11
0.84
Need-Thwarting
2.99
1.22
Engagement
4.72
0.80
Turnover intentions
2.99
1.51
81
Variable
Number of Items
Cronbach’s Alpha
LMX-Affect
3
.93
LMX-Loyalty
3
.92
LMX-Total
12
.95
Need-Satisfaction
16
.87
Need-Thwarting
12
.93
Engagement
17
.92
Turnover intentions
4
.84
82
Variable
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
1. LMX-Affect
-
2. LMX-Loyalty
.74**
-
3. LMX-Total
.91**
.89**
-
4. Need-Satisfaction
.40**
.30**
.37**
-
5. Need-Thwarting
-.42**
-.34**
-.39**
-.67**
-
6. Engagement
.27**
.17**
.26**
.59**
-.38**
-
7. Turnover intentions
-.45**
-.35**
-.44**
-.58**
.53**
-.52**
-
8. Follower gender
.07
.13
.11
-.01
.06
-.01
.06
-
9. Age
-.09
-.14*
-.14*
.30**
-.21**
.20**
-.14
-.23**
-
10. Tenure
-.10
-.13
-.14*
.29**
-.11
.10
-.09
-.15*
.57**
-
11. Dual Income
.07
.01
.05
-.07
.13
-.02
.01
.03
.02
.05
-
12. Leader gender
-.07
-.09
-.07
.04
.02
-.04
.00
.06
-.05
-.02
.19**
83
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
2.03
0.64
3.16
.002
Need-satisfaction
0.58
0.07
8.65
< .001
LMX-Affect
-0.02
0.10
-0.20
.842
Follower gender
-0.13
0.34
-0.39
.695
LMX-Affect x follower gender
0.03
0.06
0.46
.648
Age
0.06
0.05
1.19
.234
Tenure
-0.06
0.03
-1.58
.115
Dual-income
0.05
0.10
0.48
.631
Leader gender
-0.13
0.10
-1.30
.194
84
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
9.32
1.18
7.88
< .001
Need-satisfaction
-0.98
0.12
-7.86
< .001
LMX-Affect
-0.36
0.18
-1.99
.048
Follower gender
-0.07
0.63
-0.12
.906
LMX-Affect x follower gender
0.06
0.11
0.56
.576
Age
-0.02
0.10
-0.22
.828
Tenure
0.07
0.06
1.06
.292
Dual-income
-0.02
0.18
-0.12
.901
Leader gender
0.00
0.18
-0.02
.985
85
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
9.32
1.18
7.88
< .001
Need-satisfaction
-0.98
0.12
-7.86
< .001
LMX-Affect
-0.36
0.18
-1.99
.048
Follower gender
-0.07
0.63
-0.12
.906
LMX-Affect x follower gender
0.06
0.11
0.56
.576
Age
-0.02
0.10
-0.22
.828
Tenure
0.07
0.06
1.06
.292
Dual-income
-0.02
0.18
-0.12
.901
Leader gender
0.00
0.18
-0.02
.985
86
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
7.85
1.26
6.24
< .001
Need-satisfaction
-1.03
0.12
-8.46
< .001
LMX-Loyalty
-0.04
0.19
-0.22
.826
Follower gender
0.98
0.69
1.42
.157
LMX-Loyalty x follower gender
-0.13
0.12
-1.05
.297
Age
-0.04
0.10
-0.41
.681
Tenure
0.09
0.07
1.31
.192
Dual-income
-0.07
0.18
-0.41
.684
Leader gender
0.03
0.19
0.16
.872
87
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
5.06
0.73
6.93
< .001
Need-thwarting
-0.17
0.05
-3.38
.001
LMX-Affect
-0.03
0.12
-0.22
.828
Follower gender
-0.32
0.38
-0.84
.404
LMX-Affect x follower gender
0.07
0.07
1.04
.300
Age
0.13
0.06
2.05
.042
Tenure
0.00
0.04
-0.03
.976
Dual-income
-0.01
0.11
-0.10
.921
Leader gender
-0.06
0.11
-0.52
.602
88
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
2.95
1.24
2.38
.018
Need-thwarting
0.52
0.09
5.86
< .001
LMX-Affect
-0.28
0.20
-1.41
.159
Follower gender
0.22
0.66
0.34
.736
LMX-Affect x follower gender
-0.01
0.12
-0.09
.931
Age
-0.07
0.10
-0.67
.504
Tenure
-0.02
0.07
-0.30
.765
Dual-income
-0.04
0.19
-0.20
.842
Leader gender
-0.07
0.19
-0.35
.727
89
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
5.45
0.78
6.99
< .001
Need-thwarting
-0.20
0.05
-4.09
< .001
LMX-Loyalty
-0.08
0.12
-0.64
.521
Follower gender
-0.41
0.42
-0.99
.325
LMX-Loyalty x follower gender
0.09
0.07
1.18
.241
Age
0.12
0.06
1.93
.055
Tenure
-0.01
0.04
-0.13
.893
Dual-income
0.03
0.11
0.31
.758
Leader gender
-0.07
0.12
-0.64
.525
90
Variable
B
S.E.
t
p
Constant
0.78
1.33
0.59
.559
Need-thwarting
0.58
0.09
6.67
< .001
LMX-Loyalty
0.09
0.20
0.45
.653
Follower gender
1.40
0.73
1.92
.056
LMX-Loyalty x follower gender
-0.22
0.13
-1.74
.084
Age
-0.08
0.11
-0.80
.425
Tenure
0.00
0.07
-0.06
.951
Dual-income
-0.13
0.19
-0.66
.508
Leader gender
-0.02
0.20
-0.09
.930
... Future research also should consider drawing from other strands of psychological and sociological theory to explore what other features of work environments might be more or less attractive to women-whether on a conscious or non-conscious level. Possibilities that might offer insight include, for example, need-fulfillment under self-determination theory (Brafford, 2017), person-environment fit theories (Cable & Edwards, 2004;Kristof-Brown, Zimmerman, & Johnson, 2005), and intrinsic values research (Kasser & Ryan, 1993Ryan & Deci, 2017). ...
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