Valle publishes article in Journal of Social Psychology

Matthew Valle, Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Business and Professor of Management, and colleagues have published the results of their empirical research on the relationship between abusive supervision and organizational deviance.

Matthew Valle, Martha and Spencer Love Professor of Business and Professor of Management, and colleagues Micki Kacmar of Texas  State University, Suzanne Zivnuska of California State University, and Troy Harting of the United States Air Force Academy have published an article that explores the mediating effect of moral disengagement in the relationship between abusive supervision and organizational deviance. 

The article also explores the moderating effect of the leader-member exchange relationship on the abusive supervision-organizational deviance relationship. The article, titled “Abusive supervision, leader-member exchange, and moral disengagement: A moderated-mediation model of organizational deviance,” was published recently in the Journal of Social Psychology —

This publication continues a stream of research into the causes and consequences of abusive supervision. In this research, the team found that one way employees who have been subjected to abusive behaviors by their supervisor might seek to restore a balanced social exchange relationship is by engaging in workplace deviance.

They found that abused subodinates sometimes cognitively disengage the act (organizational deviance) from their personal conceptions of morality (i.e., to downplay the harm caused by organizational deviance), and in doing so, give themselves permission to act against their moral beliefs. Interestingly, the team also found that when the relationship between leader and subordinate was very good, abusive supervision actually increased the likelihood that the subordinate would engage in deviant behaviors. 

This latest work is one of over 90 articles that Valle has published in various outlets including Human Relations, the Journal of Business Ethics, the Journal of Managerial PsychologyCareer Development InternationalEducational and Psychological Measurement and the Journal of Management Inquiry.  


This paper draws from social exchange theory and social cognitive theory to explore moral disengagement as a potential mediator of the relationship between abusive supervision and organizational deviance. We also explore the moderating effect of leader-member exchange (LMX) on this mediated
relationship. Results indicate that employees with abusive supervisors engaged in moral disengagement strategies and subsequently in organizational deviance behaviors. Additionally, this relationship was stronger for those higher in LMX. Important implications for management research and practice are discussed.