Essays on Individual Differences in Work Relationships

Qiu, Judy (2023) Essays on Individual Differences in Work Relationships. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School.


This dissertation examines how people perceive and navigate their work relationships, as a function of two key individual differences: gender and narcissism.

Chapter 1 investigates gender differences in how employees view and form trust towards others. I propose that due to socialization differences, women (vs. men) interpret trust more as feeling able to engage in self-disclosure (disclosure-based trust) with another party. Because self-disclosure entails considerable risk, female trustors are more sensitive to others’ benevolence when forming interpersonal trust. I find that these gender differences in trust conceptualization and development are associated with divergent responses to benevolent others.

Chapter 2 shows how gendered relational norms can implicate an important organizational practice: performance feedback. Many organizations provide employees with feedback based on social comparisons with others. I hypothesize and find that such relative feedback is less desirable and more emotionally costly for women, who experience greater anxiety about being evaluated on comparative terms. I further rule out performance expectations, performance, preferences for non-relative feedback, and general feedback anxiety as alternative mechanisms for the effect. Overall, these findings suggest that a widely used method of feedback inflicts disproportionally more anxiety on women.

Chapter 3 examines employees’ perceptions of their relationships with leaders to shed light on an organizational pattern: Narcissists tend to get ahead in organizations, despite not necessarily having better performance or qualifications. I propose a relational explanation wherein narcissistic employees believe they have better relationships with their supervisors than do their peers (LMXSC), even when there is no basis for such beliefs. As a result of their “relational grandiosity”, narcissistic subordinates engage in more relationship maintenance behaviors with their leaders and seek instrumental support from them, which in turn, may facilitate their advancement.

More Details

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2023 15:52
Date of first compliant deposit: 24 Jun 2023
Subjects: Theses
Managerial performance appraisal
Job evaluation
Personality (Psychology)
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 09:30

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