Document Type


First Faculty Advisor

Ron Deluga


Workplace Stress; Leader Member Exchange Theory

Rights Management



This Honors Thesis intends to examine the relationship between the Leader Member Exchange Theory and workplace stress faced by employees. In particular, this theory is applied to two significant and prevalent sources of stress encountered by a strong majority of employees including interpersonal workplace relationships and overwhelming workload. This thesis applies LMX as a main cause of these two areas of stress by explaining how high-quality vs low-quality exchanges yield different outcomes on both an individual and organizational level. One major focus of this study is diving into the negative effects of the leader-member relationship faced by the out-group. Lastly, this thesis aims to shed light onto a limited area of research by examining the effects of a moderate LMX relationship. It is suggested that this may be the most optimal LMX range and may bring advantageous consequences on all sides. In terms of methodology, a survey was distributed to over 100 participants in which two main results can be concluded. First, a low-quality exchange is the least effective on both the individual and organizational level. Second, on average, medium LMX relationships are connected to lower degrees of workplace stress. Additional research is necessary to further dive into what degree medium LMX may be more effective than high LMX. In the end, this thesis contributes additional research and data on the effects that LMX theory has on workplace stress to provide employers with concrete solutions to take an active approach on fostering positive and stress-reducing work environments to contribute to both organizational productivity as well as employee well-being.

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