Forgiveness in leader–member exchange relationships: Mediating and moderating mechanisms

Geoffrey Thomas, olga epitropaki, alison legood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Guided by the relationship science literature, we developed and tested a model of forgiveness in leader–member exchange (LMX) relationships across three independent studies. Study 1 utilized a sample of 254 employees from eight organizations located in four countries and showed that higher quality LMX led to higher job satisfaction and subjective well-being via greater follower’s forgiveness and subsequent follower’s relational efforts. Building on Study 1, Study 2 (N = 95) adopted an experimental scenario design in order to examine the association between LMX and forgiveness as well as the moderating role of forgiveness climate. LMX was found to positively affect forgiveness, and forgiveness climate was found to be a significant moderator. Study 3 was a time-lagged study that utilized a sample of 262 working professionals in the United States and provided support for our hypothesized model. Overall, our three studies cast light on forgiveness processes in LMX relationships and show that forgiveness can be used as a relationship maintenance strategy that yields positive outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI:10.1111/joop.12274
Pages (from-to)498
Number of pages534
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Early online date15 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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