Perceived supervisor support is widely studied in terms of its potential benefits to organizations. This paper, in contrast, investigates the effect of perceived supervisor support on employees’ unethical behavior, specifically unethical pro-supervisor behavior, which can be detrimental to the organization. Through three experimental studies, we test the relationship between perceived supervisor support and employee unethical pro-supervisor behavior with a mediation mechanism (employee reciprocal obligation) and a boundary condition (employee socioemotional orientation). We find that employee reciprocal obligation fully mediates the effect of perceived supervisor support on employees’ unethical pro-supervisor behavior, and that such effect is stronger for those with higher socioemotional orientation. Taken together, the current study highlights the “dark side” of perceived supervisor support in that it can lead to unethical behaviors that are costly to the organizations.

AOM Annual Meeting Proceedings 2019, AOM Boston 2019
Academy of Management Proceedings
Incae Business School

Tzini, K, Li, Shike, & Jain, Kriti. (2019). When does Supervisor Support Backfire. In Academy of Management Proceedings (Vol. 2019). doi:10.5465/AMBPP.2019.10639abstract