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In response to calls to uncover the mechanisms whereby leadership influences subordinate outcomes, the present study
proposes and tests a path from leader-member exchange (LMX) to subordinate organizational citizenship behaviors
(OCBs) through work motivation as conceptualized by self-determination theory (SDT). We conducted a survey study
on a Romanian sample of 338 subordinates nested under 59 leaders from a large variety of organizational contexts. Our
findings at the within-group level offer limited support for the incremental validity of autonomous motivation and
amotivation, but suggest controlled motivation—and, through it, LMX—has a negative incremental contribution to both
OCB targeted at co-workers and OCB targeted at the organization. None of the paths was supported at group level.
Results thus suggest that leaders should be wary of the consequences of high LMX—despite its established overall
positive influence on OCB, LMX may also undermine OCB to the extent to which it enhances controlled motivation.
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