Do Managers Act Territorially of Their Employees?

8308869963_88da799f39_zWorking with the same employees over an extended period of time can lead managers to establish strong relationships with their employees, but do managers go so far as to act territorial of their employees? A recent article published in Journal of Managemententitled When Territoriality Meets Agency: An Examination of Employee Guarding as a Territorial Strategy,” from authors Timothy M. Gardner, Timothy P. Munyon, Peter W. Hom, and Rodger W. Griffeth finds that managers do engage in territorial behavior, using anticipatory defenses in particular to prevent employee defection. The abstract for the paper:

Do managers behave territorially toward their employees? Despite accumulating evidence demonstrating the prevalence of territoriality over nonagentic organizational resources, key questions remain regarding the extent to which Current Issue Coverpsychological ownership and territorial behavior occur within supervisor-subordinate relationships. To explore this question, we drew on territoriality and mate-guarding theory to ascertain how and why managers might utilize one form of territoriality, anticipatory defenses, toward their employees. In a four-study investigation, we find that managers consistently engage in two forms of anticipatory defense tactics, persuasion and nurturing, that are intended to defend ownership claims over their employees and limit employee defection. Our results demonstrate a positive relationship between psychological ownership of subordinates and employee guarding directed toward those subordinates. We also find that managers engage in employee guarding more when they anticipate an employee is likely to defect, and they adapt guarding tactics in response to the subordinate’s general mental ability. Collectively, our results identify the motivations and conditions under which supervisors act territorially toward agentic subordinates, contributing to theory in territoriality and downward social influence.

You can read “When Territoriality Meets Agency: An Examination of Employee Guarding as a Territorial Strategy” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know about the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

This entry was posted in Employees, Management, Relationships and tagged , , , , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, Management INK

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 900 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, and Washington DC, our publishing programme includes more than 560 journals and over 800 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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