When Leaders Fail to “Walk the Talk”: Supervisor Undermining and Perceptions of Leader Hypocrisy

Rebecca L. Greenbaum, Mary Bardes Mawritz, Ronald F. Piccolo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


This research examines a condition under which supervisor undermining is related to perceptions of leader hypocrisy that then lead to employee turnover intentions. Drawing on behavioral integrity theory and arguments from the social cognition literature, the authors argue that subordinates compare supervisor undermining to an interpersonal justice expectation, as a salient social cue, to draw conclusions regarding leader hypocrisy. In turn, the cognitive conclusion that the leader is indeed a hypocrite generates uncertainty that subordinates are motivated to manage by increasing turnover intentions. The authors examine perceptions of leader hypocrisy as the mediator of their proposed theoretical model while controlling for psychological contract breach and trust in supervisor. Results from a scenario-based experiment (N = 202) and a survey-based study (N = 312) provide general support for the authors’ hypotheses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)929-956
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 15 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Finance
  • Strategy and Management


  • hypocrisy
  • integrity
  • leadership
  • organizational justice
  • workplace deviance


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