Effect of ingratiation on supervisor satisfaction through helping behavior: A moderated mediation model

Muhammad Ali Asadullah, Sajid Haider, Carmen De Pablos Heredero, Mariam Musaddiq


Purpose: This research intends to investigate the mediating role of helping behavior in relationship between employee ingratiation and supervisor satisfaction across high and low levels of ingratiation behavior, and answers the questions: how, when and why ingratiation is effective.

Design/methodology/approach: Data were collected through questionnaire surveys in hotel industry, and structural equation modelling was applied to analyze these data by using hypothetical-deductive approach.

Findings: The results indicate that helping behavior is an important mediator of the relationship between ingratiation and supervisor satisfaction. Moreover, ingratiation is also a strong moderator of the relationship between helping behavior and supervisor satisfaction. This research concludes that employee ingratiation positively predicts helping behaviors, and consequently the supervisor satisfaction.

Research limitations/implications: This study is not experimental in nature, but a cross-sectional design has been followed. Future research can focus on an experimental design by incorporating a time element, and the design and analysis should be nested since this study did not use multilevel analysis. Moreover, this study used only two forms of ingratiation for measuring employee ingratiation behavior. We suggest researchers to consider all four dimensions of ingratiation by using some distinct scales.

Practical implications: This research explains mechanisms underlying supervisor-subordinate relationship, and contributes to organizational behavior research by answering the question; 'when and how ingratiation could be effective?' The findings of this study have important managerial implications, and provide future lines of research. 

Social implications: The findings of this research demonstrate that ingratiation is an important tool for satisfying superiors if employees exhibit helping behaviors towards coworkers and supervisors. Particularly, new employees can benefit from ingratiation to socialize within work organizations. Moreover, existing employees can use ingratiation to establish as well as maintain better social relations with supervisors and colleagues.

Originality/value: Previous research emphasized more on customer-directed employee ingratiation but this study offers its contribution by emphasizing coworker as well as supervisor directed employee ingratiation. Moreover, this study measures effectiveness of ingratiation in terms of employee task performance representing supervisor satisfaction. 


Ingratiation, Helping Behavior, Supervisor Satisfaction, Mediation, Moderation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/ic.759

Licencia de Creative Commons 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intangible Capital, 2004-2020

Online ISSN: 1697-9818; Print ISSN: 2014-3214; DL: B-33375-2004

Publisher: OmniaScience