Although there has been an increased interest in implicit leadership theories (ILTs) over the last two decades, only a handful of studies have examined the effects of ILT congruence among leader-follower dyads. Just as important, this research has largely suggested few effects for ILT congruence, focused exclusively on prototype congruence, examined a limited number of potential outcomes, and has failed to examine questions about ILT congruence utilizing the most appropriate statistical approaches. We examine the effects of ILT congruence, with an explicit focus on the possibility that congruence between supervisors and their employees on both prototypes and antiprototypes impacts the LMX developed within their dyads. We predict that LMX, in turn, affects employees' opportunities to engage in developmental activities. Using a sample of 74 matched pairs of supervisors and employees and polynomial regression and response surface methodology, we found that congruence between supervisors' and employees' prototypes positively influenced LMX. We also found limited evidence that LMX explained the effects of this congruence on employees' engagement in developmental activities. Although we found no evidence of antiprototype congruence effects, supervisors who rated antiprototypical traits as characteristic of leaders had lower LMX with their employees.
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