Across two studies, we explore the configurational effects of leader and follower dominance on dyadic relationship conflict and subsequent abusive supervision. Drawing from the central tenets of social dominance and interpersonal interaction theories, we propose that various leader-follower dominance combinations can incite abusive supervision via relationship conflict. We first suggest that when leaders and followers are both high on dominance, relationship conflict is likely to result. Furthermore, we suggest that when leaders and followers have incongruent dominance, relationship conflict is also more likely to occur. Finally, we propose that relationship conflict will mediate the relationship between these congruent and incongruent combinations and abusive supervision. Using polynomial regression and response surface analysis, we found support for our hypotheses, and reveal that both high- and low-dominance leaders are susceptible to conflict and subsequent abuse, depending on their followers' dominance. Our research contributes to the existing literature on antecedents of abusive supervision by integrating the role of dominance using configurational and relational perspectives.
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