Relationship-Specific (Dyadic) Humility: How Your Humility Predicts My Psychological Safety and Performance

Michal Lehmann*, Sarit Pery, Avraham N. Kluger, David R. Hekman, Bradley P. Owens, Thomas E. Malloy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

A leader’s expressed humility has a favorable influence on subordinates’ job satisfaction, creativity, and performance. However, we know little about how humility affects one’s same-level coworkers. Shifting focus away from leader’s humility, we suggest that coworker humility can also produce positive effects but has a relationship-specific component. Some coworker relationships are characterized by greater expression of humility than others. Specifically, we hypothesize that when a coworker expresses a uniquely high degree of humility to another coworker (i.e., relationship-specific humility), the latter coworker experiences a uniquely high level of psychological safety (i.e., relationship-specific psychological safety), which in turn leads that coworker to perform better (i.e., relationship-specific performance). Pilot Study 1 (N = 155, in 32 teams, yielding 823 relationship-specific ratings) showed that humility has a substantial relationshipspecific variance component, even in unacquainted teams. Pilot Study 2 (N = 180, in 39 teams, yielding 854 relationship-specific ratings) built on these results in a sample of moderately acquainted teams and showed that relationship-specific humility is associated with relationship-specific perceptions of performance. The Main Study (N = 133, in 32 well-acquainted work teams, yielding 555 relationship-specific ratings) tested our full model. It demonstrated that the association between relationship-specific humility and relationshipspecific performance is mediated by relationship-specific psychological safety.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)809-825
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Volume108
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The preparation of this article was supported by a Grant to Avraham N. Kluger from the Recanati Fund at the Hebrew University Business School The preparation of this article was supported by a Grant to Avraham N. Kluger from the Recanati Fund at the Hebrew University Business School

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • dyads
  • humility
  • performance
  • psychological safety
  • social relations modeling

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