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Bankers closing idiosyncratic deals: Implications for organisational cynicism

Abstract To better meet flexibility demands and increase person–job fit, organisations might offer their employees the opportunity to negotiate task‐related arrangements, namely, idiosyncratic deals, referred to as “i‐deals.” However, not every employee who requests an i‐deal is successful in their negotiations. Thus, this study aims to further the knowledge of potential shortcomings of task‐related i‐deals and the role of supervisors in determining them. Drawing on social exchange theory, we hypothesise that low‐quality supervisor–employee relationships (i.e., leader–member exchange) are more likely to result in unsuccessful task‐related i‐deal negotiations, which consequently might provoke increased organisational cynicism. We analysed three waves of data from 202 Swiss bankers who had requested task‐related i‐deals within the investigated business cycle. The results supported our hypothesis. Our findings highlight the role of supervisors in reducing the potential costs of using task‐related i‐deals as employee‐initiated job design practices.

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