Teven, J.J. (2007). Effects of supervisor social influence, nonverbal immediacy, and biological sex on subordinates’ perceptions of job satisfaction, liking, and supervisor credibility. Communication Quarterly, 55(2), pp. 155-177.

Research in this study focused on the role of nonverbal immediacy, biological sex and the social influence of supervisors and how these factors affected employee job satisfaction and supervisor credibility. This research is significant in organizational communication as it reveals the supervisor traits that can increase employee job satisfaction.

Previous research was reviewed and hypotheses developed based on those findings. This research was focused on how non-verbal immediacy, or lack thereof, and the use of either pro-social or antisocial behaviors on behalf of the supervisors affected employee perceptions of their job.

408 participants from a wide variety of organizations, including for-profit and non-profit service organizations, private small businesses, and large businesses, who watched a series of eight videos displaying scenes between a supervisor and a subordinate, in which the supervisor used a variety of non-verbal behaviors in communicating with the subordinate. After viewing the videos, participants individually completed a questionnaire about perceived supervisor credibility and subordinate outcomes.
Scenes in each video were manipulated based on the following factors:
· Supervisor immediacy was manipulated through either highly immediate or non-immediate behaviors through eye-contact, gestures, smiling, body position, movement, proximity and vocal expressiveness. Highly immediate supervisors portrayed all behaviors, while low or non-immediate supervisors portrayed none of the behaviors.
· Supervisor power was manipulated in the scenes through the portrayal of either pro-social (referent or expert) or antisocial (coercive and legitimate) power types. The basis of power was determined through how the supervisor interacted with the subordinate.
· Supervisor biological sex was manipulated through the presentation of the supervisor as male in half of the scenes and female in half of the scenes.

After all videos and questionnaires were completed, the results were analyzed to determine how supervisor nonverbal behaviors influence perceptions of employee job-satisfaction. According to the results of this study, subordinates’ perceived supervisors to be more credible when they displayed more non-verbal immediacy and pro-social interactive behaviors. Additionally, a non-immediate supervisor could be perceived as more credible through the utilization of pro-social power. Therefore, nonverbal immediacy as well as pro-social behaviors positively impacted subordinate perceptions of supervisor credibility. Anti-social behaviors, or utilizing coercive power, coupled with either high-immediacy or low-immediacy behaviors correlated with subordinate’s lower perceptions of supervisor competence, goodwill and trustworthiness. Overall, there was a consistent pattern showing that subordinates’ had more positive affect for supervisors who were non-verbally immediate and who displayed pro-social power behaviors.

This is significant in the study of organizational communication because employees who have higher levels of affect, or believe their supervisors to be competent with high levels of goodwill and trustworthiness, are more likely to work hard and produce better results.