Supportive and Non-Controlling Supervision scale


This measure, (Supportive and Non-Controlling Supervision) developed by Oldham and Cummings (1996), uses 12 items to describe employee perceptions of the extent to which they receive super­visory support (eight items) and are subject to a non-controlling supervisory approach (four items). When supervisors are supportive, they show concern for employees’ feelings and needs; encourage them to voice their own concerns; provide positive, chiefly informational feedback; and facilitate employee skill development (Deci, Connell, & Ryan, 1989). When super­ visors are controlling, they closely monitor employee behavior; make de­cisions without employee involvement; provide feedback in a controlling manner; and generally, pressure employees to think, feel, or behave in pre­ scribed ways (Oldham & Cummings, 1996).


Coefficient alpha for supportive supervision was .86. Alpha for non­ controlling supervision was .67 (Oldham & Cummings, 1996).


Exploratory factor analysis of the 12 items found two factors. The first factor was composed of the eight items that reflected supportive supervision. The second factor was composed of the remaining four items and reflected non­ controlling supervision (Oldham & Cummings, 1996). Non-controlling supervision correlated positively with job complexity, employee creativity, and employee performance ratings. Supportive supervision correlated posi­ tively with job complexity, non-controlling supervision, and employee per­ formance ratings. Supportive supervision correlated negatively with inten­ tions to quit (Oldham & Cummings, 1996).


Oldham, G. R., & Cummings, A. (1996). Employee creativity: Personal and contextual factors at work. Academy of Management Journal, 39(3), 607- 634. © 1996 by Academy of Management. Items were taken from the appendix, p. 634. Reproduced with permission of Academy of Management in the format textbook via Copyright Clearance Center.


Responses are obtained using a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree.

Supportive supervision items:

  1. My supervisor helps me solve work-related problems
  2. My supervisor encourages me to develop new skills
  3. My supervisor keeps informed about how employees think and feel about things
  4. My supervisor encourages employees to participate in important decisions
  5. My supervisor praises good work
  6. My supervisor encourages employees to speak up when they disagree with a decision
  7. My supervisor refuses to explain his or her actions (R)
  8. My supervisor rewards me for good performance

Non-controlling supervision items:

  1. My supervisor always seems to be around checking on my work (R)
  2. My supervisor tells me what shall be done and how it shall be done (R)
  3. My supervisor never gives me a chance to make important decisions on my own (R)
  4. My supervisor leaves it up to me to decide how to go about doing my job

Items denoted with (R) are reverse scored.