An Investigation of Leader Member Exchange Effects on Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Malaysia

Article excerpt

Past literatures have found that subordinates were not passive, but rather proactive participants who would try their best to change their work environment. Literature on manager-employee attitudinal congruence has generally found that attitude similarities between managers and employees are linked positively to job-related outcomes. This research attempts to analyze the relationship between leader-member exchange (LMX) and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) among executives and managers employed in the East Malaysian manufacturing organizations. The manufacturing companies chosen in this study included both local and multinational companies covering various sectors. In addition to the direct effect of LMX on OCB, this study has also explored the moderating effect of the supervisor's gender on the above relationship. The findings suggested that LMX has significant impact on citizenship behavior performed by subordinates but the gender of the supervisor did not appear to moderate the relationships between LMX and OCB. Implications of the findings were discussed further.

Management behavior is an important area of study as it can provide assistance or guidelines to management on the appropriate method of developing the most effective workforce. The ability of supervisors to influence subordinates within organizations has become a requisite competency and may be critical to job-related success for managers. Lord and Brown (2001) revealed that leadership works best when there is a match between the identity level of followers and the focus of leaders, as people of similar behavior tend to be attracted to each other. Past research on manager-employee attitudinal congruence has generally found that attitude similarities between managers and employees are positively linked to job-related outcomes. Supervisor-subordinate interactions and unequal power distributions are some pervasive features of modern organizations. Understanding these effects, by and large, will offer insights into employees' behaviors. The major concern of organizations today is to establish effective leadership management, and the core element in developing effective leadership management is the quality level of exchange relationship between superiors and subordinates.

The leader-member exchange (LMX) and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) have become the foundation of a new era of managing a diversified workforce in the advent of a globalized world. It is believed that understanding the process paths by which LMX relationships impact important performance behaviors, (for example, OCB) are crucial to advancing leadership in the organization. Sarawak, a state located in East Malaysia, has gone through rapid transformation from the primary sector, such as agriculture and mining, to a highly skilled manufacturing sector in the 1990s. Thus, understanding the relationship between supervisors and subordinates would serve as a platform for supervisors to assist them in developing the OCB culture among their subordinates through favorable LMX or social exchange relationships between superiors and their subordinates.

The major objective of this particular research is to promote awareness among the superiors with regards to the importance of understanding and practicing LMX as an effective medium of interaction between superiors and subordinates as well as fostering OCB among subordinates. The major concern of this research is to determine whether the LMX theory and OCB are applicable in the manufacturing companies located in Sarawak. This research attempts to answer the following questions:

* Does Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) affect Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) among employees?

* Does gender of the supervisors moderate the relationship between LMX and OCB?

Literature Review

Leader-Member Exchange (LMX)

LMX theory was first illustrated in the works of Dansereau, Graen, and Haga (1975) 30 years ago, and has recently been gaining momentum. …