Nationality, Cultural Values and the Relative Importance of Task Performance and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour in Performance Evaluation Decisions

Article excerpt

This study examines managers 'evaluations of overall job performance related to cultural orientations and nationality. Good citizenry enhances the common social welfare of a work unit, whereas task performance emphasizes core activities associated with task completion. Using data collected from both Chinese and Canadian respondents, we found collectivism related positively with good citizenry, which is beneficial to other citizens and organizations. Chinese respondents, as compared with their Canadian counterparts, gave more importance to good citizenship behavior, thinking that it would be beneficial to everyone. The behavioral differences between the nationalities remained strong even after controlling for differences in collectivism and power distance. The implications of this phenomenon into the future research and practices are discussed in this paper.

I. Introduction

Many modern organizations operate in a global context, and even domestic businesses face intensive competition from abroad. To function efficiently and smoothly in the era of globalization, it is important, more than ever before, to understand national and cultural differences in employees' beliefs, values and their behaviours. Indeed, extensive research has established that persons' self-concept, cognition, well-being, relationships with others and their behaviours are culturally bonded (Hofstede, 1980; Oyserman, Coon, and Kemmelmeier, 2002). At the same time, organizations are emphasizing increasingly on team structure, customer services, streamlined workforce, individual initiative and accountability. The scholarly interest in organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine and Bachrach, 2000) echoes this movement in organizational focus.

The OCB comprises of a cluster of employee behaviours that fall outside of employees' formal job descriptions, but make important contributions to the success of an organization. Examples of OCB include interpersonal facilitation, putting extra effort into one's own work and taking initiatives to improve the workplace. Organ (1988) defined OCB as "individual behaviour that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization". A considerable number of studies have investigated personality, employee attitudes, leadership, job and organizational characteristics as antecedents of OCB and its impact on group and organizational outcomes (Podsakoff et al., 2000). Additionally, past research, has examined the role of OCB versus task performance in employee performance evaluations (Johnson, 2001; Motowidlo and Van Scotter, 1994). These studies have shown that task performance and OCB contribute almost equally to managers' overall performance evaluations (Podsakoffet al, 2000).

However, this research has been done in North America and cross-cultural research on OCB is still in its infancy (Farh, Hackett, and Chen, 2009). It is necessary for the advancement of the theory and practice of performance management in a global economy to assess the cross-cultural generalization of these findings. In the current study, we assess whether Chinese managers, as compared to their Canadian counterparts, place different importance on task performance versus OCB in their evaluations of overall job performance.

2. Literature Review and Hypotheses

2.1. Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Contrast to task behaviours, which refer to the successful completion of core job task requirements, OCB contributes to organizational effectiveness through the psychological, social and organizational work processes (Borman, and Motowidlo, 1993; Organ, 1997). Coleman and Borman (2000) show that several different concepts of OCB introduced in scholarly literature could be represented by a three-factor model consisting of: OCB-interpersonal (behaviour benefiting individual organization members, such as altruism, cooperation, interpersonal facilitation); OCB-organizational (behaviour benefiting the organization, such as following rules and procedures, allegiance, loyalty, commitment); and OCB-task conscientiousness (behaviour benefiting the job or task, such as extra effort and job dedication). …