Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Supervisory Downward Influence and Supervisor-Directed Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Supervisory Downward Influence and Supervisor-Directed Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Article excerpt


Downward influence tactics are supervisory actions intended to change the behavior of subordinates. Researchers have identified seven influence tactics commonly used by supervisors; friendliness, bargaining, reason, assertiveness, sanction, higher authority, and coalition. This paper uses Social Exchange Theory to develop a framework for relating different types of influence tactics used by supervisors to supervisor-directed organizational citizenship behavior. Specifically, the paper argues that the use of soft influence tactics (friendliness, bargaining, and reason) lead to the development of social exchange relationship with the supervisor represented by high quality leader-member exchange. High quality leader-member exchange in turn leads to supervisor-directed organizational citizenship behavior from the employee.

With the increase in competitive pressures and the emphasis on customer service, organizational citizenship behavior is becoming more and more important in organizations. Understanding how influence tactics affect supervisor-directed organizational citizenship behavior can provide guidelines for training supervisors in the use of appropriate influence tactics to increase organizational citizenship behavior in organizations.


An important part of managerial effectiveness is the ability to influence people and to motivate them to contribute beyond expectations (Bolino & Turnley, 2003). In fact, the ability to influence is the very essence of leadership (Kipnis, Schmidt, & Wilkinson, 1980). A number of researchers have looked at the influence behavior of managers and identified the different influence tactics used by them (Kipnis et al.; Yukl & Falbe, 1990). Research has also focused on how often different influence tactics are used with different targets and for various objectives (Ansari & Kapoor, 1987; Erez & Rim, 1982; Erez, Rim, & Keider, 1986; Kipnis et al.; Schmidt & Kipnis, 1984; Yukl & Falbe, 1990). More recently, there has been an interest in the effects of cultural dimensions on influence behavior (Ralston, Terpstra, Cunniff, & Gustafson, 1995; Rao & Hashimoto, 1996; Rao & Schmidt, 1995; Schmidt & Yeh, 1992). There is also a significant amount of research on the outcomes of using various influence tactics (Falbe & Yukl, 1992; Yukl, Kim, & Falbe, 1996; Yukl & Tracey, 1992). Outcomes studied include task commitment and manager effectiveness (Yukl & Tracey, 1992). An important potential outcome of influence attempts that has not received much research attention is Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB, Organ, 1988). This paper develops a conceptual framework for relating supervisory influence to OCB directed at the supervisor or supervisor-directed OCB (Masterson, Lewis, Goldman, & Taylor, 2000). Specifically, this paper argues that the use of certain influence tactics lead to social exchange relationships (Blau, 1964) between the supervisor (agent) and the employee (target), represented by high quality Leader-Member Exchange (LMX, Graen & Scandura, 1987). The high quality LMX in turn leads to supervisor-directed OCB.


Originally, Organ (1988) defined OCB as behavior that is not formally prescribed or officially rewarded by the organization, but at the same time, in the aggregate contributes to organizational effectiveness. More recently, Organ has broadened the definition of OCB as behavior that supports the social and psychological environment in which task performance takes place (Organ, 1997). In organizations there are at least three different beneficiaries of these behaviors; the organization itself, the immediate supervisor, and co-workers (Masterson et al. 2000; Settoon, Bennett, & Liden, 1996; Wayne, Shore & Liden, 1997; Williams & Anderson, 1991). This paper focuses on OCB that benefit the immediate supervisor or supervisor-directed OCB. …

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