Moderating Effect of Supervisory Role Definitions and Employee Impression Management on the Relationship between Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Individual Outcomes: A Conceptual Framework

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in research on Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) or discretionary behavior that is not directly or explicitly recognized by the organization, but in the aggregate contributes to organizational effectiveness. This increase can be attributed to the greater use of flatter and autonomous team-based structures in organizations and the consequent emphasis on individual initiative and cooperation. Examples of OCB include, helping co-workers who are behind in their work, showing pride when representing the organization in public, volunteering for overtime work when needed, and not complaining about minor inconveniences that are a normal part of organizational life. From the above examples it is clear that OCB can contribute to organizational effectiveness in many ways.

Most of the early research on OCB focused on its antecedents. More recently, increasing attention has been paid to the consequences of OCB. Findings from this line of research indicate that OCBs have important consequences for both individuals and the organization as a whole. This paper develops a conceptual framework for the moderating effects of supervisory role definitions and employee impression management on the relationship between OCB and individual outcomes. First, a distinction is made between two types of individual outcomes for OCB, economic exchange outcomes and social exchange outcomes. When there is a clear quidpro-quo relationship between work behavior and an outcome, and/or if the outcome can be easily converted into money, it can be considered as an economic exchange outcome. When the relationship between the work behavior and the outcome is more tenuous, the benefits of the outcomes are long term, and the value of the outcome is not easily converted into money, it can be considered as a social exchange outcome. Next, social exchange outcomes are proposed as the consequence of organizational citizenship behavior. Then, supervisory role definitions and employee impression management are proposed as moderators of the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and social exchange outcomes. An individual's interpretation of what constitutes the role obligations of a specific job can be called his or her role definition. Impression Management consists of behaviors that a person engages in with the intention of manipulating the perceptions of others about one-self. The paper argues that supervisor will be less likely to provide social exchange outcomes in return for employee OCB if they have broad job definitions and if they perceive these behaviors to be impression management.

ABSTRACT

This paper outlines a conceptual framework for understanding the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and individual outcomes. A distinction is made between two types of individual outcomes for work performance, economic exchange outcomes and social exchange outcomes. The paper argues that organizational citizenship behavior will result in supervisors providing social exchange outcomes for individuals. Supervisor's definition of the employee's role (role definition) and employee impression management are proposed as moderators of the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and social exchange outcomes. The paper argues that supervisors will be more likely to provide social exchange outcomes to individuals who engage in organizational citizenship behavior when they have narrow role definitions and when they do not perceive the employee's behavior as impression management.

INTRODUCTION

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in research on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) (Podaskoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) or behavior that contributes indirectly to the organization through the maintenance of the organization's social system (Organ, 1997). This increase can be attributed to the greater use of flatter and autonomous teambased structures in organizations and the consequent emphasis on individual initiative and cooperation (Lepine, Erez, & Johnson, 2002). …