Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Proactive Personality and Voice Behavior:the Influence of Voice Self-Efficacy and Delegation

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Proactive Personality and Voice Behavior:the Influence of Voice Self-Efficacy and Delegation

Article excerpt

We conceptualized voice self-efficacy as a mediator and perceived delegation as a contextual moderator for researching the effect of proactive personality on voice behavior in a Chinese cultural context. We collected data in 2 waves using a sample of 205 subordinate-supervisor dyads working at 2 finance companies in China. Our results showed that voice self-efficacy partially mediates the relationship between proactive personality and voice behavior, and that perceived delegation has a moderating role in this relationship. Implications for management theory and practice are discussed.

Keywords: proactive personality, voice behavior, voice self-efficacy, delegation.

In the last decade, a growing body of literature has been focused on employees' proactive personality. Proactive personality is defined as a disposition toward enacting, or changing, one's environment (Bateman & Crant, 1993). People with high proactive personality seek to improve their current circumstances and "identify opportunities and act on them, show initiative, take action, and persevere until meaningful changes occur" (Crant, 2000, p. 439). In contrast, people with low proactive personality passively adapt to work conditions and fail to identify opportunities (Zhang, Wang, & Shi, 2012). There is considerable evidence to indicate that proactive personality can contribute to organizational citizenship behavior (Li, Liang, & Crant, 2010), innovation (Parker, Williams, & Turner, 2006), and career success (Fuller & Marler, 2009).

Although a broad range of proactive behaviors have been examined in previous research, a fundamental organizational behavior construct that has often been overlooked is employees' voice behavior. For example, in their study on the relationship between proactive personality and proactive behavior Parker et al. (2006) focused only on proactive implementation of ideas and proactive problem solving. Voice behavior, which is defined as "proactively challenging the status quo and making constructive suggestions" (Van Dyne, Cummings, & McLean Parks, 1995, p. 266), is considered to be helpful for the early identification of serious problems and for creating improvement and innovative opportunities within organizations (e.g., Detert & Burris, 2007). Individuals with high proactive personality frequently offer suggestions to identify an opportunity or improve a situation. Thus, individuals whose proactive personality is high are more likely to engage in voice behavior (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998). Although it has been established that proactive personality can lead to proactive behavior, it is still not fully understand how and when proactive personality can translate into voice behavior.

In this study we make several contributions to the literature. First, we proposed that proactive personality would enhance employee psychological motivation state (such as promoting voice self-efficacy) and lead to voice behavior. This perspective could extend understanding of the mechanisms underlying the process influencing proactive personality. Second, we examined the moderating role of delegation on the relationship between proactive personality and voice behavior. Our aim was to identify the context that facilitates the effects of proactive personality. This perspective, together with our two-phase data collection design could eliminate the potential for common method variance, as well as consolidate the explanation power for the causal framework.

Theoretical Background and Hypotheses

Proactive Personality and Voice Behavior

There is accumulating evidence that the frequency of voice depends on a variety of dispositions (e.g., Big Five Personality traits), such that even within the same work context, some individuals may display significantly more voice than others. As individuals are required to allocate cognitive resources to express their ideas/opinions interpersonally, in this study, proactive personality was examined to capture the effects of individual attributes on voice behavior. …

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