Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

I Respect You and I Help You : Links between Positive Relationships at Work and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Academic journal article Journal of Positive Management

I Respect You and I Help You : Links between Positive Relationships at Work and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Since the beginning of 21st century various positive organisational phenomena have been receiving the increasing interest of both researchers and business practitioners. The majority of contributors (including those in the field of positive relationships at work, PRW) are integrated within Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) community. However, the significant influence on this positive 82 * approach development is made also by the researchers focused on the phenomena such as organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB), positive organisational behaviour (POB) or corporate social responsibility (CSR).

In this article we will focus on the relationship between two variables: PRW and OCB. The article is based on the data collected within a bigger research project elaborating a concept of Positive Organisational Potential (POP). POP is defined as such configuration of company resources that stimulates the positive organisational culture and climate which in turn trigger development supporting employee behaviours (Gliñska-Newes, 2010). Both PRW and OCB are considered among the key areas of POP, while PRW is assumed to be the antecedent of OCB. The article is aimed to analyse this cause-effect relationship.

2. Positive relationships at work

Relationships are the essence of the organisation as organisations functioning is based on human cooperation (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005; Dutton and Heaphy, 2003). Organisations are formed by individuals who must interact in the purpose of getting the job done. These interactions and episodes of mutual exchange are building blocks that create a relationship in the long term. On the other hand, interpersonal relationships inside and outside an organisation make the human activity meaningful. They serve as a prism through which employees perceive, judge and experience their work (Blustein, 2011). Thus, the work experience is strongly shaped by relationships with others and co-workers affect what one thinks, feels and does (Kahn, 2007: 189). In their relationships people try to understand and give meaning to each other. They need this to steer their activities aimed at task accomplishment (Makin et ah, 2000: 8). As a result many organisational facets are influenced by employee relationships, such as decision making, communication and the information flow or HR practices (Kram and Isabella, 1985; Rawlins, 1992).

The ties that bind co-workers together may vary from instrumental to friendship ties (Ibarra, 1993; LePine et ah, 2012). The instrumental ties are built through work role performance and include the exchange of job-related resources, mainly information. The friendship ties are less connected with a formal structure and task roles. They contain an interpersonal affect, liking and social support exchange. Peers involved in this kind of ties are likely to communicate more often, more frankly and openly. The most effective and productive relationships consist of both, instrumental and friendship ties. Such multiplex ties result in at least three advantages for relationship partners: access to valuable information and knowledge, timing and referrals. Creation of the multiplex ties is not a rare situation in organisations. Friendship ties develop often in formal teams, while simultaneously they can evolve into decision making structures, communication channels or resource exchange systems (Krackhardt and Hanson, 1993; Lincoln and Miller, 1979).

Current research stream in management studies is focused on the importance of positive relationships at work. Positive relationships stimulate positive attitude to work, employees feel less overloaded, their well-being increases (Ragins and Dutton, 2007; Grant and Parker, 2009) while negative relationships cause the opposite. Employees involved in positive relationships experience the higher sense of meaningfulness, safety and availability (Kahn, 1990). They are more willing to invest their physical, emotional and cognitive energy in helping the others (Chiaburu and Harrison, 2008). …

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