Academic journal article Journal of Marketing and Management

Servant Leadership as Employee-Organization Approach for Performance of Employee Citizenship Behaviors in the Nigeria's Electric Power Sector

Academic journal article Journal of Marketing and Management

Servant Leadership as Employee-Organization Approach for Performance of Employee Citizenship Behaviors in the Nigeria's Electric Power Sector

Article excerpt

Introduction

OCB is defined as employees' willingness to go above and beyond the prescribed roles that he or she has been assigned to do (Organ, 1990). Additionally, OCB behaviors are behaviors that are discretionary, not described by job definitions (Organ, 1988). These behaviors are, therefore, employees' extra-helping behavior that immediately benefits a specific individual and indirectly contributes to an organization. These extra-role behaviors are considered to support the maintenance and enhancement of the social and psychological context that supports task performance in the organization (Organ, 1997). It has also been argued that a high level of OCBs reflects employees' true willingness to be involved in the organization (Chen, Hui & Sego, 1998; Shore, Barkdale & Shore, 1998). Studies have long established that OCB is positively related to employee performance, customer service and satisfaction, (Walz & Niehoff, 2000) and effective service delivery (Bienstock, DeMoranville & Smith, 2003; Castro, 2004; Yoon & Suh, 2003). Generally, OCB promotes the efficient and effective functioning of the organization as well as employee performance (Organ, 1988).

Servant leadership is a leadership style where leaders place the needs of their subordinates before their own needs and center their efforts on helping subordinates grow to reach their maximum potential and achieve optimal organizational and career success (Greenleaf, 1977). A large number of studies on servant leadership were undertaken to explain the principles and performance of servant leadership (Dennis & Bocarnea, 2005; Geller, 2009; Han, Kakabadse & Kakabadse, 2010; Irving & McIntosh, 2009; Sendjaya, Sarros & Santora, 2008). However, a few studies (Ehrhart, 2004; Vondey, 2010; Walumbwa, Hartnell & Oke, 2010) have related servant leadership to OCB, and have found positive relationship. One of the prominent early studies that attempted to investigate the effect of servant leadership on OCB is Ehrhart (2004). Results of the study demonstrated that servant leadership indirectly influences helping behavior and conscientiousness. Additionally, a more recent study carried out by Vondey (2010) revealed that servant leadership significantly but partially correlates with OCB, thus suggesting more studies. Looking at the results of the previous studies which suggest inconclusiveness, and considering that servant leadership and OCB study is still new, there is need for more research. Further investigation of the relationship between servant leadership and OCB will help to provide deeper understanding and increase the validity of the results. Furthermore, all the previous servant leadership-OCB studies have either employed the use of mediators (Ehrhart, 2004; Vondey, 2010), moderators (Walumbwa et al., 2010). Direct relational study of the relationship between servant leadership and OCB may also be needed in organizational behavior literature for particular understanding the direct significant relationship between the two variables.

In line with these observed literature gaps, suggesting the inconclusive nature of past studies, all the authors (Ehrhart, 2004; Vondey, 2010; Walumbwa et al., 2010) have recommended for additional servant leadership-OCB studies for better understanding of the dynamics and strength of their relationships. Against this background, this study is a unique attempt to replicate servant leadership-OCB study within the Nigerian context. Unlike the previous studies, this study is a direct relational study that will test for significance of the relationship between servant leadership and OCB. Therefore, this study is unique in two respects: Firstly, it tries to test the direct relationship between servant leadership and employee OCB. Secondly, this study will employ a new research context. That is this study will be conducted in Nigeria's electric power sector, Nigeria. Most of the previous servant leadership studies (Ehrhart, 2004; Vondey, 2010) were conducted in the developed western countries, thus providing only limited knowledge about the significant influence of servant leadership on employee OCB across other global cultures. …

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