Organization OR Environment?

organization-enviroment[We’re pleased to welcome Jennifer Tosti-Kharas, Assistant Professor at Babson College in Organizational Behavior. Tosti-Kharas recently published an article in Organization & Environment entitled “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior for the Environment.” From Tosti-Kharas:]

The origin of this paper came from bridging two different research projects. My co-authors, Tom Thomas and Eric Lamm of SFSU, published a theoretical paper regarding how individuals develop attitudes toward organizational sustainability. Meanwhile, Eric and I have performed research on what motivates employees to perform sustainable behaviors. We look at what we term organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment ¬ OCB-Es for short ¬ which are voluntary actions at work that help conserve resources, things like recycling, printing double-sided, etc. This paper joined these two streams of inquiry to examine how the reasons why people think it is important to act sustainably at work relates to their performance of OCB-Es and we tested it empirically.

Most past research on this topic has used a measure of how important people think sustainability is in general, meaning for broad ecological reasons, but never contextualized within a work organization. In the paper we distinguish between believing sustainability is important in and of itself, what we term an ³eco-centric rationale,² and believing it is important as a means to an end, specifically a business end, which we term an ³organization-centric rationale.² We also differentiate employees¹ own rationales about why it is important for their companies to operate sustainably from their perceptions about why their organizations believe it is important. Perhaps the most surprising finding when we surveyed 489 working adults across a wide range of organizations and occupations was that people were more likely to perform OCB-Es when they believed their organizations valued sustainability, regardless of their own personal beliefs about the importance of sustainability. These findings held for both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales. This to us was surprising, as lots of research would lead us to predict that personal values would trump perceived organizational values. Yet, we find the opposite, which suggests that perhaps people perform voluntary sustainability behaviors at work not just because they think it¹s important, but because their company believes it is important. It is worth noting that we included in our OCB-E measure not only simple, everyday tasks, but also ³higher-level² behaviors, like collaborating with other employees or making suggestions to supervisors to increase organizational sustainability.

These findings raise several interesting and timely implications for organizational leaders looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors. Since employee perceptions of organizational rationales for sustainability were so important in motivating OCB-Es, we advise communicating corporate values around sustainability and resource conservation as clearly as possible. By contrast, trying to screen employees for pro-environmental values seemed to be less important in a company that clearly communicated these values, since even employees who didn’t buy in on their own behaved more sustainably when they believed their employers cared about the environment.

 

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Employees and the Environment: Promoting Eco-Friendly Behavior in the Workplace

blue-truck-recycle[We’re pleased to welcome Jennifer Tosti-Kharas of Babson College. Jennifer recently published an article in Organization & Environment with co-authors Eric Lamm and Tom E. Thomas entitled “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees’ Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior Toward the Environment.” From Jennifer:]

The origin of this paper came from bridging two different research projects. My co-authors, Tom Thomas and Eric Lamm of SFSU, published a theoretical paper regarding how individuals develop attitudes toward organizational sustainability. Meanwhile, Eric and I have performed research on what motivates employees to perform sustainable behaviors. We look at what we term organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment ­ OCB-Es for short ­ which are voluntary actions at work that help conserve resources, things like recycling, printing double-sided, etc. This paper joined these two streams of inquiry to examine how the reasons why people think it is important to act sustainably at work relates to their performance of OCB-Es and we tested it empirically.

Most past research on this topic has used a measure of how important people think O&E_Mar_2012_vol26_no1_Cover_Final.inddsustainability is in general, meaning for broad ecological reasons, but never contextualized within a work organization. In the paper we distinguish between believing sustainability is important in and of itself, what we term an ³eco-centric rationale,² and believing it is important as a means to an end, specifically a business end, which we term an ³organization-centric rationale.² We also differentiate employees¹ own rationales about why it is important for their companies to operate sustainably from their perceptions about why their organizations believe it is important. Perhaps the most surprising finding when we surveyed 489 working adults across a wide range of organizations and occupations was that people were more likely to perform OCB-Es when they believed their organizations valued sustainability, regardless of their own personal beliefs about the importance of sustainability. These findings held for both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales. This to us was surprising, as lots of research would lead us to predict that personal values would trump perceived organizational values. Yet, we find the opposite, which suggests that perhaps people perform voluntary sustainability behaviors at work not just because they think it¹s important, but because their company believes it is important. It is worth noting that we included in our OCB-E measure not only simple, everyday tasks, but also ³higher-level² behaviors, like collaborating with other employees or making suggestions to supervisors to increase organizational sustainability.

These findings raise several interesting and timely implications for organizational leaders looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors. Since employee perceptions of organizational rationales for sustainability were so important in motivating OCB-Es, we advise communicating corporate values around sustainability and resource conservation as clearly as possible. By contrast, trying to screen employees for pro-environmental values seemed to be less important in a company that clearly communicated these values, since even employees who didn¹t buy in on their own behaved more sustainably when they believed their employers cared about the environment.

The abstract for the article:

Scholars and managers have raised the question of how to encourage employees to perform discretionary pro-environmental behaviors at work, termed organizational citizenship behaviors toward the environment (OCB-Es). This study examined how rationales for organizational sustainability relate to employees’ OCB-Es. We considered two rationales—eco-centric and organization-centric—and two sources—employees’ rationales and their perceptions of their employers’ rationales. Results from 489 working adults across a variety of organizations and occupations revealed that both eco-centric and organization-centric rationales at both individual and perceived organizational levels related to employees’ OCB-Es. Furthermore, we found interactive effects, such that employees’ perceptions of their organizations’ rationales were more important than their own rationales in determining OCB-Es. These findings contribute to a theoretical understanding of the complex and interrelated factors motivating employees to perform voluntary sustainability behaviors in organizations. In addition, our results are valuable for managers looking to increase employee sustainability behaviors.

You can read the article “Organization OR Environment? Disentangling Employees’ Rationales Behind Organizational Citizenship Behavior Toward the Environment” from Organization & Environment free for the next two weeks by clicking here.

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*Truck image attributed to MIKI Yoshihito (CC)

Are Good Citizens Also Good Transformational Leaders?

9320914837_eab120a4f3_z[We’re pleased to welcome Sophia V. Marinova of University of Alabama in Huntsville. Sophia published an article with co-authors Linn Van Dyne and Henry Moon in the February 2015 issue of Group & Organization Management entitled “Are Good Citizens Good Transformational Leaders as Well? An Employee-Centric Perspective on Transformational Leadership.”]

Leadership is viewed as the sine qua non of organizational behavior because leaders are extolled or blamed for organizational successes and failures. Conforming to a traditional top-down view of organizations, when we discuss leadership both in academic as well as in practitioner terms, we tend to think of leaders as those individuals who are already in formal managerial positions in organizations.  However, in the context of organizational empowerment, employees from all levels of the organization can be viewed as critical to effective leading in the workplace. In other words, employees have opportunities to serve as leaders from the bottom up in increasingly flatter organizational designs.

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Thus, the inspiration behind our research is to investigate how types of prominent employee organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), which reflect employee engagement, lead to perceptions of employee leadership capabilities. We draw on self-sacrifice and evolutionary notions of costly cooperative behaviors to offer OCB as an avenue for being recognized by others in work groups as leader-like. We examine four types of OCB- taking charge, helping, compliance and sportsmanship. In terms of leadership, we focus on transformational leadership because of its importance to contemporary organizations as reflected in four different dimensions- role modeling, intellectual stimulation, interpersonal consideration, and fostering goal acceptance.

We conduct our study with a diverse sample of professional employees employed in a variety of organizations in different industries. Relying on data obtained from over 1000 coworkers, supervisors, and focal employees, we analyze the relationship between the extent to which a focal employee engages in various citizenship behaviors as rated by their coworkers and perceptions of the focal employee’s transformational leadership as rated by the employee’s supervisor (while controlling for potential confounding variables for stronger inference).

We find support for the notion that good citizens emerge as good leaders as well. Specifically, different citizenship behaviors lead to perceptions of transformational leadership and sometimes have opposite relationships to different types of transformational leadership. For example, although seemingly mundane, an employee who helps others emerges as a positive role model for other employees and as someone who shows interpersonal consideration, both important aspects of transformational leadership. We thus demonstrate that engaged employees who display OCB enhance transformational leadership in organizations from the bottom up.

Overall, our theory and findings call attention to employees as active participants in the leadership process, a non-traditional view that calls for far more attention to leadership in organizations from the bottom up rather than solely from the top down. From a practical perspective, leaders in organizations may be well-advised to focus on how to encourage their employees to engage in OCB, not only for the benefit of a more engaged workforce, but also to cultivate the leadership capabilities of their workforce.

The abstract for the article:

Research has demonstrated robust positive relationships between transformational leadership and employee attitudes and behaviors. To date, the preponderance of the literature has been leader-centric and focused on individuals who are already in leader roles. In this article, we adopt an employee-centric perspective and focus on behaviors of professionals who are not in formal leader roles. Specifically, we apply evolutionary theory as a theoretical lens for proposing that those who perform organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) will be seen as transformational leaders. We hypothesize linkages between four types of OCBs and four dimensions of transformational leadership. Multi-source field sample results based on more than 1,000 participants provide general support for the predictions. We discuss theoretical and practical implications.

You can read the article, “Are Good Citizens Good Transformational Leaders as Well? An Employee-Centric Perspective on Transformational Leadership,” from Group & Organization Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research published by Group & Organization ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts, and click here to follow the journal on Twitter!

*Discussion image attributed to Cydcor (CC)

Machiavellian and Motivated: How Managers Can Turn Employee Selfishness into Pro-Organization Behavior

360px-Macchiavelli01Machiavelli famously argued that it is best to be both loved and feared, which is all good and well for a hypothetical prince, but what about for modern-day employees? Companies have long avoided employees who embody Machiavellian principles, labeling such behavior as selfish and manipulative. In their paper, “Leading Machiavellians: How to Translate Machiavellians’ Selfishness Into Pro-Organizational Behavior,” published in the November 2015 issue of Journal of Management, Frank D. Belschak of University of Amsterdam, Deanne N. Den Hartog of University of Amsterdam, and Karianne Kalshoven of Tilburg University challenge the notion that Machiavellian behavior should be discouraged and avoided. Rather, they argue that with the proper leader behavior, managers can transform Machiavellian behavior into proactive and productive organizational citizenship behavior.

The abstract:

Machiavellians are said to be manipulative JOM 41(3)_Covers.inddpeople who reduce the social capital of the organization. Yet some authors note that Machiavellians are also highly adaptive individuals who are able to contribute, cooperate, and use pro-social strategies when it is advantageous to them. Here we study whether transformational leader behavior can stimulate Machiavellian followers to engage in organizationally desirable behaviors such as challenging organizational citizenship behavior. We hypothesized and found in two multi-source field studies that transformational leadership moderates the relationship between Machiavellianism and challenging organizational citizenship behavior. In Study 2, we hypothesized a moderated mediation model and found that enhanced job autonomy and accompanying intrinsic motivation relating to transformational leadership explain (part of) the relationship between transformational leader behavior and challenging citizenship behavior of Machiavellian followers.

You can read “Leading Machiavellians: How to Translate Machiavellians’ Selfishness Into Pro-Organizational Behavior “ from Journal of Management by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Funny Business: Humor as a Leadership Tool

Humor plays an important part in the workplace, particularly in the manager-subordinate relationship. With the right combination of humor style and leadership Laughing Womanbehavior, a supervisor can help to ease employee uncertainty, and increase team and organizational performance. Effective use of humor in the workplace can improve perceived supervisor support (PSS) and encourage employees to engage in organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). While previous studies have studied the efficacy of humor as part of leadership behavior, there has been little research done on the styles of humor that most effectively promote better PSS and OCB. Michel Tremblay and Megan Gibson recently explored this topic in their article “The Role of Humor in the Relationship Between Transactional Leadership Behavior, Perceived Supervisor Support, and Citizenship Behavior” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies.

The abstract:

This study, building on uncertainty management theory, examines the role of humor use by the supervisor andjlaw cover team members in the relationship between leader behaviors, perceived supervisor support, and citizenship behavior. Data were collected from a sample of 284 employees working in nine small organizations. The results show that weak contingent reward leaders are viewed as more supportive when they use constructive and self-defeating humor styles extensively as opposed to aggressive humor, whereas skillful contingent reward leaders are perceived as less supportive when they use constructive and self-defeating humor extensively, and more supportive when they favor an aggressive humor style. Laissez-faire leaders are viewed as less supportive when they use aggressive humor extensively. The results provide only partial support for the buffer effect of constructive humor and the undermining influence of aggressive humor style. Finally, whereas offensive coworker humor is negatively related to organizational citizenship behavior, the results do not provide significant evidence that coworker humor moderates the influence of perceived supervisor support on organizational citizenship behavior. We conclude by discussing the theoretical contributions and practical implications of our findings.

You can read “The Role of Humor in the Relationship Between Transactional Leadership Behavior, Perceived Supervisor Support, and Citizenship Behavior” from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies by clicking here. Want to be notified of all the latest research like this from Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Does Organizational Citizenship Behavior Increase Organizational Performance?

business-graphics-1428654-mIf an employee feels disempowered at work, they’ll soon find themselves struggling to stay motivated and productive. This disengagement is a lose-lose situation for everyone, causing unhappiness for employees and profit loss for companies. In the 1980’s, Edward E. Lawler III presented a possible solution to this problem by initiating a model which increased employee engagement and, as a result, organizational performance. But how well does this model hold up when put into practice and what behavioral components are needed for success? Mark A. Kizilos, Chailin Cummings, and Thomas G. Cummings explore this question on their article “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.

The abstract:

Employee involvement is a popular approach to improve organization performance. It moves JABS_v50_72ppiRGB_powerpointdecision making downward in the organization so employees can make decisions and solve problems as quickly and close to their source as possible. One of the most developed and referenced approaches to involvement is Edward E. Lawler’s model of “high-involvement work processes” (HIWP). It describes organizational attributes that contribute to employee involvement and explains how they work together to increase organization performance. Although extensive attention has been paid to Lawler’s model in the literature, empirical tests of the model are still in a preliminary stage. Our study describes and tests a mechanism through which HIWP increases organization performance, organizational citizenship behavior. We find that organizational citizenship behavior mediates the relationship between HIWP and organization performance in a sample of 143 consumer-products organization units. Results also confirm that the HIWP attributes work together synergistically to create opportunities for employee involvement.

You can read “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

How Does Corporate Ethics Affect Firm Performance?

Jinseok S. Chun of Seoul National University, Yuhyung Shin of Hanyang University, Jin Nam Choi of Seoul National University, and Min Soo Kim of Hanyang University published “How Does Corporate Ethics Contribute to Firm Financial Performance? The Mediating Role of Collective Organizational Commitment and Organizational Citizenship Behavior” in the Journal of Management May 2013 issue. The abstract:

Despite the increasing significance of corporate ethics, few studies have explored the intermediate mechanisms that explain the relationship between corporate ethics and firm financial performance. Drawing on institutional theory and strategic human resource management literature, the authors hypothesize that the internal collective processes based on employees’ collective organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) mediate the ethics–performance relationship at the organizational level. The authors’ hypotheses are tested using data collected from 3,821 employees from 130 Korean companies and the respective companies’ financial performance data. The resultJOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWs indicate that collective organizational commitment and interpersonal OCB are meaningful intervening processes that connect corporate ethics to firm financial performance. To complement prior studies that identify a firm’s reputation and external relations as mediators between corporate ethics and performance, the present study highlights the need to examine microprocesses occurring within the organization to account for the ethics–firm performance relationship. Moreover, the present demonstration of collective organizational commitment and OCB as meaningful predictors of a firm’s objective performance indicates the significance of these employee processes in explaining organizational-level outcomes.

Click here to read the paper, and find additional articles on ethics, organizational citizenship behavior, and other topics in the Journal of Management Editor’s Choice Collections.