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Creating organizational citizens : a quasi-experimental and qualitative examination of supervisor- and peer-based role interventions

Subject

Organisational Behaviour

Publication Year

2016

Abstract

Research suggests that supervisors and peers can help employees make sense of what is important or expected from them at work and, thereby, shape their behaviors. In this dissertation, I examine how employees’ organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB), such as helping and voice, are differentially affected by these two sources of influence over time. In particular, I compare the relative and joint effectiveness of two field interventions to enhance OCB: (a) a role clarification intervention in which supervisors are trained to set expectations for OCB for their employees and encourage them to engage in OCB and (b) a norm establishment intervention in which peers are trained to set expectations for each other and encourage each other to perform OCB. I utilize a mixed methods approach involving a quasi-field experiment to test for changes in OCB and qualitative data to explore the theoretical mechanisms over the course of three months in a large food processing plant. I find that role clarification interventions alone have immediate positive effects on OCB, whereas norm establishment interventions alone take a longer period of time to increase OCB. In addition, in the condition where both interventions were combined, norm establishment interventions weaken the effects of role clarification earlier on; however, at later stages in time, this pattern reverses as norm establishment enhances the effects of role clarification on OCB. Through these findings, I highlight how (a) organizations seeking quick increases in citizenship might be better off focusing on supervisors as sources of influence; (b) organizations need to persist with peer-focused interventions to see positive gains; and (c) despite initial hurdles with peer-focused interventions, over time, they can lead to the highest increases in OCB when combined with supervisor-focused interventions.

Available on ECCH

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