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«Work status and organizational citizenship behavior: a ®eld study of restaurant employees CHRISTINA L. STAMPER1* AND LINN VAN DYNE2 1 University of ...»

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Journal of Organizational Behavior

J. Organiz. Behav. 22, 517±536 (2001)

DOI: 10.1002/job.100

Work status and organizational citizenship

behavior: a ®eld study of restaurant




University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Cameron School of Business, Department of Management and

Marketing, Wilmington, U.S.A.


Michigan State University, Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Department of Management, East Lansing, U.S.A.

Summary This survey-based ®eld study of 257 service employees developed and tested a model of differ- ences in the organizational citizenship behavior of full-time and part-time employees based on social exchange theory. Questionnaire data from matched pairs of employees and their super- visors demonstrated that part-time employees exhibited less helping organizational citizenship behavior than full-time employees, but there was no difference in their voice behavior. We also predicted that both preferred work status (an individual factor) and organizational culture (a con- textual factor) would moderate the relationships between work status and citizenship. For help- ing, results demonstrated that preferred status mattered more to part-time workers than to full- time. For voice, preferred work status was equally important to part-time and full-time workers, such that voice was high only when actual status matched preferred status. Contrary to our expectations, work status made more of a difference in both helping and voice in less bureau- cratic organizations. We discuss the implications of work status for social exchange relation- ships, differences in the social exchange costs and bene®ts of helping compared to voice, and rami®cations of our ®ndings for future research. Copyright # 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Introduction Shortages of traditional, full-time workers have caused many organizations to increase their depen- dence on part-time employees (Clinton, 1997; Ilg and Clinton, 1998; Rousseau, 1997). In addition, many organizations view changing the mix of their workforce (i.e., replacing full-time workers with part-timers) as a positive response to competitive pressures for increased ¯exibility and reduced costs (Kalleberg and Schmidt, 1997). These trends in workforce recomposition, however, may have unin- tended, negative consequences on employee behaviors (especially discretionary behaviors) which may reduce any bene®ts accrued to the organization due to reduced labor costs.

Despite the fact that 16±18 per cent of the US workforce is part-time (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1998), we know little about the behavior of part-time and full-time employees. Our study addresses * Correspondence to: Christina Stamper, University of North Carolina-Wilmington, Cameron School of Business, Department of Management and Marketing, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403, U.S.A.

E-mail: stamperc@uncwil.edu

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this important issue by developing and testing a model that predicts differences in the organizational citizenship behavior of part-time and full-time employees. Based on Social Exchange Theory (Blau, 1964), we suggest that employees who work fewer hours (i.e., part-time) will engage in less organizational citizenship behavior (discretionary behavior that is not a required part of the job). In addition, we propose that two factors will in¯uence (moderate) this relation: an individual's preferred work status (few versus many work hours) and type of organizational culture (low versus highly bureaucratic).

Work Status

Part-time workers ± those who generally work under 35 hours per week (Deutermann and Brown, 1978; Nardone, 1986) ± are the largest group of U.S. employees working non-traditional schedules (Nollen and Axel, 1995). Since World War II, the number of part-time employees in the U.S. has grown to about one-®fth of the total workforce, or almost 20 million individuals (Ronen, 1984), and recent restructuring has further increased the emphasis that many organizations place on part-time employees. Most part-time positions in the U.S. are found in the service sector, especially among clerical, sales, and food service industries (Nollen and Axel, 1995). The majority of part-time workers are young (e.g., students, teens), older (e.g., retirees), and/or women (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1996).

To date, most research that has compared part-time and full-time employees has focused on differences in job-related attitudes such as satisfaction and commitment and has not examined job behaviors, despite calls for research on potential differences in behavior (e.g., Feldman, 1990; Hom, 1979; Miller and Terborg, 1979; Rotchford and Roberts, 1982). An important exception to this general focus on attitudes is the research of Peters et al., (1981), who demonstrated differences in the turnover of full-time and part-time workers. Results of their study suggest that full-time employees are more committed and loyal to the organization than part-time workers. Although these differences correspond to the beliefs of many managers that part-time workers have lower commitment, higher turnover, lower performance, and that they are less willing to contribute to the organization than their full-time counterparts (Gannon, 1975; Ronen, 1984; Rotchford and Roberts, 1982), a follow-up study by Jackofsky and Peters (1987) found no differences in performance and turnover of workers based on work status.

The inconsistency in these ®ndings suggests the importance of additional research in this area.

Con¯icting results (e.g., Feldman, 1990; Lee and Johnson, 1991; Miller and Terborg, 1979) also indicate the importance of theoretically based research. As with most research streams, the early studies on part-time workers were primarily descriptive, with researchers relying on a variety of theoretical perspectives to interpret their ®ndings post hoc. These theories include frame-of-reference and social comparison theory (Eberhardt and Shani, 1984; Feldman, 1990; Festinger, 1954; Miller and Terborg, 1979), equity theory (Adams, 1965; Feldman and Doerpinghaus, 1992), human capital theory (Becker, 1964; Lee and Johnson, 1991), partial inclusion (Katz and Kahn, 1966; Miller and Terborg, 1979), and the discrepancy model of job satisfaction (Lawler, 1973; Morrow et al., 1994). In the current study, we use Social Exchange Theory (Blau, 1964) to develop our hypotheses, which suggest that organizational citizenship will differ based on work status.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior In 1977, Organ broadened research on the satisfaction±performance link by suggesting a new type of performance construct: organizational citizenship behavior. Organ suggested that, although

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satisfaction may not have a strong effect on standard conceptualizations of performance, it might be related to non-speci®ed behaviors which he termed organizational citizenship behavior. Organ de®ned organizational citizenship behavior as ``F F F individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization'' (1988: 4). To date, researchers have proposed a variety of speci®c dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior including altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy, civic virtue (Organ, 1988), obedience, loyalty, advocacy participation, social participation, functional participation (Van Dyne et al., 1994), helping and voice (Van Dyne et al., 1995; Van Dyne and LePine, 1998), as well as organization-focused and interpersonal-focused organizational citizenship behavior (Williams and Anderson, 1991). According to Van Dyne and colleagues (1994), each of the above conceptualizations is useful and researchers should focus on speci®c types of citizenship behaviors based on relevance to a particular research question.

In our study of restaurant workers, we chose to focus on two speci®c behaviors (helping and voice) because they form an interesting, theoretically based contrast that we anticipated would be salient in service settings. Van Dyne and colleagues (1995) developed a theoretical framework, typology, and nomological network for different types of discretionary behavior. Two of these categories are af®liative-promotive behavior (helping) and challenging-promotive behavior (voice). Promotive behavior is proactive; it causes things to happen. Promotive behavior that is af®liative is interpersonal and cooperative. An example is helping others with their work or with work-related activities, even when it is not required explicitly by the job. We suggest that helping is particularly important in service jobs where ¯uctuating demand highlights the bene®ts of cooperation. Speci®cally, employees have direct customer contact and often must balance competing demands for their time and attention. When work¯ow is uneven, cooperative behavior can enhance customer interaction and quality service delivery.

Helping co-workers thus has the potential to enhance customer satisfaction in ways that cannot be speci®ed in advance while simultaneously having important implications for overall service ®rm success.

In contrast, challenging-promotive behavior emphasizes ideas that are change-oriented. An example is speaking up and making recommendations for change and innovation. We suggest that expressing constructive suggestions (voice) is especially important in situations where consumers value high quality and novelty. In service settings, employees often are closest to the service delivery process and may be in the best position to generate ideas that can have direct consequences for quality and customer satisfaction. For example, customers often prefer and seek out novel or unusual approaches to service delivery. Thus, employee suggestions can help attract new and repeat customers.

We note that although helping and voice each have the potential to contribute positively to organizational success, these two forms of discretionary behavior differ fundamentally in that helping is af®liative and voice is challenging. Helping promotes cooperation and positive interpersonal relationships. In contrast, voice focuses on change to the status quo (LePine and Van Dyne, 1998). In the following sections, we build on the similarities and differences in helping and voice in our hypothesis development regarding the role of work status and organizational citizenship behavior.

Work Status and Organizational Citizenship

According to Blau (1964), social exchange is different from economic exchange. Economic exchange is based on quid pro quo transactions, such as when employees receive pay for contributing their performance to the organization. In economic exchange relationships, job requirements and expectations are clear and speci®ed in advance, allowing individuals to assess personal costs and bene®ts Copyright # 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. J. Organiz. Behav. 22, 517±536 (2001) 520 C. L. STAMPER AND L. VAN DYNE associated with the exchange and calibrate their contributions accordingly. In social exchange relationships, however, the details of the exchange are not speci®ed in advance and monitoring inducements and contributions is less relevant. Instead, relational trust leads individuals in social exchange relationships (Rousseau et al., 1998) to believe that if they exercise initiative and contribute above minimum expectations, they will receive some form of reciprocity from the organization at an unspeci®ed future date (Gouldner, 1960).

Extending social exchange theory to include differences in part-time versus full work status suggests that part-time employees are more likely to develop economic rather than social exchange relationships with their employers. For example, Rousseau (1989) differentiated transactional and relational psychological contracts, linking transactional contracts to economic exchange and relational contracts to social exchange. McLean Parks et al., (1998) elaborated on this idea and developed a theoretical model proposing that full-time, regular employees are more likely to rely on social exchange and reciprocity in their work relationships and that the characteristics of employee psychological contracts will in¯uence their behavior at work. Consistent with this logic, Millward and Hopkins (1998) demonstrated that when employees view their relationship as based primarily on economic exchange, they will meet the terms of the agreement and will perform at the minimum required level. In contrast, when employment is based on social exchange, employees expand their view of the relationship beyond well-speci®ed, quid pro quo parameters and include intangible and tangible resources based on general, unspeci®ed notions of reciprocity (Foa and Foa, 1974; Tsui et al., 1997). Accordingly, they are more likely to exert extra effort, use their judgment to facilitate quality problem solving, and perform non-required behaviors, because they trust that their employer will notice the contributions and reciprocate at some time in the future.

Part-time employees generally receive fewer inducements (March and Simon, 1958) such as bene®ts, training, and advancement from the organization than full-time workers (Hipple, 1998). Human capital theory (Becker, 1964) suggests that employers invest in employees (especially in training and other less tangible bene®ts) when they can expect a return on their investment. When employees work more hours, there is more opportunity for employer investments to accrue bene®ts to the organization.

In contrast, when employees work fewer hours, the potential bene®ts to the organization are reduced.

Thus, employers are less likely to provide extra inducements to part-time workers. Given fewer inducements, part-time employees have less reason to perform tasks that require effort beyond that speci®ed in their job descriptions (e.g., discretionary behaviors like helping and voice).

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