«Work status and organizational citizenship behavior: a ®eld study of restaurant employees CHRISTINA L. STAMPER1* AND LINN VAN DYNE2 1 University of ...»
Although full-time work status alone leads to higher helping, voice is only high when full-time work status is congruent with work status preferences or when full time work status is combined with a less bureaucratic organizational culture. This is consistent with the personal risks and costs that can be associated with voice in contrast to helping. This ®nding also provides insight into the relatively lower mean level of voice compared to helping (3.14 versus 3.71).
Implications Results of this study have valuable theoretical implications for researchers investigating organizational citizenship. First, as recommended by Feldman (1990), the study focused on behavior, rather than
attitudes. Second, the study used social exchange theory (Blau, 1964) to predict differences in organizational citizenship based on the inducements employees receive from the organization as a function of their work status. This is important because prior research on part-time workers has been more descriptive than theoretical in nature. Third, differences in ®ndings for helping and voice demonstrate the importance of differentiating speci®c types of citizenship behavior both theoretically and empirically and not using composite constructs that may mask key distinctions.
The study also has implications for managers of full-time and part-time employees. First, although there may be short-term cost bene®ts associated with using part-time employees, organizations may at the same time be forfeiting helping organizational citizenship behaviors when they use part-time workers. This may be especially problematic in service organizations where discretionary cooperation among employees allows organizations to cope with ¯uctuating demand and deliver high quality service to customers. Second, managers should be aware of the importance of preferred work status. Our results suggest that involuntary part-time employees (those who would prefer to work full-time) exhibit low levels of helping and voice. When managers value employee cooperation (helping) and suggestions for change (voice), they should consider the work status preferences of their employees.
Third, managers in less bureaucratic organizations should look to full-time employees when assisting coworkers (helping) or suggesting new ideas is key to high levels of customer service. In contrast, managers in more bureaucratic organizations should not expect high levels of helping or voice from either part-time or full-time workers.
Strengths and weaknesses As with all research, this study has strengths and weaknesses. An important strength is our use of an under-researched sample of service workers. Although service employees comprise approximately 20 per cent of the U.S. workforce (Nollen and Axel, 1995) and part-time work is especially prevalent in service organizations (Hipple, 1998), there is a relatively small amount of research on the behavior of service employees (Smith, 1997). Service sector jobs are different from manufacturing and traditional of®ce jobs because they are more intangible in nature and involve the ambiguity and unpredictability of working directly with customers (Sasser et al., 1978). Therefore, prior ®ndings based on manufacturing samples may not generalize to service-sector employees. Another strength of the study is our focus on two different types of citizenship behaviors and the different pattern of relationships suggested for challenging (voice) and af®liative (helping) forms of citizenship.
Two characteristics of the study suggest concerns that may affect its generalizability. First, although the age of the workers covered a large range (16±70 years), the overall sample was young (median age 23). Results, accordingly, may not generalize to service samples with different demographic pro®les. A second area of concern is the nature of our sample, which was limited to restaurants located in medium size towns in the Midwest. Our results may not generalize to restaurant employees who work in large cities where long-term careers in restaurant service jobs are more prevalent.
Additionally, two methodological issues may have clouded our results. First, the amount of time spent at work in¯uences the opportunity for workers to engage in OCB and their visibility to managers who assess OCB. Thus, part-time workers not only have less opportunity to contribute organizational citizenship in an absolute sense, but their efforts may also be noticed less. Second, it is possible that some managers in the study had preconceived opinions and expectations regarding part-time and full-time differences in work behavior. Perhaps some managers rated part-time workers lower in citizenship based on a biased schema or stereotypes rather than on their actual behavior. In the future, researchers might design experimental studies to disentangle these issues.
Copyright # 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. J. Organiz. Behav. 22, 517±536 (2001) WORK STATUS AND OCB 533 Finally, we note that our models explain a relatively low amount of the variance in helping (13±16 per cent) and voice (6±10 per cent). Thus our overall effects, and especially those of the interactions, are small. Given the general dif®culty in detecting moderator effects ± especially in ®eld samples ± we interpret these results as indicating that the relation between work status and some forms of citizenship is more complex than a simple main effect (Aguinis and Stone-Romero, 1997). For example,
McClelland and Judd summarized their observations about moderation in ®eld samples as follows:
`even those explaining as little as 1 per cent of the total variance should be considered important F F F ®eld study interactions typically account for about 1±3 per cent of the variance (1993: 377).
The overall pattern of results in this study suggests interesting possibilities for future research. For example, the differences in basic relationships for helping and voice (no main effects due to work status for voice) indicate bene®ts of research that continues to distinguish various types of organizational citizenship. Similarly, results for the interaction hypotheses suggest the value of additional research on personal factors (such as work centrality, career goals, career stage, and family responsibilities) and context (type of job, size of group, group norms, and organizational values) that may strengthen or weaken the effect of work status on helping and voice in organizational settings.
Future research could also examine the effect of the relative bargaining power of part-time workers in different labor market situations. When part-time workers comprise a signi®cant proportion of the work force, hold a signi®cant percent of critical jobs, or are needed but in short supply, they are particularly important to organizational success. This increase in their power may change the way they are treated by the organization and the nature of their exchange relationship with the organization. Under these circumstances, part-time workers may be treated more like insiders (core contributors) and this may reduce or eliminate differences in the citizenship behavior of employees based on work status and preferred work status.
Another issue for future research is the question of why work status and organizational citizenship behavior are related. We suggest that future research should examine aspects of the employment relationship that may mediate the relationship between work status and citizenship. For example, employee feelings of perceived organizational support (e.g., Eisenberger et al., 1986; Settoon et al., 1996; Shore and Tetrick, 1991) may be one key link between work status and citizenship. Part-time employees may feel less supported by the organization and thus are less likely to perform certain types of citizenship. Other mediating processes may include characteristics of the manager±employee relationship such as the quality of vertical dyadic relationships (Graen, 1976) and employee feelings of fairness (e.g., Moorman, 1991).
In conclusion, results of this study demonstrate differences in the organizational citizenship behavior of part-time and full-time employees. Results also demonstrate a different pattern of overall relationships for helping, which is af®liative, and voice, which is change-oriented, suggesting fundamental differences in the social exchange costs and bene®ts of these two forms of organizational citizenship.
Acknowledgements We would like to thank Gary Johns and three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments and S. Motowidlo for his helpful suggestions on an earlier version of the paper.
Author biographies Christina L. Stamper (PhD in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management, Michigan State University) is an Assistant Professor of Management for the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina±Wilmington, USA. Her research focuses on explaining various factors in employer±employee relationships and how they impact work attitudes and behaviors.
Linn Van Dyne is Associate Professor in the Department of Management at the Broad College of Business, Michigan State University, U.S.A. She received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in Strategic Management and Organizations. Her research interests include proactive employee behaviors, international organizational behavior, and the effects of work context, roles, and groups on employee attachment and behavior.
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