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Does organizational formalization facilitate voice and helping organizational citizenship behaviors? It depends on (national) uncertainty norms


Fischer, Ronald; Ferreira, Maria Cristina; van Meurs, Nathalie; Gok, Kubilay; Jiang, Ding-Yu; Fontaine, Johnny R J; Harb, Charles; Cieciuch, Jan; Achoui, Mustapha; Mendoza, Ma Socorro D; Hassan, Arif; Achmadi, Donna; Mogaji, Andrew A; Abubakar, Amina (2019). Does organizational formalization facilitate voice and helping organizational citizenship behaviors? It depends on (national) uncertainty norms. Journal of International Business Studies, 50(1):125-134.

Abstract

Prosocial work behaviors in a globalized environment do not operate in a cultural vacuum. We assess to what extent voice and helping organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) vary across cultures, depending on employees’ perceived level of organizational formalization and national uncertainty. We predict that in contexts of uncertainty, cognitive resources are engaged in coping with this uncertainty. Organizational formalization can provide structure that frees up cognitive resources to engage in OCB. In contrast, in contexts of low uncertainty, organizational formalization is not necessary for providing structure and may increase constraints on discretionary behavior. A three-level hierarchical linear modeling analysis of data from 7,537 employees in 267 organizations across 17 countries provides broad support for our hypothesis: perceived organizational formalization is weakly related to OCB, but where uncertainty is high; formalization facilitates voice significantly, helping OCB to a lesser extent. Our findings contribute to clarifying the dynamics between perceptions of norms at organizational and national levels for understanding when employees may engage in helping and voice behaviors. The key implication is that managers can foster OCB through organizational formalization interventions in uncertain environments that are cognitively demanding.

Abstract

Prosocial work behaviors in a globalized environment do not operate in a cultural vacuum. We assess to what extent voice and helping organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) vary across cultures, depending on employees’ perceived level of organizational formalization and national uncertainty. We predict that in contexts of uncertainty, cognitive resources are engaged in coping with this uncertainty. Organizational formalization can provide structure that frees up cognitive resources to engage in OCB. In contrast, in contexts of low uncertainty, organizational formalization is not necessary for providing structure and may increase constraints on discretionary behavior. A three-level hierarchical linear modeling analysis of data from 7,537 employees in 267 organizations across 17 countries provides broad support for our hypothesis: perceived organizational formalization is weakly related to OCB, but where uncertainty is high; formalization facilitates voice significantly, helping OCB to a lesser extent. Our findings contribute to clarifying the dynamics between perceptions of norms at organizational and national levels for understanding when employees may engage in helping and voice behaviors. The key implication is that managers can foster OCB through organizational formalization interventions in uncertain environments that are cognitively demanding.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Business Administration
08 Research Priority Programs > Social Networks
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:1 February 2019
Deposited On:28 Mar 2019 12:59
Last Modified:31 Mar 2019 05:56
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0047-2506
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1057/s41267-017-0132-6
Other Identification Number:merlin-id:16114

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