Predicting employee engagement, knowledge sharing & OCB.

AuthorGupta, Bindu
PositionOrganizational citizenship behavior - Report - Abstract


In a knowledge economy, organizational development initiatives require a cultural shift by persuading desirable values, collaborative work behavior, reinforcing employee engagement and so forth. Studies suggest that these efforts are supported by and are at the heart of the human resource (HR) function (Hart & Schlesinger, 1991). Scholars share the common belief that HR practices are connected with organizational performance by impelling employee attitudes and behaviors (Huselid, 1995; Wright et al., 2005) and have direct benefits to the achievement of organizational outcomes (Jiang et al., 2012). India is one of the major attractions for global organizations. The TeamLease Indian Labor Report of 2009 suggested that by 2025, 300 million people will enter the labor force, and 25 percent of the world's skilled workers will be Indians. Hence, it becomes desirable for global and Indian organizations to understand how the HR practices influence employees' behaviors.

HR practices utilize human capital to accomplish the strategic objectives of the organizations (Stone, 2009). Out of the two approaches of HR, most of the researchers believe in the "best practice" approach (Gould-Williams & Mohamed, 2010; Paauwe & Boselie, 2005). Regarding the list of best HR practices, researchers suggest a variety of HR practices such as recruitment and selection; training and development; performance appraisals and performance-contingent rewards (Snape & Redman, 2010; Zacharatos et al., 2005). For the present study, we selected two HR practices, namely performance appraisal (PA) and reward and recognition (R&R) and examined the effect of fairness of these practices on employee engagement, knowledge sharing and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). These behaviors are highly relevant in the current context where organizations emphasize flatter and team-based structures and collaborative behavior of employees. These also positively influence organizational performance and long run sustainable competitive advantage (Andrew & Sofian, 2012; Harter et al., 2006; Lin, 2007a; Organ, 1997).

Performance appraisal is a structured formal process between a subordinate and his/her superior (Latham & Wexley, 1994). Its purpose is to assess employee's performance and give feedback for improvement and development. Murphy and Cleveland (1991) suggested that the context of performance appraisal influence how the employees perceive the organizational practices. When employees view that performance appraisal is impartial, they have a positive perception of the organization which in turn affect their organizational commitment (Konovsky & Cropanzano, 1991).

Reward and recognition refers to financial and non-financial rewards given to employees for their contribution to the organization and influence employee's perception of being valued by the organization. The perception of being valued by the organization leads to lower turnover, improved task behavior and increased OCB (Rhoades et al., 2001). Among the many essential elements of organizational reward suggested by Bartol and Locke (2000), perceived fairness of rewards is the one that motivates employees to perform the desired behaviors. The present study addresses three questions: (1) How fairness of PA and R&R practices influence employees' involvement in knowledge sharing, OCB, and employee engagement? (2) How trust culture influences employees behavior? (3) Whether trust culture moderates the effect of PA and R&R on knowledge sharing, OCB and employee engagement.

This study has used two frameworks-organizational justice and social exchange- to explain employee behavior at the workplace. To elucidate the effect of fair PA and R&R practices on OCB, knowledge sharing and employee engagement, we used the organizational justice framework. The term, 'organizational justice', introduced by Greenberg (1987) refers to people's perceptions of fairness in organizations (Colquitt et al., 2005) and includes three forms of fairness namely, distributive justice, procedural justice, and interactional justice. In aligning with the organizational justice theory, it can be said that the fair and employee-centric HR practices imply a long-term investment in employees. These create a sense of obligation to reciprocate by exhibiting pro-social behavior and by being engaged in an organization (Cardona et al., 2004).

To discuss the effect of trust culture, we used social exchange theory (Blau, 1964). Social exchange includes a sequence of interactions which are perceived as interdependent and dependent on the actions of another person (Blau, 1964). According to Molm (2003), the reciprocal exchange does not involve explicit bargaining. The exchange process starts when one party begins a move, and the other party reciprocates it, and continuation of these exchanges create a self-reinforcing cycle. In the organization, an employee may build-up these exchange relationships with immediate superior (e.g., Liden et al., 1997), peers (e.g., Ensher et al., 2001) and the organization itself (e.g., Moorman et al., 1998). Trust assists in the creation of reciprocity (Garbarino & Lee, 2003). Thus, an individual who perceives trust culture in the organization because of the positive way the organization has dealt with him is likely to feel inclined to support and enrich the organization through desirable behavior.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)

Organ (1997) defined the OCB as actions aimed to help in the maintenance and enhancement of the social and psychological framework of the organization that further support task performance. OCB contributes meaningfully to organizational effectiveness by lubricating the social machinery of the organization and minimizing unhealthy conflicts.

The employees create generalized beliefs about the extent the organization acknowledges their inputs and take care of them, and such beliefs influence their involvement in OCB (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Morrisson (1996) suggested that HR management of the organization is an instrument in encouraging OCB. Organizational processes such as employee performance and development planning, performance feedback and career growth stimulate the norm of reciprocity which employees express through OCB (Konovsky & Pugh, 1994; Tepper & Taylor, 2003).The perceptions of fairness also promote OCB and influence employees' willingness to reciprocate the favors received (Organ, 1988). Studies suggest that procedural justice as a better predictor of OCB than distributive justice (Konovsky & Pugh, 1994). Zheng et al. (2012) mentioned that perceived rating-reward link strengthens the direct relationship between appraisal process and OCB. In alignment with earlier studies, we hypothesize that:

H1: Fair PA and R&R practices will positively influence employees' involvement in OCB.

Knowledge Sharing

Davenport and Volpel, (2001) defined knowledge as codified information including insight, interpretation, context, experience, wisdom and so forth. Knowledge sharing is the dissemination of knowledge in the organization (Yang, 2004) and suggests the conscious action of an individual who has the knowledge. Knowledge-sharing behaviors in organization support the knowledge creation (Bock et al., 2005) and facilitates innovation and organizational effectiveness (Lin, 2007a; Wang & Wang, 2012).

Promoting the knowledge sharing behavior is considered to be one of the most difficult tasks (Lin et al., 2012). Employees consider the knowledge as a source of power and control (Chennamaneni et al., 2012). They may not share their knowledge because of fear of criticism and consider their knowledge as imprecise or irrelevant (Ardichvili et al., 2003).Therefore, identifying the variables that can positively influence knowledge sharing behavior has been an area of continuous research. To motivate employees for knowledge sharing there must be a change in the approach of employment relationships in organizations (Thompson & Heron, 2005). HR...

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