Which job resources alleviate perceived incivility for employee thriving and performance? - Time-lagged survey research
Ridwan Saptoto is a PhD student in the department Change Management & Organization Behaviour. (Co)Supervisors are prof.dr. C.P.M. Wilderom and dr. D.H. van Dun from the faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences.
Thriving employees, characterized by having a high sense of energy and learning at work, are needed for organizations to remain competitive in tight business environments. Prior empirical research on employee thriving mainly focused on a single antecedent of thriving and involved either job resources or job demands which may improve or hinder employee thriving, respectively. But this cannot illustrate a complex phenomenon at the workplace in which various job resources and job demands can be experienced simultaneously on a daily basis, leading to different emotional states. This Ph.D. thesis presents three empirical studies that contribute to knowing more about thriving in relation to several interconnected research areas in the Organizational Behavior (OB) literature: instrumental leadership, co-workers’ instrumental behavior, leader support, workplace incivility, perceived organizational support, self-efficacy, and positive/negative affect. Those studies investigated how various job resources and demands may influence follower thriving and, in turn, high follower job performance. Hypotheses were developed by combining prominent insights from OB theories, namely: Job demands-resources theory, broaden-and-build theory, self-determination theory, and social learning theory. A three-wave, time-lagged survey research design was administered to investigate the impact of job demands and job resources over time and overcome common method bias. Respondents were employees recruited from five organizations as well as those recruited by snowball sampling. As many as 463 respondents continuously participated, i.e., three times, resulting in a large dataset. They were then randomized into two subsets, consisting of 231 and 232 respondents.
The first study, in Chapter 2, utilized the first dataset and explored how leader support induces follower thriving in the presence of leader incivility. Four hypotheses were tested, and the structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis result showed that a leader’s uncivil behavior may decrease follower positive affect which then reduces the level of follower thriving. However, coincidental support given by the same leader may improve follower positive affect and at the same time reduce follower negative affect. In that condition, the level of follower thriving can be sustained. The findings thus indicated that leader support may alleviate the simultaneous impact of leader incivility.
Inspired by this finding, the second empirical study of this thesis, Chapter 3, investigated whether the impact of both constructive (i.e., instrumental support) and destructive (uncivil) leader behaviors can evoke similar co-workers’ behaviors and, in turn, affecting follower thriving and job performance. Instrumental leadership, as an extension of transformational leadership, was assessed since this style is supposed to bring follower and organizational performance (through strategic leadership in facilitating followers to achieve specific work goals). Four hypotheses were examined by this study; SEM analysis of the entire large dataset yielded to accept those hypotheses. Co-workers indeed mimicked constructive and destructive leader behaviors, confirming the cascading effect, and thus, affecting follower thriving. Similarly, co-workers’ instrumental support generated by instrumental leadership is found to alleviate the negative impact of co-workers’ incivility on thriving, and, as the result, follower performance can be sustained.
The second dataset was used in the third empirical study, Chapter 4, which dealt with three distinct levels of job-resource type antecedents of employee thriving. This study revealed that perceived organizational support (i.e., receiving concrete support to do well on the job), instrumental leadership (i.e., a specific behavioral pattern consisting of four dimensions: environmental monitoring, strategy formulation and implementation, path-goal facilitation, and outcome monitoring), and employee self-efficacy (i.e., employee’s sense of self-confidence) can improve the level of employee thriving through positive affect.
In sum, in the presence of occasional or inevitable workplace incivility (of one’s leaders and co-workers), various forms of support from the same leader and co-workers may alleviate the negative impact of incivility. Then, employee thriving and performance can be sustained. Furthermore, thriving could be improved by personal resources and organizational resources available for employees. Future studies may examine the effect of various combined leadership styles on improving follower thriving since one style may not fit every organizational situation. In addition, future scholars may investigate various resources, including other sets of OB-type antecedents that may satisfy employee’s basic psychological needs so that employee thriving can be improved. Detailed suggestions for future study are presented in Chapter 5, as well as the thesis’ theoretical contributions and practical implications. All three empirical studies are submitted to and/or double-blind peer-reviewed by international journals in the field of OB.