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Does Perceived Organizational Support Influence Organizational Citizenship Behavior?Evidence from Telecom Sector in Lahore, Pakistan.

Byline: Javaria Jamil, Kashif Rathore, Arslan Qaiser and Fizza Kanwal

Introduction

Organization can get the maximum output from their employees by utilizing their abilities. For that purpose organizations developing and implementing best human practices. Organization can obtain a strategic competitive advantage by effectively utilizing their workforce abilities1. The employee-organization relationship is rooted, when employees are being valued by the organization in the form of benefits like salary, promotion, decision making authority, appreciation, availability of information and other forms of support that is essential to perform one's job effectively2.Perceived organizational support (POS) refers to the degree to which employees believe that their organization values their inputs and well-beings. POS also influence the employees' behavior and attitude towards the organization.

The employees with affective commitment and attachment are intrinsically motivated to give their optimal efforts. With high organizational support, employees are more encouraged to exhibit the organizational citizenship behavior. OCB consist of activities that are not included in employee's formal job requirements, but they are beneficial for the organization3.

The objective of current research is to investigate whether extra role performance of employees can be leveraged through organizational support. We posit the following research questions:

* What is the relationship between perceived organizational support, affective commitment and extra role performance of employees in telecom sector of Pakistan?

* To what extent organizational support influence the employee's extra role performance through affective commitment?

This study is significant as it explores the process through which organizational support influences the employee's affective commitment and organizational citizenship behaviors specifically in telecom sector of Pakistan, and as such provides further and new evidence for theory testing. On the managerial side, this study may help to develop organizational policy for improving employee commitment and extra role performance by giving importance to their socio-emotional needs. The employee's perceptions about the work experiences in their organization play a vital role in describing their work behaviors and attitudes. The study helps to identify the employee's point of views which can be considered in organization policy development. This study also provides evidence to fill the gap between organizational decision making and employees' expectations in order to provide the right type of support to organizational members.

Literature review

Perceived organizational support (POS)

POS indicates the employees' belief that how much their organizations value their employee needs. The positively perceived organizations reduce the employees stress which ultimately has as a strong impact on employee performance4.From a social exchange perspective the organization provides social support in instrumental and expressive form. Instrumental resources include the necessary information, special skills, advice of professionals, access to equipment's and materials that help the employees to achieve organization objectives. Expressive type of organizational support includes the acceptance, admiration, affection, and emotional attachment that are essential to fulfill employees' socio-emotional needs5.Social exchange theorists maintain that it is more appreciated if benefits received from others are based on voluntary actions rather than situational.

The voluntary actions may contribute more to POS in the form such as pay, development opportunities and enhancement, if employees believe that organization provide these rewards voluntarily rather than through union or government pressure for these actions6.

Affective commitment

Commitment is described as a mental condition that connects the employees to the activities or other identity that is characteristic of their organization7. Organization commitment has three types; Affective, normative and continuance. While normative commitment is a kind of attachment with organization that is based on cultural bonding and continuance commitment cements employees with the organization through an instrumental and well-calculated give-and-take bond, affective commitment may be conceptualized as the employees' intensity of emotional association and personal recognition with the organization8.It is also observed that employees pursue their career within the organization and avoid quitting despite better career options outside because they do not want to leave the organization9.

Similarly, organizational citizenship behavior is mostly driven by positive feeling and attachment than obligation and financial reasons, so affective commitment has considered more appropriate to predict the OCB than normative and continuance commitment10.

Work experiences such as reward distribution, equality in organizational procedures and employee support from the organization have exhibited strong relationship with affective commitment11.The result of another study indicated that affective commitment increases as a result of positive organizational behaviors such as attention and other positive support made available to employees12.

Organization support theory discusses the psychological contract processes which have a strong effect on both POS and employee commitment to the organization. First, on basis of exchange process, POS would create a moral responsibility among employees to behave in a favorable way and help to achieve the objectives of organization (normative commitment). Second POS would fulfill the employees' socio emotional needs such as affiliation, acceptance and recognition; it may encourage the employees to perceive their organizational membership as a social identity (affective commitment). Third, POS should strengthen the employees' belief that high performance and increase work effort will be rewarded by organization-continuance commitment13.

Extra-role Performance/OCB

Without hardworking and enthusiastic employees organization cannot achieve its objectives. In an organization, employees are expected to perform certain duties that are mentioned in job description. Affectively committed employees not only perform the fixed job duties but they also perform activities that go beyond their job description and termed as extra-role activities or organizational citizenship behavior14.In 1930 Barnard observed the organizational citizenship behavior as a phenomena and afterwards called it as extra-role behaviors15.Organizational citizenship behavior is described as performing activities or actions that are not part of the fixed job duties, but that benefit the organization as a whole. These extra-role behaviors and activities include like helping coworkers, attending volunteer programs and giving valuable suggestions16.

In order to measure contextual performance, earlier research used organizational citizenship behavior at individual (OCBI) and organizational level17.

Perceived organizational support, affective commitment and OCB

Employees with organizational support are more motivated to do something good for the organization. By perceiving that their organization supports them generally, they willingly do extra work for their organization18. Researchers have found that on the basis of organizational support theory, POS has ability to reduce the employees' desire to leave the organization since they feel affectively committed to their organization.It follows that affective commitment reduces the employees' turnover intentions and improves their stability in the organization. A meta-analytic review found that POS improves the employees' eagerness for fixed and extra-role performance and it also reduces the employees' undesirable behaviors such as turnover, absenteeism and demotivation. It is generally observed that employees exhibit positive behaviors in the form of OCB as outcome of commitment with organization.

The result of earlier studies also indicates that affective commitment and OCB has strong connection19.Other studies have confirmed OCB as a consequence of employees' affective commitment20.

The concept of organizational support theory (OST) determine that, employees develop a general perception about the degree to which organization gives importance to their input efforts, so it can be assessed that how much their socio-emotional needs are fulfilled and what are the benefits of extra work efforts that employees put in return21. Social exchange theories developed to explain the employee-organization relationship. The reciprocity norm applies to employer-employee relationship in which employees are responsible to repay the organization with better performance in exchange for favorable treatments they receive from organization22.However, high levels of performance-including extra-role performance or OCB-may not entirely be a direct result of organizational support perceived by employees. POS may first develop a feeling of emotional attachment and affective commitment towards the organization among employees.

With affective commitment employees do not want to leave the organization because they are emotionally attached to the organization. While in normative commitment a sense of obligation forces employees to stay within the organization. Continuance commitment suggests that employees continue their status with the organization due to financial reasons. Organizational citizenship behavior has been found to be driven more by positive feelings and emotional attachment than obligation and financial reasons, so affective commitment has been considered more appropriate to predict OCB than normative and continuance commitment23. The importance of extra-role behaviors is increasing in competitive business environment since it is the source of development and best utilization of employees' efforts for improving organization performance24.Employees with organizational support are more motivated to do something good for the organization.

By perceiving that their organization supports them in every matter, they willingly do extra work for the organization25. OCB is also considered as a consequence of employees' affective commitment26. On the basis of forgoing discussion, affective commitment is proposed as mediating the relationship between POS and OCB (Figure 1).

The following hypotheses are proposed:

H1: POS is positively correlated with employees' affective commitment.

H2: There is a positive correlation between affective commitment and OCB at individual level (OCBI).

H3: There is a positive correlation between affective commitment and OCB at organizational level (OCBO)

H4: POS has a positive correlation with organizational citizenship behavior at individual level.

H5: POS has a positive correlation with organizational citizenship behavior at organizational level.

H6: Employees' affective commitment mediates the relationship between perceived organizational support and OCB at individual level (OCBI).

H7: Employees affective commitment mediates the relationship between perceived organizational support and OCB at organization level (OCBO).

Research Methodology

Survey research design is used in this study. A cross-sectional survey was employed to collect primary data from telecom sector employees in Lahore, Pakistan. From three regional offices of each of the five telecom companies in Lahore, one regional office was selected randomly. At a second stage, convenience sampling strategy was used to distribute structured questionnaires to employees in these offices. Convenience sampling was used considering 1) the non-availability of sampling frame for the study since telecom companies treat their employees list as confidential information and are unwilling to share it, and 2) the availability of employees willing to participate in the limited time for this study. 50 questionnaires were personally distributed to and collected from employees in each of the five telecom companies.

230 questionnaires out of total 250 questionnaires distributed were finally used for this research. 20 responses were rejected either because of block-response sets or incomplete information.

Instrument for data collection

For the purpose of this study, scale of POS which is developed by Rhoades, Eisenberger, and Armeli27is adopted to measure the employees perception regarding their organization.it consists of eight statements. The reliability of the scale is 0.73.Employee's affective commitment is measured by the eight-item scale of affective commitment which is developed by Allen and Meyer28. The reliability of the scale is 0.72.It is measured at two levels (OCBI) and (OCBO). They are measured by the scale developed by Lee and Allen29.Both have 4 statements in each. The reliability is 0.70 and 0.71. All the three modelled variables in this study have been measured using closed-ended questions with well-defined response categories ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree on a scale of 1 to 5.

Demographic variables

Information about the following demographic factors was collected: gender of respondent, age of respondent, marital status, work experience, position title and qualification. Demographic variables have been used for statistical control in this study.

Data analysis and Results

SPSS statistics 20 was used to describe and analyze the data. Multiple regression method was used along with Andrew F. Hayes's Process tool for analyzing mediated paths.

Preliminary analysis was performed to test assumptions of multiple regression (See Appendix). Graphical analysis (histograms/PP plots and partial correlation plots) revealed that no violation of assumptions of normality and linearity occurred. Box plots revealed some outliers in modelled variables, but Mahalanobis distance criteria revealed that these were not influential points. Zero-order correlations and Variance Inflation Factor did not indicate any departure from the assumption of multi col linearity. The graph of residual errors also showed a random pattern indicating homoscedasticity in the variate.

Correlations

Table 1 shows the zero-order correlations among POS, AC and OCB. POS is positively and significantly correlated with AC (0.554, p<0.01) and OCB (0.562, p<0.01). Similarly, AC is positively and significantly correlated with OCB (0.712, p<0.01). There is no preliminary indication of multi col linearity since the strength of relationship between the predictors POS and AC is <0.9.

Table 1: Correlations

###POS###AC###OCB

###Pearson Correlation###1###.554**###.562**

POS###Sig. (2-tailed)###.000###.000

###N###230###230###230

###Pearson Correlation###.554**###1###.712**

AC###Sig. (2-tailed)###.000###.000

###N###230###230###230

###Pearson Correlation###.562**###.712**###1

OCB###Sig. (2-tailed)###.000###.000

###N###230###230###230

The value of correlation for these variables indicates that a change in independent variables (POS and AC) may cause a significant change in dependent variable (OCB).

Regression analysis

Mediated multiple regression has been used to investigate the hypotheses that there is significant association between independent and dependent variables and affective commitment mediates the relationship between perceived organizational support and OCBI/OCBO. Two mediation models are used. Model 1 has POS as independent variable (IV), AC as mediating variable (MV) and OCBI as dependent variable (DV). Model 2 has POS as independent variable (IV), AC as mediating variable (MV) and OCBO as dependent variable (DV). Figure 2 shows the paths between the modelled variables:

Path c = Direct path form POS to OCBI/OCBO (IV to DV)

Path a = Direct path from POS to AC (IV to mediator)

Path b = Direct path from AC to OCBI/OCBO (mediator to DV)

Path c' = Indirect path from IV to DV with mediator in model

Mediation Model 1

The values in Table 2show that the correlation between control variables (title position of the respondent, gender of the respondent and age of the respondent) and AC is 0.163 (p< 0.05)as a whole and control variables explain just 2.6% of the variation in AC. The same correlation value R becomes 0.563(p<0.05) and R-square value increases to 31.7% when the POS is added to control variables as an IV to predict AC. With the addition of POS, our model now explains 31.7% of variation in the dependent variable AC. The value of F statistic in ANOVA increases from 2.049 (p<0.01) to 26.07 (p<.01) when we add POS as an IV to the control variables in the model. This shows that our model is significant as a whole and model fit to data increases significantly after addition of POS as an IV to the model.

Table 2: R Square and ANOVA for Path a and Path b (OCBI)

###Path a###Path b

Step 1###Step 2Step 1###Step 2

###(Control variables)###(Control variables), POS###(Control variables)

(Control variables), AC

R###.163*###.563*###.147*

.562*

R Square###.026###.317###.022

.316

F###2.049**###26.077**###1.666**

25.986**

The result in Table 3 show that coefficient for independent variable (POS) is [beta]=0.545(p<0.01) i.e. for every one percent increase in the perceived organizational support, there is a predicted increase of 0.545 percent in affective commitment. The constant statistic value indicating the intercept is 9.602 which is the predicted value of affective commitment when independent variable has zero value.

Table 3: Regression Effects of POS on AC and AC on OCBI

###Step 1###Step 2###Step 1###Step 2

[beta]###[beta]###Sig###[beta]###[beta]

Sig

Gender of the respondent###.072###.002###-.065###-.105

Age of the respondent###-.120 -.089 -.144###-.078

Position title of the respondent###.113###.073###.046###-.016

POS###_###.545###.000###_###.550

.000

Table 2 shows that the correlation between control variables (title position of the respondent, gender of the respondent and age of the respondent) and OCBI is 0.147 (p< 0.05) as a whole and control variables explain just 2.2% of the variation in OCBI. The same correlation value R becomes 0.562 (p<0.05) and R-square value increases to 0.316 when the AC is added to control variables as an IV to predict AC. It means that with the addition of AC, our model now explains 31.6% of variation in the dependent variable OCBI. The value of F statistic in ANOVA increases from 1.666 (p<0.01) to 25.986 (p<0.01) when we add AC as an IV to the control variables in the model. This shows that our model is significant as a whole and model fit to data increases significantly after addition of AC as an IV to the model.

Table 3 show that coefficient for independent variable AC is [beta]=0.55 (p<0.01) i.e. for every one percent increase in the affective commitment, there is a predicted increase of 0.55 percent in OCB at individual level (OCBI).

Table 4 shows the R value is .447 (p< 0.05) and R-square value is .199 when predictors are control variables and POS. The value of R increases to .582 (p< 0.05) and R square increases to .338 when AC is added along with control variables and POS. It means that POS explains 19.9% of variation in OCBI but with the addition of mediating variable (AC) it increases to 33.8%.The ANOVA F statistic value of 14.018 (p<0.01) also increases to 22.017 (p<0.01) which shows that model fit to data improves when AC is added as a mediator to the independent variable (POS).

Table 4: R square and ANOVA for Path c and Path c' (OCBI)

###Step 1###Step 2 (Path c)###Step 3 (Path c ')

###(Control variables)###(Control variables), POS###(Control variables), POS,

AC

R###.147*###.447*###.582*

R Square###.022###.199###.338

F###1.666**###14.018**###22.917**

The result in Table 5 shows that coefficient for independent variables POS ([beta]= .427, p<0.01) decreases to [beta]= .181(p<0.01) when AC ([beta]= .451, p <0.01) is added as a mediating variable. This bears evidence that AC partially mediates the relationship between POS and OCBI.

Table 5: Regression Effects of POS on OCBI via AC

###Step 1###Step 2###Step 3

###[beta]###[beta]###[beta]###sig

Gender of the respondent###-.065###-.120###-.121

Age of the respondent###-.144###-.121###-.080

Position title of the respondent###.046###.015###-.018

POS###_###.427###.181###.006

AC###_###_###.451###.000

Mediation Model 2

Table 6 shows that the correlation R between control variables (title position of the respondent, gender of the respondent and age of the respondent) and OCBO is 0.056 (p< 0.05) as a whole and control variables explain just 0.3% of the variation in OCBO. The same correlation value R becomes 0.553 (p<0.05) with the addition of AC and our model now explains 30.6% of variation in the dependent variable OCBO. The value of F statistic in ANOVA increases from 0.24 (p<0.01) to 24.839 (p<0.01) when we add AC as an IV to the control variables in the model. This shows that our model is significant as a whole and model fit to data increases significantly after addition of AC as an IV to the model.

Table 6: R Square and ANOVA for Path b, Path c and Path c' (OCBO)

Step 1###Step 2Step 2 (Path c) Step 3 (Path c ')

(Control variables)(Control variables) (Control variables), (Control variables),

AC###POS###POS, AC

R###.056*###.553* .457* .583*

R Square###.003###.306 .209###.340

F .240**24.839**14.853**23.041**

Table 7 shows that coefficient for independent variable AC is [beta]=0.558 (p<0.01) i.e. for every one percent increase in the affective commitment, there is a predicted increase of 0.558percent in OCB at organizational level (OCBO).

Table 7: Regression Effects of AC on OCBO

Step 1###Step 2

[beta]sig

Gender of the respondent###-.015###-.055

Age of the respondent###-.058009

Position title of the respondent###.006-.057

AC###_###.558###.000

Table 6 shows the R value is .457 (p< 0.05) and R-square value is .209 when predictors are control variables and POS. The value of R increases to .583 (p< 0.05) and R square increases to .34 when AC is added along with control variables and POS. It means that POS explains 20.9% of variation in OCBO but with the addition of mediating variable (AC) it increases to 34%. The ANOVA F statistic value of 14.853(p<0.01) also increases to 23.041 (p<0.01) which shows that model fit to data improves when AC is added as a mediator to the independent variable (POS). Also the Durbin-Watson value for this model is close to 2 which indicate absence of autocorrelation.

The result in Table 8 show that coefficient for independent variables POS ([beta]= .459, p<0.01) decreases to [beta]= .22 (p<0.01) when AC ([beta]= .437, p the direct effect of POS on OCBI.

Total effect of POS on OCBO is 0.2267 with SE=0.0296 [LLCI=0.1683, ULCI=0.2851]. The direct effect of POS on OCBO is 0.1089 with SE=0.0324 [LLCI=0.0451, ULCI=0.1728]. The indirect effect of POS on OCBO through AC is 0.1178 with SE=0.0236 [LLCI=0.0767, ULCI=0.1700 which is >the direct effect of POS on OCBO. These results indicate that POS has a moderate effect size on OCB through AC both at individual and organizational levels.

Discussion

This study explored whether POS affects the employees' willingness to do extra work both at individual level or organizational level by influencing employees' affective commitment and whether this commitment enhanced employees' extra-role performance or OCB. The result of this study provides evidence that there is significance association between perceived organizational support, employees' affective commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCBI and OCBO). By running correlation we find positive relationship between dependent, independent and mediating variable. Result of regression analysis provides evidence that significant variation occur in dependent variable (OCB) due to its relation with independent variable (POS) and affective commitment mediates the relationship between them. When organization provides support and considers the employees well-being, employees' emotional attachment with the organization is also enhanced.

Our results are supported by other studies in the literature e.g. study conducted by Liu et al. 31. For instance, POS fulfills employees' socio-emotional needs such as respect, acceptance and affiliation which then create a strong sense of attachment among employees towards their organization32. In another study, employees' level of devotion and affiliation with the organization demonstrates their affective commitment which also has a strong link to the personal support and work practices such as pay and administration.

The positive association found between perceived organizational support and organizational citizenship behavior indicates that employees perform extra-role activities willingly by getting high support from their organizations33. Previous studies have shown the same result that perceiving high support from theirorganizations, employees willingly do extra work for their organizations34. POS also influence the performance of extra-role activities which are not mentioned in job description. These activities include the helping coworkers, taking initiative to protect the organization, giving productive suggestions and learn about new things and skills35.The positive association found between OCB and affective commitment suggests that highly committed employees are more encouraged to perform extra-role behaviors. The results of earlier studies in different cultural settings also indicate that affective commitment is precursor of organizational citizenship behaviors36.

The results of this study showed that POS explains 31.7% of variation in affective commitment with control variables of gender, age and position title of the respondent. It means that organizations can achieve favorable outcomes by providing employees with the needed support. For example, employees are emotionally attached to their organization if they treated well37. They put more efforts on extra work activities and respond to the organizational challenges and opportunities positively. Affective commitment explained 31.6% of variation in OCB at individual level with control variables. Affective commitment also explained 30.6% of variation in OCB at organizational level with control. POS explained 19.9% of variation in OCBI and after mediation of affective commitment it increased to 33.8%. POS explained 20.9% variation in OCBO and after mediation of affective commitment it increased to 34%.

The findings of this study are consistent with previous studies which separately indicate that affective commitment mediates the relationship between OCBI and OCBO38.

Conclusion

Employees are the most important assets for an organization to achieve its objectives. Organizations can achieve its targets only when employees are satisfied with the working environment and put their full potential as a moral responsibility to repay the organizations. Organization support in every matter for employees' welfare plays a vital role to improve the employee-employer relationship and results in contribution of extra efforts by employees. At individual level, employees perform extra duties that are not the part of job description and go out of the way to help their coworkers. At organizational level, they give productive suggestions, spread good names and positive image of the organization etc.It is concluded that organizations can realize maximum potential of their employees by assuring the availability of organizational support for them and thereby enhancing their affective commitment with the organization.

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