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

Ronald Fischer (), Maria Cristina Ferreira, Nathalie Meurs, Kubilay Gok, Ding-Yu Jiang, Johnny R J Fontaine, Charles Harb, Jan Cieciuch, Mustapha Achoui, Ma Socorro D Mendoza, Arif Hassan, Donna Achmadi, Andrew A Mogaji and Amina Abubakar
Additional contact information
Ronald Fischer: Victoria University of Wellington
Maria Cristina Ferreira: Salgado de Oliveira University
Nathalie Meurs: Middlesex University
Kubilay Gok: Winona State University
Ding-Yu Jiang: National Chung Cheng University
Johnny R J Fontaine: Ghent University
Charles Harb: American University of Beirut
Jan Cieciuch: University of Zurich
Mustapha Achoui: Arab Open University, Kuwait
Ma Socorro D Mendoza: UBHC, Rutgers University
Arif Hassan: International Islamic University Malaysia
Donna Achmadi: Victoria University of Wellington
Andrew A Mogaji: Benue State University
Amina Abubakar: Pwani University

Journal of International Business Studies, 2019, vol. 50, issue 1, 125-134

Abstract: 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.

Keywords: organizational citizenship behavior; culture; uncertainty; formalization; multilevel analysis (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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