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The effects of co-workers' extra-role behaviour on individual task performance and climate perceptions

Neale, Matthew C. (2008) The effects of co-workers' extra-role behaviour on individual task performance and climate perceptions. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

Extra-role helping, defined as assisting co-workers with their work tasks, and extra-role voice, defined as arguing for constructive change, are believed to be functional for work groups. However, the mechanisms by which helping and voice might contribute to group effectiveness have not been described in detail, and relatively little empirical research has addressed the effects that helping and voice actually have within groups, or their relationships with outcomes relevant to group effectiveness. I argue that helping and voice will have their most direct and immediate effects on fellow group members, and that these effects may influence the subsequent performance of the group as a whole. I present a cross-level model of task facilitation, which describes the impact that group level helping may have on the task performance of individual group members. I present a cross-level model of climate building, which describes the impact that group level helping and voice may have on the climate perceptions of individual group members. I test hypotheses drawn from these models in three studies. Study one was conducted with 1086 Australian air traffic controllers in 45 groups. The results provided support for the task facilitation mechanism, and showed that group level helping was positively associated with the task performance and effectiveness of individual air traffic controllers. Study two was conducted in an Australian public sector organisation employing over 4000 individuals in 177 groups. The results of this study provided support for the climate building mechanism. Group level helping was positively associated with individual perceptions of affective climate. The effects of group level voice depended on the level of goal clarity within the group. I argued that group members would perceive a greater need for voice when group goal clarity was low, and that under these circumstances, group members would attribute voice behaviour to a genuine desire to benefit the group. Under conditions of high goal clarity, however, group members would not perceive a need for voice, and so the voice behaviours would be attributed to self-serving motives to gain power, influence or resources. Results supported these arguments, with group voice having a negative effect on climate perceptions when goal clarity was high, and a positive effect on climate perceptions when goal clarity was low. In study three I examined the impact of attributions for voice behaviour directly. I conducted an experiment with 69 second year management students. Students were placed in a simulated organisational context by way of a written vignette. The level of co-worker voice and the motives for voice were manipulated within this vignette to form a two by two factorial design in which the level of voice (no voice vs. some voice) was crossed with co-worker motives (self-serving vs. altruistic). Manipulation checks showed that participants attributed the co-worker's behaviour to self serving motives in the self-serving condition, and to altruistic motives in the altruistic condition. The results showed that voice behaviour had a negative impact on climate perceptions when self-serving attributions were made. When altruistic attributions were made, the presence or absence of voice did not influence climate perceptions. The results of the three studies suggest that extra-role helping and voice form important parts of the technical, social and psychological environment in which group members work. Furthermore, this environment can have important effects on the task performance and climate perceptions of group members. To the extent that group effectiveness depends on high levels of individual task performance and positive climate perceptions, these outcomes will influence subsequent group effectiveness. I close by discussing the contribution of the task facilitation and climate building models, and the practical implications of the results obtained within this thesis.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 16688
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Unsworth, Kerrie
Keywords: organisational behaviour, extra-role behaviour, helping, groups, voice, climate, task performance, multilevel
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Department: Faculty of Business
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 14:08
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2011 05:51

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