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ROLE OF CORE SELF-EVALUATIONS, SELF-MONITORING AND SUPERVISORY SUPPORT ON TAKING CHARGE AT WORK

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CHAPTER ONE

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

The benefits of securing a committed workforce and retaining organizational competitive advantage over other organizations are crucial for the success and sustainability of organization and this is increasingly becoming indispensable. One of the essential sources of such competitive advantage according to researchers is the human capital (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004; Cunningham and Sagas, 2004). Being proactive is about taking control to make things happen rather than watching things happen. It involves aspiring and striving to bring about change in the environment and/or oneself to achieve a different future (Bindl and Parker, 2011; Grant and Ashford, 2008).

 

Extra-role performance, which includes taking charge behaviours, refers to discretionary behaviours (i.e. sportsmanship, civic virtue, and helping behaviour) on the part of the salesperson that are not objectively related to his/her sales productivity Podsakoff,  MacKenzie, Paine and Bachrach (2000). Even though taking charge is not part of individual‘s assigned duties, they are still beneficial to the organization, its members and the employees themselves. In the sales context, it has been demonstrated that OCB have a strong, positive, and consistent effect on the evaluation of the employees‘ performance, in several contexts, Podsakoff and MacKenzie, 1994).

 

One of the arguments used to explain the influence of organizational citizenship behaviour on performance evaluation lies in the mediating effect of affective variables (Podsakoff and MacKenzie, 1994). According to this idea, employees that engage in these behaviours will be rewarded with the positive liking of their supervisors (Lefkowitz, 2000). Despite these arguments, there is still the need to empirically confirm them in the sales context.

 

Recently Parker and Collins (2010) showed through empirical investigations that taking charge can be classified as important extra-role behaviour. Existing studies also provide extensive proof of the diverse ways in which workers express proactive behaviour, including seeking feedback (Ashford, Blatt & VandeWalle, 2003), breaking rules (Morrison, 2006), implementing ideas and solving problems (Parker, Williams, & Turner, 2006), taking initiative in pursuing personal and organizational goals (Frese and Fay, 2001) , taking charge to bringing about change (Morrison and Phelps, 1999) and organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB), (Allen, 2006; Li, Liang, & Crant, 2010; Organ, 1988; Onyishi, 2006). As suggested by these studies, attention to discretionary work behaviour has most often grown out of interest in a particular field. These phenomenon-driven approaches have led to rich array of proactive behaviours that have been important in diverse areas. Recently, focus has shifted to, taking charge, a less researched form of extra role behaviour that is capable of facilitating the initiation of innovative behaviours that are critical to modern organizational competitiveness and sustainability (Morrison & Phleps, 1999). Using both individual-level and contextual predictors, Morrison and Phelps (1999) demonstrated that taking charge behaviours are a function of an employee‘s felt responsibility to change the workplace, their belief in their capacity to perform and the perception of the top management‘s openness to change.

 

Despite the significance of taking charge at the workplace, its antecedents are relatively understood. Most attention has been given to reactive concepts of performance in which it is assumed that there is a set job to which an individual must be matched (Frese & Fay, 2001). For instance, much research has been devoted to investigating the predictors of standard task performance (Viswesvaran, 2001) as well as citizenship behaviours (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine & Bachrach, 2000). These concepts, however, have been criticized for their emphasis on rather passive behaviours (Morrison & Phleps, 1999). Researchers have proposed that both individual differences and contextual factors are antecedents to proactive work behaviours (Parker, Bindl & Strauss, 2010). To date, scholars have largely emphasized individual differences as antecedents to proactive work behaviour. Proactive personality, (Parker & Collins, 2010), general self-efficacy and felt responsibility (Morrison & Phleps, 1999) have well been linked with proactive work behaviour and some specifically to taking charge at work.

 

Conventionally, reseachers who have studied extrarole bahaviours have generaly focused on organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB). However, Morrison and Phleps (1999) expanded the taking charge concept in response to the shortcomings of overly

narrow conceptualization of extrarole behaviours, defining it as ― voluntary and constructive efforts, by individual employees, to effect organizationally functional change with respect to how work is executed within the contexts of their jobs, work units, or organizations‖ . According to Moon (2008), much studies on OCB has focused on helping contemporaries, being punctual, and attending nonrequired work functions, as opposed to more extensive behaviours embedded in a desire to help one‘s organization develop, advance, and improve. Clarifying the concept further, Van Dyne, Cummings and Parks, (1995), likened taking charge to be ― challenging-promotive‖ in that it fits into the general class of extrarole behaviours.

 

Moreover, taking charge, has been largely examined as discrete form of behaviour. It occurs when workers go one step further, informing their superiors of how they actually attempted to resolve problems (Morrison & Phleps, 1999).

 

Tucker (2007) in the same light sees taking charge as ―leverages of workers‖ firsthand knowledge of the details- and often the root causes- of problems, which enables them to offer particularly well-informed ideas about how to resolve them. Moon et al. (2008) succintly puts taking charge as innovative citizenship behaviour and posited that it is change oriented. Related concepts are role innovation (Schein, 1971), voice (Van Dyne & LePine, 1998), role innovation, breaking rules (Morrison, 2006) and task revision (Staw & Boettger, 1990). Compared to voicing concerns, Morrison and Phleps (1999) further asserted that taking charge is more constructive form of speaking up because it can mitigate consequences and prevent recurrence. It is also motivated by desire for

 

organizational improvement and is not necessarily rooted in principle or in a belief that current practices are wrong or bad.

 

Collectively, Frese and Fay (2001) refer to these concepts as ― active performance concepts‖ for the reason that, in contrast to traditional performance concepts that assume a given task or goal, these concepts imply that people can go beyond assigned tasks, develop their own goals, and adopt a long-term perspective to prevent problems.

 

Finally, taking charge occurs when employees seek to improve the way work is executed (i.e., work structures, practice, and routines) (Morrison & Phleps, 1999; Parker & Collins, 2010). Chiaburu and Tekleab (2004) further extended this model‘s ability to classify predictors not only according to their level (individual vs. contextual) but also according to their orientation (proactive vs. passive; VanDyne and LePine, 1998). This increases the model‘s power to examine antecedents that favour taking charge (e.g. propensity to trust and positive employee exchange ideology) as well as conditions that hinder such behaviour (e.g. monitoring styles that focus on process rather than output control). Both studies found that those employees on a higher job level were also more likely to engage in taking charge behaviour.

 

Even as the above research presents a foundation for a theoretical framework for the assessment of ‗challenging-promotive‘ (Van Dyne, Cummings & Parks, 1995) type of extra-role behaviours such as taking charge, it is not without its limitations. A wider range of predictors need to be assessed in order to better understand taking charge behaviours, such as examining the individual work control beliefs in taking charge behaviour (Onyishi, Ugwu & Ogbonne, 2012). This brings to term the question Ashford

 

and Black (1996) asked ―whether employees are more likely to take charge if they perceive that the organization would be supportive if they were to engage in such behaviour.

 

Scholars have suggested that individuals‘personalities, and more specifically their dispositional states, play a key role in the determination of job attitudes and work-related behaviours (Judge, Locke & Durham, 1997). Core self-evaluations (CSE), a broad personality construct, has recently generated a great deal of research attention. However, while CSE has been found to be related to numerous relevant work outcomes (e.g., job satisfaction and job performance) and appears to be growing in its theoretical importance to the understanding of behavior at work, its relationship to taking charge at work has not been investigated. The concept was introduced by Judge, Locke and Durham (1997) who suggested that CSE represents the fundamental bottom-line assessment that people make about their worthiness, competence, and capabilities. In short, CSE are viewed as representing a cluster of four conceptually related traits: self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and neuroticism or emotional stability. They further argued that a key characteristic that differentiates people from one another is the fundamental evaluations we make about ourselves and how we relate to our environment. These fundamental beliefs are called ―core self-evaluations‖. People who have positive core self-evaluations see themselves positively across a variety of situations, and approach the world in a confident, self-assured manner. They believe that they are capable of solving problems (high self-efficacy), worthy of respect and regard (high self-esteem), in control of and responsible for what happens to them (internal locus of control), and prone to be optimistic and free from doubts and worries (high emotional stability) (Judge, Erez, Bono & Thoresen, 2002).

 

Bono & Judge (2003) submit that there likely exist many other criteria which CSE may significantly predict. Surprisingly, scholars have almost totally ignored/or are not even exploring the relationship between CSE and taking charge, an important extrarole behaviour. A study by Judge, Thoresen, Pucik & Welbourne, (1999) examined the relationship between CSE and organizational commitment. Yet, in this study only three of the four traits comprising CSE, in combination with positive affectivity, were assessed. The study, despite not utilizing the complete CSE construct, found a relationship between a proxy of similar core traits.

 

Given that Judge and Bono (2001) have successfully linked positive core self evaluations with job and life satisfaction as well as job performance, it seems reasonable to extend the CSE concept to other settings and populations. Specifically, if people who consider themselves worthy and able to cope with life’s exigencies bring a positive frame to the events and situations they encounter at work and in life then follows that employees who have positive core self evaluations should also bring a positive frame to both the financial service and educational context and life. Therefore, this study attempted to examine the extent to which both the concept and the measure of core self evaluations could be extended to mobile money organizational setting.

 

The idea that stable differences in human personality can systematically influence individuals‘reactions to the workplace has a long history in organizational

 

studies. Although the relevance of personality variables for predicting work related outcomes was once suspect, there is now ―abundant evidence for the robustness of many personality characteristics in understanding work-related attitude‖ (Day & Schleicher, 2006). It is argued that the recent study of personality in industrial and organizational (I-O) psychology is characterized by two limitations: (a) almost complete reliance on the Big Five to the exclusion of other personality variables (most notably, self-monitoring) and (b) insufficient theoretical attention paid to the criteria in work-related personality research. Personality plays an important role at work. To best appreciate the many influences that personality—and particularly self-monitoring personality (Gangestad & Snyder, 2000). We turn to self-monitoring, another individual variable of interest.

 

Self-monitoring refers to the extent to which people monitor, control and modify their expressive behaviour to meet standards of social appropriateness (Synder, 1974). According to Snyder, (1974); Ickes & Barnes, (1977) and Lennox & Wolfe, (1984), self-monitoring is defined as degree to which one is attuned to the way one presents oneself in social situations and the degree to which one adjusts one‘s performance to create a desired impression. Individuals scoring high in self-monitoring better perceive socially-relevant stimuli than their low self-monitoring counterparts (Baumeister & Twenge, 2003). These studies indicate that high self-monitors use information present in their social environment to adjust their self presentation. A variety of behaviours and speech techniques can be used to adjust one‘s self-presentation in different social situations, but one simple means of adjusting self-presentation is to copy the behaviours of others

 

At the heart of self-monitoring theory is the proposition that individuals differ meaningfully in the extent to which they can and do engage in the expressive control required for the creation of appropriate self-presentations (Snyder, 1974). One class of individuals, high self-monitors, tend to be highly attuned to cues of situational appropriateness; chameleon-like (Snyder, 1974) they adapt their behaviors and attitudes to suit different situational requirements. Faced with a social situation, high self-monitors ask: ―Who does this situation want me to be and how can I be that person?‖

 

(Snyder, 1979). By contrast, the other class of individuals, low self-monitors, tend to be less attuned to the requirements of different situations than to their own inner beliefs and values. The very nature of organizations as the typical context for work is especially relevant for the study of self-monitoring. Organizational work is characterized by exercises of power and authority, enacted and perceived leadership, job performance and performance assessment, attitude formation and expression, and, most importantly, relationships. Indeed, there is a relationship imperative at the heart of most, if not all, organizational work (Gabarro, 1987). All of these phenomena—and especially work relationships—influence and are influenced by the expressive control of individuals engaged in social interaction. Establishing and maintaining effective work relationships allows for task coordination, information flow, and other work processes that are necessary for accomplishing the goals and objectives of an organization. In addition, relationships are central to many leadership functions, such as setting direction, building commitment, and creating alignment (McCauley & Van Velsor, 2004). Put simply, work would not be accomplished (at least not effectively) without a foundation of networked

 

relationships in an organization. Self-monitoring personality is an important construct in understanding how such relationships are formed and maintained.

 

 

Supervisory career support is a key factor affecting an employee‘s career progression. Employees‘ careers are likely to be enhanced by supportive relationships with their supervisors (Wickramasinghe and Jayaweera, 2010). Supervisory support entails career enhancing functions such as providing challenging assignments, sponsorship, visibility, as well as psychosocial functions such as counselling, friendship and acceptance (Wickramasinghe and Jayaweera, 2010). Good supervisory feedback and constructive communication between an employee and his or her supervisor enhance the opportunity for advancement in the employee‘s capabilities (Van der Heijden, Kümmerling, Van Dam, Van Der Schoot, Estryn-Béhar and Hasselhorn, 2010). This support received and reduction in pressure may increase employee satisfaction and organizational commitment. Supervisors have the power to act as gatekeepers, as they have control over whether or not employees have access to and feel comfortable using work intiatives (Straub, 2012).

 

 

Powell (2011) opines that supervisory support is the extent to which leaders value their employee‘s contribution and care about their well being. In an organization where the supervisor is a team supervisor, the subordinates are heard, valued and cared for. A leader with high supervisory support will definitely bring about higher employee performance and a higher yield in organization.

 

Kossek, Pichler, Bodner and Hammer, (2011) agree that it is important to research informal workplace supports due to the rising trend of workplace stress today because informal supervisory support important in determining employee outcomes compared to formal supports (policies). Kossek et al (2011) argue that we need to form a better understanding of informal workplace support and how it affects work (Kossek et al., 2011), although it seems plausible that informal networks are equally as valuable in predicting other related work outocmes (i.e., the experience of commitment and proactive work behaviours such as taking charge).

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