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Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

The hypothesized moderating effects of the dimensions of organizational justice and organizational culture on the relationship of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and turnover intentions were examined. Results from a sample of 102 employees revealed support for the interactive effects of the dimensions of organizational justice and organizational culture and OCB in relation to turnover intentions. Moreover—and contrary to expectations—in addition to their interactive (moderating) effects, organizational justice as well as 2 of the organizational culture dimensions emerged as independent variables linked to turnover intentions. The theoretical implications of the results and directions for future research are discussed.

Researchers have contended that organizations benefit when their employees are willing to contribute to the organization above and beyond the formal definition of their job requirements (Organ, 1988; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). In the increasingly dynamic and competitive environment in which organizations operate, this discretionary behavior, not formally recognized or rewarded, termed organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is considered a highly valuable contribution to the effective functioning of an organization. Indeed, rising interest in OCB has been noted by several management scholars (Miles, Borman, Spector, & Fox, 2002; Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009). For example, Podsakoff et al. (2009) noted that over 400 articles on OCB and related constructs have been published since 2000.

Since OCB has such a beneficial impact, researchers have investigated its relationship to a full range of organizational outcomes, such as performance evaluation and withdrawal behaviors. Chen (2005) found that OCB explains incremental significant variance in employee turnover, above and beyond job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Podsakoff et al. (2009) reported a negative relationship between OCB and turnover intentions, albeit the correlation was weak. Consequently, it was suggested that future research investigate the potential effects of organizational culture on the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship. This is consistent with other calls to investigate the effects of contextual variables in organizations as related to the expression of OCB (Morrison, 1996).

It is proposed, therefore, that high OCB does not always lead to low turnover intentions. The question is as follows: Under what circumstances will a high OCB employee consider leaving the organization? In this study, we examine a model that explores situational variables as moderators of citizenship behavior and turnover intentions.

OCB and Turnover Intentions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

The relationship between behavioral antecedents and turnover intentions has not received a great deal of attention in empirical research (Chen, Hui, & Siego, 1998). However, since OCB is a discretionary behavior that is not constrained by the organization, it should demonstrate a relationship with turnover intentions; that is, behavioral intentions that reflect dissatisfaction with the organization, which also prevent involvement in extra-role behaviors. In a meta-analysis study, Dalal (2005) found a moderately negative relationship between OCB and counterproductive behavior in the organization. Aryee and Chay (2001) reported a negative correlation of approximately −.31 between OCB and turnover intentions. Chen et al. found a moderate to low correlation between OCB and actual turnover (r = −.28, p < .01) and between OCB and turnover intentions (r = .15, p < .05).

In an attempt to explain the emergence of OCB, researchers indicated that contextual factors are more important than are dispositional ones (Konovsky & Organ, 1996). This is in accord with other authors, who claim that strong contextual factors will overshadow dispositional variables as determinants of many types of important organizational behaviors (Davis-Blake & Pfeffer, 1989). In this study, we will investigate two contextual factors: justice and organizational culture.

We propose that contextual factors are not merely antecedents of OCB, but rather mediate the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. In this study, we relate to OCB as an independent variable whose impact on turnover intentions depends on the organizational setting. Employees may have a tendency to perform extra-role behaviors, which, in turn, will reduce their turnover intentions. However, in specific organizational settings, this tendency may strengthen their turnover intentions as a result of a mismatch between environmental factors and the need to present extra-role behaviors. Since citizenship behaviors are less structured and less formal by definition, or explicitly enforced or prescribed, we propose that situational variables may play an important role in determining their effect on other organizational outcomes.

The question is whether the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship is direct only, or whether it is moderated by a third variable that does not serve as an antecedent, but rather as a moderator. It may well be that in certain situations, higher OCB will lead to more turnover intentions, since identifying moderators will assist researchers and practitioners in better understanding the conditions under which the retention of high OCB employees is probable. In an attempt to investigate this question, we examine the moderating role of justice and organizational culture in the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship.

The cost of turnover is particularly crucial among high OCB employees whose extra-role behaviors typically support peers and organizations under arduous circumstances. Our overall argument is that the environment can indicate to high OCB employees that their behavior is reciprocated and valued, thus leading to their retention. On the other hand, OCB behaviors that are not reciprocated or valued may lead to turnover. The question is as follows: What role can justice and organizational culture play in reducing turnover intention among high OCB employees?

Organizational Justice

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

Organizational justice is a well established antecedent of a variety of behaviors and organizational outcomes (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001), including OCBs (e.g., Folger, 1993; Moorman, 1991). To explain the power of justice-related phenomena, we must recognize that employees in organizations tend to constantly examine the actions taking place within the organization in an attempt to determine whether the action was fair or, in other words, whether justice exists within the organization. To this end, they explore according to three types of criteria.

The first criterion relates to practical implications (i.e., personal gain or loss) that derive from the employee's feeling that the decisions reached were just and right. This fairness is examined in distributive justice theory (Adams, 1965). The second criterion relates to the way in which the decision to take action was made: The employee assesses whether the processes that led to the decision were fair (Leventhal, 1980; Thibaut & Walker, 1975). Finally, the third criterion relates to the approach adopted during planning and application (Sheppard, Lewicki, & Minton, 1992); that is, the treatment employees receive during implementation, their feeling that the organization imparted new information and treated them sensitively and fairly. This fairness is examined in interactional justice theory (Tyler & Bies, 1990).

Perceived Distributional Justice

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

Leventhal (1980) indicated that the rule of distribution is individuals' beliefs regarding the suitable distribution of resources in the company, particularly material awards. Justice, according to this perception, is the perceived fairness of rewards that people receive in the exchange. Distributive justice in an organization relates to the perceived fairness of resource allocation in the organization (Miller & Lee, 2001), or fairness as perceived by employees vis-à-vis management's distribution of resources in the organization (Cropanzano, Prehar, & Chen, 2002).

The outputs of an organization—perceived by employees as rewards—are the resources that the organization gives them, inter alia: power, prestige, authorities, responsibilities, wages, and so forth (Adams, 1965). The inputs that employees bring into the exchange may be education, intelligence, training, seniority, and investment in work (Adams, 1965). The theory of distributive justice focuses on the level of results–rewards that the organization grants employees versus the input that they invest in the organization. The basis on which people develop their perceptions of justice—or injustice—of a given action is grounded in a comparison (balance) between their input and output, and the perceived ratio of input and output of others who are perceived by assessors as similar or comparable to them.

This comparison indicates the expectation of resource allocation according to the equity principle: The input–output ratio of people perceived as comparable should be equal, and the measure of rewards should be compatible with the measure of input. In other words, the reward given to employees should be compatible with their investment (Ritzman & Tomaskovic-Devery, 1992). Hence, individuals who share similar characteristics should expect equal rewards.

Perceived Procedural Justice

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

The idea of procedural justice originates in the sphere of law. For the results of a trial to be fair, the adopted procedure must be fair (e.g., laws relating to testimony). This principle is common in the workplace as well. It relates to perceived fairness in the process of organizational decision making. Procedural justice examines the degree of importance that individuals attribute to the way in which decisions are reached. People in organizations are careful about reaching decisions in a fair manner, and also want others to regard their decisions as fair.

In procedural justice, the emphasis is not on the results of the decision, but on the process/way in which the decision was reached (i.e., the extent of sharing in the decision, transparency, bias, attention, understanding). Procedural justice comprises subjective aspects—the way in which a specific procedure is perceived; and objective aspects—the way in which a specific procedure is carried out de facto. Procedural justice relates to the perception of fairness—the way in which decisions are reached vis-à-vis the distribution of resources (Folger & Cropanzano, 1998; Leventhal, 1980).

Perceived Interactional Justice

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

Tyler and Bies (1990), the two prominent scholars in the field of interactional justice, regard interactional justice as the dimension that complements procedural justice. In their view, the interactional aspect—or the attitude of decision makers to subordinates—is one of the parameters used when people make decisions about the degree of organizational justice, regardless of formal procedure enacted. Stated differently, interpersonal justice relates to the employee's perception of the degree of fairness of the interpersonal treatment a person receives from his or her superior throughout the performance of his or her work. Despite the delineation of the three components of organizational justice, some leading researchers contend that the overall perception of fairness is the factor that exerts the largest impact on work attitudes and behavior (Ambrose & Schminke, 2009).

Overall, as Organ (1988) proposed, when employees feel that they are generally being treated fairly, they tend to reciprocate with positive work attitudes and behaviors. However, in the case of OCB and turnover intentions, meta-analysis results have presented only weak to moderate relationships between these variables (Colquitt, Conlon, Wesson, Porter, & Ng, 2001). Nonetheless, studies have rarely sought to unearth possible moderating variables that are likely to impact on the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. Thus, we speculate that the overall perception of organizational justice may moderate the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. Specifically, as noted previously, a low level of OCB is likely to be associated with a high intention to leave the organization. In this case, a perception of organizational injustice would further strengthen the existing negative association between OCB and turnover intention. This leads to our initial hypothesis:

  • Hypothesis 1. Justice perceptions will moderate the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and turnover intentions, so that this relationship will be more negative for low justice perceptions.

Organizational Culture

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

Organizational culture affects organizational behavior and may be proposed as an additional potential moderator. In earlier studies, researchers concluded that organizational culture is partly responsible for turnover intentions, especially job challenge (Carmeli, 2005). In addition, there is evidence that perceptions of organizational politics, which can be highly salient aspects of organizational culture, are positively related to turnover intentions and are negatively related to OCBs (Chang, Rosen, & Levy, 2009). Organizational culture is viewed in the literature as a multifaceted abstraction with several dimensions that have varying degrees and direction of impact on employees' behavior (e.g., Sheridan, 1992; Song, Tsui, & Law, 2009). Past research has suggested that elements of organizational culture are important, at least as a cultural force, in determining organizational performance (Lee & Yu, 2004).

In the present study, we used O'Reilly, Chatman, and Caldwell's (1991) Organizational Culture Profile (OCP). The dimensions can be grouped into those oriented toward the organization and those oriented toward the individual. Organization-oriented dimensions are comprised of Innovativeness, which includes specific values of innovation, being open to new opportunities, taking risks, being less rule-oriented, and constantly developing new methods and processes of business transaction; Aggressiveness, which includes high competitiveness and deep involvement in conflicts; Outcome Orientation, which includes values of action, achievement, and performance; and Detail Orientation, which includes specific values regarding accuracy and analytical tendencies. Individual-oriented dimensions are comprised of Growth Orientation, which includes orientation toward growth and personal rewards; Supportiveness, which emphasizes respect for people, fairness, and tolerance; and Teamwork Orientation, which includes values associated with being people-oriented, collaborative, and team-oriented.

Findings have shown that organizational culture plays a vital role in generating commitment and enhancing performance. In particular, innovativeness and supportive cultures have been shown to have a strong positive effect on commitment and job satisfaction, while bureaucratic cultures have a negative effect (e.g., Lee & Kamarul 2008). Cultures that emphasize group values are likely to experience a greater quality of work life (Goodman, Zammuto, & Gifford, 2001). Values that cultivate loyalty and commitment to the organization, respect for the individual, security, and teamwork encourage retention (Sheridan, 1992). Since organization-oriented cultures foster entrepreneurial norms, they do not offer as much security and stability as do individual-oriented cultures. Security and stability promote loyalty and the willingness to sacrifice. Teamwork and supportiveness place an emphasis on interpersonal relationships and generate emotional support for group members, which, in turn, may lead to positive psychological outcomes. Jehn (1997) reported that supportiveness had a positive effect on members' satisfaction in teams.

Innovativeness and aggressiveness encourage group members to take advantage of their skills and knowledge to challenge the status quo, to debate task-related issues from their own perspective, and to question decisions and task procedures. Attention to detail boosts members' inclination to make use of their information, skills, and knowledge to analyze various aspects of group tasks (Chuang, Church, & Zikic, 2004). Together, these findings lead to the following hypotheses:

  • Hypothesis 2. The relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and turnover intentions will be more negative in cultures that emphasize supportiveness, teamwork, and growth orientation than in cultures that are lower on these dimensions.
  • Hypothesis 3. The relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and turnover intentions will be more positive in cultures that emphasize innovativeness, aggressiveness, outcome orientation, and attention to details.

Method

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References
Participants and Procedure

We gathered data from a heterogeneous sample of employees from a variety of organizations. The respondents were required to complete the questionnaire in their own time and return it to a member of the distributing team.

To adhere to ethics protocols, we received approval from our relevant institutional review board. Questionnaires were then distributed individually to the participants by the research team. To ensure respondents' anonymity, no identifying details were required. In overall terms, there were 102 employees (57 women, 45men) who returned usable questionnaires. The respondents' mean age was 32.0 years (SD = 9.6).

Instruments
Organizational justice

Following Cropanzano and Ambrose (2001), we treated organizational justice as a unidimensional construct. Moreover, researchers currently contend that only an overall measure is likely to accurately capture the justice experiences of the individual (Ambrose & Schminke, 2009). It was tapped by employing Niehoff and Moorman's (1993) 20-item scale. Sample items are “Employees are allowed to voice their opinions about various work-related decisions,” “Work schedule is fair,” “Workload is fair,” and “Accurate and complete work-related information is distributed to employees.” Participants rated the items on a 6-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree). In the current study, this measure yielded an internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) of.86.

Organizational culture

We used the paper-and-pencil version of the Organizational Culture Profile (O'Reilly et al., 1991) to measure organizational culture. Respondents marked the degree to which they felt that each of the 54 items on the original scale was characteristic of their organization on a 6-point scale ranging from 1 (very uncharacteristic) to 6 (very characteristic). The scale consists of seven factors: four organization-centered factors (i.e., innovativeness, aggressiveness, outcome orientation, and detail orientation), and three individual-oriented factors (i.e., growth orientation, supportiveness, and teamwork orientation).

Organizational citizenship behavior

OCB was referred to as an overall measure following numerous scholars (e.g., Podsakoff et al., 2009), who generally pay less attention to this concept of dimensionality while linking it to various predictors. We measured it using Niehoff and Moorman's (1993) 20-item scale. Originally, this measure addressed supervisors' evaluations of their employees' citizenship behaviors. For the purposes of the present study, the measure was modified to allow for employees' self-evaluations. Respondents were asked to evaluate how often they exhibit each of the behaviors on the list. Responses were rated on a 6-point scale ranging from 1 (never) to 6 (always). In the present study, this measure yielded an internal consistency of.75.

Turnover intentions

We measured turnover intentions using Rusbult and Lowery's (1985) seven-item questionnaire. The scale asks respondents to evaluate the degree to which they agree with statements describing their intention to remain in the organization. Items are rated on a 5-point scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Cronbach's alpha in this study was.72.

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

Descriptive statistics and correlations among all study variables are reported in Table 1. As expected, we found a nonsignificant correlation between OCB and turnover intentions (r = −.18, p < .07).

Table 1. Means, Correlations, and Reliabilities for Study Variables
 MSD12345678910
  1. Note. Reliabilities appear in parentheses on the diagonal.

  2. *Coefficient is significant at.05 (two-tailed). **Coefficient is significant at.01 (two-tailed).

 1. Turnover intentions2.500.86(.72)         
 2. OCB4.300.59−.18(.75)        
 3. Justice3.900.66−.51**−.02(.86)       
 4. Innovative culture4.600.62−.03.18.13(.55)      
 5. Support culture4.300.73−.31**.12.42**.50**(.65)     
 6. Aggressive culture4.400.68−.20*.22*.31**.58**.67**(.55)    
 7. Results culture4.700.88.07.34**.03.63**.28**.52**(.74)   
 8. Team culture4.300.66−.38**.26**.37**.33**.63**.55**.39**(.58)  
 9. Growth culture4.200.90−.13.22*.22*.66**.66**.69**.48**.46**(.68) 
10. Details culture4.900.86−.20.43**.09.15.13.04.22*.16−.03(.82)

To test our hypotheses, we performed six sets of hierarchical regression analyses. In Step 1, we included OCB and one of the proposed intervening variables, and in Step 2, the interaction term. To reduce multicollinearity among the main effect variables and their terms of interaction, all scores were mean-centered. Evidence of a moderating effect would be present if significant incremental variance in turnover intentions were explained when the interaction term was added to the equation. Following Aiken and West (1991), we also plotted the significant interaction effect, using a standard deviation of +1 or −1.

Hypothesis 1 predicted that organizational justice perceptions would moderate the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. As shown in Table 2, the results indicate a significant interaction between justice perceptions and OCB (β = −.595, p < .000). Figure 1 illustrates a disordinal interaction between justice perceptions and OCB, showing that when justice perceptions are high, the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship is negative, and when justice perceptions are low, the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship is positive.

figure

Figure 1. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average justice perceptions.

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Table 2. Results of Justice as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .079*
OCB.027.032.08 
Justice−.083.029−.29** 
Step 2   .227**
OCB−.053.031−.17 
Justice−.134.027−.47** 
OCB × Justice−.004.001−.59** 

Hypothesis 2 predicted that organizational culture would moderate the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. Specifically, we expected that the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions would be more negative in cultures that are highly oriented toward the individual than in cultures lower on these dimensions. The results, presented in Table 3, indicate that support culture moderated the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions (β = −.457, p < .000). As shown in Figure 2, high levels of OCB were associated with high levels of turnover intention in low-support cultures, and with low levels of turnover intentions in medium- and high-support cultures.

figure

Figure 2. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average support cultures.

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Table 3. Results of Support Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .023
OCB.018.033.06 
Support−.174.115−.16 
Step 2   .173**
OCB−.055.034−.17 
Support−.305.109−.28** 
OCB × Support−.014.003−.51** 

We examined teamwork culture as a moderator of the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions, as shown in Table 4. The results were significant (β = −.497, p < .000). The disordinal moderating effect presented in Figure 3 indicates a negative correlation between OCB and turnover intentions in high-teamwork cultures, and a negative correlation in cultures that were low on teamwork.

figure

Figure 3. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average teamwork-oriented cultures.

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Table 4. Results of Teamwork Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .053
OCB.037.035.12 
Teamwork−.307.131−.26* 
Step 2   .161**
OCB−.033.035−.10 
Teamwork−.439.124−.37** 
OCB × Teamwork.015.003−.50** 

Finally, as hypothesized, growth culture moderated the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions (β = −.379, p < .001) as shown in Table 5. As depicted in Figure 4, the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions was negative in high-growth cultures and positive in low-growth cultures.

figure

Figure 4. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average growth-oriented cultures.

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Table 5. Results of Growth Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .000
OCB.001.034.00 
Growth−.013.100−.02 
Step 2   .106**
OCB−.048.036−.15 
Growth−.072.097−.08 
OCB × Growth−.101.003−.38** 

Hypothesis 3 predicted that the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship would be more positive in cultures that are high on organization-oriented dimensions. This hypothesis was not supported. Contrary to our expectations, the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions in organization-oriented cultures was also negative.

The analysis that examined innovative culture as the moderator of the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions was supported (β = −.337, p < .009), as shown in Table 6. However, as shown in Figure 5, the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions was positive in cultures that were low on innovativeness, and negative in cultures that were high on innovativeness.

figure

Figure 5. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average innovative cultures.

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Table 6. Results of Innovative Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .021
OCB−.027.035−.08 
Innovative.171.108.18 
Step 2   .070*
OCB−.059.036−.19 
Innovative.030.117.03 
OCB × Innovative−.006.002−.33** 

The results also show that aggressive culture moderated the relationship between OCB and turnover intentions (β = −.420, p < .000), as shown in Table 7. Again, as shown in Figure 6, higher levels of OCB were associated with higher levels of turnover intentions in cultures that were low on aggressiveness, and with lower levels of turnover intentions in cultures that were high on aggressiveness. Outcome-oriented cultures were also found to moderate the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship (β = −.307, p < .007), as shown in Table 8.

figure

Figure 6. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average aggressive cultures.

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Table 7. Results of Aggressive Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .003
OCB.008.035.03 
Aggressive−.063.107−.07 
Step 2   .122**
OCB−.046.036−.15 
Aggressive−.158.104−.17 
OCB × Aggressive−.010.003−.42** 
Table 8. Results of Results-Oriented Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .037
OCB−.035.036−.11 
Results.252.130.22 
Step 2   .070*
OCB−.073.037−.23 
Results.196.128.17 
OCB × Results−.010.004−.30** 

As shown in Figure 7, disordinal interaction was found between OCB and turnover intentions. A negative correlation was found between OCB and turnover intentions only on high levels of result-oriented cultures. In cultures with lower levels of result orientation, this relationship was weaker, or even negative.

figure

Figure 7. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average results-oriented cultures.

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Finally, we tested the hypothesis concerning the moderating role of detail-oriented culture in the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship. Here, too, the analysis reveals a significant interaction (β = −.374, p < .002), as shown in Table 9. Conversely, the direction was unexpected. As shown in Figure 8, high levels of OCB were associated with high levels of turnover intentions in low detail-oriented cultures, and were negatively associated with turnover intentions in high detail-oriented cultures.

figure

Figure 8. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average detail-oriented cultures.

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Table 9. Results of Detail-Oriented Culture as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .000
OCB.003.040.00 
Details−.025.184−.02 
Step 2   .096*
OCB−.032.040−.10 
Details−.204.185−.14 
OCB × Details−.012.004−.37** 

In summary, high OCB was negatively associated with low turnover intentions in cultures that were highly innovative, supportive, aggressive, teamwork-oriented, growth-oriented, and detail-oriented. In result-oriented cultures, low OCB levels were associated with high turnover intentions. An additional analysis in which all cultural items were grouped together reveals significant interaction (see Table 10 and Figure 9), suggesting that a strong culture alone can produce the expected negative correlation between OCB and turnover intentions (β = −.444, p < .012).

figure

Figure 9. Employees' turnover intentions as a function of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) for high, low, and average cultures.

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Table 10. Results of Cultural Items as a Moderator of OCB/Turnover-Intentions Relationships
VariableBSE BβΔR2
  1. Note. N = 101. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior.

  2. *p < .05. **p < .01.

Step 1   .000
OCB.004.038.01 
Culture−.033.164−.03 
Step 2   .126**
OCB−.039.038−.13 
Culture−.253.165−.19 
OCB × Culture−.012.003−.44** 

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References

The current study promotes our knowledge of work-related behavior in several ways. The effects of OCB emerged weakly at first, and were statistically borderline in relation to turnover intentions (r = −.18, p < .10). Nonetheless, this finding is closely similar to previously published results obtained with far larger samples. Podsakoff et al. (2009), for example, reported a correlation of −.22 between OCB and turnover intentions, capitalizing on a meta-analysis study comprising 90 samples and a total of 26,510 respondents. This result led them to suggest that future research should seek moderator variables that may potentially impinge on the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship, thus accounting for the weak relationship between these two variables.

Among the myriad of potential moderators, Podsakoff et al. (2009) suggested organizational culture. Following their recommendation, we hypothesized in the present study that organizational culture would act as a moderating variable on the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship. Since organizational culture is viewed in the literature as a multifaceted and multidimensional concept that has varying degrees and directions of effect on the behavior and attitudes of employees, we adopted O'Reilly et al.'s (1991) conceptualization and operationalization of organizational culture. Interestingly enough, only two of the seven facets of organizational culture were significantly correlated with turnover intentions (supportiveness, β = −.28, p < .01; and teamwork, β = −.37, p < .01). Regarding OCB, five of the seven organizational culture dimensions correlated significantly with turnover intentions: aggressive, r = .22, p < .05; results, r = .34, p < .01; teamwork, r = .26, p < .01; growth, r = .22, p < .05; and details, r = .43, p < .01.

Therefore, we can appropriately conclude that in the present study, organizational culture dimensions met the initial requirement for a variable to be defined as moderator only partially, where the variable is linearly uncorrelated with the predictor variable and is also uncorrelated with the criterion variable (Keppel & Zedeck, 1989; Zedeck, 1971). However, each of the seven facets/dimensions that interacted with OCB contributed to increasing the multiple correlation with turnover intentions beyond that which could have been obtained with OCB alone (.59 vs..47; −.51 vs. −.28; −.50 vs. −.37; −.38 vs..08; −.33 vs. 03; −.42 vs. −.17; −.30 vs. −17; and −37 vs. −.14, in Tables 3 through 10, respectively). This implies that the second requirement of a moderator variable was unquestionably met (Keppel & Zedeck, 1989; Zedeck, 1971). Namely, we found increased predictive validity between the predictor variable and the criterion variable based on the interactive effects between these variables and the moderator.

Moreover, organizational culture as a global measure was also proved to significantly interact with OCB in its link to turnover intentions. This suggests that a strong culture alone can produce a negative relationship between OCB and turnover intentions. This observation can be explained through the power of organizational culture to shape individual behaviors (Schein, 2004). In particular, elements of strong cultures often appear as attractive elements (Li & Roloff, 2007; Wei-Chi & Wen-Fen Yang, 2010), which may also help to explain the observed moderating effect of global culture on the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship.

On the whole, the findings lend credence to the proposition that favorable people- and organization-oriented cultures, primarily in interaction with OCB, may lower employees' turnover intentions. Employees presenting high levels of OCB—indicated by their willingness to perform discretionary action for the improvement of the social and psychological environment of their workplace in the absence of formal rewards—will be less prone to contemplate leaving their organization if the organizational culture is perceived as fostering favorable norms and values of organizational conduct. Thus, an individual motivated to perform discretionary and unrewarding work for the benefit of his or her workplace, and when the organizational culture is perceived as fostering work norms and values coherent with his or her own, will experience work satisfaction and, consequently, will have no reason to leave the organization. This tentative explanation derives from the person–organization (P–O) fit theory (Cable & DeRue, 2002).

Another interesting finding in our study relates to organizational justice. Parenthetically, it should be noted that we opted for the use of an overall measure of justice, thereby following Ambrose and Schminke's (2009) reasoning. They contended that an overall measure may better capture the individual's feelings of organizational justice than its dimensions. Our objective was to examine the hypothesized moderating effect of organizational justice on the OCB/turnover-intentions relationship. Unexpectedly, the findings showed that in addition to an impressive interactive effect of OCB on turnover intentions (β = −.59, p < .01), organizational justice was strongly related to turnover intentions (β = −.47, p < .01). Nonetheless, the findings did not show a connection between organizational justice and OCB. Following the definition of what constitutes a moderator variable, organizational justice meets only one requirement: It is unrelated to the independent variable OCB.

However, as noted, we detected both independent and interactive (with OCB) effects vis-à-vis turnover intentions. It is reasonable to assume that when employees perceive their supervisors as treating them fairly, they will be less inclined to leave their workplace. Conversely, when employees perceive their supervisors' treatment as unfair, they are more prone to develop turnover intentions.

Similar findings have been reported previously (e.g., Ambrose & Schminke, 2009). Moreover, we posit that the willingness to devote unrewarded efforts to fostering the organization sustainability—as indicated by high levels of OCB—is probably reinforced by strong feelings of organizational justice, thereby leading to an impressive decrease in turnover intentions. This reasoning may account for the strong interactive effect of organizational justice, in addition to its main effect on turnover intentions. Consequently, we conclude that organizational justice acts not only as a moderator variable, but also as an independent variable in affecting turnover intentions.

Two potential limitations to the generalizability of this study should be acknowledged. The number of respondents was relatively small and may be considered a major limitation of the study. However, it is not unusual to find solid studies drawing on this size of sample. For example, Krings and Facchin's (2009) study involved a total of 110 respondents, whereas our findings emanate from the responses of 102 individuals. In addition, the various types of organizations used in this study, which included industrial and service firms, suggest that the results of the study are likely to generalize across organizations. It should be noted that it becomes increasingly difficult to persuade individuals and organizations to participate in surveys that examine sensitive issues such as OCB, turnover intentions, and organizational justice. In times of recession, it becomes even more complex, as people are concerned that their responses might leak out to their superiors, thus jeopardizing their employment.

A second limitation refers to the fact that this study relied on cross-sectional, self-report data incorporated into a single-source design. Nonetheless, this type of design is often used in organizational behavior research (e.g., Krings & Facchin, 2009; Tziner, Shultz, & Fisher, 2008; Tziner, Waismal-Manor, Vardi, & Brodman 2008). An alternative would be to obtain the organizational culture measures from one sample; and the OCB, organizational justice, and turnover intentions from a different one. Individuals react to their perceptions of organizational reality; therefore, we cannot guarantee that the organizational culture perceptions of respondents in one sample will be identical to those held by the respondents of the second sample that provides OCB, organizational justice, and turnover-intentions data.

In order to enhance the generalizability of the current findings, and despite the true barriers researchers face, we suggest replicating this study with samples from diverse organizations with employees from a variety of organizational levels. If possible, longitudinal studies should be conducted with temporal separation between the measures of OCB, organizational culture, and organizational justice at one point in time; and the turnover intentions after a time lapse. Finally, instead of exploring the moderating role of organizational culture dimensions, we suggest examining this effect from the P–O fit theoretical viewpoint. Specifically, we suggest exploring the moderating role of the degree of fit between the actual and the preferred organizational culture. A similar approach was conducted in Anderson, Spataro, and Flynn's (2008) research.

A question for future research is if interventions aimed at changing organizational culture would decrease turnover intentions for high OCB employees. This could be particularly important in the 21st century, as the developed world faces an ever-growing shortage of skilled employees (Cohen & Zaidi, 2002; Tang & Wang, 2005). However, an investigation of organizational culture-change interventions may require significant pilot research and other resources as a result of the longitudinal demands of such a study.

Another important direction for future research is to align and develop links between OCB research and the rapidly emerging literature on job-embeddedness theory. Within this area, research has suggested that job embeddedness is an important determinant of turnover intentions (Felps et al., 2009; Mitchell, Holtom, Lee, Sablynski, & Erez, 2001). Interestingly, several authors have also proposed links between attachment processes and the job-embeddedness model (Mitchell et al., 2001). We believe that these links would benefit from further investigation of the role of OCBs in the turnover process. Namely, based on the evidence provided in this paper, we suggest that the integration of OCB and attachment constructs as meditating factors would enhance the potency of the job-embeddedness model.

Finally, we have presented evidence that employees exhibiting high levels of OCB will be less prone to contemplate leaving their organization when the organizational culture is perceived as fostering favorable norms and values of organizational conduct. This finding is in accord with P–O fit theory (Cable & DeRue, 2002). We believe that expanding the consideration of positive organizational culture to include the notion of virtue would perhaps generate an even stronger moderation effect between OCB and turnover intentions. The perspective of virtue is now appearing in several areas of management (Neubert, Carlson, Kacmar, Roberts, & Chonko, 2009; Toor & Ofori, 2009). Although virtue ethics itself is primarily an approach to ethical reasoning, it also presents an effective lens for the further exploration of organizational culture as a moderating factor in the expression of positive organizational behaviors and high performance in organizations.

Although each of these avenues presents directions for future study, the results of our present research cast light on the underlying reason for the weak OCB/turnover-intentions relationship often found in the literature: The moderating effect of variables such as organizational culture and organizational justice has been overlooked. We encourage future research to replicate this study while incorporating additional contextual (i.e., moderators) variables in the model relating OCB to withdrawal behaviors (e.g., turnover intentions), such as factors related to job embeddedness and the role of a culture of virtue in organizations.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. OCB and Turnover Intentions
  4. Organizational Justice
  5. Perceived Distributional Justice
  6. Perceived Procedural Justice
  7. Perceived Interactional Justice
  8. Organizational Culture
  9. Method
  10. Results
  11. Discussion
  12. References
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