How and When Compulsory Citizenship Behavior Leads to Employee Silence: A Moderated Mediation Model Based on Moral Disengagement and Supervisor–Subordinate Guanxi Views

Journal of Business Ethics 155 (1):259-274 (2019)
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Prior research on citizenship behavior has mainly focused on its voluntary side—organizational citizenship behavior. Unfortunately, although compulsory behavior is a global organizational phenomenon, the involuntary side of CB—compulsory citizenship behavior, defined as employees’ involuntary engagement in extra-role work activities that are beneficial to the organization : 77–93, 2006)—has long been neglected and very little is known about its potential negative consequences. Particularly, research on CCB–counterproductive work behavior association is still in its nascent stage. Therefore, drawing on moral disengagement theory and social exchange theory, we firstly attempt to systematically investigate how and when CCB leads to CWB. Specifically, we see employee silence as a critical form of passive CWB and propose a moderated mediation model. In the model, CCB predicts silence through MD—a set of cognitive mechanisms that deactivate moral self-regulatory processes, with the Chinese culture-specific concept of supervisor–subordinate guanxi, which captures the supervisor–subordinate non-work-related personal ties, acting as the contextual condition. Two-wave data collected from a sample of 293 employees in 17 manufacturing firms in China supported our hypotheses. The results revealed that the more employees experienced compulsory feelings caused by CCB, the more they morally disengaged and, in turn, resorted to avoidant or passive responses as a coping strategy. Further, s–s guanxi serves as a reverse moderator in that high s–s guanxi mitigates the destructive impact of CCB, makes employees less inclined to morally disengage, and thereby largely prevents them from practicing workplace silence behavior. Implications for theory and intervention strategies for practice are discussed. We also propose several promising avenues for future research.



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