The effects of interpersonal relationship variables on organisational citizenship behaviours and their implications for learning design in Chinese organisations

Qi, Meng

June 2015

Thesis or dissertation

© 2015 Meng Qi. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

The present research examines how emotional intelligence, cognitive styles and leader-member exchange influence Organisational Citizenship Behaviours (OCB) on different levels (individual level and group level). There is increasing evidence to indicate that individuals’ perceptions and abilities play an essential role in explaining and predicting organisational citizenship behaviours (e.g. Van Dyne and Butler Ellis, 2004; Morrison and Phelps, 1999). The focus of this study is building on this body of research by examining the influence of cognitive style theory, leader-member exchange (LMX) and emotional intelligence (EI) on OCB. Although cognitive style preferences are known to influence one’s attitudes and behaviours toward others (e.g. Kirton, 2003; Charbonneau and Nicol, 2002), no study has previously focused on the relationship between cognitive styles and OCB. Another growing body of literature indicates that emotional intelligence (EI) and cognitive styles can be considered as predictors of the quality of leader member exchange relationships (LMX) (e.g. Allinson et al, 2001; Charbonneau and Nicol, 2002), which positively relate to OCB (e.g. Ilies et al. 2007). However, no previous studies have considered the mediating role of LMX in the relationship between EI, cognitive styles and OCB. Furthermore, no study has yet examined the effects of group level emotional intelligence and group composition in relation to cognitive style diversity on OCB. These are the areas where the present study attempts to make a significant contribution to new knowledge in the field of organisational citizenship behaviour research.

Based on the extant literature, a research framework has been developed to identify the relationship between the three factors of cognitive styles, EI and LMX on organisational citizenship behaviours. The overarching purpose of the research is to enhance our understanding of how to cultivate employees’ organisational citizenship behaviours and how to better organize group members into more effective working groups.

The research is conducted in the context of Chinese manufacturing firms and employs a quantitative approach using a range of reliable and valid instruments. Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and multilevel modelling (MLWIN) are then applied to analyze the relationship between the independent variables (cognitive styles, EI and LMX) and the dependent variable (organisational citizenship behaviours).

Results from a final sample size of 865 individuals comprising supervisors and their immediate subordinates are reported. The study successfully determines the relationship between emotional intelligence, LMX, cognitive style and organisational citizenship behaviour. As expected, high level of emotional intelligence leads to higher quality organisational citizenship behaviours at both individual and group levels. Moreover, as hypothesised, the quality of LMX plays a mediating role in the relationship between both leaders’ emotional intelligence and intuitive style and followers’ organisational citizenship behaviours. Practical implications are given and recommendation made for future research.

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