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  • Promoting Organizational Citizenship Behavior

    Effects of online self-disclosure in the context of

    employee selection and virtual leadership

    Inaugural-Dissertation zur Erlangung der Doktorwürde

    der Fakultät für Psychologie, Pädagogik und Sportwissenschaft

    der Universität Regensburg

    vorgelegt von

    JAN SAUER

    aus Schweinfurt

    2015

    Regensburg 2015

  • Erstgutachter: Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer

    Zweitgutachter: Prof. Dr. Andreas Kastenmüller

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

    First and foremost, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to my mentor and advisor,

    Prof. Dr. Peter Fischer, who inspired me and my scientific work by his passion for and his

    great knowledge in psychological research. His enthusiastic encouragement and

    professional advice were the basis for the success of this dissertation. Moreover, I am

    deeply grateful for giving me the freedom to follow my research interests and to gain

    professional experience outside the university.

    I would like to thank all of my scientific colleagues for their support and valuable

    advice. My special thanks go to Dr. Julia Niedernhuber and Marko Bokulić who supported

    me at all times in both scientific and personal matters and considerably contributed to the

    quality of my research work and this dissertation. Many thanks go to the research

    assistants and students who supported the data collection of this dissertation, and to all

    experimental subjects who participated in my studies.

    I am grateful for the warmhearted kindness of Dr. Michaela Ingrisch, Peter Grimm,

    and Simone Zwerenz who supported me in all personal and administrative matters. I

    always found an open door and an open ear for my concerns.

    I owe special gratitude to Isabell Braumandl, Daniela Lulay, and Katharina Rath for

    giving me invaluable opportunities to gain professional experience in the field of human

    resources. They not only substantially influenced my professional development, but also

    my understanding of scientific research and its application in the economic world. I am

    grateful for their trust in me.

    I would like to thank my parents, Andreas and Carmen Sauer, and my grandfather,

    Wilhelm Sauer, for their everlasting encouragement and support enabling me to study and

    to do a doctorate. Finally, heartfelt thanks go to my wife, Dorothée Sauer, for her endless

    patience, loving support, and her faith in me – without her I would not be who I am today.

  • PREFACE

    “Managers should try to focus on selecting employees

    with a propensity to engage in OCBs, and to create a work

    environment that encourages employees to exhibit these behaviors.”

    (Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009, p. 134)

    Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) describes employee behavior that supports the

    social and psychological environment in organizations such as helping behavior towards

    coworkers or loyalty behavior towards the organization (Organ, 1997). In their meta-

    analysis Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, and Blume (2009) showed that OCBs have

    significant relationships with companies’ performance and success (e.g., productivity,

    customer satisfaction) which is why practitioners are highly interested in how to promote

    OCBs in the workplace. Researchers have been identifying several OCB-antecedents

    (e.g., employee personality, trust in one’s leader) and Podsakoff et al. (2009) generally

    note that managers (1) should select employees with a propensity to engage in OCBs and

    (2) should create a work environment that encourages employees to exhibit OCBs. This

    dissertation offers a social media technology based approach of promoting OCBs as

    suggested by Podsakoff et al. (2009) and investigates the effects of social media

    mediated online self-disclosure (1) on screening decisions in the context of employee

    selection (Study Series 1) and (2) on creating trustful leader-follower-relationships in

    virtual work environments (Study Series 2).

    Online self-disclosure describes the phenomenon of revealing personal information

    about oneself to others online and has been massively promoted by social media

    technologies such as social networking sites (e.g., Facebook). The impact a person’s self-

    disclosure has on the impression formation of the recipient depends on a variety of

    variables such as the valence and the intimacy level of the disclosed information (Collins

    & Miller, 1994). Study Series 1 examines the effects of the valence (positive vs. negative)

    of OCB-related information in the context of employee selection; Study Series 2

    researches the effects of the intimacy level (high vs. low) of leaders’ self-disclosure in the

    context of virtual leadership.

    More than 40% of personnel managers use social networking sites to screen job

    applicants to get personal information beyond what is in the cover letter or the résumé

    (e.g., Clark & Roberts, 2010). Such online reputation checks can provide valuable

    information about applicants’ propensities to engage in OCBs which might be a promising

  • basis for promoting OCBs by identifying and selecting applicants with such a propensity

    and by sifting out applicants with an adverse propensity. However, it has not been

    investigated yet whether and how OCB-related online information affects recruiters and

    their selection decisions. Therefore, Study Series 1 examines the impact of applicants’

    OCB-related online self-disclosure on recruiters’ impression formations and decision

    making in the screening phase of employee selection.

    Virtual work environments have brought great organizational advantages (e.g., low

    office and traveling costs, high flexibility), but low performance of OCBs (e.g., loyalty)

    have been reported for virtually led employees (Comteam, 2012). In a virtual work

    environment one major challenge seems to be building trustful leader-follower-

    relationships (Kaboli, Tabari, & Kaboli, 2006) which strongly affect employees’

    performances of OCBs (Dirks & Ferrin, 2002). Therefore, since research has viewed self-

    disclosure as central to the development of trusting relationships (Altman & Taylor, 1973),

    Study Series 2 examines the impact of leaders’ purposeful online self-disclosure on

    followers’ impression formations and the development of trustful leader-follower-

    relationships in virtual work environments.

    The formal structure of this dissertation will be as follows: First of all, a general

    theoretical background introduces the psychological concepts of organizational citizenship

    behavior and online self-disclosure. Afterwards, the research purposes regarding the

    OCB-promoting effects of online self-disclosure in the context of employee selection

    (Study Series 1) and in the context of virtual leadership (Study Series 2) are derived.

    Subsequently, experiments of each study series are presented in detail (theoretical

    background, method, results, and discussion) and a concluding discussion for each study

    series summarizes their main findings, limitations, and implications.

  • CONTENTS

    ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... 11

    BACKGROUND ............................................................................................................... 12

    1. Organizational citizenship behavior .................................................................. 12

    1.1 Definition ....................................................................................................... 12

    1.2 Dimensionality .............................................................................................. 13

    1.2.1 Helping ................................................................................................ 14

    1.2.2 Loyalty ................................................................................................. 15

    1.2.3 Conscientiousness .............................................................................. 15

    1.3 Consequences .............................................................................................. 15

    1.4 Antecedents .................................................................................................. 16

    1.4.1 Individual characteristics ..................................................................... 17

    1.4.2 Task characteristics ............................................................................. 17

    1.4.3 Organizational characteristics ............................................................. 18

    1.4.4 Leadership behaviors .......................................................................... 18

    1.4.5 Antecedents explored in this dissertation ............................................ 18

    2. Online self-disclosure ........................................................................................ 19

    2.1 Definition ......................