THE MEDIATING EFFECT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL OWNERSHIP ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND ORGANIZATIONAL CITIZENSHIP BEHAVIORS IN KANO, NIGERIA – Complete Project Material


ABSTRACT

This study examines the determinants of employee organizational
citizenship behaviors (OCBs) among low and middle level employees of utility
sector organizations in Nigeria. Primarily, this study explored the role of
psychological ownership (PO) as a mediator on the relationship between servant
leader behaviors (SLBs) including emotional healing, creating value for the
community, conceptual skills and helping subordinates grow and succeed, and
employee OCBs. Partial Least Squares Method (PLS) algorithm and bootstrap
techniques were used to test the study hypotheses. The results provided support
for most of the hypothesized relationship for the study. Specifically,
emotional healing, conceptual skills, helping subordinates grow and succeed,
putting subordinates first, and psychological ownership are significantly and positively
related to both organizational citizenship behaviors that benefit the
individual (OCB-I), and the organization (OCB-O). However, creating value for
the community is significantly and negatively related to both forms of
organizational citizenship behaviors. Additionally, emotional healing, helping
subordinates grow and succeed, and putting subordinates first were
significantly and positively related to psychological ownership, while creating
value for the community was significantly and negatively related to
psychological ownership. Furthermore, the results of mediation indicated that
six of the ten hypotheses are significant. Therefore, significant positive
effects of emotional healing, conceptual skills, helping subordinates grow and
succeed, and putting subordinates first and psychological ownership suggest
that the variables are important in motivating OCBs. As such, employees should
be encouraged to exhibit these behaviors for enhanced performance of
organizational citizenship behaviors. Enhanced performance of organizational
citizenship behaviors can improve the overall effective function of
organizations. Contributions, limitations, and implications are discussed.

Keywords: servant leadership, psychological ownership, organizational citizenshipbehaviors

CHAPTER
ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         Background of the Study

One of the most important areas of concern among
organizational theorists and practitioners is organizational effectiveness. A
good mechanism for achieving it is through employees‟ willingness to perform
their duties beyond the formal specifications of job roles, termed extra-role
or discretionary behaviors (Organ, 1990). Increasing number of research on
employee‟s discretionary work behaviors signifies the importance of this
construct for the success of organizations. Multiple conceptualizations of
discretionary employee work behaviors exist in the literature (e.g., pro-social
organizational behaviour, extra role behaviour, contextual performance, and
organizational citizenship behaviour [OCB]). Organ‟s (1988) conceptualization
of OCB has received major research attention compared to other
conceptualizations of discretionary employee behaviors (Van Dyne, Cummings,
& Parks, 1995).

Organizational citizenship
behaviors (OCBs) are behaviors that are not mandatory on the employees to carry
out, but are helpful to the organization‟s effectiveness and goal attainment
(Organ, 1988). In his words, Organ (1988, p. 4) defines organizational
citizenship behaviour (OCB) as “behaviour that is discretionary, not directly
or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and in the aggregate
promotes the efficient functioning of the organization”. Organizational
citizenship behaviors are usually performed by employees to support the
interests of the organization even though they may not directly lead to
employee

1

benefits (Moorman & Blakely, 1995). However,
Organ (1988) acknowledges that OCB could have a beneficial cumulative effect
for an individual employee and that the employee might be considering the
long-term benefits.

Employee OCB also benefits
organizations directly or indirectly. Direct organizational benefits include
volunteerism, assistance between co-workers, and unusual employee attendance to
an important meeting, employee‟s punctuality and active participation in organizational
affairs (Farh, Podsakoff, & Organ, 1990). Indirect benefits, as Smith,
Organ, and Near (1983) stress, include lubricating the social machinery of the
organization. Also Katz (1964) considered such discretionary behaviour
essential for strong organizational social systems. He posited that the
organization gains a measure of systemic resiliency from the small, spontaneous
acts of selfless sensitivity, cooperation, and uncompensated contribution.

Employees exhibit OCBs in various
situations. They exhibit OCBs when they help fellow workers who have difficulty
in performing their work; when they exhibit endurance and perseverance in
performing their jobs; when they avoid doing things or saying things that
tarnish the image of their organization; when they spend extra time to achieve
objectives; when they perform their job beyond requirements; or generally when
they show extra concern about success of their organizations (Organ, 1988).
From these scenarios it is clear that OCB could contribute to organizational
performance in many ways. Podsakoff, Ahearne, and MacKenzie (1997) argue that
OCB has potential to enhance organizational performance through lubricating the
social machinery of the organization, reducing friction, and increasing
efficiency. OCB may also contribute to organizational success by

2

enhancing co-worker and managerial productivity,
promoting better use of scarce resources, improving coordination, strengthening
the organization‟s ability to attract and retain better employees, reducing
variability of performance, and enabling better adaptation to environmental
changes (Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). Research
demonstrates that OCB can be an important resource to improve organizational
performance in complex work environments demanding team oriented work practices
(Organ, Podsakoff, & MacKenzie, 2006).

In any part of this globe,
economic development and social welfare are the ultimate goals of any credible
and legitimate government (Ali, Ali, & Raza, 2011), and therefore,
governments are charged with the responsibility of managing the public
resources to ensure social welfare, or generate maximum public good through
their established institutions (public utilities). Utility entails all basic
inputs required for the proper functioning of the economy and enhancing the
standard of living of the individuals (Ariyo & Jerome, 2004). Utility
services involve a broad range of activities including water, electricity,
transportation and telecommunication. Generally, these services impact greatly
on a country‟s living standards, and overall economic growth. Specifically,
they affect capacities of the local industries to produce quality and
affordable products that can compete favourably in the global marketplace. It
has been reported that the public utility sectors account for 7.1% to 11% of
the GDP (World Bank, 1994), and the impacts of such services on human
development and enhanced quality of life are just apparently enormous (Ariyo
& Jerome, 2004).

However, the Nigerian public utilities
have been performing abysmally largely due to employee performance related
problems. The problem of poor

3

performance among agencies of public utility sector
has been a subject of considerable discussion (Jerome, 1999). Despite heavy
investment in capital infrastructures, and high recurrent expenditures,
efficient and effective provision of electricity, telephone, water, and
transport services has remained a heinous task to achieve. The Nigerian public
utilities have started to experience decreasing performance since the Nigeria‟s
oil boom years of the 1970s (Ariyo & Jerome, 2004). In more recent times,
the problems in the public utility sectors have unfortunately reached crisis
proportions when the Nigeria‟s electricity power system almost collapsed by
increasingly becoming erratic; water taps continuously remaining dry for most
of the time; and the performance of telecommunication and postal services
continuously remaining to be very unsatisfactory (Ariyo & Jerome, 2004).
The experienced problem of the utility sector has led to negative consequences
on the Nigerian economy causing extremely high costs of operations within the
real sector, and lowering quality of life and well-being of the average
Nigerians (Ariyo & Jerome, 2004). The Nigerian public could no longer get
services expeditiously from public sector organizations (Orabuchi, 2005).

In a survey of ten public
corporations in Nigeria, Echu (2008) identified some striking problems that
indirectly affect employee willingness to perform beyond the contractual
agreement (OCB) and employee performance generally, and consequently leading to
overall performance problems of public corporations including public utilities
in Nigeria. These striking problems include massive fraud, misappropriation of resources,
embezzlement and poor accountability. Other striking management related
problems affecting employee OCB and performance include the nature of human
resource practices in virtually all the public corporations. As a

4

result of some of these problems, employees become
highly disenchanted and, therefore, have lost trust and confidence on
management of their corporations consequently leading to large scale
dissatisfaction among employees. As repercussions, and reflections of the employees‟
dissatisfaction, it has currently become a common practice for employees of
Nigeria‟s public organizations to spend most part of their working hours doing
things that are not job related and of no value to their jobs (Echu, 2008).
Other commonly noticed employee performance related problems include late
coming to work, absenteeism, indiscipline, high labour turnover and general
lack of commitment, thus, indicating low performance of employees‟ voluntary behaviours
(OCB).

The bulk of the performance
problems and deficiencies of the Nigerian public sector could more
appropriately be attributed to managerial inefficiencies, and inappropriate
leadership approaches. Previous studies have found that the current management
capabilities to imbibe the culture of commitment, sacrifice, citizenship,
discipline, and general motivation among their subordinates are grossly
inadequate to solve performance challenges of various Nigerian organizations
especially the public utilities (Echu, 2008). Specifically and summarily, there
is a general consensus that the managements of Nigeria‟s public corporations
are by and large inefficient and ineffective (Adamolekun & Ayeni, 1990;
Dogarawa, 2011; Esu

&  
Inyang, 2009; Okeola &
Salami, 2012). Ability of management of public utility sector to effectively
motivate and sustain positive employee performance might be the most difficult
challenge and crucial responsibility to put the public utility sector in order.
However, success in achieving sustained positive employee performance for
effective functioning of Nigerian public utilities is increasingly becoming an

5

eluding challenge considering the diverse workforce
with multi-cultural, religious, ethnic, and sectional backgrounds (Adamolekun
& Ayeni, 1990; Echu, 2008).

In 2000, the intractable
performance problem faced by public corporations in Nigeria led to government‟s
decision to think of initial commercialization, and final privatization of the
government owned corporations. Till date, none among the Nigeria‟s public
utilities has gone beyond full commercialization. However, official
arrangements for execution of partial privatization programme for the electric,
and telecommunication sectors have almost been concluded with a view to desired
performance, sanity and efficiency. Although process and structural hiccups to
performance can be solved by implementing structural process improvements, or
business transformation, stimulating employees to perform at their highest
level, as well as sustaining performance improvement still remains a fundamental
issue. Indeed, several transformation programs may fail to deliver expected
results if the basic factors, including inculcating the art of servant
leadership within the organization, and development of psychological ownership
for the organization among employees, that can trigger employees‟ motivation to
perform beyond their normal call of duty (OCB) remain neglected.

Servant leadership is a
leadership style where a leader places interests of followers‟ over and above
his/her own interests (Joseph & Winston, 2005). Servant leadership is motivating
to followers/subordinates because it focuses on followers‟ development,
community building, authentic leadership, and shared leadership (Laub, 2003;
Sendjaya, Sarros, & Santora, 2008). The best indicator of servant
leadership is that followers are more likely to become servants themselves. On
the other hand, psychological ownership for the organization is a state of mind
in which

6

an employee develops possessive feelings for the
organization (Dirks, Cummings, & Pierce, 1996). Psychological ownership for
the organization is found to be significantly related to positive employee
outcomes especially organizational citizenship behaviors (Van Dyne &
Pierce, 2004; VandeWalle, Van Dyne & Kostova, 1995).

The present study is about
exploring the impact of servant leadership on employee OCBs through the
mechanism of psychological ownership. Performance of organizational citizenship
behaviors by employees can be an important panacea for improving performance
and effectiveness in the Nigeria‟s ailing public utility sector organizations.
Literature has offered support to the role of OCB in improving effective
functioning of organizations (Organ et al.,
1988, 2006). Research has also indicated that OCB and counterproductive work
behaviors are significantly negatively correlated (Baker, 2005), which means
that a person high on OCB scale will not likely exhibit signs of deviant
behaviour that can have negative effect on production, service delivery and
industrial harmony. The ailing or rather ineffective public utility sector
organizations, specifically Power Company (PHCN), Telecommunications Company
(NITEL) and Water Board (KSWB) are expected to improve their OCB performance
when their organizations practice the concept of servant leadership and
motivate development of psychological ownership among their employees.

1.2         Problem Statement

Organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) as one
of the extra-role behaviors has been receiving a great deal of research (Lo
& Ramayah, 2009; DiPaola & Mendes

7

da Costa Neves, 2009; Paillé, 2009; Khan, Afzal,
& Zia, 2010), and successful organizations encourage employees to do more
than their usual job duties (Ahmadi, 2010).

Leadership style is one of the
significant factors found to influence employee OCB. The main leadership styles
that have received empirical attention in relation to OCB over the years
include transformational leadership (Asgari et
al
., 2008; Bettencourt, 2004; Schlechter & Engelbrecht, 2006;
Vigoda-Gadot, 2007a), transactional leadership (Bettencourt, 2004;
Vigoda-Gadot, 2007a) and charismatic leadership (Babcock-Roberson &
Strickland, 2010). Only a few studies considered the effect of servant
leadership on OCB despite the importance of servant leadership in contemporary
business organizations (Ehrhart, 2004; Organ, 2006). Servant leadership is a
leadership style that places the followers‟ interests over and above the
leader‟s own interest (Joseph & Winston, 2005). Research establishes that
servant leadership may be more conducive to organizational citizenship
behaviors due to its focus on follower development, community building,
authentic leadership, and shared leadership (Laub, 2003; Sendjaya, Sarros,
& Santora, 2008). The best indicator of servant leadership is that
followers are more likely to become servants themselves. Stone, Russell, &
Patterson (2004) argue that the motive of the servant leader„s influence is not
to direct others but rather to motivate and facilitate service and stewardship
by the followers themselves. Followers‟ service to others and stewardship of
organizational resources could be construed as organizational citizenship
behaviour.

One of the prominent early
studies that attempted to investigate the effect of servant leadership on OCB
is Ehrhart (2004). He found that servant leadership

8

indirectly influenced OCB, specifically helping
behaviour, and conscientiousness. Additionally, Walumbwa, Hartnell, and Oke
(2010) investigated the mediating effect of commitment to the supervisor, self-efficacy,
procedural justice climate, and service climate on the relationship between
servant leadership and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs). Their
results revealed partial mediation and recommended for testing other mediators
under which OCB will be more significantly enhanced. Another study conducted by
Vondey (2010) revealed that servant leadership was significantly but partially
correlated with OCB. Since studies on servant leadership and OCB study are
still new and limited (Ehrhart, 2004; Vondey, 2010; Walumbwa et al., 2010), more studies are needed
to better understand the relationship and to validate further the initial
significant relationship between servant leadership and OCB by investigating
their relationship in a different context.

Furthermore, literature reveals
that the link between servant leadership and OCB was not only direct, but
indirect (Ehrhart, 2004; Walumbwa et al.,
2010). It was demonstrated that servant leadership was related to OCB through
mechanisms including procedural justice climate (Ehrhart, 2004), commitment to
the supervisor, self-efficacy, procedural justice climate and service climate
(Walumbwa et al., 2010). Following
partial mediation of the tested variables, recommendation for future studies to
test other mediators under which OCB will be more significantly enhanced were
made (Organ, 2006; Walumbwa et al.,
2010).

Important to the present study is
the attempt to establish a relationship between servant leadership and
psychological ownership, which previous studies have not considered.
Psychological ownership is a state of mind in which an

9

employee develops possessive feelings for the
target (Van dyne & Pierce, 2004) such as the job (Peters & Austin,
1985), organization (Dirks, Cummings, & Pierce, 1996), the products created
(Das, 1993); the practices employed by the organizations (Kostova, 1998); and
specific issues in the organizations (Pratt & Dutton, 2000). Servant
leadership can be an essential factor for achieving psychological ownership
among employees in organizations. Because of certain special features of
servant leaders including humility, caring flexibility (Geller, 2009), and
egalitarianism (Waterman, 2011), psychological ownership could manifest as a
result of servant

leadership. Therefore, psychological ownership
could be one of the expectations from workers in return for experiencing
servant leadership.

Recent studies demonstrate that
psychological ownership for the organization is positively related to job
satisfaction, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship
behaviour (O‟Driscoll, Pierce & Coghlan, 2006; Van Dyne & Pierce, 2004;
VandeWalle, Van Dyne & Kostova, 1995), and financial performance (Wagner et al., 2003). Psychological ownership
can be a possible integrative and mediating variable in linking servant
leadership and OCB. With respect to employees‟ exchange relationship with the
organization (Blau, 1964), as a result of positive servant leader behaviors
that make employees feel being cared for by the organization, OCB may be
motivated. Thus, the mediating potentiality of psychological ownership on the
relationship between servant leadership and OCB is likely. Therefore, servant
leadership would be tested as an antecedent factor for motivating psychological
ownership and as a mediating variable on the relationship between servant
leadership and OCB.

10

Precisely, this study attempts to
fill two main gaps on predicting employee OCB: (1) investigating the mediating
effect of psychological ownership on the relationship between servant
leadership and OCB; (2) investigating the influence of servant leadership on
psychological ownership. Currently, no study was found in the literature
regarding the mediation effect of psychological ownership on servant leadership
and OCB relationship. Similarly, there was no study on the relationship between
servant leadership and psychological ownership.

1.3         Research Questions

Referring to the discussion about the need for this
research to be carried out as stated earlier, the following questions are to be
addressed:

1.      Do
servant leader behaviors relate to employee OCB-I and OCB-O?

2.      Does
psychological ownership relate to employee OCB-I and OCB-O?

3.     
Do servant leader behaviours
influence psychological ownership among employees?

4.     
Does psychological ownership
mediate the relationship between servant leader behaviours and employee OCB-I
and OCB-O?


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