Differentiating good soldiers from good actors

Robin Stanley SNELL, Yuk Lan WONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In a qualitative interview study, 20 Hong Kong Chinese informants were asked to report stories about colleagues who were either ‘good soldiers’ or ‘good actors’. In stories about good soldiers, informants attributed their colleagues' organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) primarily to prosocial or pro-organizational motives. Informants' stories about good actors broke down into three major subcategories of citizenship-related impression management: OCB attributed primarily to impression management motives; alleged pseudo-OCB concomitant with minimal compliance; and alleged pseudo-OCB concomitant with counterproductive behaviour. When distinguishing good soldiers from good actors, informants adopted two criteria for attribution: wilful behavioural inconsistency, i.e. low generality of behaviour across contexts; and alleged false pretence, i.e. discrepancy between claims or allusions and actual deeds. Our findings partially supported a prior hypothesis from attribution theory, that consistency was a criterion for attribution, but indicated that consensus, i.e. correspondence between the focal colleague's behaviour and other employees' behaviour, failed to differentiate good soldiers from good actors. Informants generally regarded OCB as socially desirable only when it was attributed primarily to prosocial/pro-organizational motives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)883-909
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Management Studies
Volume44
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

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Personnel
Organizational citizenship behavior
Compliance
Attribution
Impression management
Employee behaviour
Attribution theory
Discrepancy
Hong Kong
Citizenship
Inconsistency
Breakdown

Cite this

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title = "Differentiating good soldiers from good actors",
abstract = "In a qualitative interview study, 20 Hong Kong Chinese informants were asked to report stories about colleagues who were either ‘good soldiers’ or ‘good actors’. In stories about good soldiers, informants attributed their colleagues' organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) primarily to prosocial or pro-organizational motives. Informants' stories about good actors broke down into three major subcategories of citizenship-related impression management: OCB attributed primarily to impression management motives; alleged pseudo-OCB concomitant with minimal compliance; and alleged pseudo-OCB concomitant with counterproductive behaviour. When distinguishing good soldiers from good actors, informants adopted two criteria for attribution: wilful behavioural inconsistency, i.e. low generality of behaviour across contexts; and alleged false pretence, i.e. discrepancy between claims or allusions and actual deeds. Our findings partially supported a prior hypothesis from attribution theory, that consistency was a criterion for attribution, but indicated that consensus, i.e. correspondence between the focal colleague's behaviour and other employees' behaviour, failed to differentiate good soldiers from good actors. Informants generally regarded OCB as socially desirable only when it was attributed primarily to prosocial/pro-organizational motives.",
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Differentiating good soldiers from good actors. / SNELL, Robin Stanley; WONG, Yuk Lan.

In: Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 44, No. 6, 01.09.2007, p. 883-909.

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)Researchpeer-review

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