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JPART 22:573–596 doi:10.1093/jopart/mur036 Advance Access publication on September 2, 2011 © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected] Change-Oriented Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Public Administration: The Power of Leadership and the Cost of Organizational Politics Eran Vigoda-Gadot, Itai Beeri University of Haifa ABSTRACT Using a well-grounded theory of organizational citizenship behavior, this study attempts to extend the meaning of the good soldier syndrome beyond its common boundaries of the business sector. We follow Bettencourt’s (2004) conceptualization and model of change- oriented organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) to explain why and how public employees engage in activities targeted at changing and improving the public work environment and its job processes even when no formal rewards are offered in return. We extend Bettencourt’s model and demonstrate its usefulness and contribution to public administration organizations, focusing especially on leadership behavior, leader-member exchange relations, and perceptions of organizational politics in public agencies. A field study of 217 public personnel in a large public health care organization yields interesting findings, demonstrating the uniqueness of change-oriented OCB over classical OCB measures (individual and organizational), the general positive effect of leadership on OCB and the moderating effect of perceptions of politics in this relationship. Implications of the findings are developed and discussed in the context of modern public administration. INTRODUCTION A growing challenge facing most public services in modern democracies is the quest for creativity, innovation, and change-oriented behaviors among employees. Doctrines of mar- ket-driven management developed in recent decades have placed this challenge at the fore- front of the discipline’s theoretical and empirical efforts. It has become clear that global governmental reforms (Terry 1998) can be successful only within a dynamic workplace and a proactive public sector. Studies on reforms in public administration stress this need even further (e.g., Pollitt and Bouckaert 2000). Such an organizational atmosphere that encour- ages public servants to go the extra mile in daily job routines may compensate for bureau- cratic red tape, slow and unbendable procedures, and insensitivity and inflexibility in the Both authors contributed equally to this article. The authors wish to thank Shelly Trifon who assisted in data collection and four anonymous reviewers whose comments contributed significantly to the improvement of this article. Address correspondence to the author at [email protected]. at University of Haifa Library on August 1, 2012 http://jpart.oxfordjournals.org/ Downloaded from

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Page 1: Change-Oriented Organizational Citizenship Behavior in

JPART 22:573–596

doi:10.1093/jopart/mur036Advance Access publication on September 2, 2011© The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

Change-Oriented Organizational CitizenshipBehavior in Public Administration: ThePower of Leadership and the Cost ofOrganizational Politics

Eran Vigoda-Gadot, Itai BeeriUniversity of Haifa

ABSTRACT

Using a well-grounded theory of organizational citizenship behavior, this study attempts to

extend the meaning of the good soldier syndrome beyond its common boundaries of the

business sector. We follow Bettencourt’s (2004) conceptualization and model of change-

oriented organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) to explain why and how public

employees engage in activities targeted at changing and improving the public work

environment and its job processes even when no formal rewards are offered in return. We

extend Bettencourt’s model and demonstrate its usefulness and contribution to public

administration organizations, focusing especially on leadership behavior, leader-member

exchange relations, and perceptions of organizational politics in public agencies. A field study

of 217 public personnel in a large public health care organization yields interesting findings,

demonstrating the uniqueness of change-oriented OCB over classical OCB measures

(individual and organizational), the general positive effect of leadership on OCB and the

moderating effect of perceptions of politics in this relationship. Implications of the findings

are developed and discussed in the context of modern public administration.

INTRODUCTION

A growing challenge facing most public services in modern democracies is the quest for

creativity, innovation, and change-oriented behaviors among employees. Doctrines of mar-

ket-driven management developed in recent decades have placed this challenge at the fore-

front of the discipline’s theoretical and empirical efforts. It has become clear that global

governmental reforms (Terry 1998) can be successful only within a dynamic workplace and

a proactive public sector. Studies on reforms in public administration stress this need even

further (e.g., Pollitt and Bouckaert 2000). Such an organizational atmosphere that encour-

ages public servants to go the extra mile in daily job routines may compensate for bureau-

cratic red tape, slow and unbendable procedures, and insensitivity and inflexibility in the

Both authors contributed equally to this article. The authors wish to thank Shelly Trifon who assisted in data

collection and four anonymous reviewers whose comments contributed significantly to the improvement of this

article. Address correspondence to the author at [email protected].

doi:10.1093/jopart/mur036

ª The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Researchand Theory, Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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provision of services (Vigoda-Gadot 2007b). Hence, improving the performance and

achievements of governmental agencies depends upon reinventing old procedures and

rocking the boat of conservative paradigms and conventional work practices. These

new managerial dynamics are strongly influenced by the New Public Management

(NPM) school of thought that emphasizes the rapidly changing nature of the markets

and the need for public administration to emulate the models of the business world.

For a number of years already, NPM has called for the transformation of the bureaucratic

structures of public organizations into a more vibrant type of activity and creative config-

uration (Bernier and Hafsi 2007).

Hence, infusing new and creative managerial practices into public systems and in ser-

vice of very demanding citizens must involve a comprehensive set of change-oriented

behaviors among public personnel, across organizations and in various work environments

(Saner 2001). These changes include advances in information technology, changes in the

nature and preferences of the workplace, dealing with more critical citizens-as-clients and

facing increased global competition (Borins 2001). One of the most significant elements

that these changes entail is employing an increasingly large percentage of highly skilled and

knowledge-based employees who are committed to disseminating change. These profes-

sional public servants are expected to have a greater say in how to organize and perform

their tasks and to formulate new ideas (Saner 2001) that affect the actual services provided

to citizens. The public managers are similarly expected to mobilize their workers to in-

novate and to make constructive changes at all levels of the organization (Chiun et al.

2006; Davis 2004).

In view of the strong dynamics pushing for change and reforms in public sector organ-

izations, this study offers change-oriented organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) as

a useful terminology for our discipline. Our major goals are two-fold: (1) to introduce

the relatively new terminology of change-oriented OCB to scholars and professionals

in public administration and (2) to examine the meaning of change-oriented OCB and

its relationship with several potential variables such as leadership style, leader-member

exchange (LMX), and perceptions of organizational politics (POPS). Our model draws

on Bettencourt’s (2004) path model and is firmly anchored in public sector management

theory and the literature of organizational politics.

OCB AND CHANGE-ORIENTED OCB: ITS MEANING FOR PUBLIC AGENCIES

The change-oriented activities of public employees are a promising field of study. As these

orientations are largely voluntary and spontaneous, they have much in common with the

concepts of bureaucratic values, public service ethos, and motivation in public service (e.g.,

Pollit 1993; Bereton and Temple 1999; Perry et al. 2008). Public officers who are acutely

aware of their duties contribute to a stronger relationship between policy makers and the

citizenry. The major role of public servants is to translate governmental policies into prac-

tical actions and services to citizens. By so doing, they also reinforce the old social contract

between rulers and the people.

The roots of change-oriented OCB are in the classical concept of OCB. A seminal

work by Organ (1988) suggested that this behavior may be described as the good soldier

syndrome in which employees perform over and above their formal work duties. During

recent decades, OCB has become one of the most studied topics in management literature,

incorporating an entire set of spontaneous activities that go beyond prescribed role

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requirements (Katz and Kahn 1966). OCB has been defined as individual behavior that

promotes the goals of the organization by contributing to its social and psychological en-

vironment (Smith, Organ, and Near 1983; Organ 1988). Bettencourt (2004) further defined

a unique domain of OCB activities as change-oriented OCB, describing innovative and

creative actions by employees that are aimed at bringing about constructive change in

the organization (Bettencourt 2004; Choi 2007; Morrison and Phelps 1999).

OCB expresses a form of extra-role behavior exhibited by employees in which they

perform beyond their formal job requirements without expecting recognition in terms of

either explicit or implicit rewards from supervisors. The presence of OCB is likely to pro-

mote amore positive social andworking environment, enhancing the performance of awork

unit and the core products of the organization (Chiun et al. 2006). Most studies on OCB

describe it as a positive and constructive behavior worthy of encouragement by supervisors

(Podsakoff and Mackenzie 1997; Smith et al. 1983) and very important for clients of the

organization. Therefore, OCB may be extremely useful in the public sector because it con-

tributes to improving public service, overcoming bureaucracy’s ills and encouraging the

performance of various work units and agencies. OCB is thus expected to contribute to the

improved performance of service-oriented systems. OCB benefits public service by rein-

forcing the bureaucratic values of the good soldier syndrome, the willingness to serve other

citizens, and strengthening the overall ethos of public service.

Studies on OCB have frequently distinguished between various internal dimensions of

this phenomenon. For example, Organ (1988) suggested a taxonomy of five dimensions

(altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, civic virtue, and sportsmanship), whereas Williams

and Anderson (1991) distinguished between two aspects of citizenship behaviors directed

toward individuals and those directed toward the organization in general.

Later studies argued that although OCB activities are important, they are not sufficient for

ensuring the continued viability of an organization. Therefore, an organization also needs

employees who are willing to challenge the present state of operations to bring about construc-

tive change (Bettencourt 2004; Morrison and Phelps 1999). This form of work performance

is referred today as change-oriented OCB. Some early notions of change-oriented OCB can

be traced back to a study by Van Dyne and Lepine (1998) who presented empirical support

for an expanded, multidimensional conceptualization of extra-role behavior (helping and

voice). They argued that helping is an affiliative-promotive behavior, whereas voice is an

example of challenging promotive behavior that emphasizes the expression of constructive

challenge intended to improve rather than merely criticize. Voice is making innovative

suggestions for change and recommendingmodifications to standard procedures even when

others disagree. Given that OCBs are generally regarded as extra-role behaviors, voice,

a change-oriented form of extra-role behavior, can be related to change-oriented OCB.

Change-oriented OCB also means ‘‘taking charge’’ of one’s environment, which en-

tails voluntary and constructive efforts by individual employees to effect organizationally

functional change with respect to how work is executed within the contexts of their jobs,

work units, or organizations (Morrison and Phelps 1999). It has also been referred to as

task revision in which individuals take action to correct a faulty procedure, inaccurate job

description, or unrealistic role expectation (Staw and Boettger 1990). Finally, as change-

oriented OCB is targeted at and intended to benefit the organization in general, some studies

suggested that it should be considered a specific dimension of OCB directed toward the

organization (Choi 2007).

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Behaviors such as change-oriented OCB play a major role in public organizations.

Recently, a growing number of studies have pointed to the importance of organizational

commitment, public sector motivation (PSM), and psychological contracts to public organ-

izations (e.g., Coggburn et al. 2010; Coyle-Shapiro and Kessler 2003). However, OCB and

change-oriented OCB are hardly mentioned in public administration research and theory. A

search of the literature revealed that with the exception of only a few studies (i.e., Koberg

et al. 2005; Vigoda 2000), this phenomenon has not yet left an imprint on our discipline.

This omission is extremely interesting as citizenship is a core terminology in political sci-

ence and makes an original addition to the NPM jargon by emphasizing the role of the

people in building effective governance. Citizenship is therefore a fundamental concept

strongly related to modern public administration’s goals and vision.

We believe that change-oriented OCB is a useful concept for public organizations and

that it is clearly distinct from PSM. In fact, the two concepts are complementary rather than

contradictory. In our view, change-oriented OCB deals with the innovative, informal aspect

of behavior (Organ 1988, among others), whereas PSM (Perry 1996, 2000; Perry et al.

2008) is a more formal and not necessarily innovative dimension of contribution to one’s

work. Therefore, it is possible that change-oriented OCB may serve as an extension of the

concept of motivation in public administration. Thus, change-oriented OCB seems worthy

of exploration especially for its voice-related context and proactive and ‘‘out of the box’’

thinking that can promote healthy contacts between public officials and citizens (Perry et al.

2008). We believe that this possibility, in and of itself, is a well-grounded and sufficient

justification for the encouragement of change-oriented OCB studies in public

administration.

More specifically, the added value of good citizenship behavior and exceptional proso-

cial activities can result in greater efficiency, increased productivity, improved human re-

lations in the work unit, lower levels of stress and burnout among public servants, and

increased inclination toward team work and learning (Battaglio and Condrey 2009;

Coggburn 2006; Coggburn et al. 2010). These positive effects can also spill over onto ser-

vice recipients, increasing and improving the services offered to them, thereby leading to

healthier relationships between the government and its citizens and ameliorating the image

of state agencies in the eyes of citizens. The lack of extra-role activities, such as OCB and

especially change-oriented OCB, in public organizations also has many negative implica-

tions that reach far beyond the immediate customer-provider contract. These negative at-

titudes may overflow into citizens’ dissatisfaction with government, mistrust in public

servants, and lead to misgivings about the legitimacy of government and the ability of

the democratic-bureaucratic machinery to function for the public as it should (Chen

and Brudney 2009).

CHANGE-ORIENTED OCB, THE POWER OF LEADERSHIP, AND THE COST OF POLITICS:MODEL AND HYPOTHESES

Following Bettencourt’s (2004) model, we suggest an extended conceptualization of the

antecedents to and characteristics of change-oriented OCB in the public sector. We focus

on the relationships between change-oriented OCB and four major variables: transforma-

tional leadership, transactional leadership, LMX, and POPS.

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Leadership and Change in the Public Sector

A growing debate about reforms in the public sector has simultaneously highlighted the role

of leadership and its contribution to planned change. Public managers as professional lead-

ers of governmental institutions are increasingly called on to engage in activities that re-

build organizational structures, improve processes, and create constructive cultures for both

public servants and citizens. They are expected to create robust institutional capacity

through the strategic management of people, programs, and partnerships (Van Slyke

and Alexander 2006). In fact, one of the major concerns and challenges of public organ-

izations today is to establish effective management leadership, one that can maximize the

public interest, and to do it on a very tight budget.

Managers use various leadership behaviors to influence the situational goals and

behaviors of their followers (Bettencourt 2004). The literature usually distinguishes be-

tween two major leadership styles: transformational and transactional leadership. Both

types focus on the relationship between leaders and subordinates (Bass 1985) but each

in a different way. The key assumption of transactional leadership is that leader-follower

alignment occurs through the strategic use of relatively narrowly defined activities and the

completion of task-focused actions that usually relate to in-role expectations (e.g., recog-

nition and/or approval are offered in return for performance and/or pecuniary incentives).

This kind of leadership may work because followers and leaders have to achieve conver-

gence. According to this view, transactional leaders give things of value to followers in

return for things of value to the leader. Conversely, transformational leaders seek to replace

the values of their followers. The key assumption of transformational leadership is that

leaders can motivate followers by using nonmaterial incentives such as appeals to morality

and ethics, suasion, and inspiration and by using the organizational culture to align the

interests and preferences of subordinates with the vision and goals of leaders (Kotter 1999).

Previous studies (i.e., Deluga 1992; Howell and Hall-Merenda 1999) have also dem-

onstrated that both transformational and transactional leadership are strongly associated

with LMX. The roots of the studies on LMX can be traced back to the early 1970s.

LMXwas defined as the quality of the exchange relationships between leaders and employ-

ees in organizations (Graen, Dansereau, and Minami 1972). Over the past four decades,

studies in this field have expanded rapidly (e.g., Schriesheim, Castro, and Cogliser

1999, 67). Studies in public management also used this concept to explain complex inter-

actions inside public agencies, those that consider public managerial leadership as essential

for renewing and improving service to citizens (e.g., Song 2006; Song and Olshfsky 2008).

The core argument is that LMX must be considered a powerful tool in reforming public

managerial structures and processes. The reasoning behind this argument gains support

from the more generic idea that improvement of the internal relationships between man-

agers and subordinates is important for the enhancement of organizational outcomes in any

organization (Bettencourt 2004; Chiun et al. 2006; Wayne et al. 1997).

Using LMXas a link between leadership style and employees’ behavior, we can argue that

mutual, positive transactions may lead over time to the development of exchange relationships

between employees and managers. The reason for such an exchange is that during the trans-

action process leaders receive approval in the form of status, esteem, loyalty, and influence,

whereas followers receive rewards such as authority, promotion, and favorable job assign-

ments (Basu and Green 1997). However, exchange relationships are not limited to material

transactions. They may also include social exchanges of psychological benefits such as

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trust, esteem, support, consideration, and friendship (Song 2006; Song and Olshfsky 2008).

Moreover, LMX may be first stimulated by conventional, market-based, transactional so-

cial exchanges, a kind of ‘‘testing process,’’ that then evolve into a transformational social

exchange in the form of a partnership dyad (Graen and Uhl-Bien 1995). Hence, the first

hypothesis suggests that:

H1 In the public sector, perceptions of transformational and transactional leadership styles

will be positively related to the quality of LMX relationships.

LMX and change-oriented OCB

LMX relationships are rooted in social exchange theory (Graen and Scandura 1987). As sug-

gested by Deluga (1992), the thread uniting social exchange theory and OCB is supervisor

trust-building behavior and in particular, perceptions of fairness which lead to satisfying and

rewarding relationships. These healthy relationships should be based onmutually beneficial

transactions. A high-quality LMX consists of a relationship that goes beyond the contract

and is likely to lead to extra-role or citizenship behavior (Wayne et al. 1997). According to

Liden and Graen (1980), employees reporting high-quality LMX relationships make con-

tributions that go beyond their formal job duties. On the other hand, those employees re-

porting lower quality LMX relationships perform the more routine tasks of the work group.

Hence, the underlying principles that forge the linkage between LMX, OCB, and

change-oriented OCB are justice, fairness, and honesty (Scandura 1999). Each party must

offer something the other party sees as valuable and each party must see the exchange as

reasonably equitable and fair (Graen and Scandura 1987). When a leader trusts a particular

subordinate and provides certain advantages to him/her in terms of greater authority, more

support, or greater recognition, the subordinate may reciprocate with equivalent rewards.

Moreover, when such relationships take place in a public sector organization, those who

benefit immediately are the citizens. For example, performing extra-role behaviors and

OCBs may increase the level of public service, help overcome red tape and bureaucracy,

and improve the public’s perceptions about government. Therefore, LMX may have a sig-

nificant relationship with OCB types of reactions (Chiun et al. 2006).

Various other studies also support the logic behind this argument. LMX has been men-

tionedasrelatedtovarioustypesofOCBsuchashelping,altruism,andjobdedication(Iliesetal.

2007). However, with the exception of Bettencourt (2004), no study has examined the rela-

tionshipbetweenLMXandchange-orientedOCB, sonoevidenceexists about thesepotential

relationships in the public sector, despite the clear recognition that out-of-the-box thinking

and spontaneous change-oriented behaviors are extremely important to the public service.

Bettencourt (2004) elaborated on this relationship and her empirical examination in a retail

setting found that LMX had a direct positive effect on change-oriented OCB. Extending the

arguments of Bettencourt’s study, we suggest that LMX in public sector organizations im-

proves the quality of work life in general and builds the healthy professional atmosphere so

needed to give citizens better quality services. Improvement in such services happens when

public servants are willing to voice the need for reforms and are willing to change the work

environment to achieve these goals. Therefore, we suggest another hypothesis:

H2 Perceptions of transactional and transformational leadership and the quality of LMX

relationships will be positively related with the change-oriented OCB of public employees.

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What’s Politics Got to Do with All This?

Internal politics in organizations has long been recognized as meaningful for individuals

and organizations. Although organizational politics is evident in any type of organization, it

is consistently much higher in the public sector than in the private sector (Vigoda-Gadot

and Kapun 2005). Politics in organizations, and especially in public agencies, is a contro-

versial phenomenon. Many studies mention its objective nature, having both constructive

and destructive effects on employees and citizens as clients (e.g., Ferris et al. 1989; Vigoda-

Gadot and Kapun 2005). According to Bolman and Deal (1991), organizational political

leadership may be viewed as a positive and pragmatic style of leadership for dealing with

continuing conflicts and competition and for achieving organizational compromises.

However, this study followed the conventional approach in the literature that views

organizational politics as workplace activities that can result in negative or destructive

work outcomes (Vigoda 2000). A majority of the empirical studies in this field have used

a perceptual approach and focused on judgments about workplace politics by individuals.

Employees were usually asked to report whether a specific action or decision was within the

parameters of sanctioned behavior (Randall et al. 1999). Randall et al. (1999) defined or-

ganizational politics as unsanctioned influence attempts that seek to promote self-interests

at the expense of organizational goals. POPS are most commonly measured using the scale

developed by Kacmar and Ferris (1991).

In accordance with the definition by Randall et al. (1999), strong perceptions about the

presence of organizational politics are related to weaker job involvement (Cropanzano et al.

1997), reduced job satisfaction (Ferris and Kacmar 1992; Gandz and Murray 1980), with-

drawal from the organization (Gilmore et al. 1996), increased job anxiety and stress

(Ferris et al. 1994; Vigoda 2002), and poorer performance of the organization and the indi-

vidual (Vigoda 2000; Witt 1998). The negative impact of politics stems from the fact that

politics affects both the economic and social aspects of the employer-employee exchange

(Witt 1998).

Organizational politics has also been associated with perceptions of fairness and jus-

tice (Cropanzano et al. 1997; Ferris et al. 1989; Ferris and Kacmar 1992). According to

Ferris and Kacmar (1992), employees who score high on the POPS scale feel, there is less

procedural justice, fairness, and equity in their work environment. Employees who feel they

have been treated unfairly for political reasons are inclined to react by reducing the

voluntary contributions they make to the organization and weakening their ties with it.

Such a reaction is especially evident in public sector organizations where tenure in

a job is important and employees are less inclined to leave even if they feel they have been

mistreated (Vigoda-Gadot 2007a). Instead, they turn to less risky responses such as refrain-

ing from volunteering their services or engaging in extra-role activities. Hence, the psy-

chological ‘‘escape route’’ from a highly political atmosphere can become reduced

engagement in OCB, especially in change-oriented OCB.

However, a more thorough examination of the literature suggests that this relationship

between perceptions of politics and work outcomes such as OCBs may not be direct. For

example, according to Kacmar et al. (2007), POPSmoderate the relationship between LMX

and employees’ work effort. If the work environment is perceived as political (a situation

that is particularly relevant for public sector organizations), the work effort of those with

high-quality LMX relationships may be greater than those with low-quality LMX relation-

ships. In addition, the quality of the LMX relationship with the supervisor affects POPS.

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Employees who enjoy a high-quality LMX relationship with their supervisor may feel pro-

tected from a lack of clear rules, ambiguity, and unfairness. Put differently, they perceive

the work environment as less threatening and less (negatively) political. However, those

with poor relationships with their supervisor may feel much less protected and therefore

view the work environment as more (negatively) political (Kacmar et al. 2007). Similarly,

poorer LMX was positively associated with perceptions about the supervisor’s political

behavior (Ferris and Kacmar 1992). Therefore, and according to Scandura (1999),

LMX may be viewed through the lens of organizational justice as well. Any leadership

actions that reduce perceptions of politics (or justice) in the workgroup will also contribute

to the improvement of work outcomes such as change-oriented OCB. Vigoda-Gadot

(2007a) examined the relationship between leadership style, organizational politics, and

employee’s performance (in a public sector setting) and found that whereas POPS had

a negative relationship with transformational leadership, it simultaneously had a positive

relationship with transactional leadership. Similarly, and in line with Pillai et al. (1999) and

Ehrhart (2004), it was argued that a transformational leader whose influence derives from

his or her high levels of professionalism and personal integrity can create an environment of

creativity, trust, commitment, involvement, satisfaction, and excellence in the organiza-

tion. Therefore, transformational leadership has characteristics that can reduce POPS

among public employees and indirectly enhance change-oriented OCB. In contrast, a trans-

actional leadership style is characterized by negotiation about interests, the reward system,

interest-based relationships, and struggles over limited resources. All these issues are ev-

ident in a political environment (Vigoda-Gadot 2007a). On the other hand, a transactional

leader may enhance a rational and transparent give-and-take system, while maintaining

a fair environment that can reduce POPS among public employees. All things considered,

a transactional leader whose influence derives from his or her position of authority has the

ability to reduce POPS and motivate public employees to engage in change-oriented OCB.

In contrast, the ability of a transformational leader to achieve this goal is more limited.

Aggregatingall thesearguments that arebasedonpastknowledge,wemayconclude that

previous studies point to (1) a direct relationship between leadership style and LMX on one

hand and POPS on the other and (2) an indirect relationship between LMX and change-ori-

ented OCB, where POPS plays a moderating role. When POPS is high, the relationship be-

tween the quality of the LMX and change-oriented OCB will be stronger and more positive

thanwhenPOPS is low. In addition,whenPOPS is low, change-orientedOCB resulting from

LMX will be higher than when POPS is high. Thus, we suggest H3 and H4 as follows:

H3 In the public sector, perceptions of transformational leadership, transactional leadership,

and the quality of LMX relationships will be negatively related to POPS.

H4 POPS moderate the relationship between the quality of LMX and change-oriented OCB in

the public sector.

Figures 1a–1c summarize the hypotheses tested in this study. The first model

(figure 1a) explains the relationship between leadership style and LMX as suggested in

H1. The second model (figure 1b) presents the relationship between leadership style,

LMX and perceptions of politics as suggested in H3. The third model (figure 1c) presents

the direct relationship between leadership style and LMX and change-oriented OCB (H2)

and the moderating effect of perceptions of politics on the relationship between LMX and

change-oriented OCB (H4).

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METHODS

Sample and Procedure

Employees from a large public medical center located in the north of Israel participated in

the study. This public medical center provides a wide range of health services such as

Figure 1(a) The Relationship between Leadership Styles and LMX in the Public Sector. (b) The Relationshipbetween Leadership Styles, LMX, and Perceptions of Politics in the Public Sector. (c) The relationshipbetween leadership, Change-Oriented OCB, and Perceptions of Politics

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administrative, informational, diagnostic, and therapeutic services. These services are pro-

vided through various medical departments (e.g., internal medicine, cardiology, neurology)

headed by professional medical managers. The employees and their direct supervisors par-

ticipated in the study. They all hold a variety of para-professional and administrative posi-

tions (e.g., human resources, purchase and supply, maintenance, social assistance, medical

secretarial, etc.). The participants provide services across medical departments to medical

staff and consumers. After formal approval from the institution’s authorities, each em-

ployee received a questionnaire that was based on the independent and control variables.

A direct return method was used to increase response rate and to ensure that all data col-

lectedwere viewedby the researchers only.Thismethodassuredparticipants that nopersonal

informationwouldbesharedwith the institution’smanagement.Ourcontactswithemployees

were independentandwerebackedbythe full anonymityassured toallwhoagreed to takepart

in the study. No data were transferred to us via the formal organizational channels and no

records were taken by the organization about those who agreed (or refused) to take part in

the study.All datawere collected by the researchers andkeptwith them throughout the study.

Using this strategy, we had a high return rate of 90%where 217 out of 240 employees com-

pleted the questionnaires. The high response rate strengthens the representativeness of the

sample. It is important tonote that throughout the studyparticipationwasvoluntary.Employ-

ees who felt uncomfortable with the process had a simple option of outing at any stage.

After data collection from employees was completed, 17 direct supervisors were asked to

complete individual evaluations for their employees. Supervisors’ evaluations were based on

a short report of change-oriented OCB for each of the employees under the direct supervision

of the reporting manager. Thus, although the respondents work for the same organization

and share a common work environment, the measurement of the dependent variable was

based on independent observations. Matching supervisors’ personal evaluations for each

employee and the self-report data by employees was done based on the last four digits of the

ID number that each employee was asked to write on his/her questionnaire.

A breakdown of the sample demonstrates a fair amount of heterogeneity among the

respondents. Seventy-five percent of the respondents were female. The average age was

43.23 (standard deviation [SD] 5 10.49), meaning that about two-thirds of participants

were ages 33 to 54. The average tenure was 15.72 years (SD 5 10.09) and two-thirds

of the participants had held their positions for up to 19 years. The average number of years

of education was 14.66 (SD 5 2.44).

Measures

Change-Oriented OCB

Change-oriented OCB was measured by a nine-item scale developed through a multistage

process by Morrison and Phelps (1999) and used subsequently in a study by Bettencourt

(2004). Supervisors completed a questionnaire in which they were asked to evaluate the

recent behavior of each employee. Items are as follows: The specific employee: (1) tries to

adopt improved procedures for doing the job, (2) tries to change the job process in order to

be more effective, (3) tries to bring about improved procedures for the organization, (4)

tries to institute new work methods that are more effective for the organization, (5) makes

constructive suggestions for improving how things operate within the organization, (6) tries

to correct faulty procedures or practices, (7) tries to eliminate redundant or unnecessary

procedures, (8) tries to implement solutions to pressing organizational problems, and (9)

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tries to introduce new work approaches to improve efficiency. The scale for these questions

ranged from 1 (never) to 5 (always). Reliability of this scale was .97.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior

The scale was primarily based on the scale used by Williams and Anderson (1991) and

Organ and Konovsky (1989), as well as suggestions made by Morrison (1994). We utilized

a 10-item scale. Supervisors completed a questionnaire in which they were asked to eval-

uate the recent behavior of each employee. We tested two aspects of this variable: (1) OCB

directed toward Individuals and (2) OCB directed toward the Organization. Five items were

used to test each dimension. The OCB directed toward Individuals scale concerned helping

a specific person, be it the supervisor, a coworker, or a client. The OCB directed toward the

Organization scale represented a more impersonal sort of conscientiousness in attendance,

use of work time, and adherence to various rules but a conscientiousness that far surpasses

any enforceable minimum standards (Smith et al. 1983). OCB directed toward the Orga-

nization is different from OCB directed toward Individuals because it implies a ‘‘good soldier’’

approach to doing things that are ‘‘right and proper,’’ but doing them for the sake of the system

rather than for specific people (Smith et al. 1983). Sample items include (1) helps other

employees who have been absent (OCB directed toward Individuals), (2) helps other em-

ployees who have heavyworkloads (OCBdirected toward Individuals), (3) attendance at work

is above the norm (OCB directed toward the Organization), and (4) gives advanced notice

when unable to come to work (OCB directed toward the Organization). Each item was

measured on a scale ranging from 1 (never) to 5 (always). Reliability of this scale was .89.

Transformational and Transactional Leadership

Core transformational leadership behaviors were measured using five items adapted from

Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Moorman, and Fetter (1990) and Podsakoff et al. (1996) and used

subsequently in a study on change-oriented OCB by Bettencourt (2004). Sample items are:

(1) My supervisor articulates and generates enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission and

(2) My supervisor provides a compelling vision of the organization’s future. Transactional

leadership behavior was measured with four items from Podsakoff et al. (1984), Mackenzie

et al. (2001) and Bettencourt (2004). Sample items are (1) My supervisor always gives

positive feedback when I perform well and (2) My supervisor gives me special recognition

when my work is very good. The scale ranged from 1 (not true at all) to 5 (very true).

Reliability of this scale was .94 for transformational leadership and .97 for transactional

leadership.

Leader-Member Exchange

LMX was measured by a five-item scale of Graen, Liden, and Hoel (1982). These items

were subsequently used by Bettencourt (2004). Sample items are: (1) I can count on my

supervisor to ‘‘bail me out’’ at his/her expense when I really need him/her and (2) I would

characterize my relationship with my manager as above average. Respondents were asked

to report how much they agreed with the items on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5

(strongly agree). Reliability of this scale was .93.

Perceptions of Organizational Politics

POPS was measured by a six-item scale taken from Ferris et al. (1989) and used extensively

elsewhere in various versions (i.e., Kacmar and Carlson 1994; Kacmar and Ferris 1991;

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Vigoda 2000, 2002). Sample items are: (1) Favoritism rather than merit determines who

gets ahead around here and (2) I have seen changes made in policies here that only serve the

purposes of a few individuals, not the work unit of the organization. Respondents were

asked to report how much they agreed with the items on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree)

to 5 (strongly agree). Reliability of this scale was .83.

Control Variables

We controlled for age, years of tenure in the organization, and years of education.

Data Analysis

We applied exploratory factor analysis to ensure the validity of the change-oriented OCB

scale and its uniqueness compared with the conservative scale of OCB (directed toward

Individuals and the organization). Following this procedure, we used an ordinary multiple

regression analysis and additional regressions with interaction effect to test the moderating

relationship of POPS (all p values are for two-tailed tests).

FINDINGS

Exploratory factor analysis with varimax rotation was first applied and is presented in table 1.

As expected, the analysis demonstrated quite a clear-cut distinction among three sub fac-

tors: 9 items for change-oriented OCB, 5 items for OCB directed toward Individuals, and an

additional 5 items for OCB directed toward the Organization (including three reversed

scored items). These findings strongly support the solidity and uniqueness of the

change-oriented OCB items that we used in further analysis.

Table 2 presents the zero-order correlation among the research variables. The normal-

ity of distribution of the research variables was tested using Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z-tests,

skewness and kurtosis, which revealed that transactional leadership, transformational lead-

ership, LMX, and POPS are slightly, but not significantly, skewed to the left. This evidence

should be taken into account when interpreting the results. Also evident from table 2 is the

strong positive relationship between transformational leadership and transactional leader-

ship and LMX (r5 .76; p, .001, r5 .79; p, .001, respectively). These intercorrelations

are not unusual (e.g., Basu and Green 1997; Bettencourt 2004) and in no case exceed the

level of 0.8 that was suggested by Field (2005, 175) as the border of multicollinearity.

However, to make sure that our study does not suffer from a problem of multicollinearity,

we also applied (1) several confirmatory factor analyses1 to ensure the validity of our scales

and (2) a test of tolerance and Variance Inflation Factor (VIF).2

1 Exploratory factor analyses with varimax rotation were first applied for transactional and transformational

leadership and LMX. The analysis demonstrated a clear-cut distinction among three factors: five items for each of the

variables. The total variance explained was 83.4%. The second exploratory factor analysis was expanded to include

change-oriented OCB as well. The analysis demonstrated a clear-cut distinction among four factors: nine items for

change-oriented OCB and five items for each of the other research variables. The total variance explained was 80.6%.

These findings strongly support the solidity and uniqueness of the change-oriented OCB and LMX scales that we used

in further analysis.

2 The tolerance and VIF tests revealed encouraging results as well. The Tolerance values ranged between .30 and .69,

and the VIF values ranged between 1.46 and 3.34—far above .10 and far below 5.0/10.0, respectively, which would

indicate a possible problem (Field 2005).

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Table

1Exp

loratory

FactorAnalysisforChange-O

rientedOCBandOCB(individualandorganizational)Items

Item

Factor1-

Change-OrientedOCB

Factor2—

OCB

directedtowardIndividuals

Factor3—

OCB

directedtowardtheOrganization

1.Tries

toadoptim

proved

proceduresfordoingthejob.

.816

.244

.248

2.T

ries

tochangehowjobisexecutedinordertobemoreeffective.

.828

.235

.227

3.Tries

tobringaboutim

proved

proceduresfortheorganization.

.843

.291

.165

4.Tries

toinstitute

new

work

methodsthat

aremore

effectivefor

theorganization.

.849

.264

.194

5.Makes

constructivesuggestionsforim

provinghow

things

operatewithin

theorganization.

.837

.239

.200

6.Tries

tocorrectfaultyproceduresorpractices.

.878

.258

.114

7.Tries

toelim

inateredundantorunnecessary

procedures.

.830

.267

.130

8.Tries

toim

plementsolutionsto

pressingorganizational

problems.

.834

.250

.101

9.Tries

tointroduce

new

work

approaches

toim

proveefficiency.

.848

.225

.163

10.Helpsotherswhohavebeenabsent.

.248

.814

.265

11.Helpsotherswhohaveaheavyworkload.

.281

.813

.222

12.Assists

supervisorwithhis/her

work

(when

notasked).

.550

.600

.087

13.Takes

timeto

listen

tocoworkers’

problemsandworries.

.314

.682

-.058

14.Passesalonginform

ationto

coworkers.

.459

.498

.259

15.Attendance

atwork

isabovethenorm

..382

.347

.545

16.Gives

advance

notice

when

unable

tocometo

work.

.092

.032

.675

17.Takes

undeserved

work

breaks(r).

.112

.200

.772

18.Great

dealoftimespentonpersonal

phoneconversations(r).

.126

.118

.813

19.Coasts

towardtheendoftheday

(r).

.198

.025

.769

Eigenvalue

7.33

3.14

3.08

%ofVariance

38.59

16.57

16.22

Total%

ofvariance

38.59

55.16

71.38

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In addition, change-oriented OCB was positively related with transactional and trans-

formational leadership, as well as with LMX (r5 .31, p, .001; r5 .15, p, .05; r5 .35,

p , .001, respectively). Finally, transactional and transformational leadership and LMX

were negatively related with POPS (r52.46, p, .001; r52.55, p, .001; r52.51, p,.001, respectively). These findings support H1–H3 but must be further confirmed with mul-

tivariate analysis.

Tables 3 and 4 offer such an analysis. First, table 3 presents a simple multiple regres-

sion analysis to test the effect of (1) leadership styles on LMX and (2) leadership styles and

LMX on POPS. These relationships are expected according to H1 and H3, respectively.

According to this table, transactional and transformational leadership had a positive rela-

tionship with LMX (b 5 .50, p , .001, and b 5 .39, p , .001, respectively). In addition,

transformational leadership and LMX were negatively related with POPS (b52.32, p,.001, and b52.22, p, .05, respectively). Note, however, that contrary to the zero-order

correlation, the multiple regression analysis revealed that transactional leadership had no

relationship with POPS. These findings quite strongly support H1 and H3.

To test H2 and H4, we applied a hierarchical multiple regression analysis with inter-

action effect that examined the relationship between the independent variables and change-

oriented OCB. First, and according to the first step of the equation, the demographic variables

were included inthemodel tocontrol forage, tenure,andeducation. change-orientedOCBwas

negatively relatedwith agebut positively relatedwith tenure, implying that youngerbutmore

tenured employees are more likely to be engaged in change-oriented citizenship behaviors.

This finding, by itself, is interesting, as experience and tenure seem to encourage change-

oriented OCB, but age by itself seems to discourage it.

The second step of the equation yielded quite surprising results. We found a positive

relationship between transactional leadership and change-oriented OCB (b5 .22, p, .05)

but a negative relationship between transformational leadership and change-oriented OCB

(b52.30, p, .01). In addition, change-oriented OCB was strongly and positively related

with the quality of LMX (b 5 .41, p , .001) but had no direct relationship with POPS.

These findings support H2, which expected a relationship between the change-oriented

OCB of public employees, leadership styles, and LMX. However, the negative direction

Table 2Multiple Correlation Matrix (Cronbach’s a in parentheses)

VariableMean(SD) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Transformational leadership 3.60 (1.13) (.94)

2. Transactional leadership 3.68 (1.26) .74*** (.97)

3. Leader member exchange 3.82 (1.05) .76*** .79*** (.93)

4. Change-oriented OCB 3.51 (.97) .15* .31*** .35*** (.97)

5. POPS 2.83 (.71) 2.55*** 2.46*** 2.51*** 2.10 (.83)

6. Age 43.23 (10.49) .03 2.13 2.02 2.05 2.16* —

7. Tenure 15.72 (10.09) .01 2.08 .04 .14* 2.08 .78*** —

8. Education 14.66 (2.45) .01 2.06 2.08 2.02 .00 .12 .01

Note: N 5 209; POPS = Perceptions of organizational politics.

*p , .05, **p , .01.

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of the transformational leadership / change-oriented OCB relationship was quite coun-

terintuitive and surprising.

In the third step of the equation the interaction effect of POPSwas added. The relation-

ships between leadership styles (transformational and transactional), LMX, and change-

Table 4Findings of Hierarchical Multiple Regression Analysis (standardized coefficients), with ModerationEffect, for the Relationship between the Independent Variables and Change-Oriented OCB

Variable

Change-Oriented OCB

Step 1 b (t) Step 2 b (t) Step 3 b(t)

Constant 4.31 4.12 4.17

Demographics

Age 2.40*** 2.30** 2.30**

Tenure .45*** .38*** .38***

Education .02 .06 .06

Main variables

Transformational leadership 2.30** 2.31**

Transactional leadership .22* .22*

Leader-member exchange (LMX) .41*** .35**

Perceptions of organizational politics

(POPS)

.02 2.01

Interaction effect

POPS � LMX .14*

R2 .08 .23 .25

Adjusted R2 .07 .20 .21

F 5.94*** 8.22*** 7.80***

DR2 — .15 .02

DF — 12.27*** 8.95***

Note: N 5 209.

*p , .05, ** p , .01, ***p , .001.

Table 3Findings of multiple regression analysis (standardized coefficients) for the effect of Independentvariables on LMX and POPS

Variable LMX POPS

Constant 1.31 4.86

Demographics

Age 2.06 2.28**

Tenure .11 .13

Education 2.05 .01

Main variables

Transactional leadership .50*** 2.08

Transformational leadership .39*** 2.32***

Leader-member exchange — 2.22*

R2 .71 .35

Adjusted R2 .70 .33

F 95.90*** 17.97***

Note: N 5 209.

*p , .05, ** p , .01, ***p , .001.

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oriented OCB remained quite stable. In addition, the interaction effect of POPS � LMX

was modest but significant (b 5 .14, p , .05) and added 2% to the overall explained var-

iance of the model. Figure 2 presents the plot of the interaction effect. In this figure, a high

level of POPS is defined as an above average (.2.83) score, whereas a low level of POPS is

defined as a below average (,2.83) score. The equation under the x-axis expresses the

interaction model that was tested, whereas X represents LMX, Y is for CO-OCB, and Z

stands for POPS. According to this figure, for the whole sample, change-oriented OCB

improves with an increase in the quality of LMX. However, POPS is a moderator in this

relationship, making it stronger within those who have strong perceptions about the level of

organizational politics. When the quality of LMX is poor, strong perceptions about orga-

nizational politics result in a reduced inclination toward change-oriented OCB, compared

to situations in which employees sense that organizational politics is not a major factor in

their work environment. However, when the quality of LMX is high, stronger feelings of

inequity and unfairness in the public organization lead to more change-oriented OCB com-

pared to situations in which employees sense that organizational politics is not a major

factor in their work environment. Put differently, the highest level of change-oriented

OCB was found among employees who reported high levels of LMX and low levels of

POPS; the lowest level of change-oriented OCBwas found among employees who reported

low levels of LMX and high levels of POPS. The overall explained variance of the model

was 25%.

Figure 2Interaction Effect of POPS on the Relationship between LMX and Change-Oriented OCB among PublicEmployees

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Although not specifically designed to test the hypotheses, similar models were em-

ployed to predict the two other types of OCB. In comparison to the change-oriented OCB

model, different patterns emerged between managerial styles and OCB directed toward

individuals and toward the organization in general. LMX was the only significant positive

predictor related to OCB directed toward individuals with no interaction effect; no signif-

icant predictor was found related to OCB toward the organization with no interaction

effect.3

These interesting findings deserve further explanation and will be elaborated on in the

Discussion section.

CHANGE-ORIENTED OCB IN THE SERVICE OF PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS AND CITIZENS:DISCUSSION AND SUMMARY

Modern public administration is struggling in a world of rapid changes and developments.

Breakthroughs in technology, stronger calls for governments to plan and shape modern

societies, and increased expectations from governmental and administrative agencies

are occurring in a globalizing and innovative environment. From a public managerial per-

spective, these changes lead to a culture of open decision making that encourages public

employees to undertake innovative and out-of-the-box missions and generate creative

ideas. Many times, these tasks and behaviors must go beyond the formal requirements

of the traditional bureaucratic machinery. Change-oriented OCB is one such behavior that

managers in the public sector must learn to recognize and apply to support work processes

and improve services to the public.

This study borrowed the idea of OCB as a well-studied phenomenon from the generic

managerial and organizational behavior literature and used it to propose a concept that will

advance our knowledge in public management. We focused on public sector employees’

willingness to engage in voice activities, above and beyond the formal requirements of the

organization. Although change-oriented OCB is prevalent in public organizations, as much

as it is in other organizations, its meaning and implications for this sector in particular are

far reaching. In addition, the study examined the mutual effects between change-oriented

OCB, leadership, and politics and found meaningful interrelationships.

The findings of the study should be discussed particularly with regard to several major

points: (1) the stand-alone role of change-oriented OCB in the public sector as a unique

aspect of good citizenship behavior, one with added value over OCBs (i.e., directed toward

Individuals and toward the Organization); (2) the reconfirmation of several relationships,

especially between leadership style and leader-member-exchange (LMX) and between

these variables and POPS; (3) the solid, direct relationship between change-oriented

OCB, leadership styles, and LMX; and (4) the modest but interesting indirect relationship

between POPS, LMX, and change-oriented OCB.

First, the fact that our factor analysis revealed three clear-cut factors of change-oriented

OCB, OCB directed toward Individuals, and OCB directed toward the Organization is en-

couraging. Note that different patterns were found in our attempts to relate leadership styles,

LMX, and POPS with the three dimensions of OCB (change-oriented OCB, IND-OCB,

ORG-OCB). These findings support change-oriented OCB as a behavior that is both related

3 For more detailed results, please contact the first author.

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to classical OCB factors (IND-OCB and ORG-OCB), but at the same time also separate and

distinct from them in several ways. Although classic OCB factors reflect good citizenship in

that employees invest extra-role efforts in others, change-oriented OCB is unique in adding

the extra dimensions of innovation, creativity, and voice into the complex meaning of good

citizenship. Organ’s (1988) theory of the good soldier syndrome may therefore be ex-

panded to encompass other behaviors as well, those that go beyond doing extra and extend

to creativity and innovation. This idea strongly supports Bettencourt’s (2004) model, its

emphasis on change-oriented OCB and its major role in making some organizations better

than others.

Moreover, we believe that our study is perhaps the first to test the theoretical and

empirical meaning of change-oriented OCB in public administration systems. Our focus

on public organizations explores another aspect of this concept and its implications. We

suggest that when change-oriented OCB takes place in a governmental agency, its impli-

cations go far beyond the added value to a specific organization. change-oriented OCBmay

have a positive spillover onto people’s experiences with governmental services and affect

the perceptions of the government as a legitimate political entity. Thus, one may argue that

change-oriented OCB can help loosen some of bureaucracy’s stiffness and make it more

flexible and sensitive to citizens’ needs.

Ourmodel yielded some additional findings that deserve attention. The first andmost basic

one is the relationship between transactional leadership, transformational leadership, and LMX.

This relationship is well established and widely documented in the literature (i.e., Basu and

Green 1997; Graen and Uhl-Bien 1995; Howell and Hall-Merenda 1999). These studies and

others like them suggest that LMX is strongly and positively affected by both styles of

leadership, transformational and transactional. Our findings support both the findings of

these studies and the emphasis placed on the quality of the relationship between supervisors

and subordinates and its impact on a variety of work outcomes.

Another finding that deserves added discussion is the negative relationship between

perceptions of politics and transformational leadership and LMX. This finding is in line

with several other studies that promoted the idea that leadership plays a role in deter-

mining employees’ views about fairness, equity, the professional handling of conflicts

and dilemmas, and decision-making processes that involve a struggle over resources or

benefits. For example, Pillai et al. (1999) supported the indirect effect of transformational

leadership on OCBs through procedural justice and trust. In a later study, Andrews and

Kacmar (2001) supported a negative relationship between LMX and organizational poli-

tics. These findings may imply that public sector managers who use a transformational

leadership style and build high-quality LMX relationships directly reduce perceptions

of politics among employees through the support and identity mechanisms that they pro-

vide to subordinates. However, this rationale does not work for transactional leadership,

which is based more on reciprocity and exchange between employees and their supervisors.

Although we expected that transactional leadership would have some negative effect on

POPS, the findings revealed no such relationship. A possible explanation for this lack of

association may be the difference between transactional leadership and transformational

leadership and their relationship with organizational politics. Our findings indicate that

among public employees, transformational leadership negatively affects POPS. Further-

more, this relationship is much more imminent and stable than the one between transac-

tional leadership and POPS.

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However, perhaps, the most interesting finding of this study lies in the relationships

found between leadership, POPS, and change-oriented OCB. First, and most notable, is the

strong, direct relationship between leadership and change-oriented OCB, which accorded

with our original expectations and with the literature (Podsakoff et al. 1990, 1996). We

found that LMX is strongly and positively related with change-oriented OCB. In addition,

LMX is strongly and positively related with OCB directed toward Individuals. Hence, it

may be argued that the quality of the relationships between public employees and their

supervisors contributes strongly to individuals’ willingness to engage in innovative and

creative behaviors and behaviors toward other individuals that support the organization.

Whereas Choi (2007) suggested that change-oriented OCB should be considered a specific

dimension of OCB directed toward the organization, our study found reason to assume that

change-oriented OCB has a stand-alone context, quite separate from the other classical

aspects of OCB. The quality of LMX has no effect on behaviors toward the organization

in general.

In addition, however, we also found that the direct relationship is accompanied by an

indirect moderating effect of perceptions of politics. In other words, although the relation-

ship between LMX and change-oriented OCB was positive, it was different for high and

low levels of POPS. The relationship was stronger when employees sensed that organiza-

tional politics was a major factor in their workplace than when they did not. In other words,

LMX is more important in highly political environments. A possible explanation for this

relationship is a compensation type of effect. In a highly political atmosphere, the quality of

LMX can encourage employees to overcome difficulties and their frustrations and still en-

gage in active voice behaviors such as change-oriented OCB. However, when the work

place is less politically charged, the need for LMX is reduced. The public manager, as

a leader, may thus serve as a buffer that promotes employees’ willingness to engage in

innovative change-oriented OCB in spite of negative feelings and perceptions such as

POPS. Another interesting interpretation of the moderation effect assumes public managers

directly affect both LMX (Graen and Uhl-Bien 1995) and POPS (Pillai et al. 1999) because

organizational politics is not a given element in the workplace environment. Since public

managers are not perfect, they may enable or not necessarily prevent high levels of POPS.

However, to maintain high levels of change-oriented OCB in the employees, the self-

awareness of a public manager of his/her own limited qualifications may push him/her

to compensate the employees with very positive LMX relationships. This possibility ex-

plains why the highest change-oriented OCB was found among employees who reported

that their manager successfully created positive LMX relationships, yet failed to create low

levels of POPS. Nonetheless, this finding should be interpreted with caution because the

interaction effect is rather modest and the direct relationship is more pronounced than the

indirect effect.

Quite surprisingly, we also found a direct positive relationship between transactional

leadership and change-oriented OCB, but a negative relationship between transformational

leadership and change-oriented OCB. These findings were counterintuitive because we

would have expected the opposite direction of relationship between the variables. In other

words, we would have predicted a weaker and perhaps more negative relationship between

transactional leadership and change-oriented OCB compared with a stronger and more pos-

itive relationship between transformational leadership and change-oriented OCB.

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Although these findings are difficult to explain and interpret, an interesting study by

Basu and Green (1997) may help us understand these results. In their study, the authors

found quite a similar relationship between charismatic transformational leadership4 and

innovative behavior (which is close in nature to change-oriented OCB). They offered three

possible explanations for these findings (pp.492–3): (1) ‘‘Perhaps followers are intimidated

by a charismatic leader, and this intimidation manifests itself in lower incidence of inno-

vation.’’ They mention previous studies claiming that, ‘‘charismatic leaders may be dam-

aging because of their continual need for approval from others.’’ According to Harrison

(1987) ‘‘charismatic leadership leads to the creation of achievement-oriented cultures

which for the most part are advantageous, but can create excessive stress for members

who are unable to handle the pressure to perform beyond expectations.’’ (2) According

to Howell and Avolio (1992), certain kinds of charismatic transformational leaders (termed

unethical charismatics) demand that decisions be accepted without question, censure crit-

ical and opposing views, and encourage dependent followers, thus squashing any oppor-

tunity for individual initiative, thought, or innovative activities. (3) Since transformational

leaders by definition participate in innovation processes (Burns 1978; Bass 1985; Tichy and

Devanna 1986; Tichy and Ulrich 1984), they may view followers who are not up to their

standards as less innovative. Consequently, the more charismatic transformational leaders

are, the less likely they may be to view followers as engaged in innovative activities such as

change-oriented OCB. Hence, Basu and Green (1997) summarize, ‘‘to the extent that such

perceptions cloud judgment, transformational leadership can be negatively related to in-

novative behavior.’’

In view of these possibilities, we feel that one explanation for this finding may be that

change-oriented OCB is encouraged by feasible exchange relationships and actions that

support them, specifically in the public sector. At the same time, change-oriented OCB

may be discouraged by the more abstract transformative actions of leaders that call for

the fulfillment of formal job duties. Although being engaged in change-oriented OCB is

positively related with good LMX qualities, the specific transactional contingent-reward

aspect of this relationship is more effective than abstract transformational types of relation-

ships in supporting innovation and creativity, especially among public employees. Another

possible explanation is that charismatic transformational leadership in the public sector has

specific characteristics that negatively affect change-oriented OCB in the way suggested by

Basu and Green (1997). Such characteristics may put more emphasis on following the for-

mal procedures of complying with regulations and order and less on behaviors involving

creativity and innovation. Hence, it is possible that leadership among public managers is

different than that among other managers and its impact on change-oriented OCB may also

be different.

Finally, the limitations of this study should also be mentioned so they can guide future

attempts to study OCB and change-oriented OCB in public sector environments. First, our

sample is of modest size and quite homogeneous. It presumably shares common features of

the work environment in that it comes from one public health organization. This fact limits

the ability to generalize our findings to other public services that may differ substantially

from ours. Future studies would therefore benefit from testing our model on larger and more

4 Note that although ‘‘charisma’’ and ‘‘transformational leadership’’ are not necessarily synonymous, Basu and

Green (1997) and Tichy and Ulrich (1984) refer to ‘‘charismatic transformational leadership’’ and to ‘‘charismatic

leadership’’ as to ‘‘transformational leadership.’’

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heterogeneous samples of public employees and organizations. Second, our data were col-

lected in Israel and generalization to other cultures should be done with caution considering

the uniqueness of the Israeli public sector and its health system. Other studies should con-

sider the different meanings of change-oriented behaviors typical of other nations and cul-

tures, with their typical public organizations. Third, our data may be biased by some

skewed distributions of variables. However, such skewing not uncommon in many studies

of the social sciences and should not be considered a major limitation (Stevens 2009).

Finally, we have not used a causal research design, so any conclusions regarding causality

should be treated with caution.

In view of the above issues, future research would benefit from: (1) better control over

other possible factors such as organizational type, types of tasks, or type of work environ-

ment; (2) applying more advanced statistical analyses that are useful in testing causality

(i.e., Structural Equation Modeling) or those that are useful in testing multilevel models

(i.e., Hierarchical Linear Modeling); (3) replicating our study in other organizational set-

tings and cultures; and (4) including additional variables (i.e., service climate, personality

types) that have been found significant in previous studies on leadership, politics, and OCB.

All in all, and despite its limitations, we believe that this study offers a different look at the

informal aspect of innovation and creativity in public administration. It calls for more integra-

tion of knowledge from the generic managerial and organizational behavior theories into public

management and exemplifies how this should be done to overcome some of bureaucracies’

traditional ills of red tape, stagnation, inflexibility, and resistance to change and renewal.

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