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Role Of Employee Customer Orientation And Job Engagement

 Improving Employees Discretionary Be­haviour: Role Of Employee Customer Ori­entation And Job Engagement

This study aims at examining the effect of employees customer orientation and job engagement on their discretionary job performance. In other words assessing organizational citizenship behaviour. Also, this study intends to highlight the moderating role played by job satisfaction, between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour. The study is based upon the responses obtained from managers and employees of private sector banks (n=101), operating in the northern part of India. The study shows that employees who are customer oriented and remain engaged with their job, display more citizenship behaviour. Moreover, it reveals that the interactive role of job engagement and job satisfaction helps in strengthening citizenship behaviour. The study contributes to the existing research by examining the factors that enhance employees citizenship behaviour, which lubricates the social machinery of the organization and ultimately, leads to its success and survival.

INTRODUCTION

In order to survive in today’s competitive environment, organizations need employees who put in extra efforts that go beyond the organization’s expectations and requirements. The act of performing the job beyond the job requirements, is known as organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) or the extra role behaviour as propagated by Organ (1988). Yen & Niehoff (2004) further define OCB as, these behaviours are described actions in which employees are willing to go above and beyond their prescribed role requirements. For the last several decades, OCB has become a major construct in the fields of management and psychology and attained a great deal of attention in the literature by authors such as Bateman & Organ, (1983); Smith, Organ & Near (1983); Organ (1988); Bolino, Turnley & Bloodgood (2002); Niehoff & Moorman (1993); Organ & Ryan (1995); LePine, Erez & Johnson (2002); Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine & Bachrach (2000); Bergeron ( 2007). OCB makes a positive contribution toward business performance, which is reasonably well recognised in literature contributed by Podsakoff & MacKenzie (1994). Apropos, it is argued that when employees labour efforts exceed the duties assigned to their positions, they contribute towards the prosperity of their organization stated Muchinsky (2007). In the banking area, Zayas-Ortiz, Rosario, Marquez and Gruneiro (2015) alleged, that customer oriented employees behaving like a good citizen within the organization is one that goes above and beyond ordinary expectations, and find ways to solve problems of customers. From a managerial perspective, it is important to have an understanding of what factors facilitate OCB, because these behaviours are difficult to imitate and can be a source of competitive advantage and further, help in improving organizational performance propagated Farrell & Oczkowski (2012). In other words, it is important to understand the variables that positively and significantly aid in generating this favourable behaviour stated Mohammad et al. (2011), as such behaviour contributes to the survival of an organization espoused Organ (1988). In this context, the present study considers employees’ customer orientation and job engagement as essential variables that would significantly lead to their high level of citizenship behaviour. In services firms, customer contact employees represent the organization and transmit the service explained Garcia, Varela & Rio (2011); where willingness to go ‘above and beyond’ or to ‘go the extra mile’ is depicted as a good service stated Brady & Cronin (2001). As per their desire to serve customers, customer-oriented employees display greater levels of citizenship behaviours. Therefore, the present study proposes customer orientation as a predictor of OCB, because customer-oriented service employees engage in citizenship behaviour as a means of ultimately satisfying customers. Moreover, an engaged service employee is characterised as enthusiastic, motivated, energetic and passionate about his or her work; while a worker who is disengaged is apathetic, depersonalised, estranged, robotic, and withdrawn from his or her job said authors Salanova, Agut & Peiro (2005). Rich, LePine & Crawford (2010) explained, to the extent that engaged employees invest themselves more fully while at work than those who are less engaged, they are more willing to step outside the boundary of their formally defined jobs and engage in acts that comprise organizational citizenship behaviour Most of the previous studies exploring the relationship between employee engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour have been conducted in western countries, thus very little is known about this relationship in other Asian countries such as India say Sridhar & Thiruvenkadam (2014). Also, considering the rapidly changing workplace management practices and employment relationship in many international business settings; further confirmation of the linkage between employee engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour is important stated Rurkkhum & Bartlett (2012). Although some studies have found support for the relationship between job engagement and OCB by authors such as Saks (2006), Rich et al. (2010), Christian, Garza & Slaughter (2011), Shantza, Alfesb, Trussc & Soane (2013), Sulea, Virga, Maricutoiu, Schaufeli, Dumitru & Sava (2012); most of these studies investigated the direct effects of job engagement on organizational citizenship behaviour. Therefore, they did not adequately explicate how and why job engagement is related to organizational citizenship behaviour. In this regard, Rurkkhum and Bartlett (2012) suggested that as the individual, supervisory and organizational level variables potentially impact the relationship between employee engagement and the performance of organizational citizenship behaviour; future research should avoid examining only independent and dependent variables. Therefore, considering additional variables that are likely to cause either moderated or mediated effects in the model; researchers find out how and when the employee engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour relationship occur and function as stated by Bennett (2000). The present research seeks to answers this question by considering job satisfaction as a moderator in the relationship, between engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour. Hence, Kim (2006) posited that employees exhibit a higher level of organizational citizenship behaviour only when they enjoy a higher level of job satisfaction. Although a substantial number of research studies have been conducted on job engagement, job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behaviour; however these studies have not properly addressed whether employee job engagement along with their level of satisfaction would influence their discretionary job performance. That is, whether job satisfaction would strengthen the association between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour. Therefore, the purpose of the study is to examine the influence of customer orientation and job engagement on organizational citizenship behaviour; and the role of job satisfaction in predicting job engagement and citizenship behaviour linkages.

Theoretical Framework

Grounded in the Socialisation theory, Broaden and Build theory and Social Exchange theory; we have tried to explore the relationship between employees customer orientation, job engagement, job satisfaction and OCB (Figure 1). The expected relationship between customer orientation and organizational citizenship behaviour is based on the Socialisation theory expounded by Kelley & Hoffman (1997) and Morrison (1996); which suggests that due to the personal values acquired through the socialisation process, employees who perform one type of helping behaviour (e.g.customer oriented), are more likely to perform other types of helping behaviours (e.g., organizational citizenship behaviour) state Van Maanen & Schein (1979). In addition, Fredrickson’s (2001) Broaden and Build theory is used to establish the link between job engagement and citizenship behaviour. The current study proposes that employees in a positive state of mind, experience broader cognition associated with elevated levels of creativity, which might activate employees organizational citizenship behaviour.
Furthermore, the manifestation of citizenship behaviour arising from the interaction of job engagement and job satisfaction can be theoretically supported by the Social Exchange theory propounded by Blau (1964). The study postulates, that when employees experience a positive mood state, they tend to associate with behaviours that goes beyond formal job requirements, i.e., behaving as a good citizenship. Thus, by the norm of reciprocity when employees perceive that they are well treated by an organization, they reciprocate by exerting extra efforts or perform extra tasks within an organization.

Figure 1: Proposed Theoretical Model

The framework of relationships between customer orientation, job engagement, job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behaviour are reviewed below.

Customer Orientation and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Customer orientation is essentially the idea that an employee can positively interact with customers, leading to better psychological welfare of employees, explained by authors Zablah, Franke, Brown & Bartholomew (2012). Customer contact employees are the first and only representatives of a service firm in most organizations note Hartline, Maxham & O’McKee (2000). Rust, Zahorik and Keiningham (1996) noted that the primary determinant of the customer’s overall satisfaction is the personal interaction component of services delivered. (Hartline et al (2000) state that customers often base their impression about the organization on the basis of service quality received from customer contact employees Thus, in situations where service is an essential element of consumer experience, organizations prefer customer-oriented employees as shown by Farrell & Oczkowski (2009). Furthermore, service marketing literature recommend that employees who are customer-oriented, demonstrate positive attitudes or behaviours toward the organization and others within the organization in order to ultimately satisfy the customer. These employees recognise that an effective internal exchange, is a precondition for a successful exchange with customers to be satisfied as described by Ballantyne (1997), Donavan, Brown & Mowen (2004). Farrell and Oczkowski (2009) argued, that customer-oriented employees engage in organizational citizenship behaviour as a means of eventually satisfying customers. Also, studies by Donavan et al. (2004), Kosuge (2007), Farrel & Oczkowski (2009), suggested that customer orientation is positively related to organizational citizenship behaviour Employees who are highly customer-oriented are more likely to be punctual, go beyond the minimum required levels of attendance and generally do what they believe is the best in the organization’s interest as stated by Farrel & Oczkowski (2012). In addition, Donavan et al. (2004) found that employees customer orientation has a positive influence on organizational citizenship behaviour, and altruism. Thus, customer oriented employees are motivated to help colleagues, ultimately in order to satisfy customers.

H1: Employee customer orientation is significantly and positively related to organizational citizenship behaviour.

Job Engagement and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Employee engagement is a significant indicator of organizational success as per Sridhar & Thiruvenkadam (2014). It is one of the potential predictors of organizational citizenship behaviour opines Ariani (2013), as individuals with high levels of employee engagement have a tendency to engage in responsible and constructive behaviour at work. An engaged employee is fully absorbed by engagement say Sridhar & Thiruvenkadam (2014), enthusiastic about his work and takes positive action in order to further the organization’s interest and reputation. Work engagement represents a form of intrinsic motivation where the behaviour is performed for itself, in order to experience the enthusiasm and pleasure inherent within the work activity expounds Vallerand (1997). Amabile (1996) argued that intrinsic motivation is essential for performing creative or voluntary activities. The relationship between work engagement and extra role behaviour is of growing interest to researchers observed Sulea et al (2012); where Rurkkhum and Bartlett (2012) showed positive relationship between employee engagement and facets of organizational citizenship behaviour. This suggests that employee engagement is not limited to inrole performance. Moreover, engaged employees are more likely to be involved in OCB, because they efficiently attain their professional goals and feel capable of performing extra-role behaviours opines Christian et al (2011). These behaviours exhibit employees goodwill for the organization without formal recognition or reward. Thus, employees who are energized about their work and take pride in the organization go beyond their role expectations.

H2: Job engagement is significantly and positively related to organizational citizenship behaviour.
Job Engagement and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour: The Moderating role of Job Satisfaction

Engaged employees are more likely to have a high quality relationship with their employer, which leads them to have more positive attitudes, intentions and behaviours states Saks (2006). Employees who are engaged and satisfied tend to be top performers and committed to the organization as observed by Woodruffe (2006) and Lockwood (2006). As employees become more engaged and satisfied, their increased motivation leads to increased productivity, i.e., the top performers are most committed to go the extra mile for their organization to ensure its success. When employees are engaged, they serve customers better and therefore contribute more to the organization’s ongoing profitability observed Shmailan (2016). In this regard, Saks (2006) found that job engagement is significantly and positively related to job satisfaction and organizational citizenship. To the extent that engagement is reflected by mindfulness and connectedness to one’s work says Kahn, (1992), it may foster a mental frame in which one’s role is perceived to comprise of a wider array of behaviours that could eventually benefit the organization explains Rich et al (2010). The extant management literature reports by Walz & Niehoff (1996) suggests that, organizational citizenship behaviour affects overall organizational effectiveness. (Podsakoff & MacKenzie (1997) explain that managers while evaluating employee performance and determining promotions and pay increase often consider these behaviours as benchmarks Though, it is argued that organizational citizenship behaviour is a kind of individual behaviour that may enhance organizational performance; such behaviour is less likely to be inspired, as employees have the right to decide whether they are going to demonstrate such a behaviour as quoted by Ko (2008). According to Dalal (2005), employees who hold positive job attitudes are expected to repay their organizations for providing a pleasant job environment by engaging in OCB. Using the lens of the Social Exchange Theory, the present study proposes that when employees are provided with enriched jobs, they may feel obliged to express themselves by way of performing beyond the formal job requirements; resulting in a form of organizational citizenship behaviour. Therefore, engaged employees with high satisfaction are more likely to work harder and provide superior services, through performance of citizenship behaviour. In this context, the study postulates that job satisfaction has a positive moderating effect on job engagement, and organizational citizenship behaviour.

H3: Job satisfaction moderates the relationship between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour; leading to a higher level of job satisfaction; as a result the relationship between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour becomes stronger.

Research Methodology

Sample Design and Data Collection

The research population of the study comprised of private banks {i.e., Jammu & Kashmir Bank (J&K), HDFC, ICICI, AXIS Bank; n=101} operating in the city of Jammu in J&K and Amritsar in that state of Punjab. The study employed a cross-sectional research design to collect data from the branches of these banks functioning in Jammu (n=70) and Amritsar (n=31) city. The target population of the study comprised of branch managers and assistant branch managers along with two employees, who frequently interact with customers in each branch. Structured questionnaires were used to gather information from respondents. A pre-test of the questionnaire was conducted by generating information from both managers and employees (n=30 each); who were chosen from different branches of these banks on convenient basis. Of the total 404 instruments that were administered to managers and employees (n=202 each) of the aforesaid private banks, 336 instruments (n=168 each) were received from two sets of respondents. After eliminating the survey instruments with missing data, 165 usable responses each from employees and managers were considered for further analysis. The normalcy of the data was checked through box plots and the outliers were detected and subsequently deleted. The final data comprised of 160 usable responses. The study also assessed the common method variance by using Harman’s single factor test, and the results revealed that thirteen factors emerged with the first factor accounting for 17.32% of the variance. Thus, the common method bias is not a main concern in the present study.

Generation of Scale Items

In order to gather requisite data from the respondents, two sets of instruments were prepared, one for the managers and the other for employees.
Managers provided data regarding organizational citizenship behaviour of employees, and employees indicated their level of customer orientation, job engagement and job satisfaction. Organizational citizenship behaviour assessed through six items that focused on benefitting the organization and individuals was adapted from William and Anderson (1991). Employee customer orientation was examined with the scale developed by Brown et al (2002). Job engagement was measured with the scale adapted from Saks (2006). Items pertaining to job satisfaction were borrowed from Weiss, Dawis, England and Lofquist (1967) Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) and Wu, Tsai and Fu (2013).

Results and Analysis

The Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was performed to assess the fitness of the measurement model and construct validity. The results of measurement model produce acceptable construct validity and satisfactory goodness of fit (GFI) indices (χ2/df =1.413; RMR=.022; GFI=.884; TLI=.889; CFI=.910; RMSEA=.051). Convergent validity has been established, by estimating standardised estimates (standardised regression weight > 0.50) and average variance extracted (AVE > 0.50). Reliability of the study measures was first checked using Cronbach’s coefficient alpha and then through composite reliability (Table 1).

Discriminant validity is estimated to examine the degree to which a construct is distinct from other constructs, stated by Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson & Tatham (2009). To check the discriminant validity, Fornell and Larcker’s (1981) criterion, i.e., average variance extracted for each construct should be greater than the squared correlation between constructs was applied. As shown in Table 2, all the constructs satisfied this criterion.

Structural equation modelling (SEM) was used to test the hypotheses of the study. The results of SEM revealed that customer orientation (β =.454; p < .001) and job engagement (β =.376; p < .001) are significantly and positively related to organizational citizenship behaviour. Therefore, H1 and H2 stand proved. Further, results indicate that the proposed model exhibited a reasonable fit to the data (i.e., χ2/df =1.484; RMR=.004; GFI=.994; AGFI=.963; NFI=.976; CFI=.992; RMSEA=.055).
The study conducted an empirical examination to test the moderating effect of job satisfaction on the relationship between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour. To check the moderating effect, hierarchical regression was used. In the first model, control variables namely gender and experience of employees, were entered in the regression analysis, which revealed insignificant impact of all the variables (Table 3). In the second model, job engagement was added as independent variable, which showed significant result. In the third model, job satisfaction was entered, which also indicated significant result. In the fourth model, along with job engagement and control variable, job satisfaction was added as independent variable; the results reveal significant impact of both the variables on citizenship behaviour. Finally in the last model, the interaction effect of job engagement and job satisfaction was added, which also yielded significant results (β =.160, p < .022). Hence, H3 is accepted.

In order to verify the moderating effect, the study performed post-hoc analysis by using the process for SPSS Macros by Hayes (2013). In Table 4, results demonstrated that effects of job engagement (CI=.0767 to .4610) and job satisfaction (CI=.2332 to .5512) on organizational citizenship behaviour are significant. Further, the regression coefficient for the product of job engagement and job satisfaction is statistically different from zero (coeff=.4207, p=.0225), with a 95% confidence interval of .0602 to .7812.
These results indicated, that job satisfaction moderates the relationship between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour.

Conclusion and Implications

The present study contributes to the existing literature by demonstrating the crucial role that customer orientation, job engagement and job satisfaction play in the occurrence of positive discretionary behaviour, i.e., organizational citizenship behaviour or extra-role behaviours; within the specific context of banking in an emerging economy like India. Indeed, the organizations competing in service industries, where the service delivered by frontline employees is an essential aspect of customer experience, having an understanding of the variables affecting their discretionary job performance can aid in the development of a competitive advantage. The results of the study demonstrate, that all hypotheses proposed in the conceptual framework have been supported through empirical exploration.
The study found that employees customer orientation is instrumental in improving their citizenship behaviour. This result is in consonance with the previous studies like Donavan et al. (2004) and Kosuge (2007). Also, the findings of the study indicate that employees who are engaged in their job are willing to put forth extra effort displaying features of organizational citizenship behaviour. It is in line with previous findings that show, that job engagement is positively related to organizational citizenship behaviour, demonstrated by Rich et al (2010), Andrew & Sofian (2012). Furthermore, the present research contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between job engagement and organizational citizenship behaviour by showing that job engagement in conjunction with job satisfaction enhances organizational citizenship behaviour. Job satisfaction provides an additional boost to the positive relationship expected between job engagement and citizenship behaviour.
The findings of the study shall facilitate management to devise appropriate strategies and policies for enhancing employees customer orientation, job engagement and satisfaction in order to improve their citizenship behaviour, which eventually leads to organizational success. Management shall recognise the value of recruiting customer oriented employees, as they are more likely to exhibit citizenship behaviour and therefore, create opportunities to deliver better service to customers. Managers should also carry out appropriate programmes to provide training to customer oriented employees, by employing them in jobs that provide them the opportunity to interact with customers and further ingrain the importance that an organization places on delivering customer satisfaction. Therefore, the management should devise appropriate strategies for increasing engagement and satisfaction among employees, by way of providing enriched and challenging jobs, development opportunities, rewards and incentives. Managers must assign distinct job role to employees so that they are more aware of their duties and work, which ultimately lead to timely and higher productivity. By recognising the efforts and efficient work of employees, managers can ensure higher level of motivation and positive energy in them. One efficient way to improve job satisfaction is by rewarding employees on the basis of performance and positive behaviour, i.e., when employees go above and beyond their job description to assist a colleague or complete a project they should be rewarded additionally. Thus, analysing the potential influence of employee customer orientation, job engagement and job satisfaction on organizational citizenship behaviour in service sector of a fast developing country like India, contributes to the knowledge advancement of a well recognised literature in a broader context.

Limitations and Future Research

Although the present study has provided useful and interesting insights to further the understanding of variable enhancing organizational citizenship behaviour in the service sector, i.e., banking; it is essential to recognise the limitations related to this study. First, the study is based on cross-sectional data and therefore, causal inferences cannot be drawn from the results. In order to extract the true essence of the cause and effect relationship, future researchers should conduct longitudinal analysis. Next, as this study is restricted to the banking sector, future research can verify the results of this study in another environmental and cultural context. Further, data pertaining to employees customer orientation and job engagement can be collected from managers or their colleagues. This piece of research study can emerge as a good source for further exploring the prospective variables, which may have bearing on the citizenship behaviour of employees. Future studies can also explore the existence of possible moderator or mediator in the existing model.

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Dr. Gurjeet Kaur Sahi, Associate Professor, P G Department of Commerce University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, India. E-mail: gurjeetkaur18@gmail.com

Sarabjeet Kour Sudan, Research Scholar, P G Department of Commerce, University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, India. E-mail: sudansarabjeet89@gmail.com

Tisha Singh, Research Scholar, P G Department of Commerce, University of Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir, India. E-mail: tisharepublic@gmail.com

 

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