Helping behaviors convert negative affect into job satisfaction and creative performance. The moderating role of work competence

Date02 September 2019
Publication Date02 September 2019
AuthorYating Chuang,Hualing Chiang,Anpan Lin
SubjectHr & organizational behaviour,Global hrm
Helping behaviors convert negative
affect into job satisfaction and
creative performance
The moderating role of work competence
Yating Chuang
Graduate Institute of Information and Computer Education,
National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
Hualing Chiang
Department of International Business, College of Management,
National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, and
Anpan Lin
Department of Civic Education and Leadership,
National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan
Purpose Drawing on mood regulation theories, the purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of
employeescoworker-helping behaviors (OCB-Is) on the relationships between prior negative affect and
subsequent job satisfaction and creative performance. The authors hypothesize that employeeswork
competence is a moderator of the relation between negative affect and OCB-Is.
Design/methodology/approach Data were collected by the experience sampling method of self-rating
(twice per day) and coworker-rating (once per day) over two weeks by 120 administrative employees and their
coworkers in a university; 743 available days were obtained.
Findings Multilevel modeling showed that self-rated negative affect during the morning was associated
with coworker-rated OCB-Is during the afternoon; OCB-Is were positively associated with self-rated
job satisfaction and coworker-rated creative performance during the afternoon; based on an indirect effect,
OCB-Is mediated the relationships between negative affect and job satisfaction, and negative affect and
creative performance; and employees with high-level work competences tended to engage in OCB-Is more
than employees with low-level work competences when experiencing negative affect.
Originality/value These findings suggest that OCB-Is create a positive reaction by converting negative
affect into positive job satisfaction and creative performance and that employeeswork competence is the
boundary condition.
Keywords Quantitative, Job satisfaction, Negative affect, Creative performance, Mood regulation,
Organization citizenship behaviour, Work competence
Paper type Research paper
The term helping behavior,or altruism,can be used to describe a type of organization
citizenship behavior (OCBs; Organ, 1988; Organ et al., 2006) because such b ehavior exceeds
the requirement s of employeescore tasks and is regarded as extra-role behavior, and these
actions are voluntary and not directly acknowledged in the official remuneration system
(Organ et al., 2006). Some scholars define such helping behaviors as contextual activities
(Borman and Motowidlo,1993), spontaneous behaviors(George and Brief, 1992) and prosocial
organizationalactions (Brief and Motowidlo, 1986).Despite the different definitionsof helping
behavior, researchers generally agree helping behavior in the workplace can generate value
Personnel Review
Vol. 48 No. 6, 2019
pp. 1530-1547
© Emerald PublishingLimited
DOI 10.1108/PR-01-2018-0038
Received 29 January 2018
Revised 3 March 2019
1 May 2019
Accepted 19 May 2019
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
This research is financially supported by the Higher Education Sprout Projectof National Taiwan
Normal University (NTNU) and sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Taiwan.
to both employees and the organization because it strengthens social functioning (Bolino
and Grant, 2016) thereby supporting an organizations efficient and effective operation
(Podsakoff et al., 2009).
Over three decades, scholars have studied the antecedents and outcomes of OCBs. Some
scholars suggest helping behavior tends to be more affect driven and reactive (Weiss and
Cropanzano, 1996). Most of the research results focus on positive affect predicting OCBs or
vice versa because of a mood congruent perspective (e.g. Ilies et al., 2006; Lee and Allen,
2002), and scholars agree that positive affect helps individuals approach resource building
and goal achievement (Lyubomirsky et al., 2005). However, few studies have examined the
relationship between organizational spontaneous behaviors (i.e. OCBs) and negative affect
in the workplace (e.g. Glomb et al., 2011; Yue et al., 2016). George and Brief (1992) argue that
a positive mood facilitates OCBs, but this phenomenon does not imply scholars should
neglect negative moods because this research area is premature. Very little research has
examined the OCBs view predicted by negative affect. For example, Yue et al. (2016) found
that restaurant and retail employees who experienced customer mistreatment would
experience negative affect, which led to helping behaviors toward coworkers or customers
on the following day. Glomb et al. (2011), investigating the changing moods of executives
and professional staff from a Fortune 100 company, found that individuals who responded
with more negative moods in the previous period were positively associated with altruistic
behavior and positive moods in the subsequent period.
Although these studies illustrate the positive association between negative affect and
OCBs, a promising area of study remains. Negative affect as a form of occupational stress
may impair job satisfaction and psychological well-being (Salami, 2010). To redirect
negative affect in a positive direction is the critical issue. The perspective of OCBs
converting negative affect into positive outcomes is supposed to be of value in research
development. First, prior research examined the negative affect result on helping
behaviors (e.g. Glomb et al., 2011; Yue et al., 2016). To our knowledge, no studies have
examined the consequences at work of engaging in OCBs influenced by negative affect.
The consequent performance in the workplace is more directly important to the
organizational function; thus, this study intends to examine job satisfaction and creative
performance as work outcomes after OCBs are affected by negative affect. Second, less
attention has been paid to the boundary effects that may influence the relationship
between negative affect and helping behaviors. Yue et al. (2016) showed that customer
orientation moderates the effect of negative affect on helping customers; however, their
study provided no indication of the influence of negative affect on helping coworkers.
Employees may interact with their coworkers more regularly than with others in the
workplace. Therefore, this study employs work competence as the moderating factor that
affects the degree to which negative affect elicits OCBs.
This study draws on mood regulation theory (Larsen, 2000; Tice and Bratslavsky, 2000)
to develop its theoretical and empirical framework to contribute to the literature. Mood
regulation theory proposes individuals engage in specific actions to remove negative affect.
In addition, this paper mainly examines helping actions oriented toward other people in the
workplace (i.e. OCB-Is, Williams and Anderson, 1991), which is different from the behaviors
directed toward organizations (i.e. OCB-Os, Williams and Anderson, 1991). OCB-Is include
behaviors such as assisting colleagues in completing a project or providing personal
support to coworkers. Conway et al. (2009) note that OCB-Is are the more common type of
OCB, and social psychology and organizational research shows a clear association between
helping others and individualsmoods, affect or emotions. Thereby, our study exclusively
focuses on OCB-Is.
We contribute to the literature in several aspects. First, in the theoretical section, we test
the idea that negative affect is a precursor of OCB-Is and that employees enhance job
OCB-Is convert
negative affect

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