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Good organizational soldiers: conflict‐related stress predicts citizenship behavior

Charlotte M. Karam (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)

International Journal of Conflict Management

ISSN: 1044-4068

Article publication date: 5 July 2011

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine employee behavior in times of conflict. The author seeks to examine the relationship between employee conflict‐related stress and engagement in organizational citizenship behavior and to explore cohesiveness as a potential cross‐level moderator of this relationship.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected as part of a larger study examining organizational citizenship in the Middle East. During data collection armed conflict broke out in Lebanon. A total of 553 employees working in 62 workgroups participated. Hierarchical liner modeling was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

Contrary to previous research, employees engaged in more OCB when they experienced greater amounts of stress. This relationship is more pronounced in cohesive groups than in non‐cohesive groups

Research limitations/implications

The results extend the understanding of the stress‐OCB relationship within the context of conflict. Furthermore, these findings bring to light the tremendous importance of paying attention to context and the nested‐nature of human behavior.

Practical implications

This study highlights that even under armed conflict; employees continue to work and are willing to put in extra effort at work to help coworkers and the organization in general.

Social implications

The results suggest that extraordinary times call for extraordinary efforts and that employees often meet this challenge through their engagement in behaviors that will contribute positively to the social‐psychological environment of the workplace.

Originality/value

The paper provides a unique examination of employee behavior in times of conflict. It is a rare instance of fieldwork in conflict zones and it adds to the paucity of research within the Middle East.

Keywords

Citation

Karam, C.M. (2011), "Good organizational soldiers: conflict‐related stress predicts citizenship behavior", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 300-319. https://doi.org/10.1108/10444061111152982

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited