A model for evaluating the paradoxical impacts of organizational members’ social use of SNSs on destructive voice

Gholam ali Tabarsa (Shahid Beheshti University, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)
Mohammad Olfat (Shahid Beheshti University, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)
Sajjad Shokouhyar (Shahid Beheshti University, Faculty of Management and Accounting, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)

Journal of Indian Business Research

ISSN: 1755-4195

Article publication date: 30 January 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the influence of organizational members’ social use of social networking sites (SNSs) on employees’ destructive voice directly and considering the mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment to the organization.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 240 employees of Asia-tech Company have participated in this study. To test the hypotheses, the researchers have used the partial least squares (PLS) method with the help of smart PLS software (version 2.0).

Findings

The results showed that organizational members’ social use of SNSs has a positive effect on destructive voice directly and considering job satisfaction as a mediator. However, social use of SNSs in the workplace considering the mediating role of affective commitment has a negative effect on destructive voice.

Practical/implications

The results of the study edify managers on how social use of SNSs in the workplace has paradoxical effects on destructive voice directly and regarding affective commitment as a mediating variable. Thus, the main contribution of this study is the fact that although social use of SNSs has many advantages such as promotion of job satisfaction and affective commitment in the workplace, it might have some detrimental effect such as reinforcement of destructive voice.

Originality/value

The model presented in this study is totally unique. Moreover, the investigations showed that there is no documented study regarding the examination of the effect of social use of SNSs on destructive voice directly and considering the mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment.

Keywords

Citation

Tabarsa, G.a., Olfat, M. and Shokouhyar, S. (2019), "A model for evaluating the paradoxical impacts of organizational members’ social use of SNSs on destructive voice", Journal of Indian Business Research, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 244-262. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIBR-05-2018-0156

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited


1. Introduction

The advanced Web-based and user-generated content technologies have revolutionized the social communications and interactions inside or outside the organizations with respect to the internet (Correa et al., 2010; Moqbel et al., 2013; Holland et al., 2016). Social networking sites (SNSs) are becoming more and more popular (Boulianne, 2015) and have a considerable effect on both people’s careers and lifestyles (Turban et al., 2011). Thus, they are being changed to a crucial and intelligent instrument for the organizations to keep in touch with their customers and employees (Parveen et al., 2015; Chen and Kuo, 2017). In general, SNSs are divided into two groups: public SNSs (e.g. Facebook, Myspace, etc.) and enterprise (internal) SNSs (e.g. Skype for business, Beehive, etc.). Public SNSs are free for everyone to join (Moqbel et al., 2013). However, joining enterprise SNSs is limited to the individuals whom the enterprise selects with regard to the certain policies (Moqbel et al., 2013). These sites (both public and internal) enable the employees to comment, post a status, add request, search for other employees and visualize the physical or interpersonal social networks in the organizations (Fulk and Yuan, 2013; Sledgianowski and Kulviwat, 2009). Networking-based technologies function as a platform through which the social communications and interactions can be shaped and strengthened (Chen and Kuo, 2017). Hence, one can state that a greater use of SNSs by the employees to keep in touch with their colleagues leads to greater social interactions in the workplace. Ali-hassan et al. (2015) named three social, hedonic and cognitive uses as the employees’ motivations for using SNSs in the workplace. Logically, social use of SNSs by the individuals in the workplace and the subsequent increase in the employees’ social interactions has some beneficial and detrimental consequences. Generally, the most tangible and positive consequences of the employees’ SNSs usage with regard to the social motives are the facilitation of knowledge management (Behringer and Sassenberg, 2015; Bharati et al., 2015; Cao et al., 2016; Aboelmaged, 2018), promotion in the employees’ agility (Cai et al., 2018), promotion of employees’ task performance (Leftheriotis and Giannakos, 2014; Cao et al., 2016), promotion in organizational social capital (Steinfield et al., 2009; Bharati et al., 2015), etc. Employee voice is a behavioral concept which is created and possible through the employees’ social interactions and relationships in the workplace (Ruck et al., 2017). There has always been a debatable challenge for today’s organizations regarding the employees’ destructive voice reinforcement via SNSs. In contrast to constructive voice, there can be considered many detrimental effects for destructive voice in the workplace which ought to be controlled by the managers. Thus, managing and controlling of destructive voice declaration via SNSs in the workplace is crucial. A comprehensive scrutiny of the SNSs use in the workplace literature showed that there is not any documented study regarding the investigation of this probable dilemma in the organizations. More explanation is that no study has addressed the investigation of the reinforcement of destructive voice via SNSs in the workplace. Hence, regarding the existing research gap in the literature and the needs of the organizations for solving their probable problem (controlling destructive voice), this study aims to answer these very questions: Are SNSs function as a facilitating instrument through which the employees can express their objections, suggestions and oppositions? Is greater organizational members’ social use of SNSs equivalent to greater destructive voice behavior in the workplace? Thus, the first purpose of this study is the investigation of the role of organizational members’ social use of SNSs in the facilitation of destructive voice declaration. In addition, this study wants to investigate the mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment to display the paradoxical impacts of organizational members’ social use of SNSs on destructive voice in the workplace. The following questions will bring a closer look at what this study is looking forward to:

RQ1.

Does a greater social use of SNSs by employees lead to a greater destructive voice?

RQ2.

What kind of effects does the social use of SNSs have on destructive voice considering the mediating role of job satisfaction?

RQ3.

What kind of effects does the social use of SNSs have on destructive voice considering the mediating role of affective commitment?

The authors try to make two contributions by means of the present study. First, this study, in the extension of previous studies, wants to show that how SNSs function as an amplifier and can reinforce destructive voice in the workplace in a direct way without considering any mediators. Second, this study wants to manifest the effective mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment in the amplification and attenuation of destructive voice, respectively. Thus, the main contribution of this study is the clarification of the paradoxical roles of SNSs in influencing destructive voice directly and considering the mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment.

Martin et al. (2015) showed that the use of SNSs by the employees is positively associated with constructive voice with regard to the organizational levels. The difference between the present study and that by Martin et al. (2015) is that this study sets up its hypotheses based on destructive voice and aims to investigate that what effects the social use of SNSs by employees has on their destructive voice behavior. In addition, the model provided by this study is totally unique and it is for the first time that the paradoxical effects of employees’ social use of SNSs on destructive voice directly and considering the mediating role of job satisfaction and affective commitment are investigated.

This study begins by remarking on the theoretical background with regard to the social use of SNSs in the workplace and also other variables such as affective commitment, job satisfaction and the destructive voice. The related hypothesis will also be mentioned afterward. Next, the methodology will be defined in details. Then, the details of the survey will be discussed. Finally, the result will be elaborated comprehensively and further research will be presented.

2. Research background and hypothesis development

2.1 The social use of social networking sites in the workplace

The phrase “social networking sites” refers to a piece of encapsulated technology which is used by people, supporting physical or interpersonal social networks (Boyd and Ellison, 2007). SNSs are said to be a Web 2.0-based technology which enables individuals to create a private or semi-private account for themselves to communicate with other people. Also, individuals are able to observe the status of each other, to unfriend one another or to start a new relationship with others (Rooksby et al., 2009).

SNSs include three dimensions; technologic, informational and social. To begin with, the technologic dimension supports social interactions. Second, informational dimension refers to the digital content that the individuals provide. Finally, the social dimension is attributed to the interactions which are based on trust (Wakefield and Wakefield, 2016).

There can be a variety of purposes for using SNSs by individuals throughout the organization. Leftheriotis and Giannakos (2014) referred to three main reasons for using SNSs as hedonic, utilitarian and SNSs use for work. Individuals who use SNSs for hedonic purposes look forward to being entertained. Thus, they prefer to spend their leisure time on SNSs, which are a type of social media (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010). Utilitarian is often associated with the use of SNSs by the employees to perform their daily tasks such as interacting with colleagues inside or outside the company. The third reason, which is SNSs use for work, refers to collaborative working (Leftheriotis and Giannakos, 2014), knowledge management (Bharati et al., 2015) and strengthening formal organizational interactions via using SNSs in particular via internal sites (Leonardi et al., 2013). Without the shadow of a doubt, all the studies share the same belief that people use SNSs to maintain and improve a social relationship or acquire information (Drouin et al., 2015; Schmidt et al., 2016; Hu et al., 2017).

Ali-hassan et al. (2015), as declared in the introduction section, named three motives for employees’ SNSs utilization. First, social use refers to employees’ social interactions. Individuals who are using SNSs with this motive, in fact, are pursuing to keep in touch with their colleagues with respect to the SNSs. Second, hedonic use refers to the use of SNSs for fun and spending leisure time. Third, cognitive use refers to providing content such as photos, text and movies. As declared in the Introduction section, this study will set up its hypotheses based on the social dimension of employees’ SNS utilization based on Ali-hassan et al. (2015).

2.2 Affective commitment to the organization

To Peng et al. (2016), organizational commitment depends on the employees’ attitude toward the organization. In this definition, attitude is defined as the judgment, assessment and evaluation of an individual toward a thing, a person or an event (Indarti et al., 2017). Affective commitment is the extent of emotional attachment to an organization (Wombacher and Felfe, 2017; Wang et al., 2017; Moin, 2018), the state of identifying one’s self with the organization (Fu and Deshpande, 2014; Cegarra-Navarro et al., 2018) and the amount of active participation in the organizational process (Cho and Huang, 2012).

It is significant to know whether the social use of SNSs affects the individuals’ affective commitment. The present study supports the idea that affective commitment will be increased due to the fact that social use of SNSs facilitates and strengthens individuals’ social interactions (Labrecque, 2014). Employees’ social interactions via SNSs lead to the creation of a sense of belonging between them (Kwahk and Park, 2016), which is the exact definition of affective commitment (Wombacher and Felfe, 2017; Wang et al., 2017; Moin, 2018). Affective commitment is the individuals’ sense of belonging toward each other and the organization composed of them. More explanation is that this study believes that employees’ social use of SNSs to keep in touch with their colleagues makes them closer to each other comparing before using SNSs and because that the organization is shaped by them, in fact, they are becoming attached to the organization with respect to the SNSs. Thus, the first hypothesis of the study is as follows:

H1.

Organizational members’ social use of SNSs has a positive and significant effect on their affective commitment to the organization.

2.3 Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction has been defined in various ways in different studies (Lam et al., 2001). Simply put, job satisfaction is the individuals’ interest toward their job (Holland et al., 2011; Lo and Ramayah, 2011). However, taking the traditional definition into account, job satisfaction is the positive attitude of individuals toward the nature of their job (Tooksoon, 2011; Lo and Ramayah, 2011; Tabarsa and Nazari, 2016; Yousef, 2017; Asrar-ul-Haq et al., 2017; Suifan et al., 2017). In this definition, attitude is the assessment and judgment of an individual toward things and events (Indarti et al., 2017). Yousef (2017) stated that job satisfaction refers to the attitudes of employees toward their jobs, their rewards and benefits, and also the organizational, social and physical characteristics of the environment in which they work. Previous studies have shown that factors such as work-related stress have detrimental effects on job satisfaction (Steinhardt et al., 2003). Also, other factors such as freedom of action, richness and the motivational status of the job, autonomy and constructive feedback, which track back to the nature of the job, have a positive effect on job satisfaction (Christen et al., 2006).

At this moment, it is crucial to know whether the social use of SNSs based on the aforementioned literature affects the job satisfaction. Researchers strongly believe that the social use of SNSs by the organizational members to keep in touch with other people can result in their job satisfaction owing to the facilitation of their duties at work (Leftheriotis and Giannakos, 2014), smoothing the interactions between individuals at work (Hu et al., 2017), increasing social capital (Steinfield et al., 2009; Cummings, 2013) and facilitating knowledge management (Aboelmaged, 2018). Needless to say, factors such as social capital (Requena, 2003) and knowledge management (Kianto et al., 2016) can end in job satisfaction. Therefore, the second hypothesis of this manuscript is as follows:

H2.

Organizational members’ social use of SNSs has a positive and significant effect on their job satisfaction.

Moqbel et al. (2013) have proposed that job satisfaction and organizational commitment have a one-sided relationship, starting from satisfaction to commitment. However, this study makes effort to examine the effect of job satisfaction on affective commitment in particular. Thus, the third hypothesis of this study is as follows:

H3.

Organizational members’ job satisfaction has a positive and significant effect on their affective commitment.

2.4 Employee voice

Despite the existence of advanced studies on employee voice behavior, there is still a need for studying this concept in the workplace to understand the mechanisms governing it (Park and Nawakitphaitoon, 2018). Employee voice is an interdisciplinary concept between human resource management, organizational behavior and industrial relations (Mowbray et al., 2015). Researchers with different specialized disciplines have defined various factors, elements and results for this concept (Mowbray et al., 2015). There is a disagreement on the notion of employee voice among scholars in various disciplines in the social sciences, and this has made this concept obscure (Mowbray et al., 2015). Therefore, there is no precise and universal definition to be stated (Mowbray et al., 2015). With regard to the notion of organizational behavior, employee voice is, in fact, a warning, which is out of devotion, to the authorities to improve the status of the company (Park and Nawakitphaitoon, 2018). To illustrate, employees might utter “we give you a warning because we have a passion for the organization” (Liu et al., 2010). Thus, it can be concluded that in the organizational behavior viewpoint, the concept of voice is constructive and the organizational commitment of individuals leads to an increase in the voice of employees in an organization (Mowbray et al., 2015). However, employee voice is often regarded as conscious and bias or may include suggestion or objections (Ruck et al., 2017). In the definition of the School of Industrial Relations, the employee voice will improve the status quo unless the interests of the individual are not on the same wavelength with the interests of the organization. In this case, the tension will be at the highest level. To give a comprehensive definition, it can be argued that employee voice is referred to as voluntary expressions of opinions, suggestions, concerns and complaints from employees to management to improve the situation in their favor or in favor of the organization (Mauro, 2016).

According to the Maynes and Podsakoff’s (2014) framework, which is provided based on the summarizing of the previous studies, we can consider four types of voice in the organization (destructive, defensive, constructive, and supportive). Their study paved the way for the scholars who try to understand the mechanisms governing employees’ voice. Destructive, defensive, constructive and supportive voice are created and differentiated from each other based on two dimensions. One of the dimensions refers to being challenging or preserving. The second one refers to being promotive or prohibitive. Combining these two dimensions leads to the creation of four quadrants that each type of the voice is located in one of them. Destructive voice is challenging and prohibitive. Defensive voice is preserving and prohibitive. Constructive voice is challenging and promotive. Supportive voice is preserving and promotive. Thus, according to the Maynes and Podsakoff’s (2014) framework, constructive voice is totally different with destructive voice. These two concepts are completely in contrast to each other and located in two spheres of the spectrum. Maynes and Podsakoff (2014) have defined destructive voice as “the voluntary expression of hurtful, critical, or debasing opinions regarding work policies, practices, procedures, etc.” In addition, they have defined constructive voice as “the voluntary expression of ideas, information, or opinions focused on effecting organizationally functional change to the work context.” This study, as declared in the introduction section, regard to set up its hypotheses based on the destructive voice behavior.

The present study based on previous studies highly believes that social use of SNSs by individuals can serve as an amplifier, or a facilitator, for the destructive voice made by the employees. As an illustration, the following case may serve as a good example: an employee was dissatisfied with his job and twitted “I am dissatisfied with my job and I will quit my job if I get the better chance”; he also continued by twitting “my managers are dumb.” Then, this twit was read by some of the managers in the organization for which the employee worked. As a result, the employee was fired the next day (Davison et al., 2011). Obviously, in this case, Twitter functioned as an amplifier so that the employee could make complaints. Taking the above example into consideration, it can be argued that he could not have made his complaints easily if he had not had access to SNSs. In addition, the employees are more able to display their voice behavior on the internet such as social media compared to the physical organization (Miles and Mangold, 2014). The reason supporting this idea is the fact that managers are less able to monitor the cyber-space compared to the physical organization and the employees understand this point (Miles and Mangold, 2014). Therefore, in sum, it can be concluded that SNSs are facilitators when it comes to complaints in the workplace. Accordingly, the fourth hypothesis of the study is as follows:

H4.

Organizational members’ social use of SNSs has a positive and significant effect on the destructive voice.

The present study intends, by considering the definition of the destructive voice, which is already illustrated, answer this very question: does job satisfaction affect the proportion of complaints? If the answer is positive, then what is the sign? It might be possible to say job satisfaction has positive effects on the complaints made by employees. The reason supporting this idea is that people are not afraid to express their objections or complaints when they have a high level of job satisfaction. For instance, high-level employees in the organizational hierarchy and officials or skilled individuals, due to the challenges they encounter, are more satisfied with their job (Judge et al., 2000). Obviously, in case of any dissatisfaction, it is easier for the aforementioned individuals to declare their voice than low-level employees in terms of organizational hierarchy. Therefore, it can be said that the majority of the complaints are raised by people with high organizational level and consequently higher job satisfaction. On the other hand, some may argue that if people are satisfied with their jobs, they will no longer have to raise a complaint. To clarify this point, as it has been stated, job satisfaction depends on a number of factors. To illustrate, one may be satisfied with their job, owing to the nature of the job, but dissatisfied with the condition of the organization; naturally, they make complaints. Therefore, one cannot argue that job satisfaction results in the reduction of employee voice. But, due to the aforementioned reason, it might be fair to say that job satisfaction probably leads to an increase in the employee voice. As this issue might be considered obscure, it will be fully addressed in the conclusion section by means of conservation of resource (COR) theory. All things considered, the fifth hypothesis is as follows:

H5.

Job satisfaction has a positive and significant effect on destructive voice.

The last hypothesis of this study put emphasis on the effect of affective commitment on destructive voice; whether organizational commitment leads to an increase in employee voice is worth investigating. In terms of constructive voice, organizational commitment leads to a boost in employee voice (Maynes and Podsakoff, 2014). The reason is that commitment and the employees’ sympathy toward the organization oblige them to be more passionate about the fate of the organization. However, in terms of destructive voice which is shaped by personal motives and is totally in contrast to the constructive voice, this relationship is, naturally, vice versa (Maynes and Podsakoff, 2014). This is for the reason that individuals who are more committed and emotionally attached to the organization, make fewer complaints. This is due to the fact that the affective commitment and the sense of belonging to an entity make them prefer the interest of the organization to their own personal interest. Therefore, the last hypothesis is as follows:

H6.

Affective commitment has a negative and significant effect on destructive voice.

The following model is deduced by taking all the aforementioned hypotheses into account. The model explains how the social use of SNSs affects, paradoxically, destructive voice with the mediating role of two variables of job satisfaction and affective commitment to the organization (Figure 1).

3. Research method

3.1 Sample and data collection

As studies within organizational members’ use of SNSs in developing countries are rare, the present study decided to investigate one unique case in depth to give some vision to other scholars who are interested in studying developing countries. The data from the distribution of the questionnaire was examined and analyzed via two sections of descriptive statistics and inferential statistics. Asia-tech is one of the most demanded internet service provider in Iran whose majority of employees are young and experts in their field of work. As a leading company in the IT industry, Asia-Tech is among the few companies that take advantage of enterprise social networks (ESNs) in Iran. Thus, one can state that using social networking sites in this firm is adapted and is not forbidden by the managers. Needless to say that in developing countries there is not enough trust between the employees and employers. Hence, some of the managers have forbidden organizational members’ SNSs usage due to the fact that they believe the utilization of these emerging technologies by the employees is just wasting their time. This study based on the fact that in Asia-tech Company using these IT instruments with respect to the using ESN is common, decided to run its project in this firm. This company has 450 members. Most of them are technicians who spend their time mostly outside the organization. According to the Morgan’s table, the sample required is about 200. Thus, the study needed at least 200 valid and proper questionnaires. The online questionnaire link was sent to all of the employees via the organizational email prevailing in this company. After about five days, 250 questionnaires were collected, which was fortunately 50 questionnaires more than the required number. Thus, the study was started using the 250 questionnaires collected with some delay (about two days) to receive the probable questionnaires, as no more questionnaires were received in this period. The reason for the waiting of the authors to receive more questionnaires was that as no coercion was considered for answering for total 450 employees in Asia-Tech Company given the policy of the Company’s executives, the sampling method used was simple random sampling. The explanation is that sampling was done regardless of the number of members in different units of Asia-Tech Company. The study tried to obtain more accurate statistical results by collecting more questionnaires than the standard provided by Morgan’s table. Thus, data collection took about seven days. If the number of questionnaires collected was less than the Morgan’s standard (200), this study had to consider another way and start consultations with the managers of Asia-Tech Company to collect more questionnaires through some reminding emails. According to an investigation in the collected data and authors’ points of view, about 10 questionnaires out of 250 questionnaires were not valid. For example, one of them was answered with “I have no ideas” in a row, so the number of questionnaires examined was 240. It needs to be stated that 42 per cent of them (100 individuals) were male and 58 per cent of them (140 individuals) were female.

3.2 Measures

It should be pointed out that the questionnaire contained 23 questions, of which 5 were related to the social use of SNSs based on the previous studies conducted by Ali-Hassan et al. (2015). Also, five questions measuring job satisfaction based on Moqbel et al. (2013); five questions provided by Maynes and Podsakoff (2014) were used to address destructive voice; and eight questions were selected using the items provided by Meyer and Allen (2004) with respect to affective commitment. All the questions can be observed in the appendix. It needs to be noted that the questionnaire was not limited to a specific type of SNSs. The questions were translated by the best translators from English into Persian. The content validity of the entire questionnaire has been measured and reviewed by the experts (In Persian). The questions were answered on a Likert-type scale ranging from “1, strongly disagree,” to “5, strongly agree.”

4. Measurement model and structural model evaluation

The provided model has been evaluated based on variance-based structural equation modeling or in other words, partial least squares (PLS) method. In this type of method, the normality of the data is not of importance (Aburub, 2015); therefore, smart PLS software (version 2) has been used. Before entering the testing stage of the hypotheses and the conceptual model of the study, it is essential to ensure that the models are accurate enough to measure the exogenous and intrinsic variables. With this intention, this is done through a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). CFA is one of the oldest statistical methods used to investigate the relationship between the latent variables (the achieved factors) and the observed variables (questions). Thus, it represents the measurement model (Byrne, 1994). This technique is used to estimate the parameters and test the hypotheses based on the number of underlying factors among the indicators. Also, it has a strong empirical and theoretical foundation, and it determines which variables are associated with which factors and which factors are correlated with each other. Internal consistency, which is divided into two types of Cronbach’s alpha and composite reliability, can serve as a criterion for the measurement model. Cronbach’s alpha measures the simultaneous loading of the variable or structural variables at the time of increasing one observed variable. The value of this index is 0-1. It needs to be taken into consideration that the value of this index must not be less than 0.7 (Chin, 1998). To clarify, the composite reliability is, in fact, the ratio of total factor loadings of the variables to total factor loadings plus error variance. The values for that range from 0 to 1, and it can be considered as a replacement for Cronbach’s alpha. The value of this index must not be less than 0.7, and it is also referred to Dillon-Goldstein’s (Chin, 1998). As it has been stated in Table I, the Cronbach’s alpha and the combined reliability of all variables are higher than 0.7. Thus, all this led us to believe that the model has an appropriate internal consistency.

Factor loadings of indicators is another criterion to assess the measurement model. This criterion indicates the degree of variance of the indices, which is explained by the variable itself. The value of this index must be greater than 0.5 and significant within 95 per cent confidence interval. T value states whether this index is significant. As it has been shown in Table I, the factor loadings of all variables are greater than 0.5, and the T values are also greater than +1.96. Therefore, it can be concluded that the validity of the questionnaire indices has a favorable status (Chin, 1998).

In addition, criteria such as convergent validity and discriminate validity can be utilized to assess measurement model. Convergent validity is measured by applying average variance extracted (AVE). This index measures the variance rate that latent variable receives from its indexes. The value of this index must be greater than 0.5 (Gan and Wang, 2017). As it can be observed in Table I, this index is greater than 0.5 for all the variables. Additionally, discriminate validity is measured via Fornell–Larcker criterion (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). According to this variance index, each variable should be more relevant to its indexes than other indicators. To do this, the square root of AVE of the latent variable is computed, then it is essential to compare the result with the correlation values that this variable has with other variables. It is crucial that the result of the square root should be greater than values of the correlation. Likewise, this is repeated for other latent variables (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). As it can be observed in Table II, all AVE square roots for each latent variable are greater than the correlation of that variable with other variables (Table III).

5. Results

Figure 2 and Table IV represent the results of structural equations. With reference to the Figure 2 and Table IV, each of the hypothesis is shown as a cause and effect relationship. Also, with regard to the Figure 2 and Table IV, the coefficient β represents standardized partial regression coefficients. This coefficient actually represents the effect of a latent variable on another variable. To illustrate, as it can be observed in Figure 2, the coefficient β, for the effect of organizational members’ social use of SNSs on job satisfaction, is 0.475. This underscores that if the social use of SNSs in the organization raises by 100 per cent, job satisfaction will increase by 47.5 per cent. T-values can illustrate the significance of the coefficients that must be greater at least 1.96 in common confidence level. In Figure 2, the symbols *, ** and *** indicate p < 0.05, p < 0.01 and p < 0.001, respectively, indicating a confidence level of more than 95, 99 per cent and more than 99.9 per cent, respectively. Therefore, the results of this study emphasize that the social use of SNSs in the workplace has a positive and significant effect on affective commitment with a confidence level of more than 95 per cent and a path coefficient of 0.214. In addition, the results indicate that job satisfaction has a significant and positive effect on affective commitment with a confidence level of more than 99.9 per cent and a path coefficient of 0.473. Moreover, the results of the survey revealed that the social utilization of SNSs has a positive and significant effect on the employee voice with a confidence level of more than 95 per cent and a path coefficient of 0.133. Job satisfaction positively, significantly and directly affects destructive voice with a path coefficient of 0.682 and confidence level of 99.9 per cent. Finally, as it has been anticipated earlier, affective commitment has a negative and significant effect on employee voice at a confidence level of more than 99.9 per cent and with a path coefficient of −0.290.

6. Model fit

Goodness of fit is a factor that demonstrates the model fit. More explanation is that it shows the existing appropriateness of the measurement and structural model. It can be calculated by means of equation (1). The suitable level of this criteria is more than 0.36 (Navimipour and Zareie, 2015). This amount in this study is calculated 0.448, which is greater than the desirable value.

Formula 1:

GOF=R2 ¯×AVE¯
(1) R2¯=0.226+0.367+0.3923=0.328
AVE¯=0.682+0.638+0.520+0.6084=0.612
GOF=0.328×0.612=0.448>0.360

7. Discussion and conclusion

As it has been stated in Section 5, it is revealed that the social use of SNSs in the workplace has a positive effect on affective commitment. The results are on the same wavelength with hypotheses of the study. The reason behind this correlation might be the fact that social use of SNSs simplifies the tasks given to the employees. Thus, employees are more eager to participate in organizational activities which leads to a rise in affective commitment (Meyer and Allen, 1991). In addition, the strong bond between the employees ends in an increase in the sense of belonging toward the organization. It needs to be stated that this study solely investigates the effect of organizational members’ social use of SNSs as other reasons behind using SNSs, such as hedonic, may not affect organizational commitment (Moqbel et al., 2013).

In addition, research findings show that social use of SNSs in the workplace has positive effects on job satisfaction, as it has already been hypothesized. Perhaps, the most important reason for this is to facilitate the accomplishment of the duties of the employees, as well as to improve the organizational and work relations.

Other findings have also illustrated that job satisfaction has a positive and meaningful effect on affective commitment. This is the same as the results of previous studies (Kanchana, 2012). But in brief, employees who are satisfied with their job are more attached to the organization where they work. This is because the employees who have positive attitudes toward their job are more likely to have positive attitudes toward their organization. As they perceive that their welfare is rooted in the organizational affairs.

The fourth and the most important result of this study is that the social use of SNSs in the workplace by employees positively affects the destructive voice. This is the same as what has been hypothesized earlier. Social use of SNSs can be an appropriate channel for individuals to express their objections, suggestions and oppositions. To clarify, social use of such sites does not by itself lead to deterioration of the condition. The SNSs only transform potential objections into actual ones and serve as facilitators, in other words, a reinforcing role, as an amplifier for employees to express their objections toward the organization.

The fifth result is that job satisfaction has a positive and meaningful effect on destructive voice. To explain, individuals, according to the conservation of resource theory, seek for emotional, social and financial resources in their workplace (Ng and Feldman, 2012). With respect to this, there are two perspectives toward destructive voice and job satisfaction. The first point of view is that individuals with higher levels of resources have less stress and consequently more job satisfaction; therefore, they may make more complaints. As they are not worried about their store of organizational resources to be damaged. Therefore, the relationship between job satisfaction and destructive voice is positive as it has been stated in the hypothesis development section. However, the second point to be mentioned is that people with lower resource levels are more stressed in the workplace and consequently are more likely to make complaints because they are seeking for more resources from their workplace (Ng and Feldman, 2012). It can be definitely acknowledged is that with respect to participants, as the analysis of statistical data shows, the first view is true. Perhaps the reason for this is that most respondents, as stated in the research methodology, are professional staff, and it is evident that professional staff who have a high degree of job satisfaction, due to the challenging nature of their job, are not afraid of losing their job and consequently they make more objections to achieve more resources in their workplace.

Finally, affective commitment has a negative and meaningful effect on destructive voice. As discussed in the literature review section, the present study is based on the definition of the destructive voice in the organizations. In terms of constructive voice, employee voice is rooted in organizational commitment (Maynes and Podsakoff, 2014), so the organizational commitment leads to the fortification of employee voice in the organization. The definition regarding the constructive voice is, in fact, the opposite of the destructive voice. Therefore, it is fair to say that the affective commitment, according to the definitions, seems to reduce destructive voice. On the other hand, constructive voice is of the opinion that employees express their positive and compassionate complaints because they love and are committed to their organization. Despite this, the employees’ destructive voice is because that they are not committed to their organization and do not have a sense of belonging to the organization they are working for. Therefore, in terms destructive voice, the existence of an affective commitment, which is the same as the sense of belonging, reduces objections in organizations. To explain, as the analysis of data shows, organizational affective commitment is a factor which obliges employees not to raise any objections. In Addition, it is obvious that an employee with a sense of belonging prefers organization’s interest. All this led one to conclude that affective commitment decreases the destructive voice of employees and increases the constructive voice which is out of sympathy.

Therefore, as a conclusion, with respect to the definition of the destructive voice provided by Maynes and Podsakoff (2014), the social use of SNSs in the workplace directly contributes to an increase in destructive voice in organizations. This indicates that social use of SNSs can function as an amplifier for employees to express their objections. Needless to say, the social use of SNSs, with the mediating role of job satisfaction, has positive effects on employee voice and with the mediating role of organizational commitment has a negative effect on this variable.

8. Implications and contributions

Social use of SNSs has rarely been studied in the workplace. Previous studies have put emphasis on exploring specific SNSs such as Facebook and Myspace. This study does not limit its investigation to a specific SNS. In addition, the study has attempted to elaborate on how SNSs are used in the workplace and also discuss advantages and the drawbacks of this utilization.

The first implication of the study would be the fact that this study has revealed SNSs in the workplace transform the potential employees’ complaints into actual ones. To clarify, social use of SNSs directly increase the employee voice. Also, the social use of SNSs, with regard to the mediating role of job satisfaction, has positive effects on employee voice. This utilization, with respect to the mediating role of affective commitment to the organization, has negative effects on employee voice. Therefore, it can be concluded that this study enables managers to know that the social use of SNSs in the workplace has paradoxical consequences. Some are positive like the decrease in destructive voice considering the mediating role of affective commitment and some are negative like increase in destructive voice directly and considering the mediating role of job satisfaction.

9. Limitations and opportunities for further research

Among the limitations of the study, the sampling method was the main, which as mentioned in Section 3, the simple random sampling method was used. Although this method is scientific and common, it does not have the required precision. The desirable one for this study is the stratified sampling method. The reason for this was the lack of cooperation from the company, and the coping method is mentioned in Section 3 in detail.

The present study suggests the following for further research:

  • Impression management is a new concept that human resource management has faced recently. The concept of impression management means that people reveal part of their lives in such a way that they can create an image of their own in the minds of the audience. SNSs can serve as a proper tool for employees to try to build their own mental image in the minds of managers (Krämer and Winter, 2008). For instance, someone may have a struggle with her husband in her family, but she constantly updates her profile photo with her husband to convey this meaning that she is emotional, upstanding and can cope with other people. Therefore, the effect of these impressions on the managers can be evaluated through research. Also, one can test the extent of validity of the provided impression.

  • As it has been stated in the literature review section, there are various concepts toward employee voice. This study has taken advantage of the definition provided by industrial relations or destructive voice. Future studies can evaluate the model provided by this research with the concept of organizational behavior school and examine whether the same results will be achieved in this direction. One could also try to find an answer to the following questions: Could SNSs function as an amplifier for the constructive voice of employees? Do gender, age and the status of people affect these relations?

  • The present study investigates organizational members’ social use of SNSs in the workplace; further research can be carried out its model with respect to a hedonic concept or other motives (Table V).

Figures

Research model

Figure 1.

Research model

Hypotheses and related results

Figure 2.

Hypotheses and related results

Loadings and cross-loadings for latent variables

Variables Items SNSs Commit Satis Voice SE T-values
Social use of SNSs SNSs1 0.808 0.549 0.459 0.191 0.021 37.873
SNSs2 0.682 0.470 0.239 0.241 0.033 20.539
SNSs3 0.845 0.321 0.426 0.268 0.019 43.091
SNSs4 0.915 0.212 0.365 0.308 0.013 67.167
SNSs5 0.858 0.187 0.433 0.369 0.022 37.609
Affective commitment Commit1 0.322 0.844 0.565 0.014 0.024 34.770
Commit2 0.464 0.882 0.539 0.287 0.012 69.996
Commit3 0.250 0.750 0.377 0.054 0.047 15.679
Commit4 0.015 0.618 0.376 0.100 0.075 8.168
Commit5 0.284 0.871 0.277 −0.068 0.028 30.647
Commit6 0.492 0.840 0.473 0.151 0.019 42.661
Commit7 0.449 0.800 0.530 0.237 0.033 24.065
Commit8 0.118 0.749 0.084 −0.182 0.052 14.358
Job satisfaction Satis1 0.390 0.488 0.747 0.353 0.026 27.747
Satis2 0.329 0.527 0.733 0.257 0.032 22.497
Satis3 0.455 0.183 0.759 0.632 0.035 21.567
Satis4 0.376 0.368 0.686 0.507 0.023 29.021
Satis5 0.120 0.554 0.676 0.292 0.051 13.122
Destructive voice Voice1 −0.063 0.269 0.260 0.587 0.076 7.654
Voice2 0.123 0.089 0.273 0.773 0.046 16.599
Voice3 0.173 0.153 0.380 0.865 0.033 25.917
Voice4 0.544 0.317 0.667 0.866 0.015 55.891
Voice5 0.144 −0.133 0.431 0.774 0.046 16.752
Notes:

SNSs = social use of social networking sites; Commit = affective commitment; Satis = job satisfaction; Voice = destructive voice; loadings are shown in bold; T-values and SE refer to loadings

Cronbach’s alpha coefficient, composite reliability coefficient for latent variables and AVEs

Variables CA CR AVE
Social use of SNSs 0.880 0.914 0.682
Affective commitment 0.921 0.933 0.638
Job satisfaction 0.769 0.844 0.520
Destructive voice 0.855 0.884 0.608
Notes:

CA = Cronbach’s alpha coefficient for latent variable; CR = composite reliability coefficient for latent variable; AVE = average variances extracted

Correlation between latent variables and square roots of AVEs

Variable Social use of SNSs Commit Satis Voice
Social use of SNSs 0.825
Affective commitment 0.439 0.798
Job satisfaction 0.475 0.575 0.720
Destructive voice 0.330 0.160 0.578 0.779
Note:

Square roots of AVEs shown in italics on diagonal

Support for the hypotheses based on the results

Hypotheses Path Path coefficient SE T-values Supported?
H1 Social use of SNSs Commit 0.214 0.079 2.268 Yes
H2 Social use of SNSs Satis 0.475 0.051 9.174 Yes
H3 Satis Commit 0.473 0.069 6.792 Yes
H4 Social use of SNSs Voice 0.133 0.056 2.349 Yes
H5 Satis Voice 0.682 0.053 12.821 Yes
H6 Commit Voice −0.290 0.073 3.947 Yes

Appendix (List of measures)

Variables Items Sources
Social use of SNSs In my organization, I use SNSs to…
…create new relationships at work
…get to know people I would otherwise not meet at work
…maintain close social relationships with people at work
…get acquainted with colleagues who share my interests
…discover colleagues with interests similar to mine
(Ali-hassan et al., 2015)
Affective commitment I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career with this organization
I enjoy discussing my organization with people outside it
I really feel as if this organization’s problems are my own
I think that I could easily become as attached to another organization as I am to this one. (R)
I do not feel like ‘part of the family’ at my organization. (R)
I do not feel ‘emotionally attached’ to this organization. (R)
This organization has a great deal of personal meaning for me.
I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to my organization. (R)
(Meyer and Allen, 2004)
Job satisfaction I am very satisfied with my current job
My present job gives me internal satisfaction
My job gives me a sense of fulfilment
I am very pleased with my current job
I will recommend this job to a friend if it is advertised/announced
(Moqbel et al., 2013)
Destructive voice This employee…
Often bad-mouths the organization’s policies or objectives
Often makes insulting comments about work-related programs or initiatives
Frequently makes overly critical comments regarding how things are done in the organization
Often makes overly critical comments about the organization’s work practices or methods
Harshly criticizes the organization’s policies, even though the criticism is unfounded
(Maynes and Podsakoff, 2014)

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Corresponding author

Gholam ali Tabarsa can be contacted at: tabarsa46@yahoo.com