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When organizational support yields both performance and satisfaction: The role of performance ability in the lens of social exchange theory

Lincoln Jisuvei Sungu (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Qingxiong (Derek) Weng (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)
Johari Abdu Kitule (School of Management, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, China)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 15 August 2019

Issue publication date: 23 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the underlying mechanism through which perceived organizational support (POS) influences job performance and job satisfaction. Specifically, the study aims at examining the contingent role of performance ability in the associations of POS and affective organizational commitment (AOC) with job performance and job satisfaction, thus highlighting the pivot role of ability in the social exchanges.

Design/methodology/approach

The sample of the present study included 269 employees of a University in Kenya. The data were analyzed with Mplus to test the hypotheses.

Findings

POS enhances AOC that, in turn, positively influences job performance and job satisfaction. Importantly, the results indicate that performance ability moderates both the direct and indirect (via AOC) effects of POS on job performance and job satisfaction. Thus, employees’ abilities for tasks are not only significant for reciprocating resources that organizations invest in employees, but also enhances employee well-being.

Research limitations/implications

Although satisfaction with employee reciprocation was implied based on performance levels, it was not directly tested in the supervisor–employee social exchange. It is possible that even with intentions to deliver (high AOC), the resultant reciprocation may be less satisfactory to the organization. Future research would benefit from investigating the role that reciprocity norm could have in the model, specifically, whether employer satisfaction would be a function of employee performance ability.

Practical implications

Most often, the bottom line goal of organizations is employee performance, whereas AOC indicates employees’ intentions and efforts to reciprocate the organization with high performance, such intentions can only go as far as the ability for such desired outcomes. Consequently, efforts should be made to ensure employee’s capabilities align with specific job tasks to enhance both organizational (job performance) and employee well-being (job satisfaction). During the employee selection process, therefore, a focus on ability cues would be more advantageous than commitment when the bottom line goal is to enhance well-being.

Originality/value

This is the first study that tests the moderating role of the employee’s performance ability in both the POS and AOC relationships with job performance and job satisfaction. Moreover, this is the first study to examine the relationship between POS and AOC with job satisfaction. The study opens a potential avenue to examine the micro-mechanisms that regulate reciprocity in social exchanges, and thus presents the boundary conditions for the predictions of the social exchange theory.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Natural Science Foundation of China (Project Nos 71373251; 71871209).

Citation

Sungu, L.J., Weng, Q.(D). and Kitule, J.A. (2019), "When organizational support yields both performance and satisfaction: The role of performance ability in the lens of social exchange theory", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 6, pp. 1410-1428. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-10-2018-0402

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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