Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 79, Issue 1–2, pp 43–55 | Cite as

Matching Ethical Work Climate to In-role and Extra-role Behaviors in a Collectivist Work Setting



This paper studies the relationship between organizational ethical climate and the forms of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), including in-role and extra-role behaviors, and examines the mediating effect of employee loyalty. A sample of employees from a traditional Hong Kong-based company was used as a study group. The purpose of this study was to examine the causes and implications of how various ethical work climates affect employee performance. Based on a model proposed by Victor and Cullen, ethical climate is arranged from lower levels to higher levels. The results suggest that lower levels of ethical climate (instrumentality and independence), characterizing a weak relational contract between employee and employer, are associated with negative extra-role behavior. In contrast, higher levels of ethical climate (caring and law-and-code), symbolic of a strong relational contract at work, are associated with positive extra-role behavior. Moreover, normative commitment mediated a positive relationship between caring and identification with the company, whereas attitudinal loyalty mediated the negative relationship between independence and altruism. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.


ethical climate employee loyalty in-role behaviors extra-role behaviors 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ahmed P. K., Machold S. (2004) The Quality of Ethics Connection: Toward Virtuous Organizations, Total Quality Management 15:527–545Google Scholar
  2. Allen J. P., Meyer N. Y. (1990), The Measurement and Antecedents of Affective, Continuance and Normative Commitment to the Organization, Journal of Occupational Psychology 63:1–18Google Scholar
  3. Allport J. P., Meyer N. J. (1933) Commitment in the workplace: Theory, Research, and Application. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  4. Appelbaum S. H., Deguire K. J., Lay M. (2005) The Relationship of Ethical Climate to Deviant Workplace Behavior, Corporate Governance 5(4):43–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Atwater L., Walderman D., Atwater D., Cartier P. (2000) An Upward Feedback Field Experiment: Supervisors’ Cynicism, Reactions and Commitment to Subordinates, Personnel Psychology 53:275–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnett T., Schubert E. (2002) Perception of the Ethical Work Climate and Convenantal Relationships, Journal of Business Ethics 36:279–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bass B. M., Steidlmeier P. (1999) Ethics, Character, and Authentic Transformational Leadership Behavior, The Leadership Quarterly 10:181–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Becker T. E., Billings R. S., Eveleth D. M., Gilbert N. L. (1996) Foci and Bases of Employee Commitment: Implications for Job Performance, Academy of Management Journal 39:464–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Becker T. E., Kernan M. C. (2003) Matching Commitment to Supervisors and Organizations to In-Role and Extra-Role Performance, Human Performance 16(4):327–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beersma B., Hollenbeck J. R., Moon H., Conlon D. E. (2003) Cooperation, Competition, and Team Performance: Toward a Contingency Approach, Academy of Management Journal 46(5):572–590CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Blau P. (1964) Exchange and Power in Social Life. John Wiley and Sons, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Bolino M. C., Turnley W. H., Bloodgood J. M. (2002) Citizenship Behavior and the Creation of Social Capital in Organizations, Academy of Management Review 27:505–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bolino M. C., Tumley W. H., Niehoff B. P. (2004) The Other Side of the Story: Reexamining Prevailing Assumptions about Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Human Resource Management Review 14:229–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brinlin R. W., Lonner W., Thorndike R. M. (1973) Cross-Cultural Research Methods. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen Z. X., Francesco A. M. (2003) The Relationship Between the Three Components of Commitment and Employee Performance in China, Journal of Vocational Behavior 62:490–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chen Z. X., Tsui A. S., Farh J. L. (2002) Loyalty to Supervisor vs. Organizational Commitment: Relationships to Employee Performance in China, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 75:339–356CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coughlan R. (2005) Employee Loyalty as Adherence to Share Moral Values, Journal of Managerial Issues 17(1):43–57Google Scholar
  18. Coyle-Shapiro J., Kessler I., Purcell J. (2004) Reciprocity or “It’s My Job”: Exploring Organizationally Directed Citizenship Behavior in a National Health Service Setting, Journal of Management Studies 41(1):85–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Deshpande S. P. (1996) Ethical Climate and the Link Between Success and Ethical Behavior: An Empirical Investment of a Non-Profit Organization, Journal of Business Ethics 15:315–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Deshpande S. P. (1996) Ethical Climate and the Link Between Success and Ethical Behavior: An Empirical Investment of a Non-Profit Organization, Journal of Business Ethics 15:315–320CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Douglas P. C., Davidson R. A., Schwartz B. N. (2001) The Effect of Organizational Culture and Ethical Orientation on Accountants’ Ethical Judgments, Journal of Business Ethics 34:101–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Farh J. L., Earley P. C., Lin S. C. (1997) Impetus for Action: A Cultural Analysis of Justice and Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Chinese Society, Administrative Science Quarterly 42:421–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Koys D. J. (2001) The Effects of Employee Satisfaction, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, and Turnover on Organizational Effectiveness: A Unit Level, Longitudinal Study. Personnel Psychology 54(1):101–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lester S. W., Turnley W. H., Bloodgood J. M., Bolino M. C. (2002) Not Seeing Eye to Eye: Differences in Supervisor and Subordinate Perceptions of and Attributions for Psychological Contract Breach, Journal of Organizational Behavior 23:39–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Liedtka J. (1996) Feminist Morality and Competitive Reality: A Role for an Ethic of Care?, Business Ethics Quarterly 6:179–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Liedtka J. (1999) Linking Competitive Advantage with Communities of Practices, Journal of Management Inquiry 8:5–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lindell M. K., Brandt C. J. (2000) Climate Quality and Climate Consensus as Mediators of the Relationship Between Organizational Antecedents and Outcomes, Journal of Applied Psychology 85(3):331–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. McAllister D. J., Bigley G. A. (2002) Work Context and the Definition of Self: How Organizational Care Influences Organization-Based Self-Esteem, Academy of Management Journal 45(5):894–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Allport J. P., Meyer N. J. (1933) Commitment in the workplace: Theory, Research, and Application. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CAGoogle Scholar
  30. Moorman R. H., Blakely G. L. (1995) Individualism-Collectivism as an Individual Difference Predictor of Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Journal of Organizational Behavior 16:127–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. O’Reilly C., Chatman J. (1986) Organizational Commitment and Psychological Attachment: The Effects of Compliance, Identification and Internalization of Prosocial Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology 71:492–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Organ D. W. (1988) Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Good Solider Syndrome. Lexington Books, MA, LexingtonGoogle Scholar
  33. Organ D. W. (1990) The Motivational Basis of Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Research in Organizational Behavior 12:43–72Google Scholar
  34. Organ D. W. (1997) Organizational Citizenship Behavior: It’s Construct Clean-Up Time, Human Performance 10(2):85–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Organ D. W., Ryan K. (1995) A Meta-Analytic Review of Attitudinal and Dispositional Predictors of Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Personnel Psychology 48:777–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Osterman P. (2000) Work Reorganization in an Era of Restructuring: Trends in Diffusion and Effects on Employee Welfare, Industrial and Labor Relations Review 53(2):176–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Paine J. B., Organ D. W. (2000) The Cultural Matrix of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Some Preliminary Conceptual and Empirical Observations, Human Resource Management Review 10:45–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Podsakoff P. M., MacKenzie S. B., Paine J. B., Bacharach D. G. (2000) Organizational Citizenship Behaviors: A Critical Review of the Theoretical and Empirical Literature and Suggestions for Future Research, Journal of Management 26(3):513–563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Redman T., Snape E. (2005) Unpacking Commitment: Multiple Loyalties and Employee Behavior, Journal of Management Studies 42(2):301–328CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rioux S. M., Penner L. A. (2001) The Causes of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: A Motivational Analysis, Journal of Applied Psychology 86(6):1306–1314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ryan R. M., Deci E. L. (2000) Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being, American Psychologist 55:68–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Schneider B. (1975) Organizational Climate: An Essay, Personnel Psychology 28:447–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Smith C. A., Organ D. W., Near J. P. (1983) Organizational Citizenship Behavior: It’s Nature and Antecedents, Journal of Applied Psychology 68:653–663CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Somech A., Drach-Zahavy A. (2004) Exploring Organizational Citizenship Behavior from an Organizational Perspective: The Relationship Between Organizational Learning and Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 77:281–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Dyne L., Graham J. W., Dienesch R. M. (1994) Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Construct Redefinition, Measurement, and Validation, Academy of Management Journal 37:765–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Van Dyne L., LePine J. A. (1998) Helping and Voice Extra-Role Behaviors: Evidence of Construct and Predictive Validity, Academy of Management Journal 41:108–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Vey M. A., Campbell J. P. (2004) In-Role or Extra-Role Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Which are we Measuring? Human Performance 17(1):119–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Victor B.and J. B. Cullen: (1987) A theory and Measure of Ethical Climate in Organizations in W. Frederick and L.E. Preston (eds.), Research in Corporate Social Perfomance Policy, Vol. 9 (JAI Press, Greenwich, Conn) pp. 51–71Google Scholar
  49. Victor B., Cullen J. B. (1988) The Organizational Bases of Ethical Work Climates, Administrative Science Quarterly 33:101–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Waldman D. A. (1994) The Contributions of Total Quality Management to a Theory of Work Performance, Academy of Management Review 19:510–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wasti S. A. (2003) Organizational Commitment, Turnover Intentions and the Influence of Cultural Values, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology 76:303–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Weeks W. A., Nantel J. (1992) Corporate Codes of Ethics and Sales Force Behavior: A Case Study, Journal of Business Ethics 11:753–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wiener Y. (1982) Commitment in Organization. A Normative View, Academy of Management Review 7(3):418–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Williams L. J., Anderson S. E. (1991) Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment as Predictors of Organizational Citizenship and In-Role Behaviors, Journal of Management 17(3):601–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Zellars K. L., Tepper B. J., Duffy M. K. (2002) Abusive Supervision and Subordinates’ Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Journal of Applied Psychology 87(6):1068–1076CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Management, School of BusinessHong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations