A Proposed Model of Organizational Behavior Aspects for Employee Performance and Well-being
The present paper outlines a model that incorporates employee performance and employee well-being as outcomes. In the performance outcome category, the model includes three forms of employee performance—task performance, contextual performance or organizational citizenship behavior, and negative behavior. In the well-being outcome category, it covers six forms of employee well-being namely; physical well-being, emotional/subjective well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being. In outlining the proposed model, the paper first briefly describes three forms of employee performance and six forms of employee well-being. It then discusses six models from the existing literature about organizational behavior aspects that address employee performance and/or well-being. Based on these models, the paper outlines a model of organizational behavior aspects for positive employee-related outcomes of employee performance and employee well-being. This proposed model identifies broad categories of organizational behavior aspects based on six existing models and arranges them in a plausible sequence of interrelationships.
KeywordsModel Employee performance Employee well-being
Literature on organizations indicates potential for or presence of both negative and positive employee-related outcomes in organizations. The negative outcomes include prevalence of politics (e.g., Gandz and Murray 1980), workplace deviance (e.g., Bennett and Robinson 2000), and mental health problems (Hosie et al. 2006). Potential positive outcomes suggested in the literature include employee commitment, productivity (e.g., Fry et al. 2005), positive work adjustment (Vandenberg et al. 2002), sense of spiritual survival (e.g., Fry 2003), organization-based self-esteem (Milliman et al. 2003), and employees’ performance of organizational citizenship behaviors (e.g., Bolino and Turnley 2003). These multiple outcomes can be viewed as forming two broader categories of employee outcomes namely; employee performance and employee well-being.
Some existing research has outlined antecedents of individual forms of employee outcomes. For example, Mathieu and Zajac’s (1990) meta-analytic review outlined antecedents of employees’ organizational commitment. Similarly, Bolino and Turnley (2003) drew upon the existing literature and outlined some of the antecedents of employee organizational citizenship behaviors. Consistent with such works, separate identification of a comprehensive range of antecedents of each specific form of employee performance or each specific form of well-being is one approach for broadening the understanding of organizational aspects that could enhance a specific form of employee performance or well-being. However, another approach is to outline models that identify a comprehensive range of organizational antecedents that are collectively linked to multiple forms of employee performance and well-being. Such an approach could have various merits. First, it could provide a more comprehensive and unified view of multiple forms of employee performance and well-being and their various antecedents. Second, it could serve as a vehicle for accumulating and linking literature from diverse but related topic areas. Third, such a model could provide a more adequate approximation of the organizational reality associated with employee performance and well-being by using multiple relevant literature areas. While all these three merits could be of relevance to the advancement of research, the first and third of these merits could be of relevance to practicing managers. In light of the above outlined merits of an approach that outlines a single model of antecedents of multiple forms of employee performance and well-being, this paper adopts this approach to propose a model for facilitating multiple forms of employee performance and well-being.
This paper is organized as follows. First, based on the existing literature, three forms of employee performance and six forms of employee well-being are outlined. Subsequently, six existing models used in developing a proposed model are briefly outlined. Thereafter, the utility of simultaneously using the relevant inputs from these six models is discussed. Next, the proposed model is outlined in two parts namely; an overview of the model and specific propositions associated with the model. Subsequently, the significant features of the model and its potential contributions are outlined. Then some of the limitations of this paper and its research implications and practice implications are discussed.
Multiple Forms of Employee Performance and Well-being
The outcomes in the proposed model include multiple forms of employee performance and employee well-being. The various forms of employee performance and well-being included as outcomes in the model are briefly outlined below.
Multiple Forms of Employee Performance
Employee performance can take multiple forms. Task performance and contextual performance are two forms of employee performance suggested in one stream of literature (e.g., Borman and Motowidlo 1997). Task performance refers to employee behaviors associated with effort on the job while contextual performance refers to behaviors that support the social and psychological context in which an employee’s task performance occurs (e.g., Borman and Motowidlo 1997). Task performance is somewhat similar to employees’ in-role performance. Contextual performance is somewhat similar to the positive employee behavior category of employees’ extra-role, non-reward seeking and organizationally beneficial behaviors, which is termed by Organ (1988) as organizational citizenship behavior. Employee deviant behavior is another category of employees’ behavior and refers to behaviors that are not required by employees’ role and are harmful to the organization (e.g., Bennett and Robinson 2000). Such negative employee performance category is somewhat similar to what Skarlicki and Folger (1997) refer to as organizational retaliation behaviors. Thus, in-role performance or task performance, contextual performance or organizational citizenship behaviors, and deviant behavior, or organizational retaliation behavior or negative behaviors could be viewed as three forms of employee performance. These three forms of performance will be included as one of the outcomes in the proposed model.
Multiple Forms of Employee Well-being
Multiple forms of employee well-being are also reflected in the literature. These include physical well-being, emotional/subjective well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being. In discussing the physical dimension of well-being, Grant et al. (2007, p. 53) note, “the physical approach defines well-being in terms of bodily health and functioning.” Emotional well-being refers to the relative presence of positive emotions and absence of negative emotions, and the extent of life satisfaction (e.g., Keyes 2002). Ryan and Deci (2001, p. 144) use the term subjective well-being in labeling components similar to those covered in this description of emotional well-being. Thus, in this paper the terms emotional well-being and subjective well-being would be used to refer to the same phenomenon. Psychological well-being refers to positive functioning reflected in aspects such as self-acceptance, autonomy, growth, and mastery of environment (Keyes 2002, p. 208). Social well-being “is the appraisal of one’s circumstance and functioning in society” and includes aspects such as social integration, social contribution, social acceptance, and social coherence (Keyes 1998, p. 122). In outlining ethical well-being, Fry (2005, p. 61) notes, “as a theoretical construct, ethical well-being is defined as the process of living from inside-out in creating congruence between universal consensus values and one’s personal values, attitudes, and behavior.” Spiritual well-being focuses on fulfillment of spiritual needs. Paloutzian et al. (2003, p. 125) note, “Spiritual well-being (SWB) is a self-perceived state of the degree to which one feels a sense of satisfaction in relation to God (in the case of religious well-being, RWB) or a sense of purpose and direction (in the case of existential well-being, EWB)….” Ellison (1983) includes two dimensions in spiritual well-being namely, religious well-being reflected in the quality of one’s relationship with God and existential well-being reflected in one’s purpose in life and life satisfaction These six forms of well-being namely; physical well-being, subjective or emotional well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being will be included as one of the outcomes in the proposed model.
Six Existing Models Used in Outlining the Proposed Model
The model proposed in this paper is developed by drawing upon six models in the existing literature that provide inputs on organizational aspects for enhancing employee performance and/or well-being. These six models are identified and the rationale for their use is outlined below.
Vandenberg et al. (2002) outlined and empirically tested a healthy organization model that covers employee outcomes of both productivity and well-being. Vandenberg et al. (2002) indicate that this model itself is based on integration of four areas namely; job stress, human resource and organizational development, occupational safety and health, and integrated health promotion. However, this model of Vandenberg et al. (2002) can be extended by further linking it with some of the relevant inputs from other literature areas. Five of such literature areas are the following. First, employee well-being model (Warr 2005) suggests that the concept of stress be viewed as a part of a larger concept of well-being. It also describes the subjective well-being component of mental health and distinguishes it from other components of mental health. It points out the distinction between well-being in work domain and in life domain. It thus can provide inputs for more comprehensively covering the employee outcome of well-being. Second, virtuous organizations model (Gavin and Mason 2004) focuses on eudaimonic well-being which is one specific form of employee well-being. It can suggest organizational aspects for the enhancement of this specific form of employee well-being. Third, three interrelated models focusing on workplace spirituality namely; workplace spirituality model (e.g., Jurkiewicz and Giacalone 2004), spiritual leadership theory (e.g. Fry 2003, 2005, 2008), and spirit-building organizational practices (Pfeffer 2003) can help add the dimension of spirituality-related employee outcomes such as employees’ spiritual well-being and can also help include coverage of spirituality-focused organizational aspects as antecedents in the proposed model for enhancing employee performance and well-being.
Reflecting the above outlined thinking, this paper outlines a proposed model for facilitating various forms of employee performance and well-being by drawing upon the above indicated six models. The six models outlined and used for drawing relevant inputs for the proposed model are: 1) employee well-being model (Warr 2005), 2) eudaimonic well-being or virtuous organizations model (Gavin and Mason 2004), 3) healthy organization model (Vandenberg et al. 2002), 4) spiritual leadership theory (Fry 2003, 2005), 5) workplace spirituality model (e.g., Ashmos and Duchon 2000; Jurkiewicz and Giacalone 2004), and 6) a model of spirit-building organizational practices (Pfeffer 2003). The proposed model outlined in this paper includes, as its outcomes, both positive and negative forms of employee performance and multiple forms of employee well-being. The multiple forms of well-being included in the proposed model are physical well-being, subjective or emotional well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being. These six well-being forms are covered in both employees’ job-related domain and life domain. The antecedent factors covered in the proposed model include a leader’s individual spirituality, organizational spiritual values, a range of organizational practices and features, and various features of employees’ job and job context.
In the next section, each of the above indicated six models is briefly outlined. Thereafter, a proposed preliminary model is outlined by drawing upon these models. Subsequently, significant features of the proposed model and its potential contributions are described. Finally, this paper’s limitations, research implications and practice implications are outlined.
Employee Well-being Model
Warr (2005) outlines a model of mental health. Warr (2005), drawing upon his earlier work on a vitamin model, indicates a list of ten job features or work environment features that can facilitate employee well-being. The work features listed in Warr (2005: 555) are: “opportunity for personal control,” “opportunity for skill use,” “externally generated goals,” “variety,” including skill variety and task variety, “environmental clarity,” including information on expected behaviors, task outcomes, and future in terms of absence of job ambiguity and security, “availability of money,” “physical security,” “supportive supervision,” “opportunity for interpersonal contact,” and “valued social position.” Warr (2005) suggests that some of the features are likely to have a nonlinear association with well-being in that too low or too high level of a feature is likely to be undesirable for well-being. Warr (2005) also indicates his previous work outlining a vitamin model that suggests associations between work features and subjective well-being. The vitamin model, as described in Warr (2005), suggests that some work features are likely to be beneficial up to some level but harmful beyond that level while some features are likely to be beneficial up to a certain level but beyond certain level, their variations are unrelated with well-being. Warr (2005) does not indicate whether the relationship of all the ten job or work environment features with well-being has been empirically examined or supported. However, Warr (2005) notes some empirical findings on a few of the job features and certain dimensions of subjective well-being such as anxiety and depression. This model suggests that the presence of multiple positive job features in moderate levels is likely to be beneficial for promoting the positive employee-related outcome of employee well-being.
While Warr (2005, p. 548) focuses on mental health in which he includes subjective well-being and five other aspects of “positive self-regard,” “competence,” “aspiration,” “autonomy,” and “integrated functioning”, the above outlined relationship between job features and well-being focuses on only the subjective well-being aspect. Warr (2005, p. 557) notes, “the other five dimensions of mental health (in addition to subjective well-being) have rarely been investigated in job settings.” These five aspects of mental health, noted by Warr (2005) as overlooked in job settings, reflect features similar to those included in psychological well-being descriptions in Keyes (2002) and Ryan and Deci (2001).
Thus, the above description seems to reflect an approach with the main focus on job-related subjective or emotional well-being rather than on psychological well-being. The psychological well-being aspect, which has received very little consideration in this model, is the main focus of the virtuous organization model outlined below.
Eudaimonic Well-being Model or Virtuous Organization Model
In the area of psychology, eudaimonic approach to well-being “defines well-being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning” (Ryan and Deci 2001, p. 141). Ryan and Deci (2001, p. 147) note, “we also are largely in agreement concerning the content of being eudaimonic—e.g. being autonomous, competent, and related.” Describing one of the lines of thinking, referred to as psychological well-being, within the eudaimonic view, Ryan and Deci (2001, p. 146) note that it is characterized by experiences of “autonomy, personal growth, self-acceptance, life purpose, mastery, and positive relatedness.” While extending the eudaimonic well-being aspect to employees in work organizations, Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 379) note, “happiness is the modern word, usually translated from the original Greek (eudaimonia) used to describe good life. It is accomplished by living well and doing well.” Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 379) also note “something that is missing in many people’s lives today is happiness as Aristotle conceived of it, and the conduct of modern workplace is a major reason why it is missing.” Gavin and Mason (2004) outline a model to characterize virtuous organizations that can promote eudaimonic well-being of their employees.
Gavin and Mason (2004) describe two organizations as examples of workplace features that can promote this form of employee well-being. The work-related organizational features reflected in either one or both of these two examples—The Container Stores (TCS) and TDIndustries (TDI)—in Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 383–6) include: organizational focus on excellence, employee feelings of being able to make difference by working for the organization, employees who care for each other, emphasis on employee development through education and training, open and/or extensive communication, employee focus on serving customers, competence-based employee selection, organization’s expression of trust in employees, empowerment, employee stock ownership, fairness, and shared commitment. In particular, the aspects of pursuit of excellence in work and provision of caring for employees are reflected in Gavin and Mason’s (2004, p. 388) view that “both TCS and TDI pursue quality with empathy.”
Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 388) note, “happiness, according to the Greeks, is not primarily rooted in receiving sensual pleasures, honors or money, although they may be a contributing part of a greater pattern of positive factors.” They also suggest that three features giving rise to happiness are freedom, knowledge, and virtues as reflected in moral character. Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 389) note that when one contributes to or is linked to “greater good” then one is likely to be “happier”. In relating this to the two organizations, Gavin and Mason (2004, p. 389) note, “organizations like The Container Store and TDIndustries have done just that. They have given their employees an opportunity to spend their days not only earning a good living but also feeling as if they are contributing to the ‘greater good’.”
Thus, the eudaimonic well-being model or virtuous organization model reflected in Gavin and Mason (2004) seems to suggest that positive employee-related outcomes such as happiness and productivity can be facilitated by providing certain kinds of conditions in organizations. These include, i) providing employees meaningful work or work that contributes to greater good and provides a sense of calling, ii) providing scope for excellence and empathy at workplace, iii) fulfilling employee needs for security, trust, and dignity, and iv) enabling employees to work through provision of autonomy and information, and facilitating virtuous character of employees.
This model focuses mainly on employees’ psychological or eudaimonic well-being and the model preceding it focuses mainly on employees’ emotional or subjective well-being. In the next model discussed below, aspects of both emotional and psychological well-being are considered in addition to some aspects of physical well-being.
Healthy Organization Model
Vandenberg et al. (2002, p. 70) provide a conceptual definition for healthy work organization as “one characterized by intentional, systematic, and collaborative efforts to maximize employee well-being and productivity by providing well-designed and meaningful jobs, a supportive social-organizational environment, and accessible and equitable opportunities for career and work-life enhancement.” Vandenberg et al. (2002, p.70) note that their healthy organization model is based on literature in four areas namely, job stress, “human resource and organizational development,” “occupational safety and health,” and “integrative or multi-level health promotion”.
The model outlined by Vandenberg et al. (2002) consists of six higher level components: i) main organizational features of employee-oriented values, organizational policies and programs/practices for aspects such as employee involvement, safety and health and quality of work life, and organization’s beliefs about its commitment to employee health and well-being, ii) various forms of support to employees, iii) job design features such as role clarity, autonomy, and workload, iv) job-context aspects such as security, growth avenues, and justice reflecting employee-organization exchange relationship termed by Vandenberg et al. (2002, p. 79) as “job future”, v) employees’ positive adjustment to work reflected in aspects such as job satisfaction, stress perceptions, and commitment, and vi) outcomes such as employee behaviors including performance, absenteeism, employees’ psychological outcomes such as depression, anger, and employees’ health and safety. According to the model, the main organizational features influence areas of support which then influence job features and job-context aspects such as security and justice. Job features and job-context in turn influence employees’ adjustment to work which then influences the outcomes category. Vandenberg et al. (2002) also did an empirical examination of the model and reported that the empirical examination provided considerable support for it.
It may be noted that various forms of well-being are reflected in the outcomes included in this model. Physical well-being is reflected in the outcomes related to employee health and safety, emotional or subjective well-being is reflected in the outcomes related to depression and anger, and psychological well-being is likely to be reflected in the outcomes of self-efficacy at work and perceived impact on work group included in this model. This model also includes explicit focus on employee performance as an outcome.
While physical well-being, emotional/subjective well-being, and psychological well-being forms are considered in the preceding three models, ethical well-being and spiritual well-being are not explicitly considered in them. Ethical well-being and spiritual well-being are covered in the spiritual leadership theory discussed below. Spiritual leadership theory and the subsequent two workplace spirituality-related models discussed below also provide aspects of individual and organizational spirituality such as a leader’s individual spirituality, organizational spiritual values, provision of sense of meaning in work and community at work which could serve as spirituality-related antecedents of employee outcomes of performance and well-being in the proposed model.
Spiritual Leadership Theory
Spiritual leadership theory specified in Fry (2003, 2005) suggests that fulfillment of employees’ two spiritual needs—calling and membership—creates intrinsic motivation and facilitates greater employee productivity and employees’ organizational commitment. Spiritual leadership theory (Fry 2003, 2005) suggests that an organization’s vision having certain features and organizational culture of altruistic love are reciprocally interlinked and result in the fulfillment of employees’ spiritual needs of calling and membership respectively. Spiritual leadership theory (Fry 2003, 2005) suggests that the culture of altruistic love creates hope and faith which in turn supports vision through behaviors such as putting in efforts for vision attainment. Vision includes various features such as incorporation of high ideals, commitment to excellence, and appeal to stakeholders (Fry 2003). The description in Fry (2008) also indicates that the inner life or spiritual practice of the leader is the source from which the other aspects—vision, culture of altruistic love, and hope and faith—emerge. Empirical examination of the main aspects of spiritual leadership theory in Fry et al. (2005) provided support for it and Fry (2008) indicates that the theory is supported in several studies.
Fry (2008) notes that experiences of calling and membership, for self and others, created by spiritual leadership provide spiritual well-being. Spiritual well-being focuses on need for transcendence (Ellison 1983). Fry (2005) also includes ethical well-being as another form of well-being in the spiritual leadership theory. Fry (2005, p. 61) notes that ethical well-being is associated with aligning one’s values, attitudes, and behaviors with universal consensus values. Fry (2005) suggests ethical well-being to be an outcome of spiritual leadership aspects of vision, hope/faith, and altruistic love. Thus, the specifications of spiritual leadership theory (e.g., Fry 2003, 2005, 2008) indicate that three of the employee-related outcomes of spiritual leadership are productivity, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being.
Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2003) conceptualize workplace spirituality as organizational values included in the organization’s culture which help employees to experience transcendence through their work and facilitates employees’ experiences of connectedness and joy. Jurkiewicz and Giacalone (2004, p. 129) note that employees experience transcendence “as a personal connection to the content and process of work, and to stakeholders impacted by it, in a manner which extends beyond limitations of self-interest.” The above two expressions suggest that certain organizational values facilitate employees’ experiences of transcendence through work processes by helping them have a sense of personal connection to work and those impacted by it in a way such that employees go beyond their self-interests. Thus, employee experience of going beyond self-interests through work while experiencing connectedness with others seems to be the main aspect of employee experience of workplace spirituality in this conceptualization. This conceptualization also seems to suggest that organizational values serve as the source facilitating this experience. Jurkiewicz and Giacalone (2004, p. 131) include values of responsibility, integrity, benevolence, respect, humanism, and justice as a part of a culture reflecting workplace spirituality. While there are other conceptualizations of workplace spirituality (e.g., Ashmos and Duchon 2000), a common aspect in some of them is that they focus on employee experiences of meaning in work and community at work (Pawar 2009b) and fulfillment of employees’ spiritual needs or nurturing of employees’ spirit or spiritual aspect. There is some empirical support for relationships of workplace spirituality with employees’ positive work-related attitudes (e.g., Milliman et al. 2003; Pawar 2009b) and work unit productivity (Duchon and Plowman 2005).
The meaning aspect, which is similar to the calling aspect in Fry (2003, 2005), refers to making a positive difference to others, serving others, or pursuing higher purpose through work. The community aspect, which is similar to the membership aspect in Fry (2003, 2005), refers to being a part of relationships that include aspects of “sharing, mutual obligation, and commitment” (Duchon and Plowman 2005, p. 814) or a sense of being understood and appreciated (Fry 2003, 2005). The community aspect is likely to facilitate employees’ positive experiences in the social domain at work and thus employees’ social well-being at work. According to Keyes (1998, p. 122), social well-being “is the appraisal of one’s circumstance and functioning in society.”
The main aspects of workplace spirituality models seem to be the presence of work that renders service to others and a social context at work that provides employees feelings of being understood and appreciated. A case-based illustration of workplace spirituality manifestation in an organization by Milliman et al. (1999) using a spiritual values-based model indicates that organizational features of spiritual organizational values, business plans and employee plans reflecting organizational spiritual values, and HRM practices supporting or reinforcing organizational spiritual values, business plans and employee plans facilitate outcomes including employee experiences associated with workplace spirituality.
Spirit-building Organizational Practices Model
Pfeffer (2003) outlined organizational practices that can build employee spirit. The practices outlined in Pfeffer (2003) include an organization’s possession of core values and following them in the organization’s functioning, providing employees autonomy and decision making responsibility, self-managed teams, collective forms of rewards and recognition, allowing people to develop and express themselves at work, helping employees to meet their family and social obligations, and not letting fear and abuse operate in workplace. These practices are suggested with a view to facilitate fulfillment of employee needs for: “(1) interesting work that permits them to learn, develop, and have a sense of competence or mastery, (2) meaningful work that provides some feeling of purpose, (3) a sense of connection and positive relationships with their coworkers, and (4) the ability to live an integrated life” (Pfeffer 2003, p.32). Two aspects—organizational practices, including values, and facilitating fulfillment of a broad range of employee needs—are the main aspects of the spirit-building organizational practices model reflected in Pfeffer (2003).
This model and two other models—spiritual leadership theory and workplace spirituality—covered before it constitute three workplace spirituality related models. These three models indicate a set of organizational aspects that can be included as antecedents in the proposed model and they also suggest the inclusion of two well-being forms—ethical well-being and spiritual well-being- not covered in the first three of the six existing models discussed above.
Utility of Simultaneously Using Relevant Inputs from Six Models
Six models consisting of three workplace spirituality-related models—spiritual leadership theory, workplace spirituality, and spirit-building practices- and three other models—employee well-being model, eudaimonic well-being or virtuous organization model, and healthy organization model—are outlined above. Drawing on selective inputs from these six models can have utility in extending three workplace spirituality-related models and also in extending the other three models.
Inputs from the three models other than workplace spirituality models provide various concepts including concepts related to specific job design features such as autonomy, adequate work load, task identity, and role clarity. They also provide concepts such as perceived organizational support and organizational justice. These concepts can facilitate extension of workplace spirituality-related models. In particular, the provision of concepts of perceived organizational support and organizational justice is important as Pawar (2009a) noted that concepts such as perceived organizational support and procedural justice are precursors to workplace spirituality because they, similar to workplace spirituality, address employees’ transcendence of self-interests. Such inputs from three other models extend the three workplace spirituality-related models. Similarly, workplace spirituality-related models provide concepts such as individual spirituality of a leader, spiritual values, vision of service, meaning in work, and community at work which can extend the three models other than workplace spirituality-related models. Thus, these two categories of models—three models other than workplace spirituality models and three workplace spirituality-related models—extend each other and jointly provide a broad spectrum organizational features that can be used as antecedents in the proposed model for facilitating multiple forms of employee performance and employee well-being. Such a proposed model is outlined below.
A Proposed Model of Organizational Behavior Aspects for Employee Performance and Well-Being
The proposed model depicted in Fig. 1 is described below in two parts. An overview of the model is outlined first followed by specification of seven propositions outlining interrelationships among main model components.
Proposed Model: An Overview
Spiritual leadership theory and workplace spirituality indicate the role of spiritual values of an organization in inducing workplace spirituality (e.g., Jurkiewicz and Giacalone 2004) as well as positive employee and organizational outcomes (e.g., Fry 2003; Milliman et al. 1999). Thus, spiritual values of an organization constitute one of the antecedents in the proposed model. As discussed below in the propositions part, individual spirituality of an organization’s leader is likely to be a source of both the leader’s spiritual values and organizational spiritual values. Literature suggests that spirituality reflects transcendence (e.g., Ellison 1983). The experience of transcendence in the context of workplace spirituality is associated with having a connection with organizational stakeholders in a manner that transcends one’s self-interests (e.g. Jurkiewicz and Giacalone 2004). This implies that spiritual values of an organization would have an associated vision of service to organizational stakeholders. The nature of specific spiritual values discussed earlier in outlining spiritual leadership theory and workplace spirituality suggest that they are likely to induce employee-oriented work design and work context. The six models discussed earlier also indicate that employee-oriented work design and work context are likely to provide positive work experiences to employees which in turn are likely to facilitate various forms of employee performance and well-being at work and well-being in life context. The proposed model depicted in Fig. 1 reflects this overall sequence from the basic antecedent of a leader’s individual spirituality to the final outcome of employee well-being in life context. Propositions specifying the relationships between various main model components are outlined below.
Proposed Model: Propositions Specifying Linkages in the Model
Individual Spirituality of a Leader and Spiritual Values of the Organization
Individual spirituality of a leader is suggested in the proposed model as the source of organizational spiritual values. This is based on the likely relationship between a leader’s individual spirituality and the leader’s spiritual values and organizational spiritual values. The possible link between individual spirituality and individual spiritual values is reflected in Fry (2003, p. 702) who, drawing on a view in the existing literature, describes “a person’s spirit” by noting that “it is a state of intimate relationship with the inner self of higher values and morality…”
- Proposition 1:
Individual spirituality of a leader will result in organizational spiritual values.
Organizational Spiritual Values and Vision of Service
- Proposition 2:
Organizational spiritual values will be associated with the organization’s vision of service.
Organizational Spiritual Values and Employee-Oriented Organizational Practices and Job and Organizational Features
The thinking reflected in some of the six earlier outlined models suggests that an organization’s spiritual values or employee-oriented values, and the associated vision of service, would result in employee-directed organizational practices and job and organizational features. This link is reflected in Fig. 1. Work and organizational features outlined in one or more of these six models include appropriate work load, role clarity, appropriate work schedules, autonomy or control, meaningful jobs (opportunity for skill utilization, absence of narrowness, absence of fragmentation, absence of repetition, etc.), security, growth opportunities, empowerment, family-oriented benefits, involvement or participation including employee stock ownership, trust, communication, meaning in work (work that contributes and makes a positive difference to others), support, work-life balance, support for fulfilling non-work life requirements, self-expression encouragement, caring and concern in social membership of an organization, and provision of distributive justice and procedural justice. The creation of these job and organizational features is likely to be facilitated by organizational practices relevant to these features. For instance, the practice of seeking employee inputs through regular meetings can provide the work feature of participation.
- Proposition 3:
Organizational spiritual values will be positively associated with employee-oriented organizational practices and job and organizational features.
Employee-oriented Organizational Practices, Job and Organizational Features, and the Resulting Employee Perceptions and Experiences
These employee-oriented work practices and job and organizational features outlined in discussing the preceding proposition could result in employees’ global perceptions of organizational support. Perceived organizational support is defined as employees’ perceptions or global belief about the degree to which their contributions to the organization are valued by the organization and the level of their organization’s concern for their well-being (Eisenberger et al. 1986).
There seem to be two views on the likely relationship between organizational support and justice. One view suggests organizational support to be an antecedent of organizational justice. This is reflected in Vandenberg et al. (2002), who in their model of healthy organizations, placed organizational support as an antecedent of organizational job design and job features including distributive justice and procedural justice and their empirical results supported this positioning of perceived organizational support. Similarly, Cohen-Charash and Spector (2001, p. 293), in their meta-analysis of organizational justice, included organizational support under the category of “organizational antecedents of justice”. Another view suggests organizational support to be a consequence of justice. This view is reflected in a study by Moorman et al. (1998) and a meta-analysis by Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002, p. 699) which suggest procedural justice to be an antecedent, rather than a consequence, of perceived organizational support. Further, Eisenberger et al. (1986) suggest that employee perceptions of organizational support are likely to emerge out of an employees’ treatment by the organization’s various agents, across multiple situations and over time and several such experiences are likely to be distilled into employees’ global perceptions of organizational support. Consistent with the latter of the above two views, organizational support is placed in the category of outcome of various job and organizational features including organizational justice in the proposed model.
- Proposition 4:
Employee-oriented organizational practices and associated job and organizational features will result in employees’ positive perceptions and experiences at work.
Employees’ Positive Perceptions and Experiences and Its Effect on Employees’ Relationship with Job and Organization and Employees’ Job-related Well-being
As discussed above, the employee-oriented job and organizational features, in addition to resulting in perceptions of organizational support, are also likely to influence employee experiences of meaning in work, community at work, etc. These positive work-related perceptions and experiences of employees are likely to shape employees’ relationship with job and organization and employees’ job-related well-being.
- Proposition 5a:
Employees’ positive perceptions and experiences in an organization will be positively associated with employees’ positive relationship with their job and the organization.
- Proposition 5b:
Employees’ positive perceptions and experiences in an organization will be positively associated with employees’ various forms of well-being—physical well-being, social well-being, subjective well-being, psychological well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being—in the work domain.
It may be noted that in discussing employees’ job-related well-being, stress is not included as a separate category of outcome based on the view that the concept of stress can be appropriately studied as a part of well-being (Warr 2005, p. 547, 567) and that stress reflects the negative form of subjective well-being (Warr 2005, p. 550, 555, 567).
Employees’ Job-related Well-being and Employees’ Well-being in the Life Domain
- Proposition 6:
Employees’ job-related well-being of each of the six well-being forms will be positively associated with employees’ corresponding form of well-being in the life domain.
- Proposition 7:
Employees’ positive relationship with the job and organization and employees’ job-related well-being will be positively associated employees’ task performance and organizational citizenship behaviors or contextual performance and will be negatively associated with employees’ negative behaviors.
The above outlined seven propositions describe the interrelationships between various main model components from the antecedents part at the extreme left to the outcomes part at the right end in the model depicted in Fig. 1.
A Qualifying Note on Propositions
It may be noted that some of the antecedent factors, other than employees’ positive relationship with the job and organization and employees’ job-related well-being noted in Proposition 7, are likely to affect employee performance. For example, procedural justice has a positive association with employees’ work performance and organizational citizenship behavior (Cohen-Charash and Spector 2001) and perceived organizational support has a positive association with both employees’ in-role and extra-role performance (Rhoades and Eisenberger 2002). The sequencing of such antecedent factors in the model prior to employees’ relationship with the job and the organization and employees’ job-related well-being implies that the effect of these antecedent factors on performance is mediated through employees’ relationship with the job and organization and employees’ job-related well-being. It needs to be acknowledged that this is a simplified view. It may be noted that some of these antecedent factors may have a part of their effect mediated through subsequent factors and a part of their effect on the outcome variables may be a direct effect. Such a possibility of partial mediation is not considered in the model. Examination of the plausibility of whether the mediation effects of antecedents on the model outcomes are partial or complete will require detailed examination of each sequence of antecedent-mediator-outcome combination and would make the proposed model complex. Such detailed examination of specific antecedent-mediator-outcome combinations can be done during further refinement and extensions of this proposed model through future research.
Potential Contributions, Limitations, and Research and Practice Implications
Some Significant Features of the Proposed Model and Its Potential Contributions
This work’s significant feature is its scope and comprehensiveness rather than newness. The proposed model is broad in scope as it seeks to account for three forms of employee performance and six forms of employee well-being. The proposed model is also comprehensive in that it draws upon various existing models to include a wide range of antecedent factors such as individual spirituality, organizational spiritual values, job design features, meaning in work, and community at work. However, the newness of the proposed model is limited as most of the aspects included in it have been drawn from one or more of the six existing models on the basis of which the proposed model is outlined. Based on six models in the existing literature, the proposed model identifies various individual, job, and organizational features, organizes them into categories, and arranges them in a process manner by sequencing them. Some of the specific significant features of the proposed model reflected in Fig. 1 are as follows.
First, it reflects inputs from six models discussed in the earlier part of this paper. It has high comprehensiveness because it includes several individual, job-related, and organizational features as antecedents and these features come from as many as six of the existing models. Second, it includes outcome categories of both employee performance and employee well-being. Third, it includes a broad range of employee well-being forms covering six forms of employee well-being namely; physical well-being, emotional/subjective well-being, psychological well-being, social well-being, ethical well-being, and spiritual well-being. Fourth, it incorporates the distinction suggested in the existing literature between employee well-being in work domain and well-being in life domain. Fifth, it also includes multiple forms of employee performance namely; task performance, contextual performance or organizational citizenship behavior, and employee negative behaviors. Sixth, the antecedent organizational aspects included in the proposed model are: individual spirituality of a leader, organizational spiritual values and vision of service, employee-oriented organizational practices, job features and other organizational features characterizing employee interface with an organization, employee experiences and perceptions, and employees’ relationship with job and organization. None of the six models singularly covers the broad range of organizational aspects included in the proposed model. Thus, the proposed model is both comprehensive and broad in scope. These six features indicate high comprehensiveness and breadth of the model.
These features of the proposed model may constitute its potential contribution in depicting in a single model a broad range of employee-related outcomes and wide-ranging organizational aspects that could facilitate these outcomes. This model may suggest to practicing managers a broad perspective for appreciating the breadth and intricacy of organizational aspects that may facilitate employee-related outcomes of multiple forms of employee performance and various types of employee well-being in organizations. It may also provide avenues for future research work for refining this model through further conceptual research and for verifying it through empirical research.
This work has various limitations as outlined below. First, the six existing models discussed are not comprehensively reviewed and for some of them only one or two relevant associated works are drawn upon. This limitation, however, may be viewed in light of the wide range of the existing models covered in this paper. Second, for the models covered, the quality of empirical evidence, when available, varies. For instance, virtuous organization model described in Gavin and Mason (2004) provides evidence mainly based on two organizational cases whereas some of the models (e.g., spiritual leadership theory) have considerable body of empirical evidence associated with them. Third, in outlining a proposed model, this paper does not depict all the aspects of complexity associated with specific relationships between the variable categories. For instance, some of the relationships between variable categories could be direct and others could be mediated relationships. Further, among mediated relationships some of the relationships could be partially mediated while some could be completely mediated. Such complexities are not included in the proposed model depicted in Fig. 1. The limitations outlined above may be viewed considering that the main goal of the present effort was to outline a model that draws inputs from multiple models of organizational aspects for positive employee-related outcomes of employee performance and well-being. Thus, the proposed model needs to be seen as a rudimentary and initial effort in need of further refinements.
Implications for Research
The proposed model would need further refinement through future research to address some of the limitations outlined above. Three research implications of the present paper can be outlined. First, this paper suggests a direction for future conceptual research focused on extending the literature base of the proposed model and refining the model in light of the limitations outlined above. Second, the model refined through subsequent conceptual research may provide avenues for future empirical research focused on empirically testing the refined model. The model can be tested in various settings and with various population groups because it is not specified for a particular setting such as manufacturing or service or for a particular population group such as blue collar or white collar employees. Further, empirical testing of the model, after the model’s refinement through subsequent research work, may be feasible because scales are available in the existing literature for measuring quite a few concepts used in the model. For instance, scales are available in the existing literature for individual spirituality, perceived organizational support, distributive justice, procedural justice, interactional justice, workplace spirituality aspects of meaning in work and community, organizational commitment, job satisfaction, and various other job features included in the model. Third, as this work draws inputs from multiple existing models, it points out a research direction for accumulation of existing knowledge by drawing on inputs from various prior models. This direction for research may suggest a distinct approach in the area of organizational literature where multiple models tend to emerge and coexist.
Implications for Practice
While one may consider the possibility of deriving specific practice implications of the proposed model, it may be appropriate to wait for the proposed model to get refined and empirically verified through future research efforts and then attempt to derive specific implications for practice from the resulting refined and empirically verified model. When this model gets refined and empirically supported through future research efforts, it could provide inputs to managers for identifying wide-ranging organizational aspects where managers could focus in order to enhance multiple forms of employee performance and well-being. Even in the present form, and pending further refinement and empirical verification, the proposed model may help practicing managers to adopt a broad view of employee performance and well-being and consider comprehensive range of organizational aspects that are potentially likely to be facilitating them. This may guide managerial thinking by suggesting the possible breadth of employee outcomes that they need to pay attention to and the multiple interrelated organizational aspects that they may need to consider in facilitating employee outcomes of multiple forms of performance and well-being.
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