A student research proposal

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UU-MBA-711-ZM – Dissertation Page 1UU-MBA-711-ZM – DissertationWeek 1 – Case Study‘Helpful but not required’: A student research proposalLian was a student from China. Lian was interested in the applicability of organisational citizenshipbehaviour theory to Chinese workers. An abbreviated version of Lian’s research proposal follows. It hasbeen deliberately modified to allow you to evaluate and improve it by working through the case studyquestions.Title: The Applicability of Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Theory to a ChineseOrganisationBackgroundThe early definition of organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) viewed this as discretionarybehaviours by employees that were not recognised through the reward system (Organ 1988; Organ et al.2006). Partly because such behaviours could subsequently be recognised through reward, OCB wasredefined as ‘performance that supports the social and psychological environment’ within which workoccurs (Organ 1997: 95). It has been adopted by researchers such as Bolino et al. (2002) to indicatesituations where employees work beyond contractual requirements to support one another, to subordinateindividual interests to organisational ones and to demonstrate organisational commitment. In this wayOCBs may contribute to organisational performance and potentially offer a source of competitiveadvantage.Podsakoff et al. (2009) report finding over 650 published articles on OCB, mainly examining thecategories of behaviour that make up OCB (its dimensions), what causes employees to engage in thesebehaviours (the determinants or antecedents of OCB) and how OCB is related to these other variables.An early, influential study to identify its dimensions used interviews with managers in a manufacturingcompany to ‘identify instances of helpful, but not absolutely required job behaviour’ to help to defineOCB (Smith et al. 1983). This and other early studies led to the identification of five categories of OCBs(Organ 1988). These were labelled as altruism (helping a co-worker with a workplace task); civic virtue(participating in the organisation); conscientiousness (working beyond the minimum requirements for thejob); courtesy (considering how one’s own behaviour might affect others and acting to facilitateharmony); and sportsmanship (not complaining even in less than ideal situations) (e.g. Organ 1988).Further research led to new dimensions of OCB being proposed (Organ et al. 2006), although these fiveoriginal categories have remained the most commonly tested.However, continuing to use some of these dimensions of OCB and the measurement scales associatedwith them (Organ 1988; Podsakoff et al. 1990) has been questioned for two important reasons. Firstly,the nature of work has changed since the 1980s and 1990s. Manufacturing and manual work is now lessimportant in many economies while knowledge work is much more important. Based on research, Dekaset al. (2013) developed an OCB scale for knowledge workers that reflects the nature of knowledge-basedwork, such as working flexibly and taking personal initiative. This new scale overlaps with some earlierUU-MBA-711-ZM – Dissertation Page 2OCB dimensions but replaces or eliminates outdated items related to willingly obeying rules orregimented working practices.Secondly, questions have been asked about the transferability of OCB scales to other cultures. OCBstudies may apply only to the cultural context within which they are conducted (Choi 2009). Theapplicability of OCB to other cultural settings therefore requires further research. Hui et al. (2004)examined the relationships between psychological contract constructs and OCBs in China. They adoptedthe OCB scale developed by Podsakoff et al. (1990) (see earlier) and, in part, found that that more researchis required to understand how culture affects the applicability of OCB. Farh et al. (1997) examined therelationships between organisational justice theory and OCBs in China, using a Chinese OCB scale theydeveloped. They found that the relationships between organisational justice and OCB were moderated bycultural (attitudes about either modernity or tradition) and gender factors. Some behaviour of Chineseemployees may be due to socialisation or broader cultural norms and be more personally focused thanorganisationally related (Farh et al. 1997; Hui et al. 2004). This raises questions about the applicabilityof OCB in China and whether organisational justice and psychology contract constructs may bedeterminants or antecedents of OCB. In addition, Hui et al. (2004) point out that organisational type mayaffect OCB; for example, they cite research saying that Chinese employees may prefer working for aforeign-owned company rather than a state-owned enterprise.Research question and research objectivesThe research question is:To what extent are organisational citizenship behaviour, organisational justice and psychological contracttheories applicable to Chinese organisations and why?The research objectives are:1. To identify suitable measurement scales for each theory, to use in the case study Chineseorganisation.2. To examine the relationship in the case study organisation between findings from theorganisational justice scale and findings from the organisational citizenship behaviour scale.3. To examine the relationship in the case study organisation between findings from thepsychological contract scale and findings from the organisational citizenship behaviour scale.4. To examine the relationship between findings in the case study organisation from theorganisational citizenship behaviour scale and findings in other national contexts fromorganisational citizenship behaviour research.5. To draw conclusions from the relationships observed in objectives 2, 3 and 4, to evaluate theapplicability of these concepts in a Chinese organisation.UU-MBA-711-ZM – Dissertation Page 3MethodResearch designThis research is designed to test the applicability of these theories in a case study, Chinese organisation.The research will use a desktop study strategy incorporating existing scales from peer-reviewed, highquality academic journals. The research will be cross-sectional in nature.Discuss the following questions:1. Using the information in the ‘Background’ section of Lian’s proposal, what concerns may beraised about the proposed ‘Research design’, ‘Title’, ‘Research question and research objectives’?2. Drawing on your responses, how would you re-draft the ‘Title’, ‘Research question and researchobjectives’ and the ‘Research design’?The following points should be noted for this part of the assessment:• This is an individual assessment, not a group task.• Your research project progress should be submitted on the due date (i.e., Sunday of Week 1) by11.59 p.m. (23.59 hours) VLE (UTC) time at the latest. To submit your research progress report,please use the submission link titled “Week 1 – Case Study” that is located in Week 1 on the VLEpage of your module.• Literature should be sourced from a range of journal articles and textbooks. A limited range ofreadings will be made available.• The word count is 600 words +/- 10%. This does not include the reference list and any appendicesthe assignment may include.• Accurate referencing of sources is crucial in this coursework. The referencing system used in thismodule is the APA Reference system. Please make sure you are familiar with this. Marks will bededucted for inaccurate referencing.• Academic Integrity: Students are expected to demonstrate academic integrity by completing theirwork, assignments, and other assessment exercises. Submission of work from another person,whether it is from printed sources or someone other than the student; previously graded papers;papers submitted without proper citations; or submitting the same paper to multiple courseswithout the knowledge of all instructors involved can result in a failing grade. Incidents involvingacademic dishonesty will be reported to university officials for appropriate sanctions.Furthermore, students must always submit work that represents their original words or ideas. Ifany words or ideas used in an assignment or assessment submission do not represent the student’soriginal words or ideas, all relevant sources must be cited along with the extent to which suchsources were used. Words or ideas that require citation include, but are not limited to, all hardcopy or electronic publications, whether copyrighted or not and all verbal or visualcommunication when the content of such communication originates from an identifiable source.

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