JOB RESOURCES, PSYCHOLOGICAL EMPOWERMENT, AND ORGANIZATIONAL JUSTICE AS PREDICTORS OF EXTRA-ROLE BEHAVIOUR AMONG NIGERIA POLICE OFFICERS

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ABSTRACT

This study examined job resources, psychological empowerment and organizational justice as predictors of extra-role behaviours among Nigeria police officers. A total of 250 particitants comprising 154 male and 96 female, 162 married and 88 single, 110 old and 140, and 98 with high qualification and 152  police officers with low qualification. Job demand/resources scale was to measure job resources, psychological empowerment scale was used to measure psychological empowerment, organizational justice was measure with organizational justice scale and extra-role behavior scale was used to measure extra-role behavior.  A cross-sectional survey design was used. Multiple regressions analysis was used to analyze the data. The psychological empowerment independently, had a positive impact/prediction on extra role behaviour with a β value of .124, which is statistically significant since the P-value < .05 and t= 2.076. Whereas, job resources and organizational justice have no impact/prediction on extra role behaviour with a β value of .004 and -.041, which were statistically not significant since the P-values >.05 and t= .209 and -1.547 respectively. The results were discussed and recommendations were made in light of the findings.

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

The notion of giving something extra back to an organization fits well with research on non-traditional aspect of work behaviour referred to in the literature generally as extra role behaviour (Organ & Konovsky, 1989; Schnake, 1991; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983).

Extra-role behaviours are in two categories: organization-oriented and people/co-worker-oriented (Zhu, 2013). The organization-oriented extra-role behaviour behaviour refers to adherence to non-formal norms formed in the organization and extra effort to improve outcomes, while the people-oriented includes conveying useful information to the colleagues and the cooperation effort as well as helping them (Resick, Giberson, Dickson, Wynne, & Bajdo, 2013). The focus of this study is on extra-role behaviour in the Nigeria police force.

The importance of extra-role behaviours in the workplace are enormous, especially in the Nigerian Police Force: For many years, scholars have recognized the significant impact of extra-role behaviour on the success of an organization. As several authors have noted (George, 1996; Organ & Konovsky, 1989), extra-role behaviour provides the organization with additional resources and removes the need for expensive formal mechanisms otherwise crucial to successful restructuring processes. Extra-role behaviours give opportunity for innovative behaviours (Xerri & Brunetto, 2013), it increases organizational effectiveness; increase in work quality, reduction in the cost of hiring external hand, and even client satisfaction (Podsakoff, Whiting, & Blume, 2009). It can make the employees to have a better understanding of their job especially newly recruited officers that will be attached to a boss (Senior Officer/colleague); Teh and Yong (2011) term it as organizational learning.

One may ask how could we stimulate or make Nigeria Police Officers extra-role behaviour if they have not been engaging in it, or when there is decrease in the level of discretionary behaviours among Officers? According to Ilies, Scott and Judge, (2006); Greguras and Diefendorff (2010) extra-role behaviour or organizational citizenship behaviours are strongly dependent on the subject’s disposition (personality, emotions etc), officers conduct (Cohen, 2006), organizational justice (Niehoff & Moorman, 1993, Fassina, Jone & Uggerslev, 2008), management style (Organ, Podsakoff & Mackenzie, 2006) and the functioning of the organization (Britt, Mckibben, Greene-Shortridge, Odle-Dusseau & Herleman, 2012).

According to George and Brief (1992), all of these types of behaviours (e.g prosoical, spontaneous organizational behaviour, etc) refer to the additional things people do at work that are beneficial to the organization but the workers are not mandated to do them. For example, workers choose throughout the day whether to help co-workers, to share insight on improvements, and in general, to do what is needed to help their organization perform smoothly and productively. Several researchers have argued that extra role behaviour is especially suitable material for reciprocity, because, workers have much discretion in performing it, whereas traditional, in-role behaviours such as productivity are primarily a function of work processes and workers abilities (Konovsky & Pugh, 1994; Moorman, 1991; Organ, 1988). Extra role behaviours are discretionary behaviours that are not enforceable requirements of an employee’s job (Van Dyne, Cummings & Parks, 1995).

Organ (1988) emphasized the discretionary nature of extra-role behaviour when he defined it as constructive behaviour not included in an employee’s formal job description, such as assisting co-workers with their work, helping peers learn new task, volunteering to do things that benefit their work groups and orienting the new workers. Since these behaviours are not required by the job, there is no formal sanction for not engaging in them. Thus, extra role behaviour can be viewed as a behavioural indicator of workers’ responses to their employment relationship (Organ 1988).

Extra-role behaviour goes beyond and above the call of duty, that is discretionary and not explicitly recognized by the employing organization’s formal reward system, and that contributes to organizational effectiveness (Organ, 1988; Smith, Organ, & Near 1983). Extra role behaviour is desirable from an organizational point of view because, such behaviour is thought to increase available resources and decrease the need for more formal and costly mechanisms of control (Organ, 1988; Podsakoff, & Mackenzie, 1997). It is seen as voluntary behaviour outside one’s official job duties that positively affect the organization or its members (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993; Organ, 1988).

Role can be defined as the expected pattern of behaviour attached to a position with an organization (Ilgen, Hollenbeck & Crampton, 1992). The expectations encoded within a role specify a wide variety of requirements. Examples includes what task role holders should perform, how they should interact with others, how they should dress, how they should speak, what opinion  and attitudes they should hold, what goals they should work towards and what means they should employ to attain the goals (Sarbin & Allen, 1968).

According to Aikhionbare (2016), Nigeria Police is one of the cardinal Agencies of government. They are tasked with the sole responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of citizens of the country. The diverse roles of Nigeria police are as follows; crime prevention, crime investigation, road traffic control, election protection duties, controlling and quelling civil unrest, military duties, VIP protection services etc.

In-role behaviours are behaviours that employees are expected to exhibit as a function of the role the hold within the organization and are subjected to expectations for how often the behaviour should be exhibited (Ilgen & Hollebeck, 1991). Extra role behaviours can be identified by the absence of these expectations; they are not governed by organizational role expectations, and role holders have degree of discretion regarding how often the behaviour should be exhibited and the manner in which those behaviours should be exhibited (Van Dyne et al., 1995).Van Dyne et al. reviewed extra-role behaviour literature in 1995, covering a wide range of behaviours such as organizational citizenship behaviour, whistle blowing, principled organizational dissent and pro-social organizational behaviour.

The construct of organizational citizenship behaviour from its conception has been considered multidimensional. Smith, Organ and Near (1983) first proposed two dimensions: altruism and general compliance. These two dimensions serve to improve organizational effectiveness in different ways. Altruism in the workplace consist essentially of helping behaviour, those behaviours can both be directed within or outside of the organization, there is no direct link, or one-to-one relationship between every instance of helping behaviour and a specific gain for the organization. The idea is that overtime; the compilation of employee helping behaviour will eventually be advantageous for the organization (Organ, Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 2005).

General compliance behaviour serves to benefit the organization in several ways, low rate of absenteeism and rule following help to keep the organization running efficiently. A compliant employee does not engage in behaviours such as taking excess break or using work-time for personal matters. When these types of behaviours are minimized the work force is naturally more productive (Organ et al., 2005).

Later, Organ (1988) deconstructed the general compliance and added additional dimensions of organizational citizenship behaviour. This deconstruction resulted in a five-factor model consisting of altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, civic virtue and sportsmanship. The definition of altruism remained much as it was defined by discretionary behaviours that have the effect of helping a specific work colleague with an organizationally relevant task or problem.

Conscientiousness consists of behaviours that go well beyond the minimum role requirement (Law, Wong, & Chen, 2004). These behaviours indicate that employees accept and adhere to the rules, regulations and procedures of the organization.

Civic virtue is characterized by behaviours that indicate that employee’s deep concern and active interest in the life of the organization (Law et al., 2004). This dimension also encompasses positive involvement in the concerns of the organization (Organ et al., 2005). Example of civic virtue can be seen in daily affairs such as attending meetings and keeping up with what is going on with the organization in general. Civic virtue can also be demonstrated on a larger scale by defending the organization’s policies and practices when they are challenged by an outside source.

Courtesy has been defined as discretionary behaviour that aims at preventing work-oriented conflict with others (Wang, Law, Hackett, Wang, & Chen, 2005). This dimension is a form of helping behaviour, but one that works to prevent problem from arising. It also includes the works literal definition of polite and considerate of others (Organ et al., 2006). Example of courtesy are asking fellow workers if they would like a cup of coffee while you are getting one for yourself, making extra copies of the meeting agenda for your colleague, and giving a colleague ample notice when you alter something will affect them.

Finally, sportsmanship has been defined as willingness on the part of the employee that signifies the employee’s tolerance of less-than-ideal organizational circumstances without complaining and blowing problem out of proportion. Organ et al., (2006) further defined sportsmanship as an employee’s ability to roll with the punches even if they do not like or agree with the changes that are occurring with the organization. By reducing the amount of complaints from employees that administrators have to deal with, sportsmanship conserve time and energy. It has been proven empirically that the factors in assessing organizational citizenship behaviour.

Whistle-blowing has been defined as the disclosure by organization members (former or current) of illegal, immoral, or illegitimate practices under the control of their employers, to persons or organization that may be able to effect action (Near & Miceli, 1985), hereinafter terms such as wrongful activity and questionable practices refer to omission as well as commission for example, when an organization fails to warn employees of work hazard.

The effectiveness of whistle-blowing may be defined in a variety of ways. Legal scholars tend to define the effectiveness of the outcome in terms of the win/loss ratio of lawsuit entered by whistle-blower (Terpstra, & Baker, 1988). Therefore, effectiveness whistle-blowing is defined as the extent to which the questionable or wrongful practice (omission) is terminated at least partly because of whistle-blowing and within a reasonable time frame. (Terpstra, & Baker, 1988)

It has also been defined as the reporting of an illegal or immoral act to a person with the ability to take corrective action (Grant, 2002; Miceli, Near, & schwenk, 1991). Whistle-blowing becomes a form of upward control when an employee in an attempt to stop the current wrongdoing or prevent future wrongdoing of a similar type (King, 2001).

The principled organizational dissent literature has been used to analyze the decision making, process relating to the intention to the report observed acts of fraud and the model has been used in numerous studies on whistle-blowing in the accounting area to evaluate the likelihood that an observer of wrongdoing would report it to a corporation’s employee reporting hotline (Kaplan &whitecotton, 2001; Zhuang, Thomas, & Miller, 2005). Principled organizational dissent is defined as effort by employees to protest and /or change the organization because of the objection to current policies or practices (Graham, 1986). Graham’s model of principled organizational dissent identifies three factors that influence an individual’s decision to report wrongdoing-the perceived seriousness of the wrongful act, the perceived responsibility of observer to report and the perceived personal cost of reporting.

Principled organizational dissent and whistle-blowing are typically motivated by super-organizational interest and are often undertaken irrespective of whether the change will be organizationally functional (Graham, 1986).

Pro-social behaviour may be seen as an additional and effective way of achieving personal goals (Moorman & Podsakoff, 1992). Worthy (1986) suggested that prosocial behaviour represented extra effort and conscientiousness at work.

In recent decades much work have been dedicated to the exploration of pro-social behaviours, elsewhere termed citizen behaviour or extra role behaviour in the workplace (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986; Organ, 1988; Zellar, Tepper, & duffy, 2002). Pro-social behaviour in organization is broadly linked with the notion of socially desirable or correct in some sense. There is clear-cut definition of the concept of pro-social behaviour in the literature and, as mentioned above; considerable overlap exists with other similar concepts. This is largely because of the diffused nature of such behaviours. For example, Brief and Motowidlo (1986) outlined 13 specific kinds of behaviour that may be classified as pro-social. They pointed out that there are difficulties with a definition because the various behaviours may be organizationally functional, or dysfunctional. Volunteering to coach a new employee, for instance, contributes to organizational goals. An example of an organizational dysfunctional pro-social behaviour might be offering individual support to a colleague who is publicly critical of the organization or even engage in behaviours that clearly endanger the organizations goals and reputation in the eyes of other stakeholders (Vardi & Weitz, 2004).

Brief and Motowidlo (1986) argued that pro-social behaviours are behaviours that are performed by a member of an organization that are directed toward an individual, group or organization with who/which he/she interacts and performed with the intention to promote the welfare of the workers. In addition to these criteria, prosocial behaviour is specifically voluntary and not required by role definition, as such, it is very similar /or part of organizational citizenship behaviour (Organ, 1988). Staub (1978) defined pro-social behaviour as actions intended to benefit others in the organization. Such behaviours often include sharing, comforting others, instrumental helping, money or goods donations, volunteerism, or cooperative behaviours. Pro-social behaviour is any act performed with the goal of benefiting another person in the organization (Aroson, Wilson, &Akert, 2004).

Job resources refer to those physical, social, psychological or organizational aspect of the job that reduce job demand and it associated psychological and physiological cost; are functional in achieving work goals; stimulate personal growth, learning and development (Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & schanfeli, 2001). Examples of job resources are feedback, job control, and social support.

Job resources may be located at the level of the organization at large (e.g. pay, career opportunities, job security etc), at the interpersonal level (supervisor and co-worker support, team climate), at the level of the organization of work (clarity of role, participation in decision making), and at the task level (task identity, performance feedback, skill variety, task significance, autonomy) (Hackman & Oldham, 1976).

Autonomy as a working condition has, long been acknowledged as a valuable resource for employees (e.g. Karasek, 1979). Autonomy represents the freedom individuals have in carrying out their work, including freedom regarding work schedules, decision making, and work method (Hackman & Oldham, 1976; Morgeson & Humphrey, 2006).

Supportive environment which can be further delineated in terms of the source of the support; which includes supervisor support (leadership), social support and workplace climate as job resources (Crawford, LePine,  Rich 2010; Demerouti et al., 2001). Karasek and Theorell (1990) defined social support at work as overall level of helpful social interaction available on the job from co-workers and supervisors. In several studies, the correlation between supervisory and co-worker support have been moderate to high, and separate analyses for these sources of job support have revealed similar result (e.g. Karasek, Triantis, & Chandhry, 1982).

Performance feedback has been defined in a number of ways. 0ne of these definitions include: performance feedback as information that is given to persons regarding the quality and the quantity of their past performance (Prue & Fairbank, 1981).

Some researchers have made the influence of job resources in predicting extra-role behaviour among employees very clear, researchers like Kottke and Sharafinski (1988), Somech and Ron (2007), Le Pine, Erez and Johnson (2002) etc.

Supervisory support as part of job resources can be defined as the degree to which supervisor value subordinates contributions and care about the subordinates’ well-being (Kottke & Sharafinski, 1988). The importance of supervisory relationship on employee attitude and behaviour has been subjected to studies. Past research has demonstrated that in general, higher support can enhance employee display of extra-role behaviour (Podsakoff, Mackkenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). The findings from two meta-analyses conducted by Podsakoff, Mackkenzie, Paine and Bacharach, (2000) and Le Pine, Erez and Johnson (2002) confirmed a modest positive correlation between supervisor support and extra-role behaviour. The findings revealed that supervisor support is helpful in motivating employees’ extra-role behaviour. Using the lens social exchange theory (Gouldner, 1960; Blau, 1964), it may be assumed that employees may reciprocate with the same positive job resources that they have enjoyed in the organization and they may exchange it through extra-role behaviour.

Organizational researchers (e.g., Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Thomas &Velthouse, 1990) and business practitioners (e.g., Block, 1987) have focused on psychological empowerment in the workplace. Building on the work of Conger and Kanungo (1988), Thomas and Velthouse (1990) defined psychological empowerment as intrinsic motivation manifested in four cognitions, reflecting an individual’s orientation to his or her work role: meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact.

Meaning, a dimension of the job characteristic model (Hachman & Oldham, 1980), involves a fit between the requirements of one’s work role and one’s beliefs, values and behaviour (Brief & Nord, 1990).

Competence, or self efficacy specific to one’s work, is a belief in one’s capacity to perform work activities with his or her skills and abilities (Gist & Mitchell, 1992).

Self-determination is a sense of choice in initiating and regulating one’s action (Deci & Ryan, 1995) and reflects autonomy over the initiation and continuation of work behaviour and processes such as making decisions about work methods pace and effort (Bell & Staw, 1989).

Impact, the converse of learned helplessness (Martinko & Gardner, 1982), is the degree to which one can influence strategic, administrative, or operative outcome at work (Ashforth, 1989). Together, the four dimensions reflect an active, rather than a passive orientation to one’s work role. In other words, empowered individuals do not see their work situation as given but rather something able to be shaped by their actions (Spreitzer, 1995). In other words, the lack of any single dimension will deflate; though not completely eliminate the overall degree of felt empowerment. Thus, the four dimension of cognition is for the understanding of psychological empowerment (Thomas & Velthouse, 1990).

Some general assumption about this definition of empowerment should be made explicit. First, psychological empowerment is not an enduring personality trait generalizable across situations, but rather, a set of cognitions shape by a work environment (Thomas & Velthouse, 1990).

In linking psychological empowerment and extra-role behaviour among Nigeria Police Force, haven defined psychological empowerment and extra-role behaviour above and the definition of psychological empowerment shows that psychological empowerment manifests in four cognitions: meaning, competence, self-determination and impact (Thomas and Velthouse, 1990).

Despite the numerous antecedents of extra-role behaviour, relatively less research has been accentuated to the link or the influence of psychological empowerment on extra-role behaviour (e.g., Alge, Ballinger, Tangirala, & Oakley, 2006; Taylor, 2013). Empowered employees feel more comfortable and less constrained by their jobs, such that they are more likely to help others and to be spontaneous in their jobs. Moreover, empowered employees feel more identification with their jobs that further motivate them to help others. Spreitzer (1995) has identified the influence of psychological empowerment to performance and extra-role by enhancing employees’ desired attitude and behaviours. More specifically, meaning instills employees to be committed and action focused. When employees feel that their jobs are meaningful, they are more likely to collect information from various sources enthusiastically and spend more effort to solve the problems deliberately (Gilson & Shalley, 2004). Competence gives confidence to overcome problems that are contingent to situations and employees how has higher competent tends to indicate stronger extra role behaviour the other (Beardwell and Holden, 2001) Self-determination and impact also encourages diligence. The feeling of greater empowerment through enhance self-determination motivates employees to engage in extra-role behaviour. Psychological empowerment may influence Nigeria Police Officers to engage in extra-role behaviour when the officers are empowered through knowledge and skills development which can lead to competence.   Psychological empowerment may also influence Nigeria Police officers to engage in extra-role behaviour because it gives room for employees to be motivated intrinsically (self-determination) which may make them to engage in extra-role behaviour.

To prove the influence of psychological empowerment in predicting extra-role behaviour among Nigeria Police Officers, in a research conducted by Jim, Hi, Shing, Lin, Yasmin, & Kadar (2013), which examined the effect of leader exchange, empowerment and competence on extra-role behaviour, the result showed that psychological empowerment has positive and significant effect on extra-role behaviour. Competence of employees could be achieved through extensive training and development programs that are targeted to improve the skills, abilities and knowledge of employees, which further motivate them to be confident in making an impact on the organization (Arefin, Arif, & Raquib, 2015). According to Blau (1964) people always seek to reciprocate those who benefit them. When a supervisor engages in helping behaviour towards an employee, the employees incur obligations to repay the supervisor so that the exchange is mutually beneficial. On the other hand, if an employee’s sense of support from the supervisor is violated, he or she will subsequently reduce or withhold extra-role behaviour (Yperen, Berg, & Willering, 1999). Therefore, if Nigeria Police Officers’ supervisors/colleagues are supportive the Officers; they tend to engage in extra-role behaviour.

Justice perceptions have been explanatory in organizational research (Adams, 1965; Deutsch, 1975; Leventhal, 1976). Organizational justice describes the individuals’ (groups’) perception of the fairness of treatment received from an organization and their behavioural reaction to such perceptions (James, 1993). A three-dimentional conceptualization of justice appears to have been widely adopted in the extant literature; distributive, procedural and interactional justice.

Distributive justice refers to the perceived fairness of outcome s employees receive, while procedural justice describes the perceived fairness of means used to determine those outcome. The latter is reflected in concerns about employee participation, consistency, impartiality, and rationality (Folger and Konovsky, 1989; Cropanzano, &Greenberg, 1997).

Issue of justice or fairness is a key concern to virtually all individuals. In the work setting, employees often compare whether the rewards they receive match their contributions to the organization or the rewards received by their colleagues (Adams, 1965; Leventhal, 1976).

Employees also judge the fairness of the decision-making procedures used by organizational representatives, to see whether those procedures are consistent, unbiased, accurate, correctable, and representation of workers’ concerns and opinions (Greenberg, 1986; Leventhal, 1980). Employees consider also the interpersonal treatment by authority figures (Bies & Moag, 1986; Greenberg, 1993). Procedural justice literature provides guideline for structuring procedures to maximize fairness perception. One primary means is through voice: allowing individual affected by the decision to present information relevant to it (Folger, 1977). Even when a particular decision is unfavorable to them, if employees have voice they will feel that their interests are considered and protected in the long run and will consider the process fair (Thibaut &Walker, 1975). Having input into a decision also makes employees feel the decision makers or leaders value them and affirm their status in the group or organization. Procedures that signify to participants that they are respected members of a group are deemed fair (Lind &Tyler, 1988). An employee’s merely having a chance to say something does not however ensure perceptions of procedural fairness. Consideration of input, the extent to which a decision maker acknowledges and shows consideration of others’ input, is needed for voice to affect perceptions of fairness. If personnel’s input is solicited but ignored, voice is void of meaning; employees will not feel a sense of indirect control or status and respect.

Interactional justice is further broken down into two: interpersonal and informational justice. Perception of respect, politeness, dignity in one’s treatment or when taking decision are part of interpersonal justice, while the sufficiency of the explanations given in terms of the specificity, timeliness, and truthfulness comes under informational justice (Colquitt, 2001).

One of the key constructs that has been shown to play a role in the formation of organizational justice perceptions is affect. The precise role of affect in organizational justice perceptions depends on the forms of affectivity being examined (emotions, mood, disposition) as well as the context and types of justice being measured. Affect may serve as antecedent, outcome, or even a mediator of organizational justice perceptions. A recent article (Barksy, Kaplan, &Beal, 2011) provided a model that explains the role of affect and emotions at various states of the appraisal and reaction stages of justice perception formulation and illustrates that injustice is generally an affect-laden and subjective experience. Based on the research regarding the central role of affect in justice perception, Lang, Bliese, Lang and Adler (2011) extended this research and studied the idea that sustained clinical level of negative affect (depression) could be a precursor to perception of injustice in organization justice perceptions.

Another antecedent to perception of organizational justice is the extent to which employees feel that they are involved in the decision making or other organizational procedures. Higher level of justice is perceived when employees feel that they have input in the processes than when employees do not perceive that they have the opportunity to participate (Greenberg, & Folger, 1983; Bies &Shapiro, 1988). The opportunity and ability to participate in decision making improves an employee’s perceptions of procedural justice, even when the decision is unfavorable to the individual (Bies & Shapiro, 1988).

Communication has been shown to be related to interpersonal and informational justice perceptions (Kernan & Hanges, 2002). The quality of communication by an organization or manager can improve justice perceptions of manager trust-worthiness and also by reducing feelings of uncertainty (Kernan &Hanges, 2002). It is important that the information provided be accurate, timely, and helpful in order for the impact on justice perceptions to be positive (Schweiger & DeNisi, 1991).

Perception of organizational justice can be influenced by other, such as co-workers and team members. Recent research suggests that team level perception of justice form what is called a justice climate which can impact individuals own views of justice (Li &Cropanzano, 2009). Employees working within a team may share their perceptions with one another which can lead to a shared interpretation of the fairness of events (Roberson & Colquitt, 2005). Research findings show that individuals can “learn” justice evaluation from team members and these can lead to homogeneity of justice perceptions within teams, creating a strong justice climate (Roberson & Colquitt, 2005).

The continuance of employee trust in the organization continuing to meet the employee’s expectation of fairness creates the reciprocal relationship between trust and organizational justice (Deconick, 2010). Research has found that procedural justice is the strongest predictor of organizational trust (Hubbell, & Chory-Assad, 2005; Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001).

One way that employees restore justice is by altering their level of job performance. Procedural justice affects performance as a result of its impact on employee attitude and distributive justice affects performance when efficiency and productivity are involved (Cohen-Charash and spector, 2001). Improving justice perceptions improves productivity and performance (Karriker & Williams, 2007).

Why the perceptions of fairness could be related to extra-role behaviour originates from Blau’s (1964) definition of a difference between economic and social exchange. Organ (1988) believed that fairness perception may influence extra-role behaviour by prompting an officer to define his or her relationship with the organization as one of social exchange. Because social exchange exists outside strict contracts, exchange tends towards ambiguity, allowing for discretionary, prosocial acts by the officers. Organ (1988) wrote “the inherent ambiguity of such a system frees the individuals to contribute in discretionary fashion without thinking that this will be acquiescence to exploitation” (p. 553). Therefore, if police officers consider themselves in conditions of social exchange, they may likely to exhibit extra-role behaviour.

Central to this idea that extra-role may be part of social exchange is the relative ease or difficulty of exchanging social reward. Foa and Foa (1980) noted that not all social rewards are equally exchangeable and established a resource configuration representing the relative likelihood that specific resources might be exchanged. Those resources that are proximal in structure are the ones most likely to be exchanged for each other.

The value of extra-role behaviour is that specific acts of extra-role can be described as examples of either information resources or service resources. Because these two resources are opposite to each other in Foa and Foa’s (1980) configuration, the other four resources are proximal in some way to extra-role behaviour. Therefore extra-role behaviour appears to be a reasonable and likely way in which a Police officer can exchange the social rewards brought on by perceptions of fairness.

 

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