How to Fuel Public Employees’ Change-Oriented Organizational Citizenship Behavior: A Two-Wave Moderated Mediation Study

AuthorDingxiang Chen,Ying Zhang,Ahmad Bayiz Ahmad,Bangcheng Liu
Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Review of Public Personnel Administration
2023, Vol. 43(1) 185 –208
© The Author(s) 2021
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0734371X211052675
How to Fuel Public
Employees’ Change-Oriented
Organizational Citizenship
Behavior: A Two-Wave
Moderated Mediation Study
Dingxiang Chen1, Ying Zhang1, Ahmad Bayiz Ahmad1,
and Bangcheng Liu1
Determining how to stimulate public employees’ change-oriented organizational
citizenship behavior (OCB) has become a critical issue in both theory and practice.
This article draws on the theories of job demands-resources (JD-R), leadership, and
public service motivation (PSM) to propose a moderated mediation model to explore
how empowering leadership shapes public employees’ change-oriented OCB. We
conducted a two-wave investigation of 267 public employees in a large metropolitan
city in Northern China to test this study’s hypotheses. The results show that
empowering leadership significantly predicts employees’ change-oriented OCB
by enhancing job crafting. Furthermore, PSM moderates the relationship between
empowering leadership and job crafting. These findings advance our understanding
of how to motivate employees’ change-oriented OCB from the perspective of
empowering leadership in public organizations.
empowering leadership, job crafting, public service motivation, change-oriented
organizational citizenship behavior
1Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China
Corresponding Author:
Bangcheng Liu, School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Room 313,
Xinjian Building, Shanghai 200030, China.
1052675ROPXXX10.1177/0734371X211052675Review of Public Personnel AdministrationChen et al.
186 Review of Public Personnel Administration 43(1)
Faced with increasingly changeable external environments, public organizations
must identify internal problems and take the necessary action quickly to address
them to align with the environment (Homberg et al., 2019; Jin et al., 2019; Liu,
Yang, et al., 2015; Liu & Zhang, 2019; Vigoda-Gadot & Beeri, 2012). The efficiency
of public organizations depends on employees, because they can quickly identify
and effectively solve these challenges (Brockmann, 2017; Destler, 2016; Morrison,
2011). Prior research suggests that while reforms and change programs are often
initiated by officials and executives who are elected or politically appointed, the
actual changes in public organizations are executed by employees (Bayiz Ahmad
et al., 2020; Destler, 2016). Therefore, how employees view and react to change—
employees’ change-oriented organizational citizenship behavior (OCB)—is a criti-
cal factor that drives public organizations to adapt to challenges and improve
individual and organizational performance (Liu & Chen, 2019; Seppälä et al., 2012;
Vigoda-Gadot & Beeri, 2012). Determining how to stimulate employees to engage
in more change-oriented OCB has attracted increasing research interest (Campbell
& Im, 2016; Liu & Chen, 2019; Vigoda-Gadot & Beeri, 2012), but to date, the ques-
tion remains unclear and merits further investigation.
This study contributes to this continuing interest by exploring the following
research question: How to fuel public employees’ change-oriented OCB behavior in
public organizations? As an important antecedent of change-oriented OCB, leadership
has attracted scholars’ attention (e.g., Bettencourt, 2004; Choi, 2007; López-
Domínguez et al., 2013; Vigoda-Gadot & Beeri, 2012). In exploring the research ques-
tion, the article focuses on a particular type of leadership (empowering leadership) to
explore its effect on change-oriented OCB. Empowering leadership refers to a set of
behaviors amongst leaders who share more authority and power as well as give more
responsibilities to subordinates by providing greater autonomy, enhancing the mean-
ing of work, inducing subordinates to engage in decision-making, and offering devel-
opmental support through modeling (Ahearne et al., 2005; Amundsen & Martinsen,
2014a; Arnold et al., 2000; Zhang & Bartol, 2010).
In addition to exploring the direct effect of empowering leadership on employees’
change-oriented OCB, this study responds to the call by Vigoda-Gadot and Beeri
(2012) to explore the process mechanism and boundary conditions between the two.
First, empowering leaders not only share power, autonomy, and other work resources
with their employees (Ahearne et al., 2005; Zhang & Bartol, 2010), but also transfer
responsibilities, expectations, and various work demands to their employees (Auh
et al., 2014; Wong & Giessner, 2018). According to job demands-resources (JD-R)
theory, without the reasonable adjustment of job demands and job resources, individu-
als encounter negative effects because of the mismatch between job demands and job
resources (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001). Therefore, whether individuals reasonably
craft the job demands and resources obtained from their leaders affects individual
performance. Based on this reasoning, we draw on the JD-R theory to clarify the rela-
tionship between empowering leadership and employees’ change-oriented OCB by

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