Communication refers to the process by which information is transmitted and understood between two or more people (McShane & Von Glinow, 2003). This process is social (Griffin & Moorhead, 2004, p. 250), since personal communication involves incident of exchange of information and feelings in which human being engage in whenever they are in contact with each other. Interestingly, human beings are social animals. They have a need to communicate, and they will communicate even if they have little or nothing to express in whatever the situation is (Diwan, 1999, pp. 38-39).
Ceyhan (2006) in his research has noted that communication is the most important element of human social behavior. The power of communication with others and having good manner and behavior and the way a person interact with people are more important and worthful than ones knowledge and skills (Mirkamali, 1999, p. 16). In agreement with Guimera, Danon, Diaz-Guilera, Giralt, and Arenas (2006), new connection are made between individuals all the time because of a variety of reasons such as resolving problems of an unexpected nature, personal and cultural similarities, and political motives. These new connections evoke a shared or common meaning in other persons (Nelson & Quick, 2003, p. 254).
An organization is a small model of society and individuals are the nature of an organization. As noted earlier, communication links individuals and groups in a social system. Therefore, the process of communication is one of the crucial processes that play an important role in the organization effectiveness. Chester Barnard mentioned that in each exhaustive theory of organization, communication would occupy a central place (Evertt & Rekha, 1976). For example, in a study based on responses from 65 companies throughout the UK economy, employees were asked to state the most important influences on their working environment. More than two third responded that they were mostly affected by their relationship with their managers and supervisors (Villegas & Cerveny, 2004). In summary, the incredible significant role of communication in organizations, as social entities is great and cannot be neglected.
When people involved in any group task, they have their needs for inclusion, control, and affection. In this case, they are more likely to stay in their groups, work through the process, and build relationships. If these needs are acquired, then satisfaction will emerge. Conversely, dissatisfaction likely occurs when these needs are not met. How does one go about meeting these needs? One way is by being more competent in communicating and interacting with others (Anderson & Martin, 1995). In other word, satisfaction in communication in general is an outcome of communication process if the communication process goes well.
Membership satisfaction is an important outcome variable because it can mean that relational need was met and that the group was a good one in terms of productivity (Cragan & Wright, 1990). Of course, satisfaction is a crucial element in organizational setting because it plays the role of independent variable in such a case. For instance, Pincus (1986) surveyed 327 hospital nurses and found out that communication satisfaction is related significantly to both job satisfaction and job performance. Some research in social psychology shows that individuals that are artificially put into a positive mood often perform better (Ashby, Isen, & Turken, 1999). In addition, there are some evidences that communication satisfaction enhance the sense of membership and identification toward the organization (Putti, Aryee, & Phua, 1990), which may motivate people to do something in the favor of the organization out of than their own official duty. This act of contributing their time and energy beyond their official job specification is known as organizational citizenship behavior (OCB).
The present study is going to consider the relationship between employees' communication satisfaction that can be an outcome of communication process and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). In addition, different dimensions of employees' communication and the relationship that they have with their communication satisfaction will be studied. The present study will also examine whether satisfied employees with communication will contribute more of OCB in an organizational setting.
1.2 Background of the Study
The concept of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in recent years has generated high interest among organizational researchers and practitioners. OCB is all efforts that employees make on behalf of their organization (Bolino & Turnley, 2003). Bolino and Turnley (2003) further added that OCB refers to the duties and activities, which go above and beyond the call of duty. Good citizenship includes a variety of employee behaviors. For instance, taking on additional assignments, voluntarily assisting other people at work, keeping up with developments in one's field or profession, following company rules even when no one is looking, promoting and protecting the organization, and keeping a positive attitude and tolerating inconveniences at work (Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Paine, & Bacharach, 2000). All these parameters are vital in organizational accomplishment and clearly show how importance OCB is to an organization.
The traditional definition of OCB says that OCBs are not required as a part of job; therefore, they are not enforceable. Another point, which should be considered in this conceptualization of OCB, is that they are representative of the special or extra efforts that organizations need from their workforce in order to be successful. These two features are the main and common characteristics of citizenship behaviors (Bolino & Turnley, 2003). Therefore, this phenomenon (OCB) has long been considered as an essential feature in the success or failure of any organization.
The traditional conceptualization of OCB
The traditional conceptualization of OCB, which was introduced by Organ (1983, 1988), has remained untouched until 1997 when Organ published a new definition of OCB. The new conceptualization of OCB contains employees' in-role behavior besides the extra-role behaviors of employees. This redefinition was based on some empirical studies such as Morrison (1994), which Organ used as evidence for his new conceptualization. Regarding to this conceptualization, OCB can be measured as an aspect of job performance (Koys, 2001), because it contains both in-role and extra-role behaviors. As Organ (1997) argued, a consistent and positive relationship exists between satisfaction and broader conceptualizations of performance that include OCB in addition to more traditional measures of performance.
OCB can be considered as either an independent or a dependent variable in an organizational setting. This variable, as noted previously, plays a considerable role in organizations accomplishment. For the past twenty years, management scholars have examined OCB primarily under the assumption that such behavior promotes organizational goals and effectiveness. For instance, the relationship between OCB and firm performance has long been studied. Some recent studies suggested that OCB produces tangible benefits for organizations. For example, Bolino and Turnley (2003) mentioned that OCB contributed to organizational competitiveness and performance. Bolino and Turnley (2003) further explained that in some empirical studies, OCBs were positively related to several indicators of organizational performance, product quantity and product quality, organizational effectiveness, competitive advantages, and work group performance. Recently, it has been argued that one of the primary ways that citizenship behaviors contribute to organizational performance is through the creation of social capital that is strong interpersonal connections among employees (Bolino, Turnley, & Bloodgood, 2002). Interpersonal connection among employees involves communication, which is the topic that is going to be emphasized and examined in the present thesis.
Considering the importance of OCB in organizational setting drives managers and scholars to investigate for the ancestors of this variable. This process leads managers and scholars to consider OCB as a dependent variable that would be affected by some other variables in organizational setting. Social exchange theory suggests that satisfied people have high tendency to do something in the favor of the organization. People who are satisfied with their company are assumed be satisfied with their job and other circumstances and one of the outcomes of satisfied employees presumably is the high level of OCB performances.
Koys (2001), who used social exchange theory in his research, has made an excellent imagination of the relationship between employee's attitude and behaviors at workplace. He noted that employee's attitudes could not influence organizational effectiveness on their own, except when it goes under appropriate behaviors. Job performance is an important employee behavior in an organizational setting and organizational citizenship behavior is an aspect of job performance (Koys, 2001). Therefore, it can be summarized that positive attitude toward work (in terms of communication satisfaction) will produce organizational citizenship behavior (as an aspect of positive performance). Furthermore, OCB as an aspect of organizational performance will lead to organizational effectiveness. In fact, past research has consistently demonstrated a positive relationship between positive job attitudes and citizenship behavior (Organ, 1988).
The term of human satisfaction in organizational setting is covering a broad range of parameters and communication satisfaction could be categorized in this range of factors. Communication satisfaction refers to the total satisfaction that employees have with the communication process in their organization. The communication comportment or the way that employees relate to each other has an essential role in an organization and undoubtedly, as Orpen (1997) noted, it is vital in the failure or success of any organization. Since, the transmission and reception of information play such an important role in an organizational life, effective communication ought to be related to employee work attitudes (Schuler, 1979). Satisfaction, which is an attitude toward work condition drive people to take some actions. Therefore, it can be summarized that communication procedure, if is going well, will produce the sense of satisfaction and this sense of satisfaction motivates people to participate actively in the OCBs.
1.3 Problem Statement
Several informal interviews with managers and supervisors who are practicing in electrical manufacturing industry have been conducted. The results of interviews highlighted that the companies, which are practicing in the electrical industry, are successful and accomplished compared to other industries in Iran. However, the interviews highlighted that the managers and supervisors complained about some facets of organizational performance. They agreed that “quantity and quality of products” are not satisfactory. In addition, the companies did not have sufficient amount of “competitive advantages” compared to foreign competitors. Furthermore, the managers and supervisors wished to enhance their “organizational effectiveness” since they believed that organizational effectiveness is seriously needed to be improved. The managers shared the same opinion that the industry has potential to improve and progress in abovementioned aspects.
The failures and weaknesses of quantity and quality of products, competitive advantages, and organizational effectiveness are the symptoms of a bigger dilemma behind them. To find out the reasons of these deficiencies and failures, has persuaded the researcher to look closely at the related literatures and theories. Literature and practice proposed OCB as an especially imperative variable that may contribute to these failure and weaknesses (for example, see Bolino & Turnley, 2003). Bolino and Turnley (2003) mentioned that these items (quantity and quality of products, competitive advantages, and organizational effectiveness) are the symptoms of OCB in any organizations.
The researcher thus mentioned to the managers that their companies are suffering from low OCB among employees. When clearly emphasized about the concept of OCB to them, the managers then agreed with the researcher that there exist OCB performance among their employees. That means some employees performance is over the expectation while some others are performing lower than anticipation. They further emphasized that most of the employees did not contribute to the OCB of the companies. Usually, the employees would come to work at the allocated time and leave the working place when the working time was over. Therefore, by referring to the theory and literature, and also practices (interviews) we come to the conclusion that the problem is regarding to OCB among employees.
1.4 Gap in the Literature Regarding OCB, Humor and Communication Satisfaction
Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are discretionary behaviors that intentionally improve the effective functioning of organization (Dalal, 2005) and promote organizational effectiveness (Zellars, Tepper, & Duffy, 2002). In contrast with the large number of studies that concerning the relationships between job satisfaction and OCB (e.g., Organ & Konovsky, 1989; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983; Organ, 1988; Bateman & Organ, 1983; Motowidlo, Packard, & Manning, 1986; Williams & Anderson, 1991; Moorman, Niehoff, & Organ, 1993), literature is in a short supply to back up the relationship between communication satisfaction and OCB. The common sense of this claim (relationship between communication satisfaction and OCB) comes up of the logical relationship between attitude and behaviors (Koys, 2001). In brief, a person with positive attitude towards his or her organization will produce some behaviors in the favor of the organization. This state, as noted earlier, is originated from social exchange theory (Blau, 1964), which says that people reciprocate when they are satisfied (Organ, 1988; Bolino, 1999). Thus, it can be argued that when people are satisfied with the communication manners in their organization, they will reciprocate it by engaging in OCBs. Therefore, one purpose of the present study is to fulfill the theoretical gap that exists in the relationship between communication satisfaction and employees' OCB.
In addition, the relationship between humor, which is an aspect of communication, and employees' communication satisfaction has not been examined in the literature. There are some reasons approve that humor is a kind of communication and the result of using humor is satisfaction. The details of this claim will be discussing in literature review chapter. Therefore, the present study is going to illustrate this relationship as well. These two points will be challenged and may be the major contributions to the literature in the communication field.
1.5 Objectives of the Present Study
The main challenge of the present study is to shed light on the gap between communication satisfaction and OCB in Iranian workplaces. In addition, humor, which is considered as a feature of communication, and three dimensions of communication (formal, informal, and non-verbal) are considered as antecedents of communication satisfaction. The relationship between humor and communication satisfaction is another contribution of the present study to the literature.
In summary, the present study wants to explore the correlation between communication satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior. At the next step, the present study is going to consider the relationship between communication cues, and humor with communication satisfaction. Thus, to summarize, the objective of the present study are:
To study the communication styles of Iranian at the work place by recognizing communication dimensions; that are formal, informal, and nonverbal.
Identifying the Iranian employees humor at work places
Assessing Iranian employees' communication satisfaction;
Studying and evaluating Iranian employees' OCB; and
Finally, examining the correlation between Iranian employees' communication dimensions and humor with their communication satisfaction at the work place; and the correlation of their communication satisfaction with their OCB.
1.6 Research Questions
There are three main questions and three sub questions in the present study. The main questions and the sub questions are:
Is there a significant relationship between communication cues and communication satisfaction?
Is there a significant relationship between formal communication and communication satisfaction?
Is there a significant relationship between informal communication and communication satisfaction?
Is there a significant relationship between non-verbal communication and communication satisfaction?
Is there a significant relationship between sense of humor and communication satisfaction?
Is there a significant relationship between communication satisfaction and OCB at the work places in Iran?
1. 7 Definitions of Key Variables
A few key words that are extensively used in the present study are:
Organizational citizenship behavior: Organ (1988, p. 4) defined OCB as a behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of an organization
Communication satisfaction: Communication satisfaction refers to the degree of satisfaction that an employee holds with the organization's total communication (Nakra, 2006).
Formal communication: Formal communication is a kind of communication that follows the formal structure or hierarchy of the organization (Guffy, Rhoddes, & Rogin, 2005, p. 22).
Informal communication: This kind of communication is usually based on social relationships in which individuals talk about work and other things, everywhere that they meet each other (Guffy, Rhoddes, & Rogin, 2005, p. 25).
Non-verbal behavior: Nonverbal communication contains all factors related to human communication, which are not communicated orally or in writing (Griffin & Moorhead, 2004, p. 225).
Humor: Humor is any communication (joke, witticism, pun, etc.) that result in laughter or amusement (Smith, Harrington, & Neck, 2000, p. 607).
Significance of the Present Study
The finding of the present study may contribute in practical and theoretical issues in organizational behavior context. From the theoretical perspective, the present study contributes to the literature in several ways. First, the present study will attempt to develop a new model based on social exchange theory (Blau, 1964). Second, this study is one of the earliest researches, which is going to theorize and test how employees' communication satisfaction will affect their participation in OCB. Finally, the present research is probably the pioneer in exploring the effects of humor at work place and relates it to employees' communication satisfaction.
From the practical view, there is a potential contribution of the present research to highlight the connection of Iranian employees' attendance to OCBs by their level of communication satisfaction at workplaces. The present research may have evidence that Iranian employees need to have more “informal connection” and “humor” at their work places. In summary, if any tangible relationships among various communication dimensions (formal, informal, and non-verbal) and humor with communication satisfaction and also between communication satisfaction and OCB can be found in the subordinated organizations, we thus hopefully, may suggest some improvements of communications functions in the Iranian organizations. Later organizations can use to increase the quality of their communication policies.
Organization of Chapters
There are six chapters in the present study. The beginning chapter presents a brief introduction on the research. It contains a background of the study, statement of the problem, research objective, research questions, definition of key variables, and significant of the study. Chapter two is going to present some information about Iran, where the present study is going to be carried out. Chapter three will review relevant theory and related literature from the previous studies and then will provide theoretical framework and will be followed by pertinent hypotheses. Chapter four explains research methodology, sampling procedures, measurement instrument, and statistical analysis. In chapter five surveys, finding, and analysis will be presented. Finally, in chapter six, the concentration will be on discussion of the findings, conclusion, limitations, and suggestions for the future research.