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Organizational support and motivation theories: Theoretical integration and empirical analysis Open Access


Other title
felt obligation
organizational citizenship behavior
perceived organizational support
behavioral intentions
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Hunter, Karen Heather
Supervisor and department
Gellatly, Ian (School of Business)
Examining committee member and department
Inness, Michelle (School of Business)
Luchak, Andrew (School of Business)
Cummings, Greta (Faculty of Nursing)
Deephouse, David (School of Business)
School of Business

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosphy
Degree level
According to organizational support theory (OST), the relationship between perceived organizational support (POS) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is driven by social exchange mechanisms and mediated by felt obligation (Eisenberger, Armeli, Rexwinkel, Lynch, & Rhoades, 2001). This explanation may be incomplete or limited as well-established motivational concepts are omitted. A new conceptual model is described that extends OST by incorporating the several cognitive motivational concepts (e.g., behavioral intentions, self-efficacy) with the felt obligation concept. The proposed model is tested in two separate studies – an experimental study of undergraduate students (N = 191) and a field study of nurses (N = 171). In the experiment, induced organizational support was found to significantly affect all the dependent variables, including POS, felt obligation, self-efficacy, and intentions. Results of structural equation modeling were generally supportive of the proposed model. POS was found to be positively and indirectly related to both self-efficacy and intentions, through felt obligation. Consistent with expectations, felt obligation was positively related to both self-efficacy and intentions, while self-efficacy was positively related to intentions. The felt obligation-OCB relation was fully mediated by self-efficacy and intentions. As predicted, a positive relationship between intention and OCB was observed. Contrary to expectations, POS was not directly related to self-efficacy. POS-felt obligation was significantly moderated by exchange ideology significantly in the experimental study only. These findings suggest that employees who feel obligated to the organization as a result of high perceived organizational support consider both their ability and form intentions to engage in OCBs before reciprocating. The results suggest that variance in felt obligation is associated with efficacy and goal states. The experimental study presented here successfully pioneers the use of vignettes to experimentally induce variance in POS. This research offers two contributions to theory. First, the present findings extend goal theory by demonstrating that felt obligation influences goal choice. Second, this research extends OST by integrating well-established motivational concepts with social exchange mechanisms to provide more detailed understanding of how POS is translated into OCB, and by demonstrating that reciprocation for POS is more conscious and deliberate than previously recognized.
License granted by Karen Hunter ( on 2010-11-05T16:15:56Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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