Returning the Favor? Feeling Obliged and Reported Participation in Discretionary Safety Activities

Laurent, Julie, Chmiel, Nik and Hansez, Isabelle (2021) Returning the Favor? Feeling Obliged and Reported Participation in Discretionary Safety Activities. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. p. 674110. ISSN 1664-1078

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Abstract

Recent research has shown that the reported participation of employees in voluntary safety activities is related to the prevention of accidents and injuries. Encouraging such participation, then, is beneficial to organizations. A key question, therefore, is why employees should choose to report that they engage in such activities: what is their motivation given such activities are not compulsory? We used social exchange theory (SET) and organizational support theory (OST) to develop a model linking perceived organizational support to reports of safety participation. SET postulates that the benefits given (by an organization) are reciprocated with potential benefits to the giver as a result. OST emphasizes that feeling obliged is a key part of why people reciprocate the perceived support they get from their organization. Voluntary safety activities have the potential to benefit an organization, so for the first time, we test whether there is a link between perceived organizational support and the reported participation of employees in such activities, and whether the relationship is mediated by felt obligation. We also test whether another key SET motivation to reciprocate, the anticipated reward, is involved in mediating the relationship. A structural equation model with a sample of 536 workers from a Belgian public company, involved in the production and distribution of safe drinking water and in waste water treatment, supported the hypotheses of the authors. The model showed that felt obligation mediated the relationship between perceived organizational support and safety participation reports, and that the anticipatory reward, in the form of perceptions that management was committed to safety, also mediated the relationship between perceived organizational support and safety participation reports. These processes were shown to be separable from employee job engagement and employee perspectives on whether or not voluntary safety activities were part of their job. The findings add to the understanding of why employees choose reported participation in voluntary safety behaviors and also, add to the literature on OST by demonstrating for the first time the involvement of felt obligation and perceived management commitment to safety as mediators between outcomes and perceived organizational support.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Laurent J, Chmiel N and Hansez I (2021) Returning the Favor? Feeling Obliged and Reported Participation in Discretionary Safety Activities. Front. Psychol. 12:674110. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.674110. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Psychology, social exchange theory, anticipatory reward, felt obligation, safety participation, perceived organizational support, organizational support theory
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Departments > Psychology and Counselling
SWORD Depositor: Publications Router Jisc
Depositing User: Publications Router Jisc
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2021 11:36
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2021 11:36
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/5945

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