Reducing Negative Influence of Coworker Withdrawal Behavior
Group InfluenceOften, an employee will feel safer engaging in withdrawal behaviors when the work group’s level of such behaviors is high and not reprimanded. The employee is, in essence, given the opportunity to engage in withdrawal behavior without being detected or punished. An employee may also face the group’s criticism for not conforming to the norm of engaging in withdrawal behaviors. Although the individual is susceptible to the influence of the group and may reap benefits for conforming to the group, some individuals are able to resist engaging in the normed withdrawal behaviors. This is likely due to the individual’s perceived organizational support and feeling of obligation to return the favorable treatment received from the organization.
Returning the FavorPerceived organizational support is when an employee believes he or she is receiving favorable treatment from the organization. Often times when an employee is high in perceived organizational support, he or she will feel obligated to return this favorable treatment to the organization. This relationship is referred to as a positive exchange relationship. Engaging in this relationship serves 3 functions for the employee:
- Employee maintains a positive self-image.
- Employee avoids violating the established norm of reciprocity with the organization.
- Employee continues to benefit from the positive treatment of the organization.
Enhance Perceived Organizational SupportTo reduce the negative influence of work groups high in withdrawal behaviors one should not only reprimand negative behaviors to prevent their contagion but work to enhance employees’ perceived organizational support by:
- Recognizing positive organizational actions (e.g., giving a gift certificate or formal recognition to an employee who stayed late to help a coworker complete a project).
- Treating all employees fairly.
- Showing care for employees’ well-being.
- Providing favorable rewards to employees.
- Improving job conditions.
The DeGarmo GroupThis was a summary of the research and practice implications from: Eder, P., & Eisenberger, R. (2008). Perceived Organizational Support: Reducing the Negative Influence of Coworker Withdrawal Behavior. Academy of Management Journal, 34, 55-68.