روابط متقابل حمایت اجتماعی و باورهای خوداثربخشی شغلی در ورود مجدد سازمانی مادران
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26317||2012||10 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6513 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 80, Issue 2, April 2012, Pages 390–399
The present study assesses the effects of a lack of social support reciprocity at work on employees' occupational self-efficacy beliefs. We assume that the self-efficacy effects of received support and support reciprocity depend on the specific work context (e.g., phase in the process of organizational socialization). 297 women who returned to work after maternity leave participated at three measurement points (five weeks, eleven weeks, six months after re-entry). We measured self-reported received and provided support as well as occupational self-efficacy beliefs. Women who received a high amount but provided only little support at work (over-benefitting) reported lowered self-efficacy beliefs. As expected, this effect was not found at the beginning of re-entry, but only later, when over-benefitting began to be negatively related to recipients' self-efficacy beliefs. Highlights ► We tested effects of support reciprocity at work on self-efficacy of women after maternity leave. ► Women who received much but provided little support had lowered self-efficacy. ► This effect was not found at the beginning of re-entry, but only later.
Social support at the workplace is often seen as being desirable and beneficial. There is evidence, for instance, that social support is associated with higher levels of job satisfaction (e.g., O'Discroll et al., 2004 and Jokisaari and Nurmi, 2009; see also a meta-analysis by Ng & Sorensen, 2008). But at the same time, there are studies that have demonstrated that social support at the workplace can also be associated with negative outcomes, such as increased negative affect (Buunk et al., 1993 and Deelstra et al., 2003). Why have different studies found such different outcomes? Former research showed that support reciprocity might be responsible for the diverging consequences of social support (e.g., Buunk et al., 1993 and Gleason et al., 2008). Despite the aforementioned research on the effects of support at work on subjective well-being, the effect of support on self-efficacy beliefs has been neglected so far. This is surprising, given the well-documented positive effect of self-efficacy beliefs on employees' job-satisfaction and performance (Judge and Bono, 2001 and Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998). The present study examines whether received social support might endanger an employee's self-efficacy beliefs, if the recipient does not provide comparable amounts of support to his or her co-workers. In other words, we propose that support reciprocity buffers the adverse effect that receiving high levels of support might otherwise have on an employee's capability beliefs. In addition, we assume that the self-efficacy effects of received support and support reciprocity depend on the specific work context. In the present study, we look at work context characteristics in terms of earlier and later phases of the organizational socialization process among mothers who re-enter the workforce after maternity leave. Mothers' organizational re-entry after maternity leave represents a career phase in which women might feel burdened by the multiple demands within the work and family domains and therefore highly benefit from social support. In this situation, over-benefitting (receiving more support than one has provided) is individually and socially accepted, at least for some time. Therefore, at the beginning of organizational re-entry, receiving relatively strong support from colleagues should leave work-related self-efficacy beliefs unaffected. As time goes by, however, over-benefitting might start to have a negative impact. Receiving social support: chances and risks for recipients' self-efficacy beliefs Bandura (1997, p. 3) defines self-efficacy as “beliefs in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given attainments.” These beliefs influence whether an individual initiates coping behavior, how much effort a person invests, and how long he or she persists in face of difficulties and failures (see Bandura, 1977). Generalized self-efficacy beliefs can be distinguished from domain-specific self-efficacy beliefs. As the setting considered in this study is the workplace, occupational self-efficacy beliefs will be examined. They denote the beliefs in one's capacity and motivation to master work-related challenges and to successfully pursue one's occupational career (Higgins, Dobrow, & Chandler, 2008). So far, theoretical models on the relationship between social support and self-efficacy beliefs have mainly focused on positive effects. Benight and Bandura (2004) assume that social support has an enabling function that can enhance self-efficacy beliefs (Enabling Hypothesis). In a study on posttraumatic recovery, they found that social support reduces the likelihood of trauma-related stress by increasing self-efficacy beliefs. The Cultivation Hypothesis by Schwarzer and Knoll (2007) posits the reverse pathway. Self-efficacy beliefs would thus operate as an establisher of support. That is, when people feel they can take the initiative, they cultivate their networks. Indeed, in a sample of patients with radical prostatectomy and their spouses, Knoll, Scholz, Burkert, Roigas, and Gralla (2009) found that people with higher self-efficacy beliefs also reported higher supportive resources. Note, however, that neither the enabling nor the cultivation hypotheses have been tested with respect to support at the workplace. Regarding adverse effects of social support, as mentioned above, empirical research has focused on negative affect. Authors who have identified adverse mood effects have argued that being supported can be unpleasant because receiving social support might lead people to doubt their ability to accomplish their goals and cope with difficulties on their own (e.g., Gleason et al., 2008 and Liang et al., 2001). Hence, implicitly, these authors refer to self-efficacy beliefs. Similarly, several other researchers have theoretically linked receiving support to lowered self-esteem (e.g., Barrera, 1986 and Gleason et al., 2008). According to Barrera (1986), for instance, receiving aid might lower one's sense of self-esteem if it is interpreted as a sign of personal incompetence. Again, this line of interpretation links adverse support effects to self-efficacy beliefs. In a sample of organizational newcomers, Morrison (1993) found that information seeking was negatively related to task mastery. Asking for information might cast doubt on one's own task competence. Given that the negative consequences of receiving support are typically reported to be due to feelings of incapacity (Buunk and Schaufeli, 1999 and Liang et al., 2001), we propose a direct test of the effects of social support on self-efficacy beliefs, as the latter represent capability-related self-beliefs. Although several authors have raised the point that self-efficacy beliefs might be affected by social support, none have empirically tested possible negative effects on these beliefs in the work domain. Support reciprocity as a shield against self-efficacy threats As shown above, research about the impact of social support has shown potential negative and potential positive effects (Buunk et al., 1993 and Deelstra et al., 2003). How can these different results be tied together? While the receipt of too much support at work may be a potential risk to employees' self-efficacy beliefs, they may benefit from being support providers. That is, in contrast to passively receiving support, actively supporting others at work may foster work-related self-efficacy beliefs. Therefore, providing support may serve as a buffer against the adverse effects of an abundance of unwanted support. Likewise, receiving support may be most aggravating and detrimental for the receiver's self-efficacy beliefs if he or she cannot return the help as a provider. The varying findings of previous research about the effect of social support can thus be explained by the moderating role of support provision. Indeed, one explanation for the negative consequences of support is a lack of reciprocity (Buunk and Schaufeli, 1999, Gleason et al., 2003, Gleason et al., 2008 and Uehara, 1995). Uehara (1995) found that people feel obligated to return benefits received from others. Over-benefitting in social interactions, i.e., receiving more support than one has provided, appears to be psychologically and emotionally distressing. Under-benefitting (providing more support than one has received) was also found to be adverse, but not as much as over-benefitting. In fact, with respect to daily affect experiences, Gleason et al. (2003) found that individuals reported increased negative affect and decreased positive affect on days on which they received more support than they provided as compared to days when they provided more than they received or when support was equitable. We thus propose that receiving support at the workplace is not threatening to self-efficacy beliefs as long as it is balanced with providing support. Positive or negative outcomes of social support would therefore depend on support provision and reciprocity. Social support after maternity leave The effects of support as well as of support reciprocity might also depend on the specific work situation, in which support is given and received. Imagine, for instance, an organizational newcomer. This person probably has a lot of questions and may depend on and highly benefit from social support. We specifically examine organizational re-entry in women who were on maternity leave at the time of recruitment, but planned to go back to work within the next weeks. Maternity leave is the time a woman takes off from paid work after birth or adoption of a child. In this study, we refer to any period of time for this leave (from a few weeks to several months or years). Although return to paid work after maternity leave is a common transition of most mothers, psychological research on this topic is rather rare. Previous studies mostly concerned leave length, i.e., they aimed at predicting length of leave, or at examining the impact of leave duration on health/well-being and career outcomes (e.g., Judiesch and Lyness, 1999, Smeaton, 2006, Staehelin et al., 2007 and Wiese and Ritter, in press). During this specific career phase of organizational re-entry, the effects of support reciprocity on women's self efficacy-beliefs are of particular importance, as these women must catch up with new organizational developments, and in addition might feel burdened by the multiple demands within the work and family domains. They are thus very likely to need a degree of social support, both if they return to the organization where they worked before their maternity leave, and if they go back to working life in a new organization. The latter might even have to familiarize themselves with a completely new organizational environment. Despite the importance of both social support and self-efficacy beliefs in the context of return to work after maternity leave, to our knowledge to date no study investigated the impact of support reciprocity at the workplace on self-efficacy beliefs during this transition. Since we expect lacking support reciprocity at the workplace to have detrimental effects on women's self-efficacy, this study seeks to close this research gap. As the effects of support reciprocity might depend on the specific work situation, we do not expect the proposed threat of lacking reciprocity at the very beginning of organizational re-entry. During the very first weeks back at work, receiving help from co-workers without returning an equal amount of help might be perceived as normative and natural and therefore not yet as self-threatening. Lacking reciprocity would thus not be a problem at this point in time. After a while, however, the work situation changes, and the returner becomes experienced again. Now, we suggest the rule of reciprocity to become salient. Hence, as time goes by, lacking reciprocity may be perceived as inappropriate and the returner's period of grace may be over. Thus, we expect the described consequences of over-benefitting for employees' occupational self-efficacy beliefs to evolve only after some time. In other words, we posit that the relation between support reciprocity and self-efficacy beliefs will depend on the time since women's re-entry. At the beginning of organizational socialization, associations may be nonexistent. Later, lacking reciprocity may lead to lowered self-efficacy beliefs. In sum, as over-benefitting in social support, i.e. receiving more support than one provides, has been found to have negative consequences and these have been attributed to feelings of incapacity, we test its effect on self-efficacy beliefs. Since mothers who return to work from a maternity leave are likely to receive social support at the workplace, and self-efficacy is highly important for their success in the work and family domains, it seems very appropriate to investigate this question in this sub-group of employees. Thus, hypotheses are as follows: Hypothesis 1a. Over-benefitting from social support at work is negatively associated with occupational self-efficacy beliefs. Hypothesis 1b. The negative effect of over-benefitting on self-efficacy beliefs increases over time. In sum, although several authors have speculated about a negative relation between support reciprocity and self-efficacy beliefs, none have empirically tested this link. The aim of the present study is to close this research gap by analyzing the self-efficacy effect of support at the workplace. We examine this phenomenon during the phase of organizational re-entry in order to determine whether the norm of reciprocity only comes into play after an initial orientation period, i.e., after returners have reacquired routines and established themselves well enough to be able to support their co-workers.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The interplay of support reciprocity and self-efficacy, two highly important concepts in the context of return to employment after maternity leave, one representing a social and the other one representing a personal resource, has not been investigated so far and contributes to research on social interaction at the workplace as well as to our understanding of transitions in the work–family domains. The present study extends understanding of the role of support reciprocity in the work context. It shows that reciprocity is important for those returners who feel highly supported by their colleagues. Otherwise, their self-efficacy beliefs are endangered. Our results demonstrate that the negative effects of lacking reciprocity start to operate only several months after women's re-entry into professional life. Inequality in support is tolerated at the beginning of the transition, but after about three months, women's period of grace is over. To our knowledge, this is the first study to empirically examine negative effects of social support on self-efficacy beliefs. Therefore, further research has to shed light on the question whether the identified reciprocity effect also holds true for other samples of organizational newcomers.