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Increasing employees’ engagement in organizational citizenship behaviors within continuous improvement programs in manufacturing: the HR link?

Morton, Susan and Michaelides, Stavroula and Roca, Teresa and Wagner, Wagner (2018) Increasing employees’ engagement in organizational citizenship behaviors within continuous improvement programs in manufacturing: the HR link? IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, 66 (4). pp. 650-662. ISSN 0018-9391

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Abstract

The nature of human relationships (HR) within supply chains has received superficial attention in the drive for continuous improvement (CI). Persistent pressures affecting global engineering companies have limited the potential to address the HR element. Simply transferring mature Western concepts and analytical tools does not capture the dynamics of the global production workforce. This paper proposes a new theoretical perspective, encompassing an evaluative tool, thus moving beyond formulaic implementations of initiatives that erroneously assume maturity of production practices and outcomes. The study helps advance organizations by adding contextualization to the human-centric perspectives of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) and discretionary effort (DE). Case-based data from engineering production workers in Thailand was factor-analyzed to test the research hypotheses. This research reports on an alternative operationalization of these core ideas whilst significantly extending the empirical base through validating the propositions. Further, it contributes and responds to extant literature identifying HR as the missing link in enacting CI programs in practice. The paper addresses this gap, and the data collected support the theory that the proposed HR concepts positively impact organizational CI interventions. Findings have important implications for such interventions encompassing practical and theoretical relevance for global engineering managers with a local engineering production workforce.

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