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The Double-edged Sword of Employee Authenticity in Coworker Interactions: The Moderating Role of Relationship Duration


目前普遍认为员工在职场中的真诚有助于该员工与同事建立良好的关系。本研究提出员工真诚对同事关系的影响很可能积极和消极并存,其作用效果取决于员工与同事之间的共事时间。基于社会渗透理论并整合归因的文献,本研究认为同事怀疑和同事信任是员工真诚影响同事关系的关键中介机制。为检验本研究理论模型假设,采用轮询问卷法(round-robin survey)和实验法分别开展两个独立调研。结果发现:在共事时间较短的情况下,员工真诚会引发同事怀疑降低同事信任,减少人际帮助并增加人际排斥。在共事时间较长的情况下,员工真诚则有助于打消同事怀疑增加同事信任,增多人际帮助并减少人际排斥。通过引入共事时间作为调节变量,本研究发现员工真诚对同事关系的影响由消极转化为积极需要经过足够长时间的共事才能实现。
[英文摘要]There has been an upsurge of both public and academic interest in authenticity at work. The key assumption in the burgeoning literature is that authenticity helps engender trust and decrease suspicion, thus drawing people closer to each other. In this study, however, we argued that employee authenticity can exert both positive and negative influences on coworker relationships. Using interpersonal help and interpersonal exclusion to represent positive and negative coworker interactions, respectively, we postulated that employee authenticity induces both coworkers’ helping and exclusionary behaviors toward the focal employees. Building on social penetration theory and the literature of attributional ambiguity, we proposed suspicion of ulterior motives and knowledge-based trust to be the theoretical mechanisms explaining coworkers’ behavioral responses to employee authenticity. Further, we suggested that coworkers’ behavioral responses to employee authenticity depend largely on the coworker relationship duration. Specifically, when relationships are new, employee authenticity may cause coworkers to mistrust the focal employees and be suspicious of their ulterior motives, thus decreasing coworkers’ helping behavior and increasing exclusionary behavior. Conversely, when coworkers have worked together for a long time, employee authenticity may increase coworkers’ trust in the focal employees and decrease suspicion, thus facilitating helping behavior and reducing exclusionary behavior.

We conducted two independent studies to examine the hypothesized effects. First, a two-wave round-robin survey study was conducted to test the mediating role of suspicion of ulterior motives in the relationship between employee authenticity and coworkers’ behavioral responses. In the round-robin design, the team members rated each of their teammates, thus capturing the dyadic interactions between the focal employees and coworkers. We collected data from 299 members of 63 work teams in a large company. The final sample consisted of 1,027 dyads. To alleviate the effects of common method bias, we used multiple data sources to measure our variables. Employee authenticity and suspicion of ulterior motives were assessed using self-reports at Time 1. Interpersonal helping behavior was measured using other-rating and exclusionary behavior with self-reports at Time 2. Coworker relationship duration was measured at both times. In Study 2, an experimental study was conducted to test the full model. Employee authenticity and the coworker relationship duration were manipulated. Specifically, the critical incident technique was used to identify the focal employees whose authenticity was high or low and whose relationship duration with the participants was long or short. The participants served as coworkers and were asked to answer questions about the focal employees. The measures used were adapted from Study 1.

In support of the theoretical model, the results showed that the coworker relationship duration moderated the effect of employee authenticity on coworkers’ suspicion of ulterior motives and knowledge-based trust. Employee authenticity was related positively to suspicion and negatively to trust when the relationship duration was short, and related negatively to suspicion and positively to trust when the relationship duration was long. Further, suspicion of ulterior motives was related to interpersonal exclusionary behavior, and knowledge-based trust to interpersonal helping behavior. This research advances the existing understanding of authenticity in three aspects. First, research on coworker relationships has focused largely on social exchange and similarity attraction theories and suggested that employee authenticity facilitates positive coworker interactions. Our study departs from the main perspectives and builds on social penetration theory to propose that time is required for authenticity to exert its positive influence on coworker interaction. Second, our study contributes to social penetration theory in general. This theory was proposed and has been used mainly to explicate how self-disclosure in communication advances interpersonal relationships. This research uses the theory to understand whether and how the action of manifesting one’s inner true self (employee authenticity) affects coworker interactions. Third, this study helps reconcile the inconsistent findings regarding how coworkers react to employee authenticity by stressing the moderating role of the coworker relationship duration.

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From: 汤一鹏
Recommended references: 汤一鹏,贾荣雯,龙立荣,任芷宇,蒲小萍.(2022).员工真诚对同事关系的双刃剑效应:共事时间的调节作用.[ChinaXiv:202201.00062] (Click&Copy)
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[V1] 2022-01-21 10:54:36 chinaXiv:202201.00062V1 Download
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