chapter  6
24 Pages

Culture, Norms, and Obligations: Cross-National Differences in Patterns of Interpersonal Norms and Felt Obligations Toward CoWorkers

Organizational theorists and researchers have identified several distinct ways in which employees come to feel obligated to contribute by assisting others in the workplace. These analyses of workplace obligation can be understood in relation to more general principles of social influence (see Cialdini, 1993). For instance, a tradition flowing from Weber’s (1947) studies of bureaucracy links obligation to employees’ perceiving leaders as holding a position within a legitimate system of rules-in short, the principle of legitimate authority. A subsequent tradition contends that obligation to leaders reflects an

instrumental exchange of information and resources-that is, the principle of reciprocity (Blau, 1955). Other traditions emphasize the obligation that employees feel in solidaristic peer relationships and attribute it to the affective rewards of friendship-in short, the principle of liking (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). Empirical studies in each of these traditions of organizational research have extensively documented how feelings of interpersonal obligation drive employees to contribute to work organizations.