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The Influence of Organizational Demography on Customer-Oriented Prosocial Behavior:An Exploratory Investigation

Journal of Business Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0148-2963(98)00094-0
  • Psychology


Abstract This research examines the relationship between two constructs that so far have been studied independently of each other: organizational demography and prosocial organizational behavior (POB). Drawing on social psychology and organizational behavior literatures, we develop a conceptual framework that proposes how these constructs are interrelated. The framework suggests two hypotheses. First, diversity variables high in job-relatedness and low in visibility will be positively related to customer-oriented POB. Second, diversity variables low in job-relatedness and high in visibility will be negatively related to such POB. In a field study, we conduct a preliminary test of these predictions. Specifically, we use company records and questionnaire data (from a firm in the nonalcoholic beverage industry) to compute associations between demographic diversity and prosocial behavior in 223 work units. Results provide preliminary support for our hypotheses. Consistent with the first prediction, functional background diversity has a significant positive association (β = 0.26, p < 0.01) with the customer-oriented POB of work units, as does company tenure diversity (β = 0.16, p < 0.05). Consistent with the second prediction, gender diversity has a significant negative association (β = −0.13, p < 0.05) with customer-oriented POB; race diversity is also negatively related to POB (β = −0.11), but at a marginal significance level. These findings lend credence to our conceptual framework and suggest that further study of its components is warranted.

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