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For the Greater Good: Network Citizenship Behavior and Innovative Behavior in American Local Government Leaders Open Access

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Innovation has an intrinsic relationship with social networks because it provides a mechanism for knowledge and information to travel freely between individuals. Consequently, there is abundant research linking social networks to innovation. However, two critical gaps still exist. First, most research studies use a structural approach, and less attention is paid to the behavioral dimensions in a network. Secondly, the majority of empirical research focuses on egocentric networks or dyadic relationships between two organizations, instead of the network of organizations as a whole. To bridge these gaps, the new concept of network citizenship behavior (NCB) was examined. NCB describes individual extra-role behavior exhibited by those who work in organizations that are part of a goal-directed multi-organizational network that supports the social and psychological environment in which the achievement of network-focused goals takes place. The research study set out to examine the relationship between NCB, measured by an adapted version of Autry, Skinner, and Lamb (2008)’s instrument, and individual innovative behaviors (IIB), measured by Kleysen and Street (2001)’s instrument. A second purpose was to explore the impact of network structural properties, measured by network centrality and tie strength, on NCB, IIB, and the relationship between them. An Internet-based survey was distributed to 348 former participants of an interjurisdictional local government training program in a regional council of governments in the Washington, D.C., area. A total number of 89 effective responses were received. Both instruments were validated and modifications were made before conducting a series of multiple regression analyses to answer the research question. The results of the analyses suggest that NCB predicts 17.8% of IIB’s variance. Among NCB’s four subscales, loyalty explains the most variance in IIB (14.9%), followed by Compliance (11%) and Altruism (10.8%). Tolerance explains only a small fraction of variance in IIB (4.6%). Interestingly, one control variable, boundary spanning status, was found to be negatively significantly in impacting IIB, meaning that people without boundary spanning responsibilities exhibit higher levels of IIB. In addition, the findings of this research study also confirmed that closeness centrality and tie strength predict the exhibition of IIB. However, centrality and tie strength do not have any interaction effect with NCB to predict IIB.

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