Labour Studies Index

Quand mobiliser et proximité riment : le rôle déterminant du supérieur immédiat

Document type Article
Author Bentein, Kathleen
Author Quenneville, Nadine
Author Simard, Gilles
Journal Relations Industrielles / Industrial Relations
Volume 63
Date 2008
ISSN 0034-379X, 1703-8138
Pages 189-222


Cet article examine l’influence de la perception de certaines pratiques de gestion des ressources humaines sur les comportements de mobilisation des employés, au travers de deux processus d’échange sociaux distincts, employé-organisation et employé-supérieur. Les comportements de mobilisation étaient évalués par les supérieurs et toutes les autres variables par les employés. Les analyses ont été réalisées sur un échantillon de 222 employés et 38 supérieurs de commerces au détail d’une chaîne canadienne. Nous avons établi les relations à l’aide de la méthode d’équations structurelles avec LISREL. Les résultats mettent en relief le rôle fondamental de la relation d’échange social entre les employés et leur supérieur, à travers la perception de support et de l’engagement affectif orientés vers ce dernier., This article presents the results of a study highlighting the role of perceived support and affective commitment in the relationship between the perception of three human resource management practices and two types of employee mobilization behaviours, as assessed by their supervisor. This study sought to explore the relationship between skills development practices, non-monetary recognition and information sharing, on the one hand, and mobilization behaviours in two categories or “areas” of performance, that is, behaviours related to work contract compliance and those related to high job performance, on the other. The concept of mobilization behaviours and its background will be presented in detail. This concept is part of a broader model, that of mobilizing human resources, which will also be presented. In light of research advances in this field, we measured two agents of support and commitment, that is, the supervisor and the organization .We chose management practices which are used in a discretionary manner by the organization but especially by supervisors. Indeed, deliberate intervention on the part of the supervisor increases the influence of these practices on the level of support perceived by employees. The social exchange and norm of reciprocity theories were used to explain the relationships between the different variables in our model. The social exchange theory helps to explain an employee’s decision as to whether or not to contribute to the well-being of the organization in response to the exchange relationships that he or she has experienced at work. Based on the postulate of reciprocity, it is understood that employees tend to show affective commitment to the organization and the supervisor, insofar as they also perceive that the latter are committed to them. More specifically, through positive initiatives such as the implementation of human resource management practices, the organization and the supervisor foster perceived support by getting across the symbolic message to employees that they are valued and taken into consideration. In response to this perceived support, employees develop affective commitment, that is, an emotional attachment to the organization and the supervisor. It is therefore postulated that employees who perceive support from the organization and the supervisor, through the implementation of discretionary human resource practices, will feel a moral obligation to repay these benefits, by demonstrating affective commitment and adopting mobilization behaviours. In this regard, it is recognized that mobilization is above all fostered by significant reciprocity relationships which are maintained through moral and social debts. We thus studied two social exchange relationships, that between the employee and the organization, and that between the employee and the supervisor. We also hypothesize that an employee’s commitment to the supervisor will lead him or her to display a greater number of mobilization behaviours related to work contract compliance, as these behaviours are likely to be particularly beneficial to the supervisor on a day-to-day basis. In order to eliminate common variance problems, we measured the employees’ mobilization behaviours (related to work contract compliance and high job performance) through a supervisor questionnaire, and the explanatory variables through an employee questionnaire. Analyses were carried out on a sample of 222 employees and 38 supervisors in a Canadian retail chain. Relationships were determined using structural equation modelling with LISREL. We also established the discriminant validity of the constructs by comparing various measurement models using LISREL. Lastly, alternative models were developed in order to assess the mediating effects of support from and commitment to the organization and the supervisor. Our results show that a favourable perception of skills development, non-monetary recognition and information sharing was positively linked to the perception of organizational support. Of these three practices, only information sharing was not associated with the perception of organizational support through the perception of support from the supervisor. Skills development and non-monetary recognition, on the other hand, positively influenced the perception of support from the supervisor which, in turn, reinforced the perception of organizational support. The relationships between the perception of organizational support, affective organizational commitment and high job performance behaviours, as assessed, were significant, as were the relationships between the perception of support from the supervisor, affective commitment to the supervisor and behaviours related to work contract compliance and high job performance, as assessed. Lastly, the link between affective commitment to the supervisor and behaviours related to work contract compliance, as assessed, was stronger than that between affective organizational commitment and these same behaviours, as assessed. Comparing alternative models to the structural model proposed made it possible to gather evidence regarding the mediating role of affective organizational commitment and affective commitment to the supervisor in the relationship between the perception of organizational support, the perception of support from the supervisor and mobilization behaviours. We set out to assess the explanatory power of perceived support and affective commitment involved in the relationship between employees, their supervisor and the organization. Our conclusions indicate that the relationship between employees and their supervisor in the retail trade industry is significant and should be taken into consideration by organizations that wish to foster the mobilization of employees through various human resource practices. Thus, we discovered that in response to the quality of their relationship with their supervisor, employees adopt a wide range of mobilization behaviours., Este artículo examina la influencia de la percepción de ciertas prácticas de gestión de recursos humanos sobre los comportamientos de movilización de los empleados, a través de dos distintos procesos sociales de intercambio, empleado – organización y empleado – superior. Los comportamientos de movilización fueron evaluados por los superiores y todas las otras variables fueron evaluados por los empleados. Los análisis se efectuaron sobre una muestra de 222 empleados y 38 superiores de comercios de detalle de una compañía canadiense. Las relaciones se establecieron con la ayuda del método de ecuaciones estructurales con LISREL. Los resultados resaltan el rol fundamental de la relación de intercambio social entre empleados y sus respetivos superiores, mediante la percepción de apoyo y de compromiso afectivo.