Are We Friends? Relative Overqualification, Citizenship, and the Mediating Role of Friendship Network Centrality

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Journal of Business and Psychology

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Integrating overqualification research with the social network perspective, we examine how social networks represent a mechanism linking relative overqualification and supervisors’ perceptions of employee organizational citizenship behaviors. Specifically, drawing upon social comparison and social exchange theories, we suggest that relative overqualification (ROQ) has implications for employees’ centrality in a friendship network and that friendship network centrality mediates the relationship between ROQ and supervisors’ perception of a focal employee’s organizational citizenship behaviors directed at coworkers (OCBI). Further, extending social comparison theory to the context of workgroup membership, we identify focal employees’ perception of workgroup team orientation as a moderator determining the strength of the indirect relationship between ROQ and OCBI via friendship network centrality. Multilevel modeling using multi-source time-lagged data from 182 employees and 33 supervisors working in restaurants in the Southwestern United States showed a negative relationship between ROQ and friendship network centrality with friendship network centrality mediating the relationship between ROQ and OCBI. Moreover, the results of path analysis indicated that the indirect relationship between ROQ and OCBI via friendship network centrality was stronger for employees who perceived low levels of team orientation. Implications and directions for perceived overqualification and social network research are discussed.


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Spring Nature