A Social Network Perspective of Employee Overqualification to Outcomes Relationships in Workgroups
Integrating overqualification research with the social network perspective, and emphasizing social exchanges among organizational members, I propose to examine how social networks unpack the relationship between perceived overqualification and organizational outcomes. Specifically, I suggest that perceived overqualification (POQ) has implications for employees’ centrality in a friendship network and that friendship network centrality (FRDNC) mediates the relationships between perceived overqualification and organizational outcomes (operationalized as organizational citizenship behaviors directed at coworkers [i.e., OCBI] and turnover intentions). Further, adopting a contingency approach to overqualification, I propose to identify contextual variables that determine the strength of perceived overqualification-social network-outcomes relationships. Social comparison theory integrated with social exchange and person-group fit theories provide the conceptual foundations for my predictions. Multi-level modeling using data from 222 employees nested in 40 workgroups showed a negative relationship between POQ and FRDNC with FRDNC mediating the relationship between POQ and OCBI. Moreover, moderation analyses demonstrated a positive relationship between POQ and OCBI in workgroups with high task interdependence and a negative relationship between POQ and OCBI in workgroups with low task interdependence. Finally, the results showed a positive relationship between POQ and turnover intentions, with group overqualification and friendship network density weakening this relationship. Supported by the study results, I assert that viewing employees’ overqualification in isolation may represent a partial (or even an erroneous) picture, and accounting for employees’ social context of workgroup membership, workgroup attributes, and social networks is imperative in theorizing about and developing effective managerial practices revolving around overqualification.
Jahantab, Farid, "A Social Network Perspective of Employee Overqualification to Outcomes Relationships in Workgroups" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27835320.