Hong Kong firefighters person-organization fit and organizational citizenship behaviour

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The purposes of this study were threefold. The primary goal was to examine the fit between the expectations of the management of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department and the self expectation of the front line firefighters on work values. Another goal of this study was to identify the Organizational Citizenship Behaviours (OCB) that are specific to the Hong Kong firefighters and to examine their relationships with favourable organizational behaviour outcomes (i.e. high job satisfaction and organizational commitment, low work stress and ill health). The final goal of this study was to examine the role of supervisors in influencing the firefighters' motive for OCB and its effect on their work attitudes and wellbeing. The Organizational Citizenship Behaviours of the Hong Kong firefighters (FOCB) were identified and validated in a questionnaire survey of 310 Hong Kong firefighters. FOCB not only represents the front line firefighters' expectations of a "Good Firefighter", it also depicts their actual behaviours. FOCB was favourably associated with all outcome measures, suggesting that a Good Firefighter is not only a committed firefighter but is also likely to be happier and healthier firefighter. The management's expectation of an Ideal Firefighter was also identified via analysis of organizational context and rituals. The findings revealed a lack of fit between the expectations of the management and that of the firefighters. Good Firefighters appeared to be concerned very much with values that aimed at satisfying deep needs for self direction, achievement, social relationships, benevolence and personal goal orientation. The management, however, showed less concern on these values and were focused primarily on job performance, through the conservation of organizational tradition, in particular, the paramilitary power and control mechanism. Practical human resource management implications, such as person-organization fit through alignment of values, recruitment selection and value training were discussed. This study also examined the effects of different motives for Organizational Citizenship Behaviours (OCB) on the work attitudes and wellbeing of the actors. In this regard two new OCB types, namely Instrumental and Genuine OCB, based on the respondents' perceived supervisory support of their overt FOCB, were introduced. It was hypothesized that enacting genuine OCB, disregarding negative perceived supervisory support, was detrimental to the actor's job satisfaction, organizational commitment, works stress and general health condition. The hypotheses were verified. The findings revealed that the favourable outcomes of the FOCB could best be attained with the perceived support of the supervisors. The theoretical implications of the findings are also discussed. Although this study pertains primarily to the Hong Kong firefighters, the universality of the fire service work context and values, implies that the findings may have important implications for fire services worldwide. It is hoped that the present study will trigger other international fire departments' concerns about person-organization fit and a further close examination of their organizational culture and values.
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