Let’s agree to disagree?: The impact of perceptual gap of work environment on self-directed behavior

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Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to identify and understand the dynamics among perceptual gap of work environment between a supervisor and subordinates; personal psychological capital; self-directed behavior in a non-Western manufacturing work context. Design/methodology/approach: This study investigated 288 dyadic relationships between supervisors and subordinates from 43 technical teams that came from six different large automotive part manufacturing companies in South Korea. Sobel test technique was mainly used to examine the effects of the perceptual difference of work environment. Findings: The results indicated that the supervisor’s perceptual gap of work environment from subordinates had a negative association with their self-directed behavior, B = 0.233, SE = 0.103, p = 0.023. On the other hand, the negative effect of supervisor’s perceptual gap showed the competitive mediation effect through an indirect path to the positive psychological capital (PsyCap), Sobel B = 0.126, SE = 0.061, p = 0.037. This finding showed that providing a high level of autonomous work environment is not sufficient to get employees to show a high level of self-directed behavior if the perceptual gap is not well managed. Originality/value: Adding to the existing research that studies self-directed behavior or proactive behavior in the Western high-tech or service work context, this study extended our understanding about the impact of the perceptual gap of work environment in the hierarchical and highly standardized non-Western manufacturing context.

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International Journal of Conflict Management

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