Idiosyncratic Deals and Employee Outcomes: The Mediating Roles of Social Exchange and Self-Enhancement and the Moderating Role of Individualism

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Abstract

The majority of studies on idiosyncratic employment arrangements (“i-deals”) are based on social exchange theory. The authors suggest that self-enhancement theory, in addition to social exchange, can be used to explain the effects of i-deals. Using a multisource sample including 230 employees and 102 supervisors from 2 Chinese companies, the authors adopt a 3-wave lagged design to examine the mediating roles of social exchange and self-enhancement and the moderating role of individualism in the relationships between i-deals and employee outcomes, as indicated by proactive behaviors and affective commitment. The results of bootstrapping analyses confirm the mediating effects of social exchange and self-enhancement. In addition, employees with high levels of individualism are more receptive to self-enhancement effects; in contrast, employees with low levels of individualism are more receptive to social exchange effects.

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