The Effect of Trust in Supervisor on Employee Organizational Citizenship Behaviour and Knowledge Share: Evidence from the Egyptian Hospitality Industry

Document Type : Original Article


Faculty of Hospitality and Tourism, Lincoln University College, Selangor, Malaysia


Rare research was undertaken to investigate the effect of leadership styles on employee organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing in the hospitality context. Drawing on the social exchange theory, the Luxor hotels' employees and their supervisors were engaged in a study which aims to investigate the impact of trust in supervisor on employee organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing. With a sample of 360 employee-supervisor dyads, the construct validity and reliability were ensured, and the findings of the structural equation model supported the impact of trust in supervisor on both organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing. Practically, this paper provided some managerial implications to encourage employees' organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing in the Egypt hospitality industry. For instance, the current paper recommends for Human Resources Directors to engage the candidates of managerial positions in the diagnostic survey of the trusty supervisor behaviour and use the results of this survey as selection criteria.


  1. Introduction

To date, from scholars and practitioners in the hospitality and tourism industry, interesting importance has been given to understand employees' organizational citizenship behaviour  (hereafter OCB; Francis, Alagas, & Jambulingam, 2018; Heydari & Lai, 2019; Kim, Kim, Holland, & Han, 2018) and knowledge sharing (hereafter OCB; Liao, Chen, & Hu, 2018; Nieves & Diaz-Meneses, 2018).  OCB, in contrast, is unique than in-role behaviour and task performance, it indicates employee behaviour that is more appreciated behaviour, less lends to be officially associated with organizational recompenses, and benefits hugely at the workplace  through fostering a favourite psychological and social  climate (Organ, Podsakoff and MacKenzie, 2005; Bolino et al., 2015). OCB is well known as advantageous for both organizations and employees. Individuals having high OCB exceed their job tasks, for instance, mentoring and helping colleagues, encouraging and advising others, becoming engaged and maintaining well informed about the organization, and spontaneity performing extra job duties, and moreover, they are assessed more positively from their leaders in doing job tasks (Bolino et al., 2015).

 Thus, when OCBs are popular in organizations, it creates the workplace more convenient for employees to work and develops and maintains a unique competitive advantage for the organizations (Newman et al., 2017). By way of conclusion, considerable support exists in the literature for the call of OCBs at work are a positive matter (Organ, Podsakoff and MacKenzie, 2005), as well as, several empirical studies have found that OCB is correlated positively with extra-task behaviours (Bauer et al., 2018), job performance (Chiang and Hsieh, 2012), favourable employee attitudes (Nadiri and Tanova, 2010; Walumbwa, Hartnell and Oke, 2010), and negatively with voluntary turnover (Nadiri and Tanova, 2010; Becton et al., 2017).

Another research issue in the current study is employee knowledge sharing (KS). Like any organization, the efficiency of knowledge management plays a great role in hotels' success (Riege, 2005); the employees' motivation for KS is the key to the knowledge management's success (Gagné, 2009). Thus, KS by Ipe (2003, p. 32) which is defined as “the act of making knowledge available to others within the organization” has several positive impacts on firm performance (Wang and Wang, 2012), firm innovation  (Lin, 2007), and service innovative behaviour (Kim & Lee, 2013). The motivation for encouraging employee KS needs ethical and trusty environment and leadership (Renzl, 2008; Bavik et al., 2018).

 KS is considered as a moral challenge in hotels threatens their success and sustainability (Van den Hooff and de Leeuw van Weenen, 2004); as in the workplace, employees refuse to share knowledge with colleagues which is recognized a sever threaten to hotels' competitiveness and survival in the hospitality market (Lin, 2007). Therefore, scholars have paid more attention to reveal the predictors of employee motivation to KS with colleagues (Bock et al., 2005; Bavik et al., 2018).


Yet, OCB and KS are recognized as critical and considerable investigated theoretical and managerial implications (Bolino et al., 2015; Foss, Minbaeva, Pedersen, & Reinholt, 2009). To date, no existed hospitality research has investigated the impact of leadership behaviours on employees' OCB and KS, however, in the workplace setting; leaders have a critical role in managing their subordinates' behaviours and organizational outcomes (Alharthi, Khalifa, Abuelhassan, Isaac, & Al-Shibami, 2020; Alkathiri, Abuelhassan, & Khalifa, 2019; Alshehhi, Abuelhassan, & Bhaumik, 2019). It was recommended that in order to increase employee OCB and KS in the work context, it is necessary to discover the factors that can employee motivation for OCB and KS and they added that employees' trust in leadership may affect their motivation for OCB and KS with their coworkers (Bavik et al., 2018; Kacmar, Bachrach, Harris, & Noble, 2012; Wat & Shaffer, 2004). However, the association between trust in supervisor (TS) and both OCB and KS have been given little attention in the hospitality literature.

The current paper aims to contribute to the hospitality TS, OCB and KS literature through (1) investigate the impact of ST on OCB, and (2) examine the impact of ST on KS in the hospitality industry.  

  1. Theory & Hypotheses Development

2.1. Trust in supervisor (TS)

In the workplace, leaders' behaviours are responsible for employee's' behaviours and performance (Alkathiri, Khalifa, Abuelhassan, Isaac, & Alrajawi, 2019; Alkhateri, Khalifa, & Abuelhassan, 2019; Alsaadi, Abuelhassan, Khalifa, Ameen, & Nusari, 2019; Alsaadi, Khalifa, Abuelhassan, Alrajawi, & Ibrhim, 2019) and trust in organizational leaders is an important character has to consider in managing employees' behaviours and attitudes (Kacmar et al., 2012). TS that is defined as individuals’ evaluations of their leaders’ trustworthiness depended on interactions with the leader (Wong, Wong and Ngo, 2002) plays a vocal role in explaining leadership effectiveness in shaping positive employee behaviours (Yang and Mossholder, 2010). Moreover, some scholars believe that TS is the main key in developing favourable social exchanges between employees and their supervisors which encourages employees' motivation to work for their organizations' sake (Huang et al., 2010; Zhang and Zhou, 2014).

 As it is known that trustees have triple characteristics (Mayer, Davis and Schoorman, 1995):  ability (the authority and competency that strong the trustee to possess impact on trustors' behaviours and actions), benevolence (to what extent the trustee is willing to help and support the trustor), and integrity (the degree of moral and ethical principles that are in the trustee and acceptable to trustor). When a supervisor possesses these characteristics, subordinates will consider his/her as trustworthy. It is important for controlling employees' attitudes, behaviours, and performances that employees see their supervisor as a trustworthy. Because the ability that a supervisor possesses can increase employees' beliefs of the supervisor's competencies and authority in their ability to achieve perfectly their job tasks and get their rights from the organization. The integrity of a supervisor boosts employees' feeling of high personal and organizational justice, fair and integrated ethics policy and high moral standards in the workplace which make the employees adhere to their organizational goals. While the benevolence of a supervisor fosters employees' beliefs of the supervisor's willingness to help, support and encourage employees' performance and promotion, as well as, the supervisor's willingness of taking care of employees' wellbeing and appreciating their contributions (Treviño and Weaver, 2001; Weaver and Trevino, 2001; Dirks and Ferrin, 2002; DeConinck, 2010, 2011).

2.2. Trust in supervisor and organizational citizenship behaviour

The current research adopts Blau's (1964, 2017) theory "the social exchange theory" to link TS with OCB. In the work context, this theory indicates how an employee makes decisions or shows some organizational behaviour relied on particular future outcomes. For instance, when employees anticipate the most favourable outcomes (e.g., profit and rewards) and long-term benefits from their organization, they will reciprocate their organizations with the most favourable behaviours (e.g., OCB). On the other hand, if they expect the most negative outcomes from their organizations, they will find alternatives to reduce costs (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005; Blau, 2017).


Rare hospitality research has discussed the role of trust in emerging OCBs. While, in non-hospitality research, it was highlighted that the existence of employees' OCBs in an organization needs trusting supervisors to achieve their commitments (Wat and Shaffer, 2004). Moreover, supervisors perform as agents of an organization or employer in front of their subordinates (Shanock and Eisenberger, 2006), thus, interactions between a subordinate and immediate leader lead to psychological contracts between the subordinate and employer (Shore and Tetrick, 1994). Hence, supervisors have the ability to support the psychological employee-organization relationship greatly impacts the emerging, developing and servicing of OCBs (Robinson and Morrison, 1995; Wat and Shaffer, 2004).

Earlier, a theoretical perspective was defined by which trust might influence employee behaviour named as "character-based perspective". In a hierarchical relationship, this perspective concentrated on how subordinates' perceptions of their supervisor character impact their vulnerability. Particularly, the trustworthiness of the supervisor is important, given supervisors have the power to make decisions that significantly have an influence on the subordinates such as work assignments, pay, promotions and layoffs (Dirks and Ferrin, 2002). For example, when subordinates feel their supervisor has integrity, capability and benevolence (the three components of trust), they will tend to interest to show desirable behaviours such as OCBs (Dirks and Ferrin, 2002; Caldwell and Clapham, 2003; Mayer and Gavin, 2005). Accordingly, the current study supposes that

H1: Trust in supervisor has a positive impact on organizational citizenship behaviour.

2.3. Trust in supervisor and knowledge sharing

Due to the apprehension of misleading people or criticism, individuals are likely to be timid to share their knowledge, thus, trust is a key element in encouraging KS (Ardichvili, Page and Wentling, 2003; Hsu et al., 2007). Increasing overall knowledge exchange such as shared information and shared vision requires trust in environmental and contextual (e.g., supervisor) factors to decrease KS cost and increase the feeling that KS among coworkers is necessary and reward (Levin, Whitener and Cross, 2006; Renzl, 2008).


As it was mentioned above, a supervisor possesses the ability to manage employees' rewards, promotion, salary, and other benefits (Dirks and Ferrin, 2002; Eisenberger et al., 2002), therefore, employees need to trust that their supervisor will reward and appreciate them for performing extra-role (e.g., knowledge sharing; Renzl, 2008). It was found that ST can influence positively employees' organizational behavior (Kacmar et al., 2012), performance (Braun et al., 2013), and pay their attention to contribute greatly to the organization through extra-role performance (Lam, Loi and Leong, 2013). Also, TS has a positive on employees' work engagement (Chughtai, Byrne and Flood, 2015) which encourage the employees to share their knowledge to professionally perform their tasks (Silic and Back, 2017).

Moreover, when subordinates have trust in their supervisor, it boosts their favorite behaviors (Burke et al., 2007) and increases greatly the exchange of ideas and knowledge in the workplace (Renzl, 2008). Finally, it was found that employee intrinsic motivation has a positive impact on employee KS because intrinsically motivated employees believe that KS as enjoying, interesting, and stimulating activity to meet organizational goals (Foss et al., 2009). Also, it was found that TS significantly stimulates and encourages employee intrinsic motivation (Stine, Thompson and Cusella, 1995; Conchie, 2013). According to this discussion, it is suggested that:

H2: Trust in supervisor has a positive impact on knowledge sharing.

  1. Method

3.1.Sample and procedures

However, Luxor city is considered as one of the oldest historical cities in the world (El-Hassan, Elsayed and Soliman, 2015) and the tourism and hotel industries contribute heavily to its income (Abu-Elhassan, Elsayed and Soliman, 2016), these industries face several challenges and barriers to compete in domestic and global market, thus, much research needed to find practical solutions (Abuelhassan, Elsayed and Soliman, 2017). Thus, the researcher aimed to conduct this research.

After contacting the human resources directors (HRDs) of the Luxor hotels (4 and 5 star hotels), 12 HRDs accepted the participation in the current study with two mandatory conditions for the researcher. The first one is keeping the hotels and employees' information confidential. The second one is giving a comprehensive report concerning the results of the research. The researcher randomly distributed to the questionnaires to hotels' employees and collected them during lunch break. The data was collected from employees and their immediate supervisors to diminish potential common method bias (CMB). The employees were asked to answers the questions related to their perceptions of TS and the control variables (gender, age, education and tenure), while their supervisors were asked to assess their subordinates OCB and KS.

 Nearly four months were consumed for survey distribution and collection. A number of 504 paired employee-supervisor questionnaire sets were distributed for 504 employees and 114 supervisors. Out of 504 paired employee-supervisor questionnaire sets, 360 paired sets (71.4% respond rate) were complete, matched and valid to test the current hypotheses. The majority of the participated employees were male (69.2%), the most groups' age dominated the survey was 30-41 group (35.8%), 41-50 group (27.2%) and 20-30 group (23.1%), more than half of the participants had Bachelor degree (54.4%), and more than third of the participants had work tenure from 4 to 6 years (36.9%), followed by the work tenure group (7-9 years, 25%) and the 1-3 years' group (24.2%). 


The survey's items were originally adopted from English sources, thus, the researcher followed Brislin's (1980) technique which recommends translating the survey items to the participants' mother language by a bilingual translator (English - Arabic in this case) then translating back by another bilingual translator. In the current survey, the differences between the original English copy and the back-translation copy were minor.

Trust in supervisor

Trust in supervisor was measured with the five-item scale from McAllister (1995).

 Employee knowledge sharing

Employee knowledge sharing was measured with the five-item scale from (Bavik et al., 2018).


Organizational citizenship behaviour

Organizational citizenship behaviour was measured with the five-item scale from (Jung and Yoon, 2015).

Control variables

The researcher adopted the recommendation of past research (e.g., Bavik et al., 2018; Jung & Yoon, 2015) to control the variables of knowledge sharing and organizational citizenship behaviour by some demographic characteristics such as gender, age, education and tenure.  Given these characteristics may impact the variables of knowledge sharing and organizational citizenship behaviour.


  1. Results

Fig 1: The results of CFA



4.1.Confirmatory factor analysis

The correlations of the study variables with their means, standard deviations are shown in Table 1. The three study variables are positively correlated with each other; TS has positive correlations with OCB (r = 0.44, p < 0.01) and KS (r = 0.37, p < 0.01), and OCB has a positive correlation with KS (r = 0.44, p < 0.01). To assess the construct validity of the three variables, the confirmatory factor analyses (CFA) were performed using SPSS AMOS 21. The results of CFA indicated the research model has a good fit with the data such as  χ2/(degrees of freedom [d.f]) = 1.40 (should be less than 3, Bentler & Bonett, 1980), the normed fit index (NFI) = 0.95 and Comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.99 (should be equal or above 0.90, Bentler & Bonett, 1980), useddgoodness-of-fit index (GFI) = 0.96 and adjusted useddgoodness-of-fit index (AGFI) = 0.94 (should be higher than 0.80, Seyal, Rahman, & Rahim, 2002), and root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.03 (should be equal or less than 0.08, Browne & Cudeck, 1989), see Fig 1.


Table 1: The Results of Constructs' Validity, Reliability, and Correlations






Factor loadings




































Note: ** = p<0.01; OCB= Organizational Citizenship Behavior; TS= Trust in Supervisor; KS= Knowledge Share, AVE's values are highlighted bold numbers in the correlation section.


Additional tests to evaluate the construct reliability and validity are alpha reliability coefficients and composite reliability (CR) for testing the reliability, as well as, the average variance extracted AVE and factor loading for testing the convergent validity and comparing the values of the AVE for each variable with its correlations for testing the discriminant validity. The findings in Table 1 present that (1) the Alpha and CR for each variable is higher than 0.60 highlighting high reliability (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988). (2) The AVE's values of each variable's items are higher than 0.5, while the factor loading of the three variables' items are above 0.50, for example, the trust in supervisor's items have values ranging from 0.63 to 0.78, the organizational citizenship behaviour's items have values ranging from 0.74 to 0.83, and the knowledge sharing's items have values ranging from 0.67 to 0.81, confirming convergent validity (Bagozzi and Yi, 1988). (3) The AVE's values of each variable are higher than any correlation in Table 1, confirming discriminant validity (Fornell and Larcker, 1981). 

Fig 2: The results of SEM


However, the researcher collected the data from two different sources, but two variables (organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing) were rated by one source (supervisors). Therefore, a common method biases may have existed in the collected data. Accordingly, Harman's one-factor test was performed including the ten items of the two variables and the results highlighted that no common method bias in the study data because the greatest variance explained for the ten items was (42.31%) lower than 50% (Podsakoff & Organ, 1986).

Table 2: The Results of SEM

Independent Variables

Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Knowledge Sharing



































Trust in Supervisor







Note: ** = p<0.01


4.2.Hypothesis testing


For testing the two study hypotheses, the structural equation model (SEM) using SPSS AMOS 21 was performed, see Fig 1. Hypotesis1 states that employees' perceptions of TS have a direct impact on their OCB, after controlling employee education (b = -0.09, ns), tenure (b = 0.02, ns), age (b = -0.08, ns), and gender (b = 0.00, ns), the findings present that TS had significantly a positive direct effect on OCB (b = 0.45, t= 8.18), supporting Hypothesis 1 (Table 2).  Hypotesis2 mentions that employees' perceptions of TS have a direct influence on their KS, after controlling education (b = -0.08, ns), tenure (b = 0.01, ns), age (b = -0.10, ns), and gender (b = 0.07, ns), the findings show that TS had significantly a positive direct effect on KS (b = 0.39, t= 8.00), supporting Hypothesis 2 (Table 2).


  1. Discussion and Contributions


This paper tested the dual impacts of TS on both OCB and KS of employees from the Luxor hospitality industry in Egypt. This paper contributes to the hospitality literature by providing theoretical and empirical evidence concerning TS, OCB, and KS from the hospitality context.


5.1. Theoretical implications


The first contribution is highlighting the positive effect of TS on employee OCB in the hospitality industry. This finding is consistent with previous work in non-hospitality studies. A recent study conducted by Kacmar, Bachrach, Harris, and Noble (2012) it was argued that TS plays an important role in developing employee OCB. A trustworthy supervisor is likely to concentrate to help and support his/her subordinates to perform their work tasks professionally (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990).  Given OCB tents to improve employee task performance, trustworthy supervisors may greatly tend to foster their employees to participate in citizenship behaviours in order to meet and perform their work aims (Podsakoff et al., 2009). Another reason to encourage employees to involve in OCB is that trustworthy supervisors have the ability to develop an environment which boosts OCB (Wat and Shaffer, 2004), in such a way, when supervisors are fair and dependable, for the sake of supervisor and organization (reciprocate condition), subordinates are interested to take risks in terms of expenditure of cognitive resources and time to practice organizational citizenship behaviour.


From the present findings, it is confirmed that employees engage in KS behaviours because they perceive trust in their supervisors. Particularly, the employees' perceptions of trust decrease their fair of criticism and shy feeling to share their knowledge with their coworkers (Hsu et al., 2007). Also, the perceptions of TS increase their expectations that their supervisor will reward and appreciate their efforts in sharing their knowledge to achieve higher performance (Levin, Whitener and Cross, 2006).


5.2. Practical implications


The hospitality industry is one of the important industries contributes to the country's' economy (Alareefi et al., 2019; Sudigdo, Khalifa and Abuelhassan, 2019; Widjaja, Khalifa and Abuelhassan, 2019)and practical implications are needed to develop and grow this industry (Abuelhassan, Alareefi and Abdelgawwad, 2018; Abdulla et al., 2019). According to the current findings, hotel management should believe that the critical performance of OCB and KS for organizational success, effectiveness and survive has much been known by practicing leaders' behaviours. Dedicated decenniums of studies in the OCB's area have highlighted the importance of OCB (Francis et al., 2018; Podsakoff et al., 2009; Robinson & Morrison, 1995) and KS (Hendriks, 1999; Levin, Whitener and Cross, 2006; Hsu et al., 2007) in improving organizational leverage in the competition and efficiency through a plurality of ways. The current findings revealed that TS has a great influence on simulating both OCB and KS in the hospitality industry.


Practically, hotels' managers should know that employee OCB is voluntary extra-role behaviours not part of employees’ formal job requirements. Also, they should understand that this behaviour has a great impact on the effectiveness of organizations through developing and supporting the psychological and social context that foster job duties (Organ, Podsakoff and MacKenzie, 2005; Bolino et al., 2015; Jung and Yoon, 2015). Moreover, the managers should appreciate the role of employee KS in achieving their hotels' goals. Given employee KS mostly includes collective knowledge interchange among colleagues, involving receiving and sending information (Van den Hooff and de Leeuw van Weenen, 2004). Employee KS relies on to what extent the quality of a sender-receiver relationship, therefore, Knowledge share is not an easy task to push colleagues to share their knowledge together because it is often highly personal (Szulanski, 1996; Foss et al., 2009). The current findings found that employees' perceptions of trust in their supervisor can be utilized instruments to facilitate and encourage OCB and KS among the employees. However, prior scholars have paid great attention to reward plans (Minbaeva, 2005; Beugelsdijk, 2008), but they rarely focus considerable attention on trust in supervisors as an antecedent of employee OCB and KS.


Given training programs are critical in hotels' performance ( Alareefi et al., 2019; Abuelhassan and Elsayed, 2020). The current research suggests for Human Resources Director providing the hotels' managers and supervisor training programs related to trust. These training programs should illustrate the importance of trust in encouraging employee voluntary extra-role behaviours through increasing their perceptions of some leaders' characters such as ability, integrity, and benevolence which enable the employees to trust in their leaders. Furthermore, Alkathiri, Khalifa, Abuelhassan, Isaac, and Alrajawi (2019), Alsaadi, Abuelhassan, Khalifa, Ameen, and Nusari (2019), and Alshehhi, Abuelhassan, & Nusari, 2019) recommend evaluating regularly employees' perceptions of their leaders' behaviours in order to monitor the leaders' behaviours and practices among their subordinates. Accordingly, it is necessary to assess the hotels' employees' perception of trust in the hotels' supervisors at least once per year.



5.3.Limitations and future research


In light of some limitations like any study, the current paper provides some theoretical and practical implications and future research. First, the present study concentrates on trust on supervisor in impacting employee citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing. researchers, in future research, should test the impact of other leadership behaviours on these two employee behaviours such as perceive supervisor support (Alkhateri et al., 2018), ethical leadership (Alkathiri et al., 2019; Alkathiri, Khalifa, et al., 2019), transformational leadership (Alshehhi, Abuelhassan and Bhaumik, 2019; Alshehhi, Abuelhassan and Nusari, 2019), or empowering leadership (Alsaadi et al., 2019), because these leadership styles have positive impacts on favourable employee behaviours. Second, this study was conducted in the Egyptian hospitality context. For generalizing the present findings, future research should be conduct in other geographic areas and industries (Alharthi et al., 2020; Alshamsi, Ameen, Nusari, Abuelhassan, & Bhumic, 2019). Finally, this research supposed direct relationships and research gap still exists. Future research should indicate how and when can trust is supervisor influence both organizational citizenship behaviour and knowledge sharing using mediating and moderating mechanism.

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