The effect of downward counterfactual thinking on organizational citizenship behavior A moderated mediation model of positive meaning in workand perceived organizational support

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Jaehyun Shin
Suran Lee
YoungWoo Sohn


This study examined the effect of downward counterfactual thinking that imaging alternative relationships to the actual positive experiences with coworkers in the past on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), through a moderated mediation model of positive meaning in work and perceived organizational support (POS). To address this mechanism, we conducted an experiment with 106 Korean employees, working in a variety of organizations, by assigning them to either counterfactual or factual conditions randomly. The results showed that participants who were in downward counterfactual thinking condition, manipulated to assume the alternative relationships to the actual positive experiences of helping other employees, evaluated more OCB than those who were in factual thinking condition. Positive meaning in work fully mediated the relationship between counterfactual reflection and OCB. There was also a significant interaction effect between positive meaning in work and POS on OCB. Specifically, positive meaning in work was more strongly associated with OCB as POS increased. Then, the result of examining the conditional indirect effect for a moderated mediation model showed that POS significantly moderated indirect path between positive meaning in work and OCB. Specifically, the mediating effect of positive meaning in work on OCB became stronger as POS increased. Limitations and further directions were discussed.


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Shin, J., Lee, S., & Sohn, Y. (2016). The effect of downward counterfactual thinking on organizational citizenship behavior: A moderated mediation model of positive meaning in workand perceived organizational support. Korean Journal of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 29(2), 107–131.
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