Core versus peripheral positions: An integrated model
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The notion of core versus peripheral entities can be found in a variety of disciplines. Common among various conceptualizations of core versus peripheral entities is the differentiation of power among countries, industries, and subunits. Yet, little research has examined the notion of core versus peripheral positions at the individual level. The purpose of my dissertation was to provide a unified definition of core versus peripheral positions in an organization. In short, core positions were defined as those that possess non-replaceable and critical resources with which an organization achieves its goals and missions, but without which many other organizational activities will stop immediately. To sum, employee position was assessed by criticality, non-substitutability, pervasiveness, and immediacy.My dissertation also explored the advantages associated with being in core positions, including higher work, pay, and job security satisfaction, affective commitment, job involvement, power, job security perceptions, in-role performance, and organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs), lower work stress and burnout, and fewer physical health complaints, as well as a disadvantage related to core positions, i.e., work overload. Last, I examined experienced meaningfulness (i.e., the work being done is meaningful) and perceived organizational worth (i.e., the organization values employee contributions) as the mechanisms explaining why core position linked to outcomes. Study 1 with samples from the U.S. demonstrated the reliability and the convergent, discriminant, and incremental predictive validity of the core versus peripheral position scale. Surprisingly, non-substitutability was not significantly related to criticality and negatively related to pervasiveness and immediacy. Study 2 with samples from various Chinese organizations cross validated the core versus peripheral position scale. I used structural equation modeling to examine an integrated model. The best-fitting model indicated that being in a core position linked to perceived organizational worth, which, in turn, resulted in experienced meaningfulness, which, in turn, led to work, pay, job security satisfaction, affective commitment, job involvement, job security perception, in-role job performance, OCBs, stress, burnout, health complaints, but not to power and work overload. Finally, I discussed theoretical implications of the findings regarding organizational psychology in general and positive organizational scholarship in particular, and practical implications for organizations and employees.