Organizational territory, one of the research focuses in recent years, has attracted the attention of OB researchers. Existing research has defined and characterized two kinds of territorial behaviors, namely, marking and defensive behaviors（Brown, Lawrence, & Robinson, 2005）. However, there are still important deficiencies in the connotation and application of the core concept. The existing concept of organizational territory cannot depict and explain all territorial behaviors in organizations. Therefore, theoretical extension and conceptual expansion is needed. By identifying the shortcomings of relevant research and using the exploratory grounded research method, this paper investigates the territorial behaviors in organizations and finds one new kind of territorial behaviors, namely, employee organizational territorial infringement behaviors. Aiming at this new territorial behaviors, this paper explores its definition, investigates the objects of such behaviors, and analyzes its antecedents. Firstly, this paper defines the employee organizational territorial infringement behaviors as the activities（e.g., invasion, violation, intrusion, encroachment and infringement）that employees conduct to gaining the control of others’ territories or depriving others’ control toward their territories without the permission, approval, or authorization of others. The motivation of employees’ organizational territorial infringement behaviors is invading and occupying others’ territories rather than protecting their own territories. Therefore, there are essential differences between territorial infringement behaviors and territorial making and defensive behaviors proposed by Brown, Lawrence, and Robinson（2005）. Such territorial infringement behaviors widely exist in organizations, and have a great impact on individual work, collaboration and the development of organizations. Secondly, this paper divides the object of territorial infringement behaviors into three categories: knowledge territory, power territory, and other resource territory, and compares these three kinds of territory from five aspects: territorial source, territorial nature, territorial boundary, degree of territorial scarcity and the way of territorial infringement behaviors. What’s more, this paper finds that territorial infringement behaviors are affected by three levels of factors: individual factors, rules and regulations, and organization characteristics. Individual factors mainly include competitive desire and personal characteristics. The factors of rules and regulations include the limitation of the formal system, the ambiguity of roles, the irrationality of role division and the prevalence of hidden rules. Organization characteristics mainly include the stage of organizational development and transformation and organizational culture. The conclusion of this paper has certain value for promoting the theoretical progress of organizational territory. Future research can deepen the connotation of territorial behaviors, verify relevant theoretical models, and pay attention to other levels of territorial behaviors.
Concept and Causes of Employee Organizational Territorial Infringement Behaviors: A Grounded Study of Employee Behaviors in a Retail Company
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 42, Issue 04, pp. 107 - 122 (2020) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.20190926.107
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Cite this article
Zhang Jialiang, Wang Qiqi, Liu Jun. Concept and Causes of Employee Organizational Territorial Infringement Behaviors: A Grounded Study of Employee Behaviors in a Retail Company[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2020, 42(4): 107-122.