|Other Abstract||Employee authenticity refers to the unobstructed operation of employees’ true or core self in the workplace. Previous studies suggest that employee authenticity is closely related to employee work wellbeing and performance. However, little is known about its mechanism, and there is a lack of empirical research in the context of Chinese culture. Furthermore, much is to do to reveal the antecedents and objective neurophysiological indicators of employee authenticity. Therefore, this dissertation intends to enrich and deepen the research on employee authenticity from these aspects by the following four studies.
We first conducted a large sample survey in Study 1 and found that the mean level of employee authenticity in China was not high, and significantly lower than that in Western countries. In addition, employee authenticity in China showed some sociodemographical characteristics in age, tenure, gender, marital status, position and industry. Then, drawing on the resource perspective, Study 2 examined the mechanism and boundary conditions of the impact of employee authenticity on employees' work attitudes and behaviors in the Chinese context. The results showed that employee authenticity could be converted into psychological capital (PsyCap), which is a positive psychological resource, and further shaped employees’ work attitudes and behaviors. Leader authenticity, as a positive job resource in employees’ working environment could strengthen this conversion, which, nevertheless, was further limited by employee power distance orientation. Specifically, only when employee power distance orientation was low and leader authenticity was high could employee authenticity be converted into PsyCap, and further shape employees’ work attitudes/behaviors. Study 3 investigated the antecedents of employee authenticity from the organizational context. A three-wave survey was conducted among 1349 Chinese employees. The results showed that the four aspects of organizational context: organization, leadership, colleagues and job characteristics significantly predicted employee authenticity. Except job characteristics, all of these organizational context elements improved employee authenticity by meeting employees' basic psychological needs and psychological safety. Study 4 explored the neuroimaging evidence of employee authenticity with the multimodality magnetic resonance brain imaging technology. The results indicated that employees with high levels of authenticity had a larger area in the left precuneus, a smaller volume in the left amygdala and lower strength in voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity. These characteristics in brain morphology and resting state functional connectivity were further found to be related to employees’ psychological capital, and then affected their work outcomes. In addition, when employees experienced authenticity (vs. inauthenticity) in the simulated workplace situation, the left precuneus, the middle frontal gyrus and the right middle temporal gyrus had higher levels of activation, while the bilateral lingual gyrus had lower levels of activation.
By systematically investigating employee authenticity with four studies in China, this dissertation has several significant theoretical contributions. First, we confirmed the cultural differences of employee authenticity and revealed the status quo and characteristics of employee authenticity in China by a large sample survey, which facilitates the indigenous study on employee authenticity in China. Second, from the perspective of resources, we revealed the mechanism underlying the relationship between employee authenticity and work attitudes/behaviors, as well as its boundary conditions by collecting data from multi-time points and different industries, which, to certain extent, expands the resource theory. Third, we investigated the antecedents of employee authenticity from the organizational context as well as their mechanisms, which provides a theoretical basis for future intervention research on employee authenticity. Finally, we combined the behavioral research and neuroimaging research of employee authenticity, and provided objective neurophysiological indicators for employee authenticity by using multimodality MRI, which adds a neural level to the mechanism of employee authenticity. Meanwhile, this dissertation has practical implications for organizations on how to promote employee authenticity, and further improve their wellbeing and performance.|