Organizational Citizenship Behavior Research Paper

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Behavior, Workplace, Citizenship, Organization, Employee, Performance, Psychology, Role

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/10/17


This paper discusses the construct of Organization Citizenship Behavior (OCB). Today the working environment of organizations has changed. It has not been the same as it was in the past. It has changed from structured to flexible working environment where the roles of employees are ambiguous sometimes. Organizations want from its employees to go beyond from their routine duties and tasks, and to support their co-workers. So that organizations can be successful and flourish. This concept is called “Organizational Citizenship Behavior”.
The conceptual analysis of Organizational Citizenship Behavior they have been explained in this article. Different taxonomies have been reviewed as well. Moreover the predicators and pitfalls have been detailed in this paper.


Katz and Kahn (1966) first note the self-governing behavior of employees in the work place but Organ arranged such behavior in precise form and introduced as “Organizational Citizenship Behavior” It is defined as those extra work related behaviors which go above and beyond the routine duties prescribed by their job descriptions or measured in formal evaluation. It involves those discretionary behaviors that are not part of a job description of an employee but those behaviors are performed by the employees and are beneficial for the effective functioning of the organization. Typically organizational citizenship behavior refers to help the newcomer in understanding his task, to help the co-worker in accomplishing his assignment. But organizational citizenship behavior also includes the organizational related task e.g. to work over time without expectation of rewards, to arrange the functions of organization. Organizational citizenship behavior aims to protect the organization against destructive and unfavorable behaviors which forecloses the organization’s healthy operations, improves incumbents’ skills and abilities and increases performance and productivity of organization by effective coordination. In this respect OCB is very closely related with organizational learning, adaptations for environment and incumbents’ loyalty, commitment, performance and altruism (Basım & Şener, 2006).
OCB is classified into two types which can be called as OCB-Organizational and OCB-Individual (Williams and Anderson, 1991). OCB-Organizational benefits the organization in general such as adhering to informal rules devised to maintain order. OCB-Individual benefits specific individuals and indirectly contributes the organization such as taking a personal interest in other employees.

OCB (A Conceptual Analysis)

A basic concept used in the research of job performance is that outcomes at the work are depends on the role behavior related to specific tasks and responsibilities. Work role involves diverse set of behaviors which includes non-task behaviors as well. These task and non-task behaviors are defined by Katz (1964). Three basic non task behaviors described by him as following.

They should have specific role requirements

There should be some kind of spontaneous activity that goes beyond role prescriptions
Scholars of Organizational behavior have differentiated between the core technical duties from the extra role activities. Katz and Kahn (1978) proposed that to achieve higher organizational performance, employees should get themselves engaged in extra role performance along with their technical duties.
In the last two decades, OCB has gained much more attention because it was presumed that organizational citizenship behavior increase organizational performance (Organ, 1988). This assumption was an important part of Organ’s (1988) definition of OCB. He defined OCB as a discretional individual behavior which may not be rewarded by the formal reward system, and in turn increases organizational performance or promotes effective functioning of the organization. Behavior is not enforceable but is a matter of personal choice.
Interest in behavior that fits in OCB has gained much more attention lately. There is some sort of inconsistency in the scholars regarding the terminology. Many different terms have been coined for the same concepts as the term ‘pro-social organizational behavior’ (Brief& Motowidlo, 1986), ‘civic organizational behavior’ (Graham, 1991), ‘extra-role behavior’ (Van Dyne &Cummings, 1990), ‘organizational spontaneity’ (George & Brief, 1992), and ‘contextual performance’ (Bormann & Motowidlo, 1993).
Some difference exists in these constructs coined by different scholars but recent study suggested that it may be beneficial to found some common grounds. Organ (1997) said that it OCB may be best represented as synonyms with contextual performance (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993) but he still wanted it to be called as organizational citizenship behavior.
Wilson (2000) defined OCB as a way to help others which involves activities implicating more commitment than spontaneous help in which time s given to help others or to benefit other person or group of persons. OCB is conceptualized with social responsibility and communal work, both of which do not involve any kind of monetary payment for the work performed (Noon & Blyton, 1997).
Therefore OCB can be defined as a behavior which a person performs with his/her free will, which is not expected nor it is an obligation, and so it can’t be rewarded formally or any punished in case of absence of such behavior. Schnake (1991) gives three reasons why OCBs does not get affected by organizational influences:

It is difficult to include OCB in formal appraisals as it is hard to rate it objectively.

In order to help other people it may deviate people from their work.
In case of non-performance, organization can’t punish the employees as OCB is not a contractual behavior.
OCB is also called or defined in terms of social exchange because of the aforementioned reasons.
Taxonomies of OCB
Several other categories of OCB have been given by various scholars. Such as Van Dyne, Graham, and Dienesch (1994) suggested four dimensions of OCB which included social participation, loyalty, obedience and functional participation. The first dimension, social participation is linked with altruism and courtesy; loyalty which is the second dimension, is associated with sportsmanship and somehow related to civic virtue; obedience includes factors of conscientiousness and civic virtue. The last and the final dimension, functional participation is not anyhow related to Organ’s dimension of OCB.
MacKensie, Podsakoff, and Paine (1999) proposed three dimensions of OCB. Those dimensions were sportsmanship, civic duty and helping behaviors. The first dimensions sportsmanship involves doing work and digesting the environment without expressing discontent or unhappiness. The second dimension civic duty relates to extra role behavior which involves participating constructively in different processes of the organization although it is not required or part of the job. Helping behavior involves assisting others by providing support to them and going beyond the job requirements.
Williams and Anderson (1991) proposed the inclination of Organ’s OCB dimensions towards individual and organization. Organizational citizenship behavior that is inclined towards individual (OCBI) is different from Organizational citizenship behavior directed towards organizations (OCBO). Altruism and courtesy are directed towards OCBI whereas the other three of them i.e. sportsmanship, conscientiousness and civic virtue is directed towards OCBO. In accordance with Williams and Anderson (1991), Coleman and Borman (2000) analyzed and proposed three types of behavior depending on the beneficiary of the behavior:

Interpersonal Citizenship Performance

This dimension is associated with OCBI as it involves behavior that welfares other members in the organization and includes Organ’s altruism and courtesy.

Organizational Citizenship Performance

This dimension is similar to OCBO and involves behavior that benefits whole of the organization and it involves Organ’s conscientiousness, sportsmanship and civic virtue.

Job-Task Citizenship Performance

This dimension is based on individual’s behavior to enhance his or her own performance, dedication and commitment towards the job, perseverance on the job and the extra role efforts. It is not related to any of the Organ’s dimensions and it is outside the scope of that, but it relates to functional participation (Van Dyne et al., 1994).

Encouraging OCB at Workplace

Antecedents that are described previously can be used to increase the OCB level. Following are some other dimensions that supervisors can used to increase OCB.

Office Social Environment

Office environment should be conducive for employees to exhibit OCB. Some working norms such as no one should speak up in front of supervisor, everyone should mind their own business create the environment that decreases OCB among employees. Norms are difficult to change but office environment can be so made that it creates the culture of social interactions among employees by arranging office functions, arranging birthday’s parties of employees. It will enhance the social interaction among employees and they will be more willing to perform OCB.
Training and education should be given to management about OCB so that they should be aware and support OCB. They may encourage OCB by formal reward system or include it in their performance appraisal system.

Hiring Practices

As the personality has an effect on performing OCB. It should be given importance to hire those people who are attentive, outgoing, and enthusiastic. The personality test should be considered for this purpose to judge the personalities in the hiring process.

OCB: Potential Pitfalls:

Three main issues must be handled carefully while performing OCB at workplace.
Research shows that there is gender discrimination for rewarding OCB behavior. Men are rewarded more than women for performing OCB (Heilman & Chen, 2005), whereas women are more involve in certain type of OCB behavior (such as courteous and altruistic) than men.

Organizational Injustice

When supervisor discriminate on gender bases for rewarding employees, this will not only cause a decrease in OCB but will also lead to perceived unfairness among employees in form of counterproductive behavior (e.g. absenteeism, theft) among employees. The morale of the employees will decrease to perform OCB behavior if they are not treated equally. (Marcus & Schuler, 2004).


If OCB behavior is acknowledged and rewarded regularly it will enhance over time in organization. It will be expected to perform OCB behavior from employees as a norm of the organization and will not be considered as voluntary behavior to perform from employees. It will create pressure among employees. This phenomenon is called as “Citizenship Pressure” and enhances the stress level among employees (Bolino, Turnley, Gilstrap & Suazo, 2010).


Different taxonomy models have been defined in this article of Organization Citizenship Behavior. Altruism and courtesy are directed towards OCBI and the other three conscientiousness, sportsmanship and civic virtue are directed towards OCBO. These all are extra role behaviors that go beyond the requirements of the job.
Moreover, cohesiveness, affection similarity and leader member exchange relationships promote organizational citizenship behavior. Some pitfalls should be avoided which cause a decrease in OCB such as habituation, organizational injustice and discrimination.


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Yu, C. P., & Chu, T. H. (2007). Exploring knowledge contribution from an OCB perspective. Information and Management, 44(321-331).

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