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Organizational citizenship behavior

Author: Dr Simon Moss


Originally, Organ (1988) defined organizational citizenship behavior as any acts that are discretionary--and not explicitly or directedly recognized by the formal system of performance management-that tends to enhance the functioning and performance of the organization. More recently, however, Organ (1997) refined this definition, conceptualizing organizational citizenship behavior as any form of performance that supports the social or psychological environment in which the work tasks are embedded-a definition that more closely corresponds to contextual performance, as defined by Borman and Motowidlo (1993, 1997).

This definition is intended to distinguish organizational citizenship behavior from the performance of core tasks. In addition, this definition overcomes the complication that many organizations now strive to reward such behaviors.

Organizational citizenship behavior was first examined by Organ and hic colleagues (Bateman & Organ, 1983;; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983). Since this time, many related concepts have emerged, such as extra-role behavior (Van Dyne, Cummings, & Parks, 1995), organizational citizenship performance (Borman, 2004), organizational spontaneity (George & Brief, 1992;; George & Jones, 1997), prosocial organizational behavior (Brief & Motowidlo, 1986;; George, 1990, 1991), and voice behavior (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998;; Van Dyne, Ang, & Botero, 2003). These terms are related, but often emphasize different features.

Many studies have explored the antecedents to organizational citizenship behavior. Dimitriades (2007), for example, proposed that organizational citizenship behavior depend on five key proximal determinants: job satisfaction, organizational commitment, perceptions of fairness, perceptions of leadership supportiveness, and employee morale.

Dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior

Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, and Bachrach (2000) distinguished 30 different forms of organizational citizenship behavior. Scholars have developed a variety of taxonomies to classify these citizenship behaviors (see Bateman & Organ, 1983;; Organ, 1988, 1990;; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983;; Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994;; Williams & Anderson, 1991). One of the most prevalent taxonomies was propounded by Organ (1988), who differentiated five facets or factors: altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, civic virtue, and sportsmanship. Subsequently, Organ (1990) also included two additional factors: peacekeeping and cheerleading.

According to several studies, three of these seven factors can be readily distinguished by managers: sportsmanship, civic virtue, and conscientiousness (Bell & Menguc, 2002;; Hui, Lee, & Rousseau, 2004;; Lam, Hui, & Law, 1999). Sportsmanship describes employees who are willing to tolerate difficulties in the workplace that are intended to improve the organization, abstaining from unnecessary complaints and criticisms. Civic virtue refers the active involvement, interest, and participation in the life of their organization, such as functions, events, and meetings. Conscientiousness, sometimes referred to as compliance, reflects the genuine acceptance and adherence of workplace rules, regulations, and procedures.

Some of the other factors, such as altruism, courtesy, peacekeeping, and cheerleading, cannot be as readily distinguished (Bachrach, Bendoly, & Podsakoff, 2001;; MacKenzie et al., 1991;; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1994). According to Podsakoff, Ahearne, and MacKenzie (1997), all of these factors might correspond to a broader dimension, which they label as helping.

A different taxonomy was proposed by Williams and Anderson (1991), which differentiated behaviors directed towards individuals, called OCBI, and behaviors directed towards the organization, called OCBO. OCBI, for example, might include altruism (Williams & Anderson, 1991), as well as the other helping behaviors such as courtesy, peacekeeping, and cheerleading. OCBO might entail conscientiousness (Williams & Anderson, 1991), as well as perhaps civic virtue and sportsmanship (e.g., Coleman & Borman, 2000;; Hoffman, Blair, Meriac, & Woehr, 2007).

The distinction between OCBI and OCBO can also accommodate many other facets of citizenship behavior that depart marginally from the scheme defined by Organ (1988, 1990). OCBI, for example, could encompass interpersonal facilitation (Van Scotter & Motowidlo, 1996), interpersonal harmony (Farh, Earley, & Lin, 1997), and interpersonal helping (Graham, 1989). OCBO could encompass job dedication (Van Scotter & Motowidlo, 1996), voice behavior (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998), individual initiative or taking charge (Morrison & Phelps, 1999), organizational loyalty (Graham, 1991), endorsing, supporting, and defending the objectives of organizations (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993, 1997), and promoting the image of a company (Farh, Zhong, & Organ, 2004).

Several studies have highlighted the utility of this distinction, revealing that OCBI and OCBO correspond to a distinct set of antecedents, correlates, and consequences (Graham & Van Dyne, 2006;; Halbesleben & Bowler, 2007;; Ilies, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007;; LePine & Van Dyne, 2001;; Stamper & Van Dyne, 2001). For example, emotional exhaustion is positively related to OCBI but negatively related to OCBO (Halbesleben & Bowler, 2007). Furthermore, leader-member exchange, which represents the quality of relationships between leaders and employees, is slightly more related to OCBI than OCBO (Ilies, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007).

Measures of organizational citizenship behavior

A variety of measures and scales have been developed to assess organizational citizenship behavior. To illustrate, Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, and Fetter (1990) developed a single measure of organizational citizenship behavior. This measure, according to confirmatory factor analysis, encompasses five facets of organizational citizenship behavior: conscientiousness (e.g., "I obey company rules and regulations even when nobody is watching"), sportsmanship (e.g., "I consume considerable time complaining about trivial matters"), civic virtue (e.g., "Keeps abreast of changes in the organization"), courtesy (e.g., "I take steps to prevent problems with other workers"), and altruism (e.g., "Helps orient new people even though it is not required"). The Tucker-Lewis goodness of fit index associated with this five factor model was .941 (see also MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Fetter, 1991).

Antecedents and correlates of organizational citizenship behavior

Most of the research in this domain has focused on the antecedents or determinants of organizational citizenship behavior. Some studies have shown that personality traits, such as agreeableness, are related to these behaviors (see Borman, Penner, Allen, & Motowidlo, 2001;; Konovsky & Organ, 1996;; Organ & Ryan, 1995). Second, research has shown how characteristics of the tasks, such as autonomy, might correspond to organizational citizenship behavior (e.g., Piccolo & Colquitt, 2006;; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996). Third, the behavior of leaders and managers also affects the prevalence of these acts (Pillai, Schriesheim, & Williams, 1999;; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, & Fetter, 1990). Fourth, employee attitudes towards the job and organization (Bateman & Organ, 1983;; Konovsky & Pugh, 1994;; Organ & Ryan, 1995), as well as perceived justice and fairness (Moorman, 1991;; Niehoff & Moorman, 1993) also affect the incidence of organizational citizenship behavior.

Perhaps the most comprehensive summary of these findings have emerged from meta-analyses. That is, several authors have undertaken meta-analysis to explore the antecedents of organizational citizenship behavior (see, for example, Dalal, 2005;; Hackett, Farh, Song, & Lapierre, 2003;; Ilies, Nahrgang, & Morgeson, 2007;; Judge, Thoreson, Bono, & Patton, 2001;; LePine, Erez, & Johnson, 2002;; Organ & Ryan, 1995).

Procedural justice and leadership empowerment

Unsurprisingly, when employees perceive the procedures of their organization as fair and just, they are more inclined to engage in organizational citizenship behavior. Interestingly, if leaders empower employees to develop their skills and expertise, this relationship between procedural justice and organizational citizenship behavior is especially pronounced. In contrast, if leaders empower employees to reach decisions independently, this relationship between procedural justice and organizational citizenship behavior diminishes (van Dijke, De Cremer, Mayer, & Van Quaquebeke, 2012).

To clarify, according to both the group value model (Lind & Tyler, 1988) and the relational model of authority (Tyler & Lind, 1992), people are very attuned to signals or information that indicates whether or not they are valued in the organization (see also Tyler & Smith, 1999). If they are treated fairly, they feel they are valued members. In contrast, if they are treated unfairly, they feel they are not valued but are perceived as low in status. Consequently, they do not feel as loyal to their organization. That is, they do not want to engage in discretionary acts to enhance this organization, diminishing the incidence of organizational citizenship behavior (Tyler, 1999).

However, according to van Dijke, De Cremer, Mayer, and Van Quaquebeke (2012), some individuals are not as sensitive to information about their status. For example, some leaders inspire employees to be more independent--to utilize their discretion and to solve problems themselves. Because these employees feel less reliant on other people, they are not as attuned to signals about whether or not they are valued. Consequently, procedural injustice should not always prevent organizational citizenship behavior.

In contrast, other individuals are especially sensitive to information about their status. If employees are inspired to develop their capabilities, they become more attuned to information about their performance. Consequently, they might be more receptive to signals about their status as well. Procedural injustice may be especially likely to curb organizational citizenship behavior in these individuals.

These possibilities were verified by van Dijke, De Cremer, Mayer, and Van Quaquebeke (2012). Participants completed a questionnaire that assessed the degree to which the felt the procedures in their organization were fair and just (e.g., "To what extent are you able to express your views and feelings" and "To what extent are procedures applied consistently?"). In addition, the questionnaires also gauged whether leaders encourage independence (e.g., "My supervisor encourages me to search for solutions to my problems without supervision") and self-development (e.g., "My supervisor encourages me to seek out opportunities to learn") as well as whether individuals feel they are valued in this organization (e.g., "I make a good impression on other organization members"). Finally, their supervisors evaluated the extent to which they engage in organizational citizenship behaviors, such as helping colleagues.

As hypothesized, procedural justice was positively related to perceived status, which in turn was associated with organizational citizenship behaviors. Nevertheless, if leaders encouraged independent action, this association between procedural justice and perceived status diminished. In contrast, if leaders encouraged self-development, this association between procedural justice and perceived status became more pronounced.

Job satisfaction

Organizational citizenship behavior is positively related to job satisfaction. Nevertheless, the precise relationship differs between affective and cognitive job satisfaction. In particular, researchers sometimes distinguish affective and cognitive job satisfaction. Questions about the feelings their job evokes, such as "I enjoy my work", represent affective job satisfaction. Questions that invite more deliberate appraisals, such as "My job fulfills my expectations", represent cognitive job satisfaction.

In the study conducted by Moorman and Blakely (1995), participants completed a series of scales, some of which assessed affective job satisfaction, cognitive job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior. Their analyses showed that organizational citizenship behavior was more strongly related to cognitive, rather than affective, job satisfaction.

Nevertheless, as Lee and Allen (2002) showed, distinct forms of organizational citizenship behavior do not relate to the same measures of job satisfaction. In particular, these researchers distinguished two clusters of organizational citizenship behaviors: organizational citizenship behaviors directed at individuals and organizational citizenship behavior directed at organizations. When both forms of job satisfaction were included in the same analysis, only affective job satisfaction, as represented by affect that is elicited by the job, was positively associated with organizational citizenship behaviors directed at individuals. In contrast, only cognitive job satisfaction, gauged by a measure of judgments about work, was positively associated with organizational citizenship behavior directed at organizations.

Presumably, positive feelings motivate organizational citizenship behaviors directed at individuals. In contrast, the explicit belief that helpful acts might be reciprocated could motivate organizational citizenship behavior directed at organizations.

Perception of organizational politics

Some organizations are perceived as especially political. That is, employees feel they need to outperform, and even undermine, their colleagues to be promoted and valued. They feel that recognition and rewards are not related to merit but to the capacity of individuals to influence other people, often by resorting to threats or pressure. Yet, as Hsiung, Lin, and Lin (2012) showed, this perception of organizational politics does not always diminish the incidence of organizational citizenship behavior. Instead, the perception of organizational politics evokes some beliefs and attitudes that promote organizational citizenship behavior and also evokes some beliefs and attitudes that impede organizational citizenship behavior.

Specifically, the perception of organizational politics reinforces the belief that rewards and recognition may be unfair, dependent on arbitrary considerations rather than contributions at work. Individuals, therefore, do not feel they can readily shape their environment, diminishing their sense of control and evoking negative emotions. These changes undermine job satisfaction. When people are dissatisfied with their job, they are not as willing to sacrifice their personal interests to help the organization, diminishing organizational citizenship behavior.

Yet, this perception of organizational politics also fosters a perspective called careerism. That is, when the organization seems political, people believe they cannot depend on their contributions and merit to advance but instead need to rely on their social networks and publicize their attributes. They also recognize their career goals will not usually align with the interests of their organization and, therefore, are not as likely to value loyalty. Interestingly, this perspective can actually foster organizational citizenship behavior. That is, when individuals embrace careerism, they recognize that helping other people can be more beneficial to their career than performing effectively.

Hsiung, Lin, and Lin (2012) conducted a study that corroborates these arguments. Participants completed measures of perception of organizational politics (e.g., "There has always been an influential group in this department that no one ever crosses"), job satisfaction, careerism (e.g., "The key to success is who you know, not what you know"), helping behavior, and individual initiative. Consistent with the hypotheses, perception of organizational politics was negatively associated with job satisfaction, which in turn was positively associated with helping behavior and individual initiative. Yet, perception of organizational politics was positively associated with careerism, which in turn was also positively associated with helping behavior and individual initiative. Overall, perception of organizational politics was positively associated with these organizational citizenship behaviors in this sample, but the correlations were only around .12.

Internal marketing

Internal marketing refers to attempts by the organization to promote and convey to employees its goals and activities (Bell, Mengu?, & Stefani, 2004). Chang, Tseng, and Chen (2012) developed an instrument that assesses four facets of internal marketing: training, management support, internal communication, and encouragement and growth.

Internal marketing around training includes workshops and similar activities to promote business goals or values, key projects or proposals, the needs of customers, and objectives around operations. Internal marketing around management support refers to the degree to which senior managers become familiar with staff, organize communication channels to enable employees to request resources, and justify policy decisions. Internal communication refers to whether the organization conveys immediate information about workplace changes and facilitates smooth communication between workers and executives. Finally, internal marketing around encouragement and growth relates to whether HR apply techniques to inspire individuals to extend their knowledge of their field, evaluate their own performance, provide career planning, and so forth.

Chang, Tseng, and Chen (2012) examined whether internal marketing fosters organizational citizenship behavior, as reflected by levels of altruism, loyalty, interpersonal harmony, conscientiousness, and reduced wastage. Internal marketing overall was positively associated with organizational citizenship behavior. This association was slightly more pronounced in organizations in which employees often participate in online discussions and forums to discuss problems and other matters. Presumably, when internal communication is elevated, individuals feel more informed and attached to the organization, promoting satisfaction and commitment (Hwang & Chi, 2005), ultimately enhancing organizational citizenship behavior. Online communication can then amplify the messages that are promulgated as a consequence of internal marketing.

Yao, Chen, and Cai (2013) provided more insight into how internal marketing may ultimately promote facets of organizational citizenship behavior, especially loyalty. Specifically, according to Yao, Chen, and Cai (2013), internal marketing fosters a sense of empowerment, in which individuals experience a feeling of efficacy, meaning, and autonomy at work. That is, because of internal marketing, individuals feel they understand how to thrive, promoting efficacy& they understand how their role translates to important consequences, promoting meaning, and they understand the choices that are available to them, promoting autonomy. This empowerment fulfills key psychological needs, increasing satisfaction and loyalty, as well as improves motivation, improving productivity and performance.

Yao, Chen, and Cai (2013) conducted a study to assess these possibilities. Many employees of the lubricant oil sector in China completed a series of scales. First, participants completed a measure of internal marketing, developed and validated by Keller, Lynch, Ellinger, Ozment, and Calantone (2006). The questions revolved around the extent to which managers are willing to share sensitive information about the organization, offer coaching and mentoring, include employees in the planning process, establish a system to seek feedback from employees, discusses decisions to assess fairness, facilitate career development, and are available for discussions. Responses on these questions were positively associated with loyalty and performance, and these associations were mediated by psychological empowerment.


Another determinants of discretionary behaviors might be levels of pay. That is, many organizations offer pay that exceeds the levels of remuneration that are expected in the market.

Three motivations underpin this competitive pay (see Akerlof & Yellen, 1986;; Gerhart & Milkovich, 1990). First, many managers assume that employees will devote more effort into their work--striving to ensure their job is secure--if paid handsomely as well as refrain from leaving prematurely (e.g., Salop, 1979;; Shapiro & Stiglitz, 1984). Second, managers often assume that competitive wages will attract the most effective or proficient employees (Akerlof & Yellen, 1986). These managers assume that proficient employees are able to choose which organization to which they will apply--and thus choose only companies that offer the best conditions. Third, managers assume that competitive pay might encourage discretionary effort (Akerlof, 1982)--optional activities that enhance the organization.

Indeed, several studies have shown that competitive pay might be related to these discretionary acts. Subramony, Krause, Norton, and Burns (2008), for example, showed that shared perceptions of competitive pay across employees were positively related to customer satisfaction. Presumably, this competitive pay fostered the inclination to engage in supportive, helpful behaviors--behaviors that ultimately translate to customer satisfaction.

In this study, the American Customer Satisfaction index was utilized to gauge customer satisfaction. The scale, which is usually administered over telephone, comprises 17 questions, such as reliability of the product or services, complaints regarding the product or service, and so forth (see Anderson, Fornell, & Mazvancheryl, 2004;; Fornell, Johnson, Anderson, Cha, & Bryant, 1996). Customer satisfaction in turn predicts many other measures of organizational performance, such as return on assets (Smith & Wright, 2004) and return on investments (Anderson, Fornell, & Mazvancheryl, 2004)

Employee withdrawal

Organizational citizenship behavior tends to be negatively related both to intentions to leave the organization and to actual departures (e.g., Chen, 2005;; Mossholder, Settoon, & Henagan, 2005). Conceivably, the abstention from organizational citizenship behavior might reflect a form of withdrawal, which tends to predict turnover (Chen, 2005;; Chen, Hui, & Sego, 1998) and may be related to absenteeism as well.

Corporate citizenship

As Evans, Davis, and Frink (2011) demonstrated, when individuals feel their organization is an exemplary corporate citizen--sensitive to social, legal, ethical, and environmental issues--they are more likely to engage in organizational citizenship behavior. For example, in one study, participants answered a series of questions that assess whether their organization is responsible. In particular, they indicated the degree to which their organization is ethically responsible (e.g., "Fairness toward coworkers and business partners is an integral part of the employee evaluation process"), legally responsible (e.g., "The managers of the organization try to comply with the law"), economically responsible (e.g., "We have been successful at maximizing our profits"), and sensitive to the rights of employees (e.g. "Flexible company policies enable employees to better coordinate work and personal life").

In addition, the extent to which these participants help colleagues, demonstrate initiative, and show loyalty--forms of organizational citizenship behavior--were assessed by their supervisors. Finally, participants completed a series of other measures, such as the degree to which they value compassion, equality, and altruism, as well as the extent to which they feel that socially responsible behaviors are integral to their role.

In general, if participants perceived their organization as responsible, they were more likely to demonstrate organizational citizenship behavior. This relationship, however, was observed only in participants who value compassion, equality, and altruism.

Presumably, employees seek cues in the environment to ascertain which behaviors are suitable. When the organization is responsible, employees feel that ethical and supportive behaviors will be rewarded. They even perceive organizational citizenship behaviors are central to their role at work. They naturally engage in these helpful behaviors, especially if they value such altruism.

The effects of shared identify and close surveillance

When individuals share an identity--such as when they all identify closely with the goals of their organization--they are more inclined to help one another achieve these goals. They behave more cooperatively. In these settings, however, close surveillance of individuals will compromise the benefits of this shared identity. That is, when employees are monitored closely, they feel they are not trusted or respected. They feel they may be rejected and, therefore, do not identify as closely with this shared cause. Consequently, they become reluctant to help each other.

This possibility was proposed and substantiated by O'Donnell, Ryan, and Jetten (2013). In their study, participants tried to construct as many paper planes as possible. They worked individually but alongside other participants. All the participants were undergraduate psychology students, and the experimenter was a postgraduate psychology student. Some participants were told the experiment is designed to compare the performance of psychology students with academics. Consequently, their shared identity with the experimenter, who was also a student, was emphasized. Other participants were told the experiment is designed to compare the performance of undergraduate and postgraduate students. Consequently, they did not experience a shared identity with the experimenter. In addition, participants were told the experimenter will either leave midway to enable participants to work alone or walk around the room as well as monitor their work closely, even recording their performance on video.

Close surveillance increased the number, but therefore diminished the adjudicated quality, of airplanes that were constructed. This finding is consistent with the notion that surveillance increases the level of effort that is dedicated to the stated objectives, often to the detriment of other goals. In this study, productivity was emphasized.

Importantly, after completing the task, to measure their inclination to help, participants were asked to specify the name of other people who could complete the study. As predicted, a shared identity increased the likelihood that participants would help, but only if they had not been monitored closely.


Many motives may underpin organizational citizenship behaviors. In particular, individuals may engage in organizational citizenship behaviors because they like to help people, called pro-social motives, because they like to be perceived favourably, called impression management motives, or because they are concerned about the productivity and wellbeing of the organization, called organizational concern. Yet, as Kim, Van Dyne, Kamdar, and Johnson (2013) showed, the impact of each of these motives depends on the level of social support in the organization.

In particular, in their study, participants imagined times in which they engaged in organizational citizenship behaviors, such as helping someone else, and then answered questions about their motives, such as "I engage in the above behaviors because I feel it is important to help those in need", "I engage in the above behaviors to avoid looking bad in front of others", and "I engage in the above behaviors because I care what happens to the company"--to gauge prosocial motives, impression management, and organizational concern respectively. Next, they answered questions that gauge whether they perceive co-workers and the organization as supportive. Finally, supevisors rated the degree to which these individuals help colleagues and voice suggestions to improve the organization, each of which are examples of organizational citizenship behaviors.

If colleagues were supportive, individuals tended to engage in helpful behaviors, regardless of whether they experienced pro-social motives or impression management motives. In contrast, if colleagues were not supportive, individuals tended to engage in helpful behaviors only if they experienced either strong pro-social motives or strong impression management motives.

Presumably, when colleagues are very supportive, almost everyone feels compelled to be helpful in return. When colleagues are unsupportive, and therefore the setting does not compel individuals to engage in specific behaviors, the actions of individuals are more likely to be governed by their traits (cf., Tett & Burnett, 2003). Only people who like to help or impress other individuals will engage in organizational citizenship behaviors.

Furthermore, if the organization was not generally perceived as supportive, individuals seldom voiced suggestions, regardless of whether they experienced organizational concern. In contrast, if the organization was generally perceived as supportive, individuals often voiced suggestions, but only if they also experienced elevated levels of organizational concern. Arguably, individuals will voice their suggestions--a behaviour that is riskier than helping--only when they both feel the organization is supportive and feel concerned about this organization.

Overall these findings are also consistent with the target similarity model (Lavelle, Rupp, and Brockner, 2007). According to this model, perceptions that relate to individuals are assumed to affect motives or behaviors that relate to individuals, whereas perceptions that relate to organizations are assumed to affect motives or behaviors that relate to organizations.

Consequences of organizational citizenship behavior

Although the majority of studies focus on the antecedents of organizational citizenship behavior, the consequences of these acts have also been examined (e.g., e.g., Allen & Rush, 1998;; Dunlop & Lee, 2004;; Ehrhart & Naumann, 2004;; Koys, 2001;; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997;; Walz & Niehoff, 2000). In particular, researchers have investigated whether of organizational citizenship behavior culminate in positive consequences for the individuals themselves, such as performance evaluations and rewards, as well as for the organizations, as gauged by productivity and profitability, for instance.

In most instances, citizenship behavior is positively related to the wellbeing of individuals and the functioning of organizations. Nevertheless, some exceptions have been unearthed in specific settings. For example, organizational citizenship behavior can be associated with role overload and conflicts between work and family (Bolino & Turnley, 2005). Furthermore, Podsakoff and MacKenzie (1994), in a study of insurance agencies, showed that helping behaviors of agents were inversely related to the performance of that agency.

Performance evaluations and reward allocations

Research does indeed indicate that individuals who often engage in organizational citizenship behavior do indeed receive more positive performance evaluations (e.g., Allen & Rush, 1998;; Werner, 1994). In addition, these individuals are more inclined to receive additional rewards as a consequence of these associations (Allen & Rush, 1998;; Johnson, Erez, Kiker, & Motowidlo, 2002).

Several mechanisms could relate organizational citizenship behavior to improved evaluations from managers (Allen & Rush, 1998;; Lefkowitz, 2000;; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Hui, 1993;; Shore, Barksdale, & Shore, 1995). First, organizational citizenship behavior, because they are seldom mandatory or prescribed but discretionary and optional, imply the individual must be motivated. This perceived motivation of these individuals could translate to more positive performance appraisals (Shore, Barksdale, & Shore, 1995). Second, organizational citizenship behavior will often facilitate the job of managers, and managers might reciprocate by appraising individuals who engage in these acts more positively. Third, when employees engage in organizational citizenship behavior, they are more inclined to be liked by other individuals, including managers, which often translates to more positive evaluations (Lefkowitz, 2000).

The relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and management evaluations is more pronounced when both these acts and assessments are rated by the same individual, such as a supervisor (MacKenzie, Podsakoff, & Fetter, 1993). Several biases could amplify this relationship when the same person assesses both the incidence of organizational citizenship behavior and the performance of individuals, such as the need to be consistent or lenient (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003).

Workplace effectiveness

In general, organizational citizenship behavior is indeed related to measures of workplace effectiveness (Dunlop & Lee, 2004;; Koys, 2001;; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1994;; Walz & Niehoff, 2000). That is, these behaviors coincide with reductions in costs but improvements in efficiency, profitability, and production quantity.

Several mechanisms might underpin the associations between organizational citizenship behavior and workplace effectiveness (see Borman & Motowidlo, 1993;; Organ, 1988;; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997). First, when experienced employees exhibit organizational citizenship behavior, they might impart their knowledge and skills to novice employees-whose productivity might thus improve exponentially. Second, some facets of exhibit organizational citizenship behavior, particularly civic virtue and voice behavior, might facilitate the identification of insightful and innovative solutions to improve the organization. Third, organizational citizenship behaviors might promote positive emotions and feelings, including morale and cohesion.

Customer satisfaction

Yen and Niehoff (2004) conducted a study of 26 branches of a bank, located in Taiwan. They discovered that organizational citizenship behaviors do indeed correspond to customer satisfaction.

Yen and Niehoff (2004) delineated several mechanisms that could underpin this association between organizational citizenship behaviors and customer satisfaction. Altruism, for example, might facilitate cooperation amongst employees and thus more effective coordination, ultimately improving the service to customers. Conscientiousness and courtesy ensures that employees are cognizant of recent developments, which can also facilitate customer satisfaction. Finally, civic virtue or voice behavior uncovers ideas and insights that could improve the interface between employees and customers as well as optimize products and services.

Turnover in the unit

In units, workgroups, departments, or organizations characterized by elevated levels of organizational citizenship behaviors, turnover of employees tends to diminish (Richardson & Vandenberg, 2005;; Sun, Aryee, & Law, 2007). Presumably, organizational citizenship behaviors correspond to cooperation among employees. Indeed, such behaviors are positively related to team cohesion (George & Bettenhausen, 1990;; Kidwell, Mossholder, & Bennett, 1997), and these measures of cohesion are inversely related to turnover.

Alternative frameworks and related concepts

One of the most recent accounts to characterize discretionary behaviors of work was developed by Griffin, Neal, and Parker (2007). This model of work-role performance distinguishes between three dimensions of performance. The first dimension is called proficiency, which relates to the extent to which individuals fulfill their formal requirements, somewhat akin to in-role or task performance. The second dimension is called adaptivity, which revolves around the capacity of individuals to adapt in response to changes work roles and systems. The third dimension, proactivity, relates to the extent to which individuals initiate actions to change and improve works roles and systems-akin to various forms of discretionary behavior.

These three dimensions can apply to three different levels of analysis: individual, team, or organizational. That is, individuals can engage in behaviors that enhance the functioning of themselves, their team, or their organization.

For example, proficiency can be demonstrated at these three levels. Individual task proficiency, for example, partly entails the extent to which tasks are completed appropriately. Team member proficiency partly represents whether individuals coordinate their work effectively with other colleagues in the team. Organization member proficiency includes the extent to which individuals, for example, discuss their organization in a favorable light.

Similarly, adaptivity can pertain to these three levels. Individual task adaptivity refers to whether employees can adjust to changes in their own role. Team member adaptivity alludes to whether individuals respond suitable to changes in the team. Finally, organization member adaptivity relates to whether individuals can accommodate changes in the operation and strategy of the organization.

The three forms of behavior and the three levels of analysis thus represent nine distinct sets of behavior. Griffin, Neal, and Parker (2007) developed a series of nine scales, together called the multilevel performance inventory, to represent these nine sets of behavior. Typical items are "Suggested ways to make your work unit ore effective" (organizational proactivity) and "Initiated better ways of doing my core tasks" (individual proactivity).

Confirmatory factor analysis confirmed these nine factors, which taken together comprise 27 items. Consistent with this model, Griffin, Neal, and Parker (2007), showed that factors measured at the individual level, such as role clarity, predicted individual level performance. Team support predicted team level performance. Finally, organizational characteristics, such as organizational commitment, predicted organizational performance.

Discretionary effort

Lloyd (2008) differentiated the concept of discretionary effort from organizational citizenship behavior. According to Lloyd (2008), discretionary effort refers to the extent to which individuals devote intense and persistent exertion into their work. This definition evolved from an article, constructed by Yankelovich and Immerwahr (1984), in which the concept was defined as voluntary effort, exceeding the requirements of a job.

According to Lloyd (2008), both discretionary effort and organizational citizenship behavior represent voluntary and constructive inclinations or acts that cannot be contractually enforced. Nevertheless, in contrast to organizational citizenship behavior, discretionary effort can apply to both core roles and activities that transcend formal responsibilities. Employees can devote this effort to their primary tasks as well as to optional activities, such as helping colleagues.

Lloyd (2008) undertook a study that verified her proposition that discretionary effort is distinct from organizational citizenship behavior. She developed a measure of discretionary effort, which comprised seven items such as "When I work, I really exert myself to the fullest, beyond that what is expected" and "I persist in overcoming obstacles to complete an important task". The level of alpha reliability was .86 and .87 in two distinct samples.

Participants completed a measure of discretionary effort, organizational citizenship behavior, and in role behavior as well as skills and autonomy. A confirmatory factor analysis indicated that discretionary effort, organizational citizenship behavior, and in role behavior most likely reflect three separate constructs, with RMSEA = .05 and CFI = .978. A two factor model, in which discretionary effort and organizational citizenship behavior were combined, generated inadequate fit, with RMSEA = .18 and CFI = .803.

Furthermore, Lloyd (2008) showed that autonomy, as gauged by items such as "In my job, I have control over my hours of work", was related to discretionary effort--even after organizational citizenship behavior and in role behavior were controlled. If discretionary effort and organizational citizenship behavior were equivalent, this relationship would have vanished.

Job crafting

Job crafting represents the extent to which employees change features of their job, at least partly to satisfy their personal needs or preferences (for a seminal article, see Wrzensniewski & Dutton, 2001). These changes are not always intended to enhance the organization and, thus, may diverge from citizenship behaviors.

To illustrate, Lyons (2008) examined the characteristics and correlates of job crafting. Sales representatives were interviewed. First, these participants were asked to describe a time, within the last year, in which they adjusted or modified one of their work activities. Only changes that were not encouraged by managers or training programs were sought. These individuals were also asked to specify the effort that was dedicated to this task, the time that was needed to adjust the activity, and the significance of this modification. Independent judges then rated the extent to which the change demanded considerable time or effort and was perceived as important and interesting. Furthermore, participants completed a series of scales to assess their cognitive ability, self esteem, perceived control over their work, and willingness to change.

Almost 80% of participants reported at least one incident in which they crafted or modified their work activities. On average, participants reported 1.5 incidents over the last year.

According to participants, they typically adjusted their job to develop their skills and performance. Examples might include learning the language of some customers, developing more paraphernalia, or acquiring additional skills. Furthermore, most reports emphasized the modifications improved performance, enhancing the productivity of organizations. Admittedly, participants could have reported only desirable adjustments. Nevertheless, at first glance, these results imply that job crafting tends to be constructive.

The level of job crafting, as gauged by the extent to which individuals argued the modifications demanded effort or time and were perceived as significant and important, was positively related to self esteem, perceived control, and willingness to change. As these findings imply, job crafting can be beneficial. Nevertheless, if employees are not aware of the broader objectives of the organization, their modifications might provoke some complications.


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