Organizational Citizenship Behavior

    Paula Fulghum

    How exactly is it that we determine whether or not we do our jobs well?  There are so many different aspects of performance that could be considered. Does the employee show up to work every day? Is the employee getting all of his or her assigned tasks done? Is the employee cooperative and considerate towards co-workers? Does the employee avoid giving co-workers a good slap when conditions get stressful? All of these examples can be important to performing a job well. These questions get at the different types of performance. In general, job performance is the behaviors you engage in at work to accomplish a goal. Job performance can be the task performance that is part of the job description and contributes to organizational functioning. Employees can behave negatively with counterproductive work behavior that’s not in their job description and goes against company goals. A final important type of performance to consider is organizational citizenship behaviors. These are the behaviors of an employee that is going beyond their required job tasks. Going the extra mile seems pretty important to employees wanting to receive positive reviews and advance up the corporate ladder. These extra behaviors are also very important to the organization as a whole.

    It’s not explicitly stated in many job descriptions that you have to be nice to your co-workers, help them, or put in extra effort to make the company product or service special. Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are voluntary behaviors of employees that go beyond task performance to help the organizational, psychological, and social environment of the workplace. These citizenship behaviors can be personal support through helping other coworkers, being courteous, or being altruistic and unselfishly helping others. OCBs can also be directed to the organization where an individual does things like being loyal and committed to the company and being obedient and compliant to reasonable organizational rules and regulations. Employees can also go above and beyond by investing in themselves, taking the initiative to develop themselves as an employee. For example, an employee might take advantage of training opportunities, remain dedicated and persistent, or take personal initiative towards new challenges or skill acquisition.

    Obviously it could never be a bad thing to have employees wanting to go the extra mile to be an asset to the organization. So how can you try to promote such voluntary behaviors in your organization? Several environmental characteristics or individual characteristics could promote OCBs. The personality of individuals is going to determine how often employees will go above and beyond. If this is something that you are serious about with your company, you could potentially add personality tests to part of the selection process. While personality tests aren’t proven to be greatly predictive of task performance, certain attitudes may lead people to be positive co-workers and employees in the company. The mood of employees is also going to affect whether or not they engage in positive behaviors. If you take steps to make the environment one that promotes a happy affect in employees, it will make employees more likely to want to engage in helpful behaviors. Employees will also be more likely to engage in helpful behaviors when they want to reciprocate for positive experiences from their employer. If an employee feels that the organization treats him or her well, they will be more likely to want to act the same and do the extra things to really make an organization successful. It is important for companies to urge commitment of the workers to the company in a culture that makes each employee feel unique and valuable. Leaders that are supportive and that acknowledge when an employee is going beyond what is expected help to make those behaviors more common.

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