Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is extra-role, discretionary behavior exemplified by individuals going above and beyond formal job duties. Examples of such behavior include helping a co-worker who has a heavy workload, or maintaining a positive attitude about work when in challenging circumstances. While research suggests OCB positively impacts individual-level outcomes, recent scholarship has critiqued the assumption that individuals may limitlessly accrue positive benefits from their citizenship behavior. In essence, an employee’s finite time and energy create a trade-off between tasks required for his or her job and OCB. Depending on the organizational context, favoring OCB over task performance may be detrimental to an employee’s personal career outcomes, such as promotions and salary progression.
A research team comprised of Dr. Grace Lemmon (DePaul University), Eric J. Michel (UIC), Dr. Sandy Wayne (UIC), and Dr. Jenny Hoobler (University of Pretoria, South Africa) investigated two research questions to determine the extent to which employees may reap career benefits from engaging in OCB.
1. When is OCB more or less effective?
2. How might employees manipulate the visibility of OCB to maximize effectiveness?
The researchers surveyed 110 employees and their supervisors of a Fortune 100 packaging and transportation company to investigate the research questions.
Findings from this study suggest:
Moving forward, the authors suggest:
This study was funded by a grant from the UIC Institute for Leadership Excellence and Development (iLEAD).