Organizational citizenship behavior & employee well-being.

AuthorKumar, Manish
PositionReport - Statistical data

This work tests the relationship between dimensions of Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) and measures of well-being. The study hypothesizes that OCB will be related positively with psychological health and negatively with burnout. OCB targeted at other individuals (OCBI) will positively relate with relatedness need satisfaction. It further hypothesizes negative relationship of relatedness need satisfaction with burnout and burnout with psychological health. Web-based survey was used for data collection for the study. OCBI was found positively related with relatedness need satisfaction and OCB-Organization was positively related with psychological health. Further, relatedness need satisfaction was negatively associated with burnout and burnout was negatively associated with psychological health.


Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) was initially defined by Organ (1988: 4) as "behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization". Later, Organ (1997:91) redefined OCB as behavior that "contributes to the maintenance and enhancement of the social and psychological context that supports task performance". Since then, there has been rapid growth in research on the nature, antecedents, and consequences of OCB (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine & Bachrach, 2000; Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff & Blunie, 2009). However, the growth in research is uneven, as the consequences of OCB have not been studied as extensively as its antecedents (Spitzmuller, Van Dyne & Hies, 2008). In the past research, consequences of OCB have been studied at organizational, group, and individual levels. Studies focusing on the organizational level outcomes of OCB (e.g., Dunlop & Lee, 2004; Podsakoff et al., 2009) have shown that OCB is positively related to a variety of organizational effectiveness measures (including production quantity, efficiency, profitability, and reduction of costs). At unit/group level, OCB is negatively related to unit-level turnover (e.g., Sun, Aryee & Law, 2007; Podsakoff et al., 2009), and positively related to unit sales (e.g., Podsakoff et al., 2009) and customer satisfaction (e.g., Yen & Niehoff, 2004; Podsakoff et al., 2009). At the individual level of analysis, OCB-like behaviors are positively related to performance evaluations (e.g., Allen & Rush, 1998; Podsakoff et al., 2009) and reward recommendation decisions (e.g., Allen & Rush, 1998; Johnson, Erez, Kiker, &Motowidlo, 2002); and negatively related to turnover intentions (e.g., Chen, Hui & Sego, 1998;Coyne & Ong, 2007).

It is evident from the past research that scholars have mostly focused on the outcomes of managerial interest. Possibly, the only individual-level outcome that takes the actor's perspective is turnover intentions. Otherwise, the outcomes of OCB for the doer/actor have been ignored. In recent times, an increasing body of research on pro-social behaviors has taken a social and personality psychology perspective for exploring its consequences for the doer/actor (e.g., Penner, Dovidio, Piliavin & Schroeder, 2005; Thoits & Hewitt, 2001). However, no such attention has been paid in the OCB research despite the fact that OCBs are a specific form of pro-social behaviors (Spitzmuller et al., 2008). We believe that the focus on individual-level consequences of OCB from the social and personality psychology front offers a promising research avenue. From the research on pro-social behaviors, it is evident that people who indulge in pro-social behaviors experience positive affect (Penner et al., 2005), less burnout (Grant & Campbell, 2007), good psychological health (Penner et al., 2005), and relatedness need satisfaction (Weinstein & Ryan, 2010). As OCB is a specific form of pro-social behavior, we expect similar relationships between OCB and aforesaid individual-level outcomes.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)

Organ (1997) defined OCB as "the contribution to the maintenance and enhancement of the social and psychological context that supports task performance". Further, Organ et al. (2006) emphasized the discretionary nature of OCB by defining it as "discretionary contributions that go beyond the strict description and that do not lay claim to contractual recompense from the formal reward system". Since the early work of Organ and colleagues, the domain of citizenship behavior has grown at an impressive rate and it has been categorized in several ways. One framework describes a typology based on clusters of behaviors (e.g., sportsmanship, conscientiousness, civic virtue, altruism, and courtesy; Organ, 1988). Another approach distinguishes behaviors by their intended beneficiary (e.g., OCBs targeted at individuals or OCBI vs. OCBs targeted at organizations or OCB-Organization; Williams & Anderson, 1991). Spitzmuller et al. (2008) opine that the vast majority of OCB research can be subsumed into two categories defined by Williams and Anderson (1991): OCBI and OCBO. In this study, we follow the classification of OCB by Williams and Anderson(1991).

OCB & Relatedness Need Satisfaction

Natural groups are characteristic of all human beings (Coon, 1946). People in every society indulge in face-to-face and personal interactions in small groups (Mann, 1980). Interpersonal relationships are the basis of human life and, therefore, most human behavior takes place in the context of the individual's relationships with others (Reis, Collins, & Berscheid, 2000). In Maslow's (1968) views 'love and belongingness needs' formed the middle of his needs hierarchy theory. Human beings, therefore, have a "pervasive drive to form and maintain at least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships" (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). The need for relatedness is defined as "individual's inherent propensity to feel connected to others, that is, to be a member of a group, to love and care and be loved and cared for" (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).The need for relatedness is a nutriment that is required for psychological growth, integrity, and well-being across developmental stages and cultures (Deci & Ryan, 2000). It is satisfied when people experience and develop close and intimate relationships with others (Deci & Ryan, 2000).

OCB contributes to employees' socialization in the organization (Feather & Rauter, 2004). Helping is inherently interpersonal and therefore, affects relatedness by bringing in closeness to others, positive responses from others, and cohesiveness or intimacy (Weinstein & Ryan, 2010). Caprara and Steca (2005) claim that our ability to help is essential to the maintenance of mutually rewarding relationships and we as human beings are evolutionarily programmed to experience relatedness by helping others. From a relational perspective, behavior performed to benefit co-workers (OCBI) indicates the depth of feeling for and connection with others in an organization. This may evoke positive emotions from both parties involved in help exchanges, reinforcing perceptions of relatedness (Mossholder et al., 2005). Therefore, we hypothesize:

Hypothesis 1 .OCBI is positively related to relatedness need satisfaction of the actor.

OCB & Burnout

Burnout has been defined as a symptom of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of personal accomplishment, each of which can occur among individuals who work in jobs where interaction with people is involved (Maslach & Jackson, 1981). As per this definition, burnout is exclusive to situations such as working in some kind of 'human services' or 'people work' of some kind (Maslach & Schaufeli, 1993). However, it has been realized that burnout can also exist outside the human services (Maslach & Leiter, 1997). It has been established that pro-social behavior leads to higher positive affect (Piliavin, Dovidio, Gaertner, & Clark, 1981), relieves/reduces bad moods (Cialdini & Kenrick, 1976), and enhances personal efficacy, self-esteem & confidence (Giles & Eyler, 1994; Yates &Youniss, 1996). As all of these constructs positive affect, high personal efficacy, self-esteem and confidence are negatively associated with burnout, it is implied that indulgence in pro-social behavior, like OCB, can reduce the burnout levels of the actor.

OCB research well established that employees who display OCB get favorable treatment and support from their supervisors in the form of favorable performance evaluation, reward allocation, among others (Podsakoff et al., 2000). So, OCB is likely to build a supportive climate for the actor. This supportive climate can reduce the burnout levels of employees (Firth, Mellor, Moore & Loquet, 2004). For example, in a study on nurses it was found that supervisory support reduced two components of burnout, namely depersonalization and emotional exhaustion (Kalliath& Beck, 2001). Based on the above rationale, we believe that OCB will...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT