Motivation and emotion/Book/2020/Organisational citizenship behaviour motivation

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Organisational citizenship behaviour motivation:
What motivates OCB and what are its consequences?

Overview[edit | edit source]

Employees working together
Figure 1. Employees working together collaboratively - a fundamental part of everyday human life.

Employment is a fundamental part of everyday human life, [grammar?] partaking in an occupation has been determined to be a vital human need as it relates to an individual’s health and survival (see Figure 1; Wilcock, 1993). Employers are becoming more focused on hiring and retaining individuals who demonstrate organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) (Shaaban, 2018). OCB is a voluntary commitment to work above and beyond the individual’s contractual obligations purely for the benefit of co-workers and the organisation (Zhang et al., 2011). Employers are highly attracted to employees exhibiting OCB as it can positively contribute to better work efficiencies, enhancing business outcomes and internal workplace relationships (Zhang et al., 2011). The purpose of this book chapter is to investigate what motivates OCB and what the consequences of OCB are. Motivational and social psychology theory and research provide us with an understanding of the antecedents for OCB, character traits, and self-regulation types that predict OCB as well as the required organisational strategies to promote OCB.

Case study

Joan Smith is an employee of the Department of Health. Joan has been employed with the Department for just over two years as an Executive Assistant. Joan’s usual contracted business hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday. Joan joined the Department as she believed the core objectives of the organisation resonated with her. The Department as of March 2020 was inundated with an unprecedented workload following the declaration of a global pandemic. This was a work environment and load never seen before in the world. Due to this increased workload, the Department required employees to voluntarily nominate themselves to work overtime including weekends and evening shifts. Joan nominated herself to help the Department and her colleagues by offering to work overtime two nights a week after her usual duties as well as on the weekends. Joan undertook the additional work because she said, "I want to do anything I can to play my part in helping the national community in what is a very difficult and dark time". The work Joan undertook not only assisted her organisation but also the nation.

Do any of the below statements resonate with you?

  1. I freely share information and knowledge with others
  2. I always assist my colleagues who need it
  3. I consider potential opportunities for collaboration before taking action
  4. I care about my organisation and its reputation

Focus questions
  1. What is organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB)?
  2. What are the types of OCB?
  3. What motivates OCB?
  4. What are the consequences of OCB?

What is organisational citizenship behaviour?[edit | edit source]

Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) is as an individual’s voluntary commitment to deliver work above and beyond what the employer requires (Motaung & Radebe, 2019). The OCB phenomenon was originally described by Smith, Organ, and Near (1983). OCB involves an employee undertaking additional work that is not asked of them nor included within his or her contractual obligations. In most circumstances, these employees are not rewarded or remunerated for this bonus work or performance (Motaung & Radebe, 2019).

It is well known that behaviours are driven by motivation and so is OCB (Baker et al., 2006). OCB is not a response or reaction, it is a proactively chosen behaviour to satisfy certain needs or motives. Although it is a proactive behaviour, individuals vary in the degree of voluntariness of performing OCB as a result of the motives behind the individual’s actions (Zhang et al., 2011). There are multiple similar concepts to OCB such as contextual performance, prosocial organisational behaviours, extra-role behaviours, and organisational spontaneity (Baker et al., 2006).

As OCB is a voluntary behaviour, it is the choice of the individual to contribute, therefore it is difficult for businesses to employ or inspirit OCB (Zhang et al., 2011). Zhang et al. (2011) suggest that the antecedents of OCB are the quality of interaction between employees, relative variables, perceived organisational impartiality, and excellent leader-member relationship[explain these concepts]. It is well known that OCB positively contributes to better work efficiencies, thereby enhancing business outcomes and internal workplace relationships (Motaung & Radebe, 2019).

Quiz 1

Following the overview of OCB, do you believe Joan was displaying OCB?

Yes, Joan is displaying OCB
No, Joan is not displaying OCB

Types of OCB[edit | edit source]

There are four main types of OCB (refer to Table 1).

Table 1.

The four main types of OCB

Altruistic[edit | edit source]

Altruistic OCB is based on personality which can be the best predictor and explanation for employees OCB. Many employees exhibit OCB as it is inherent in their personality; as such they aren’t partaking to contribute to the organisational justice[explain?] perception but simply because they enjoy doing so (Baker et al., 2006). Zhang et al. (2011) deliberates that individuals who enjoy helping others as part of their inherent personality are intrinsically motivated and selfless as they don’t gain satisfaction through reward or money but through helping others.

Responsible[edit | edit source]

Responsible OCB is based on reciprocity (Zhang et al., 2011). Zhang et al. (2011) discusses that responsible OCB is rooted in the norm of reciprocity and social exchange theory. Responsible OCB occurs where employees observe organisational justice and exhibit OCB to repay the organisation through the norm of reciprocity (Zhang et al., 2011).

Instrumental[edit | edit source]

Instrumental OCB is based on self-interest and is established by the pursuit of rewards (Zhang et al., 2011). Therefore, instrumental OCB employees who receive benefits or rewards would present more OCB (Zhang et al., 2011).

Compulsory[edit | edit source]

Compulsory OCB is based on stress. Compulsory OCB is brought on by the need to retain employment (Zhang et al., 2011).

Quiz 2

Now that we understand the subtypes of OCB, what subtype do you think Joan was exhibiting in the above case study?


Key concept[edit | edit source]

What is motivation? The process of initiating, guiding, and maintaining goal-oriented behaviours, involving biological, social, cognitive, and emotional drives that initiate behaviour (Reeve, 2018).

What motivates OCB?[edit | edit source]

Three main motivational and social psychology theories explain what motivates OCB. The three main theories include regulatory focus theory, self-determination theory, and leader-member exchange theory (Teh & Sun, 2012).

Regulatory focus theory
Figure 2. Two ways to achieve the goal of getting an A in a college course using the two self-regulatory systems detailed in regulatory focus theory.

Regulatory focus theory[edit | edit source]

Regulatory focus theory (RFT) stems from social psychology theory. RFT incorporates two separate self-regulatory systems (prevention and promotion) which determine how individuals pursue goals (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). The first self-regulatory system is prevention which has a focus on the fulfillment of an individual’s obligations whilst demonstrating sensitivity to negative events. Prevention focuses on avoidance strategies to meet an individual’s goals as opposed to finding interesting ways to overcome obstacles (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). The second self-regulatory system is promotion. Promotion is aspirational and focuses on meeting an individual’s hopes and dreams. Promotion has a sensitivity to positive events and is concerned with growth and development (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). Additionally, an individual demonstrating a promotion would approach challenges face on to attain goals (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). RFT can arise during childhood and is a known individual difference (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). The basis of developing RFT relates to human adaptation to the social environment, meaning that, during childhood, individuals begin to learn either a prevention or promotion self-regulation style based on the type of nurturance and security they receive (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). Using RFT, Dewett and Denisi (2007) determined that promotion self-regulated individuals are likely to display OCB because promotion is focused on positive events towards development and growth. Therefore, individuals would be motivated by their promotional self-regulation to contribute above and beyond to develop and grow within their workplace (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). Figure 2 demonstrates the two different ways to achieve the goal of getting an A grade, using RFT.

Supporting research[edit | edit source]

Dewett and Denisi (2007) undertook a meta-analysis to review the relationship between the likelihood of exhibiting OCB and employee self-regulation RFT. Dewett and Denisi (2007) deliberate[awkward expression?] that the demonstration of OCB can be influenced by the individual's self-regulatory state and the category of behaviour. Dewett and Denisi (2007) found that employees' regulatory state influenced the exhibition of OCB. Dewett and Denisi (2007) also found that RFT could predict the type of OCB as well as the employee perceptions of OCB.

Criticisms and limitations[edit | edit source]

Dewett and Denisi (2007) discuss that RFT having only two types of goal orientation limits the possibility for additional types of RFT. Dewett and Denisi (2007) determined that their research is heavily focused on the positives of RFT on OCB and provided limited to no negative implications or considerations. Future research should focus on how RFT is shaped within the workplace and the impacts of motivation on RFT, as well as change or maintenance of OCB (Dewett & Denisi, 2007).

Self-determination theory[edit | edit source]

Self-determination theory (SDT) separates the distinct dimensions of motivation regarding the individual reasons or goals resulting in an action (Kim et al., 2019). The most significant and fundamental difference in SDT is intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is driven by a sense of undertaking an activity because it's enjoyable and inherently interesting, whereas extrinsic motivation is reward or incentives driven (Reeve, 2018). Individuals who are intrinsically motivated are known to perform better in work settings due to their non-traditional decision-making approach, flexible cognition, increased curiosity, and readiness to learn and acquire new knowledge and information (Kim et al., 2019). Therefore, based on self-determination theory, an individual who is intrinsically motivated would be more likely to exhibit OCB (Kim et al., 2019).

Supporting research[edit | edit source]

Kim et al. (2019) conducted research to review motivation in an organisational setting through OCB, interrelationships, organisational commitment, and reciprocity. Kim et al. (2019) utilised a cross-sectional survey of 455 participants who were employed full-time and working in the hospitality industry in Korea. Within the survey 49% were males and 51% were female. Kim et al. (2019) found that employees' intrinsic motivation was positively associated with organisational commitment and the norm of reciprocity which enhances OCB.

Criticisms and limitations[edit | edit source]

Limitations identified in Kim et al.'s (2019) study included that the data collection was not a sample of the population therefore it is not generalisable. Additionally, as it is a survey format there is a chance that participants provided their perceived rather than actual responses to self-rating OCB (Kim et al., 2019). Lastly, employee trust levels, contextual mediators, and empowerment should be considered as further potential factors impacting OCB (Kim et al., 2019).

Leader-member exchange theory[edit | edit source]

Leader-member exchange theory (LMX) signifies the quality of the relationship exchange between supervisors and their employees and how the quality of the relationships is contingent on both parties. LMX is built on mutual respect, obligation, and trust (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). LMX can play a large role in molding behaviours and attitudes in employees (Harris et al., 2014). When high-quality LMX relationships occur, it can enhance the employee's work performance and wellbeing, making them feel more connected to the group, giving them the feeling of inclusion and appreciation (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). LMX can be rationalised by social exchange theory,[grammar?] this theory confers that individuals who are treated auspiciously by others will feel more obliged to return the behaviour with positive treatments or responses (Teng et al., 2020). Therefore, in circumstances where organisations promote or implement high-quality LMX, there is an increased likelihood for the employee to be motivated to exhibit OCB (Teng et al., 2020).

Supporting research[edit | edit source]

Chiniara and Bentein (2018) undertook research to determine whether servant leadership[explain?] has an impact on team performance. Chiniara and Bentein, (2018) utilised the theory of social comparison as a framework. The study incorporated 229 participants across 67 teams (Chiniara & Bentein, 2018). Chiniara and Bentein (2018) found that servant leaders promote employee perceptions of low differentiation in the leader-employee relationship within the team. These findings build on the literature that LMX positively affects cohesion between team members. This is due to the environment building a social context that influences team job performance and facilitates OCB (Chiniara & Bentein, 2018). In the new modern workplace, team effectiveness is paramount to organisational output, therefore applying this research to a real-life organisational situation is tangible and could result in real organisational efficiency (Chiniara & Bentein, 2018).

Criticisms and limitations[edit | edit source]

Chiniara and Bentein (2018) identified multiple limitations within their research. Participants included within the study had undertaken tertiary education and above and worked within the private sector, potentially making them more receptive to servant leadership effect (Chiniara & Bentein, 2018). Additionally, the study was cross-sectional in design, therefore no casual assertions can be made. The main limitation of LMX theory more broadly is that it is fixated on the dyadic leader-member relationship (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). Leadership is a group process, therefore if a leader is showing preferential interactions with one individual it is heavily examined by the group (Hogg & Vaughan, 2018). Chiniara and Bentein (2018) highlighted that future research should focus on generalisability and expanding into different populations.

Advantages of OCB[edit | edit source]

OCB demonstrates many positive results for organisations and the employees exhibiting these behaviours (Zhang et al., 2011). Advantages include boosting morale among employees as well as creating a sense of community, reducing stress, enhancing employee productivity and performance, and increases employees’ level of work meaningfulness. Additionally, these advantages have been shown to be beneficial for the organisation's brand (Baker et al., 2006).

Individuals who exhibit altruistic OCB can enhance productivity, unite co-workers, and better utilise limited resources. Additionally, individuals with altruistic OCB can coordinate activities across workgroups and enhance the organisations image by attracting and retaining star employees (Zhang et al., 2011). As altruistic OCB is a voluntary behaviour it does not increase any business costs, as the individuals partaking in the behaviour are able to receive sufficient intrinsic satisfaction from the improved self-efficiency, expressing their personal values whilst gaining respect from others. Therefore, it not only has positive benefits to organisations but also individuals (Zhang et al., 2011).

Consequences of OCB[edit | edit source]

Much of the literature focuses on the positive effects of OCB particularly with regard to organisational performance, [grammar?] this is due to research lacking focus on the individual and the organisation respectively (Baker et al., 2006). Zhang et al. (2011) discuss that there are negative consequences as a result of OCB with specific subtypes of OCB. Responsible OCB is a subtype which comes with some downfalls, [grammar?] this relates to the individual’s rigid behaviour to abide by strict organisation rules (Zhang et al., 2011). Employees who perform responsible OCB would be less inclined to prevent or stop co-workers partaking in behaviours that could be harmful to organisational wellbeing (Zhang et al., 2011). This is due to the employee wanting to maintain harmonious relationships with co-workers. However, there are still benefits that stem from responsible OCB based on reciprocity including improving trust within workplace relationships, social networks, and increasing the individual’s social capital (Aryee & Chay, 2001).

Instrumental OCB is based on self-interest, meaning the individual is motivated to benefit themselves, change others' behaviours, obtain individual goals, and implement social control (Coleman & Borman, 2000). Therefore, instrumental OCB proves negative to organisations in the long-term (Zhang et al., 2011). The potential negative consequences associated with instrumental OCB are that it can prevent leaders from finding workplace issues, result in managerial costs and lack of organisational fairness as well as decreasing employee's trust in leaders which can lead to counterproductive behaviours in the workplace (Zhang et al., 2011).

Noting the many positive impacts of OCB, many organisations attempt to employ compulsory OCB to encourage employees to perform OCB (Zhang et al., 2011). As compulsory OCB is based on stress it can result in negative outcomes such as reduced job satisfaction, performance, and innovation. Additionally, it can induce emotional exhaustion as a result of suspicion, rage, and other negative emotions (Zhang et al., 2011). As a result of the negative emotions absenteeism, high turnover and other counterproductive work behaviours can rise (Zhang et al., 2011).

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

OCB involves employees going above and beyond their call to duty to either benefit their organisation or achieve interpersonal motives (Zhang et al., 2011). The four subtypes of OCB contribute to the level of voluntariness the individual demonstrates and therefore whether the OCB benefits the organisation, the individuals, or both (Zhang et al., 2011). Three main psychological theories suggest that motivation for OCB can originate from regulatory focus, self-determination, and leader-member exchange. Regulatory focus theory builds on the concept of motivation for OCB through self-regulatory systems, specifically promotion (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). Self-determination theory focuses on intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, [grammar?] individuals who exhibit intrinsic motivation are perfect candidates for OCB given the motivation to help others without a specific reward required (Kim et al., 2019). The Leader-member exchange theory articulates the importance of the exchange between supervisors and employees and how this can motivate individuals to exhibit OCB (Teng et al., 2020).

The consequences of OCB vary depending on the subtype in play (Bachrach et al., 2001). The consequences of OCB include employees being less likely to prevent or stop harmful workplace behaviours, self-interests can take over and have negative consequences for the business in the long term, increased managerial costs, and lack of organisation fairness (Zhang et al., 2011). Additionally, there is a risk of emotional exhaustion, rage, and absenteeism, and turnover when OCB is thrust upon employees (Zhang et al., 2011). For the real-world application of this research, companies should consider attracting employees who are altruistic OCB exhibitors. This is due to the fact that they are intrinsically motivated and, therefore, are undertaking the work because they gain satisfaction through helping and contributing rather than through money or reward (Dewett & Denisi, 2007). Altruistic OCB exhibitors would not cost an organisation but would enhance the delivery of business and organisational reputation (Zhang et al., 2011). Although there is a great deal of research about OCB, there is still a lack of unified understanding about the incidence and development of these behaviours (Dewett & Denisi, 2007).

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Aryee, S., & Chay, Y. W. (2001). Workplace justice, citizenship behavior and turnover intentions in a union context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 154–160.

Bachrach, D. G., Bendoly, E., & Podsakoff, P. M. (2001). Attributions of the “causes” of group performance as an alternative explanation of the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and organizational performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 1285–1293.

Baker, T., Hunt, T., & Andrews, M. (2006). Promoting ethical behavior and organizational citizenship behaviors: The influence of corporate ethical values. Journal Of Business Research, 59(7), 849-857.

Bateman, T. S., & Organ, D. W. (1983). Job satisfaction and the good soldier: The relationship between affect and employee “citizenship”. Academy of Management Journal, 26, 587–595.

Brockner, J., & Higgins, E. T. (2001). Regulatory focus theory: Implications for the study of emotions at work. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 86, 35–66.

Chiniara, M., & Bentein, K. (2018). The servant leadership advantage: When perceiving low differentiation in leader-member relationship quality influences team cohesion, team task performance and service OCB. The Leadership Quarterly, 29(2), 333-345.

Coleman, V. I., & Borman, W. C. (2000). Investigating the underlying structure of the citizenship performance domain. Human Resource Management Review, 10: 25–44.

Dewett, T., & Denisi, A. S. (2007). What motivates organizational citizenship behaviours? Exploring the role of regulatory focus theory. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16(3), 241-260. https://doi:10.1080/13594320701273606.

Harris, T., Li, N., & Kirkman, B. (2014). Leader–member exchange (LMX) in context: How LMX differentiation and LMX relational separation attenuate LMX's influence on OCB and turnover intention. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(2), 314-328.

Hogg, M. A., & Vaughan, G. M. (2018). Social psychology (8th ed.). Pearson.

Kim, S., Kim, M., & Holland, S. (2019). Effects of intrinsic motivation on organizational citizenship behaviors of hospitality employees: The mediating roles of reciprocity and organizational commitment. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, 19(2), 168-195. https://doi:10.1080/15332845.2020.1702866

Motaung, T. L., & Radebe, P. Q. (2019). Organisational Commitment and Job Satisfaction as Antecedents of Organisational Citizenship Behaviour. Journal Of Economics And Behavioral Studies, 10(6), 109-122.

Reeve, J. (2018). Understanding motivation and emotion (7th ed.). Wiley Custom.

Shaaban, S. (2018). The Impact of Motivation on Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB): The Mediation Effect of Employees’ Engagement. Journal Of Human Resource Management, 6(2), 58.

Teh, P., & Sun, H. (2012). Knowledge sharing, job attitudes and organisational citizenship behaviour. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 112(1), 64-82.

Teng, C., Lu, A., Huang, Z., & Fang, C. (2020). Ethical work climate, organizational identification, leader-member-exchange (LMX) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). International Journal Of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 32(1), 212-229.

Wilcock, A. (1993). A theory of the human need for occupation. Journal Of Occupational Science, 1(1), 17-24.

Zhang, Y., Liao, J., & Zhao, J. (2011). Research on the organizational citizenship behavior continuum and its consequences. Frontiers Of Business Research In China, 5(3).

External links[edit | edit source]