What is organizational citizenship behavior?

Organizational Citizenship Behavior is a term to describe the behavior of an individual that goes beyond the expectations or requirements of their job.

It is a voluntary way of thinking and acting in a company or organization, whereby one does not simply consider what is in their own personal best interests, but what is in the best interest of others. As a result, OCB can yield great benefits for the organization as a whole. Here are some of the fundamental characteristics of Organizational Citizenship:

  • A term used in work and organizational psychology
  • It is the worker’s willingness to ‘go the extra mile’
  • Due to high motivation and commitment, the worker is willing to engage in an extra role or responsibilities
  • OCB is related to higher performance levels and lessens the need for hierarchical control
  • OCB is dependent upon the worker’s personal desire and initiative and is in no way included in the work contract
  • OCB becomes more relevant with higher numbers of people working together
The 5 Types of Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Altruism: the desire to assist others without expecting a reward or compensation.

Example: driving a college to work whose car has broken down, without expecting money or favors in return.

Courtsey: politeness and consideration shown toward others.

Example: asking how a colleague is managing their workload.

Sportsmanship: this consists of keeping a positive or calm attitude when something goes wrong or not as planned, bring open towards organizational changes, and showing awareness to potential upcoming problems. Being a good team player.

Example: your boss tells you to rewrite your report – even though you thought it was well-written and he would accept it. You don’t complain to others about the situation.

Conscientiousness: behavior which showcases a reasonable about of self-control and discipline. Includes doing more than the minimum requirements.

Example: completing your work earlier than required, to save time for your team or supervisor.

Civic Virtue: active participation and self-contained researching; relates to how a person represents the organization they are associated with and supports it outside of their legal obligation.

Example: speaking positively about your company or employer to friends, family, and acquaintances.

CHALLENGE: This week at work or in your school project, use OCB to help contribute to a more successful outcome for the team. Try to do one or more of the following:

  • Ask another group member with a high workload if there is anything you can help them with.
  • Ask a person in your group how they are doing- and listen.
  • Help a fellow group member with a personal matter.
  • In your international group work, identify a person who is quiet or not participating very much and help to make sure they understand the project or ask for their ideas.
  • Say something nice to a fellow group member in front of the whole group.
  • Surprise your team by bringing some sweets or snacks along to your next group meeting.
  • Entertain your group with an (appropriate) joke.
  • Compliment another group member on their work style/work ethic.
  • Appreciate someone in your group when they express a good idea.

Using OCB in your team and workplace can help to build trust, a sense of comradery and community, and help drive your team to reach goals and milestones faster and with more success. How do you display organizational citizenship at work or in your team? Let us know in the comments below!






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