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What is Organizational Citizenship?

organizational citizenship

When employees work at a job, they know that certain behaviors are expected of them. Virtually all workers will perform the duties assigned to them in a way that is acceptable to management and beneficial to the organization. They will also avoid behavior that is detrimental. When employees go above and beyond what is expected of them, that behavior is called organizational citizenship.

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is not essential to the job, yet it can provide benefits for coworkers and the company as a whole through better efficiency. Individuals who engage in this behavior do all they can to help their work environment run smoothly. Individuals who engage in this behavior generally exhibit the principles of altruism, courtesy, and conscientiousness.

Advantages of Organizational Citizenship

I/O at Work cited a study of employees who engaged in citizenship behavior at work that indicated employees who engage in more OCB during the day felt their work was more meaningful. Engaging in OCB allows workers to have more control over the situation while also helping others. Experiencing more meaningfulness at work also makes employees more vigorous. Engaging in organizational citizenship also helps those whose roles in an organization may be ambiguous as it helps them finding meaning in what they do.

Types of Organizational Citizenship Behavior recognizes five common types of behaviors that manifest as organizational citizenship. These are altruism, courtesy, sportsmanship, conscientiousness and civic virtue.

  • Altruism occurs when a person decides to help another without expecting anything in return
  • When a worker is polite or considerate with those he or she works with, it exhibits courtesy. Examples include helping a fellow employee with a project or keeping personal noise levels low
  • Sportsmanship happens when a worker decides to remain cheerful even in the face of adverse decisions or frustrating circumstances
  • Coming in early to work, staying late and doing more than one’s fair share is a sign of conscientiousness
  • When employees represent their company in a good way, both on and off the job, it’s an example of civic virtue

Best Practices of Organizational Citizenship

employers are always looking for workers who exhibit these qualities to join their business operations. At the same time, it also benefits managers already within the organization to encourage their employees to exhibit the characteristics of OCB. By setting a good example, leaders within companies can show employees the types of behavior that are positive and fruitful. Encouraging teamwork can have a positive effect on collaboration and will help achieve stated goals and objectives. Any statement of company values should somehow incorporate the five components of OCB to encourage a healthy corporate culture. What makes OCBs valuable to any organization is that they should occur naturally. Employees should never be forced but should have the freedom to be altruistic.

Organizational citizenship is a set of individual behaviors that occur in a group setting. These behaviors do not include a formal reward system but produce an increase in productivity and effectiveness, which ultimately result in rewards that cannot be quantitatively measured.

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