Predicting Organizational Citizenship Behavior from the Functional Analysis and Role Identity Perspectives: Further Evidence in Spanish Employees

Article excerpt

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is a prosocial activity with similarities to volunteerism. The purpose of this work is to contribute new evidence about the relevance to OCB of two models of sustained volunteerism, functional analysis and role identity theory. A total of 983 Spanish employees at 49 organizations completed surveys measuring amount of OCB, motives for engaging in citizenship behavior, and the degree to which respondents developed an organizational citizen role identity. The results showed that both motives and role identity were significant predictors of OCB, with motive partially mediating the role identity-OCB relationship. The findings suggest that similar mechanisms are involved in sustaining volunteerism and OCB.

Keywords: prosocial behavior, role identity, motives, organizational citizenship behavior.

El comportamiento ciudadano organizacional es una conducta prosocial que presenta algunas similitudes con el voluntariado. El objetivo del presente estudio es aportar nueva evidencia empírica sobre la importancia del enfoque funcional y el modelo de la identidad de rol, dos modelos del voluntariado sostenido, para explicar este tipo de comportamiento. Un total de 983 trabajadores españoles cumplimentaron un cuestionario que evaluaba la frecuencia de estos comportamientos, los motivos para ponerlos en práctica y el grado en el que habían desarrollado una identidad de ciudadano organizacional. Los resultados hallados muestran que tanto los motivos como la identidad de rol son predictores significativos del comportamiento ciudadano organizacional, y que los motivos ejercen una mediación parcial de la relación existente entre la identidad de rol y este tipo de comportamiento. Estos hallazgos sugieren que mecanismos similares permiten explicar el voluntariado sostenido y el comportamiento ciudadano organizacional.

Palabras clave: conducta prosocial, identidad de rol, motivos, comportamiento ciudadano organizacional.

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) refers to employee activities that exceed the formal requirements and contribute to effective functioning of the organization (Finkelstein & Penner, 2004, Finkelstein, 2006). The study of OCB dates back several decades. Katz (1964) emphasized that helpful and cooperatives behaviors beyond formal role prescriptions are important for organizational functioning. Since the 1980s, with the introduction of the term OCB by Organ and colleagues (Bateman & Organ, 1983; Smith, Organ & Near, 1983), interest in this type of activity has increased. However, a variety of labels have been used to describe behaviors that in general fit the definition of OCB. For example, Banard (1938) discussed the informal organization and the importance of the cooperation between its members to benefit to the organization.

Citizenship performance is a concept with many fundamental points in common with the concept of OCB. Borman, Penner, Allen and Motowidlo (2001) argued that citizenship performance contributes to organizational effectiveness because it helps create the psychological, social and organizational context necessary to carry out the formal responsibilities of the job. The organization's social machinery is lubricated, increasing effectiveness and reducing friction among employees. Despite their importance, citizenship behaviors cannot be explained by the same processes that underlie the formal requirements of the job. There is no formal system of incentives to control and reinforce the behaviors; they can be subtle and difficult to measure and can even help others to the detriment of one's own performance (Smith et al., 1983).

References to contextual performance or prosocial organizational behavior (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993; 1997; Brief & Motowidlo, 1986; LePine, Erez & Johnson, 2002) emphasized the voluntary nature of these activities and distinguished them from task performance, the tasks that are assigned to carry out the job (Finkelstein & Penner, 2004, Finkelstein, 2006). …