Antecedents of Organizational Citizenship Behavior Revisited: Public Personnel in the United States and in the Middle East
Tang, Thomas Li-Ping, Ibrahim, Abdul Hamid Safwat, Public Personnel Management
The antecedents of self-reported organizational citizenship behavior were examined in two samples of public personnel. Data for the first sample were collected from 155 workers in the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation in the southeastern U.S. The second sample consisted of 378 police officers and military personnel in the Middle East (Egypt and Saudi Arabia). The results of separate step-wise multiple regression analyses showed that, for both samples, organization-based self-esteem (OBSE), need for achievement (n Ach), intrinsic job satisfaction, and low extrinsic job satisfaction were predictors of altruism, whereas low work-related stress and high organization-based self-esteem were related to compliance. The results are discussed in light of intrinsic motivation, dispositional variables, and cultural differences.
For the past several decades highly related constructs such as prosocial organizational behavior(1), extra-role behavior(2), and organizational citizenship behavior(3) have been investigated by organizational researchers. Recently, attention to organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) has increased.(4)
The purpose of this study is to examine and explore the antecedents of organizational citizenship behavior using demographic variables, dispositional variables, and work-related variables from two samples: workers in the United States and the Middle East. Organizational citizenship behavior and intrinsic motivation will be reviewed first, followed by rationale for the use of variables examined and hypotheses.
Organizational Citizenship Behavior
According to Organ,(5) OCB "represents individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and in the aggregate promotes the efficient and effective functioning of the organization." Organ further states that these behaviors "lubricate the social machinery of the organization," "provide the flexibility needed to work through many unforeseen contingencies," and help employees in an organization "cope with the otherwise awesome condition of interdependence on each other."(6) The practical importance of OCB is that behaviors improve efficiency and effectiveness in both public and private organizations.
There are two distinct types of OCB: One is called Altruism, which emerges as "a class of helping behaviors aimed directly at specific persons."(7) The other is named Generalized Compliance (Conscientiousness), which is defined by "a more impersonal sort of conscientiousness, more of a "good soldier" or "good citizen" syndrome of doing things that are "right and proper" but for the sake of the system rather than for specific persons." These two factors were also identified in a sample of workers in Taiwan.(8) OCB holds great "promise for organizational behavior research"(9) and should be explored in other cultures.
Intrinsic motivation, performing an activity for no reward except the enjoyment of the activity itself,(10) is operationally defined as the amount of time subjects spend working on the target task in the free-choice period,(11) how well the task is liked and willingness to participate in future experiments,(12) experimental enjoyment,(13) and voluntary behavior in an organization.(14) The notion of intrinsic motivation has the following characteristics: 1. People perform these activities at their own discretion, reflecting self-determination,(15) 2. people are "Origins" rather than "Pawns,"(16) and 3. no specific reward is related to these activities.
Research suggests that extrinsic reward may undermine intrinsic motivation on a task (i.e., the overjustification effect) and the lack of extrinsic reward may enhance intrinsic motivation (insufficient justification effect). For most people, "play" rather than "work" is highly related to intrinsic motivation.(17) Lepper and Greene(18) state that "turning play into work" may undermine intrinsic motivation. However, Tang and Baumeister argue that "turning play into work," by means of explicit labels, may increase intrinsic motivation among persons who truly endorse the Protestant Work Ethic. However, younger employees who received training labeled as "play" showed higher motivation to learn and performed better than older workers.(19) One important outcome in increasing employees' intrinsic motivation may be a reduction in the need for extrinsic rewards and the need to monitor employees' task behavior.(20)
Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Intrinsic Motivation
Organizational citizenship behavior and intrinsic motivation share many similar characteristics: 1. Employees' OCB reflects day-to-day spontaneous prosocial gestures at their own discretion.(21) 2. Those who perform OCB may also perceive themselves as "Origins" rather than "Pawns" in an organization. 3. These activities are largely unaffected by organizational reward and punishment. Thus, OCB can be considered an example of employees' "intrinsic motivation" in an organization. Because personalities and work-related attitudes are related to intrinsic motivation, it is expected that dispositional variables and work-related variables will be related to OCB.
Employees appear to bring important predispositions to the job that are relatively difficult to modify.(22) Intrinsic job satisfaction is relatively consistent(23) and has a significant genetic component (30% of the observed variance).(24) Using deep-rooted and stable dispositional variables such as intrinsic job satisfaction and attitudes toward money, researchers can predict employees' withdrawal cognitions and turnover behavior 18 months later.(25)
Based on these suggestions, it is argued that OCB may be related to employees' dispositional variables. Four dispositional variables will be examined: self-esteem (SE), organization-based self-esteem (OBSE), the Protestant work ethic (PWE), and need for achievement (n Ach). Of these four variables, OBSE is more specifically related to the organization than the other three. Since the measurement of OBSE was recently developed based on self-esteem, self-esteem will be discussed first.
Self-Esteem. Krebs(26) suggested that extraversion is related to pro-social behavior, whereas neuroticism is negatively related to such behavior Smith et al. further argued that people with a high level of neuroticism probably do not have the emotional stamina to concern themselves with others' problems, therefore they may not display pro-social behavior.
When people have a positive self-image, they are more likely to see favorable characteristics in others.(27) Self-esteem (SE) is "a global evaluation of the self"(28) or a sense of worth or value.(29) People will develop attitudes and behave in ways that will maintain their level of self-esteem.(30) Self-esteem has "considerable stability from one situation to the next, even from year to year."(31)
Further, high self-esteem individuals (high SEs) have more favorable efficacy beliefs than low SEs.(32) Low SEs tend to prefer an easy task after positive feedback, whereas high SEs tend to prefer a difficult task after positive feedback. High SEs also set high goals, have high certainty, good performance, and enjoy challenging and difficult tasks.(33)
Organizational citizenship behaviors are performed beyond employees' regular duties and responsibilities and may make their own work more difficult. It is expected that only high self-esteem employees will have the emotional stamina to perform OCB under difficult and challenging situations.
Self-esteem is also considered the most important need in a group of managers in the Middle East and is the most satisfied need in a sample of school principals in Saudi Arabia.(34) Thus, it appears that self-esteem is an important concept for both Americans and Mideasterners and will be related to OCB.
Hypothesis 1: Self-esteem will be related to both Altruism and Compliance.
Organization-based Self-Esteem. Organization-based self-esteem (OBSE) can be defined as …
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Publication information: Article title: Antecedents of Organizational Citizenship Behavior Revisited: Public Personnel in the United States and in the Middle East. Contributors: Tang, Thomas Li-Ping - Author, Ibrahim, Abdul Hamid Safwat - Author. Journal title: Public Personnel Management. Publication date: Winter 1998. Page number: 529. © 2009 International Personnel Management Association. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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