Associations between Internal Controls and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (*)

By Holmes, Sarah A.; Langford, Margaret et al. | Journal of Managerial Issues, Spring 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Associations between Internal Controls and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (*)

Holmes, Sarah A., Langford, Margaret, Welch, O. James, Welch, Sandra T., Journal of Managerial Issues

In his landmark book, The Functions of the Executive (1938), Barnard stated that organizational moral behavior is obtained only through a cooperative effort among all employees. Top management, however, is obligated to carry the moral freight (Perrow, 1986) and must communicate a shared sense of moral purpose to employees (Barnard, 1938). This admonition that top management must motivate rather than rely upon employees to behave ethically may still apply today. The degree to which management supports adherence to certain standard operating procedures and internal control measures can communicate management's expectations of moral behavior by all employees, itself included.

In contrast, lax management attitudes, particularly toward internal controls, have frequently been linked to fraud and its detection (Vinten, 1992; Irvine and Lindsay, 1994; Hooks et al., 1994). A report issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO, 1992) stated that management concerns for effective internal control must "permeate" the organization. Controllers responding to a survey (Irvine and Lindsay, 1994) agreed ethically-oriented behavior in an organization is a broad-based management responsibility, and that as part of a management team, controllers had to model such behavior. Based upon a comprehensive review of the literature, Hooks et al. (1994) further suggested that codes of conduct have little impact if not enforced. That is, when top management displays "willful ignorance, [it] sends a powerful message that it will tolerate [wrongdoing]" (Thompson, 1993: 64). More recently, fraud researchers have cautioned auditors to be especially vigilant in assessing the "tone at the top" (Beasley et al., 1999: 13) and control weaknesses (Hillison et al., 2000). Lax attitudes by management may contribute to a lack of employee conscientiousness and therefore to an environment which allows or perhaps even encourages fraudulent activity, while it discourages the reporting of such activity. In contrast, positive or supportive ethical attitudes modeled by management may encourage employee conscientiousness, a contributing factor in organizational citizenship behavior such as reporting fraudulent activity.

The purpose of the current study is to determine (1) whether fraud schemes differ depending upon the attitude of management regarding controls, (2) whether detection of such schemes differs based upon attitude, and (3) whether outcomes differ based upon attitude. As a framework for this investigation, we utilized an expanded definition of organizational citizenship behavior that includes employee moral behavior, linking it to attitudes of top management. In this article, we discuss organizational citizenship behavior, explain research questions of interest, then discuss the results of the study and suggest areas of future research.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Organ (1988, 1990, 1994) originally concluded that organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is extra-role behavior that is not formally recognized or rewarded by the organization. Dimensions of OGB include altruism (helping behaviors), courtesy (behaviors preventing problems with others at work), sportsmanship (behaviors indicating willingness to go along with few complaints), civic virtue (behaviors reflecting concern for firm), and conscientiousness (behaviors that go beyond simply obeying rules). Schnake et al. (1995) found that leadership behavior of managers might have more control over employee OGB than previously thought.

Van Dyne et al. (1994) redefined the OGB construct, broadening the set of specific behaviors and offering a more complex model with three factors: (1) loyalty: allegiance to an organization and its leaders, (2) obedience: acceptance of the need for rules and regulations to govern the organization, and (3) participation: full and responsible involvement in organizational governance while guided by "ideal standards of virtue" (1994: 767).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Associations between Internal Controls and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (*)


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?