Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Dispositional Predictors of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Motives, Motive Fulfillment, and Role Identity

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Dispositional Predictors of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Motives, Motive Fulfillment, and Role Identity

Article excerpt

Constructs from a conceptual model of the volunteer process were applied to discretionary helping in the workplace (Organizational Citizenship Behavior or OCB). A total of 193 employees at 4 private companies completed anonymous surveys measuring amount of OCB. motives for engaging in citizenship behavior, and the extent to which those motives were fulfilled by the behavior. Also assessed was the degree to which respondents developed an organizational citizen role identity. Amount of OCB and the strength of a citizen identity correlated with two motives for helping, concern for coworkers and concern for the organization, as well as with the fulfillment of those motives. Impression management motives were related to citizenship behaviors directed toward coworkers but not to citizenship activities targeting the organization per se. Impression management goals also were unrelated to formation of a citizen role identity. The findings suggest that similar dispositional factors are involved in sustaining volunteerism and OCB.

Keywords: prosocial behavior, role identity, motives, Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Early research on prosocial behavior focused on spontaneous acts of helping in emergencies (e.g., Latané & Darley, 1970). Recently, behavioral scientists have turned their attention to ongoing, nonobligated helping. Two forms of sustained prosocial activity have been extensively studied, volunteerism and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB: e.g., Organ, 1988). The latter are employee activities that exceed the formal job requirements and contribute to the effective functioning of the organization. Because of its voluntary nature, OCB is variously referred to as contextual performance or prosocial organizational behavior (e.g., Borman & Motowidlo, 1993, 1997; Brief & Motowidlo, 1986). Citizenship behavior can take two forms, differentiated according to the intended target of the activity (e.g.. Organ & Ryan, 1995). OCBI comprises behaviors that are directed at individuals or groups in the organization, while OCBO refers to helping that targets the organization per se. Examples of each include assisting others with work-related problems (OCBI) and offering ideas to improve the functioning of the organization (OCBO).

Volunteerism and OCB share important attributes. Both involve long-term, planned, and discretionary acts that occur in an organizational context and benefit nonintimate others. Penner (2002) suggested that the factors that initiate and sustain volunteerism could also be used to understand the dispositional factors that underlie OCB. He proposed combining two traditionally separate approaches to understanding the volunteer process into a single conceptual framework that would also be applicable to OCB.


The first approach is the functional perspective (e.g., Clary et al., 1998; Omoto & Snyder, 1995; Snyder, 1993), which holds that individuals volunteer in order to satisfy certain needs or motives. Volunteering continues to the extent that the experience fulfills those motives. Penner and colleagues (Finkelstein & Penner, 2004; Rioux & Penner, 2001) adapted functional analysis to the study of OCB. They identified three motives for OCB. Two are relatively selfless motivations and include regard for the organization (referred to as OC or Organizational Concern) and the desire to help others (Prosocial Values or PV). Helping may also be driven by Impression Management (IM) motives, the desire to be perceived as helpful in order to acquire or retain specific rewards (e.g., Arkin, 1981; Bolino, 1999). The range of motivations, from the other-oriented PV and OC motives to the self-focused IM goals, means that identical citizenship behaviors can serve very different functions for different individuals (or for the same individual at different times).

Both Rioux and Penner (2001) and Finkelstein and Penner (2004) found that OCBI correlated most strongly with OPV motives (see also McNeely & Meglino, 1994), and OCBO with OC motives. …

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