Antecedents of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: A Study of Public Personnel in Kuwait

By Alotaibi, Adam G. | Public Personnel Management, Fall 2001 | Go to article overview

Antecedents of Organizational Citizenship Behavior: A Study of Public Personnel in Kuwait


Alotaibi, Adam G., Public Personnel Management


In this study I examine the effects of procedural and distributive justice, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment upon Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) with samples drawn from six government organizations in Kuwait. Hierarchical regression analysis reveals that only procedural and distributive justice account for unique variances in Kuwaiti workers' OCB. Hence, previous assumptions regarding the influences upon OCB may be incorrect. The implications of these results upon organization behavior and actual management practices are also discussed.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB), or "extra-role behavior," has received a great deal of attention from organizational behavior researchers in the last two decades. It was in the early 1980s that several empirical studies first addressed the notion of OCB.[1,2]

Whereas Organ defines OCB as "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"[3] Schnake defines it as "functional, extra-role, pro-social behavior, directed at individuals, groups, and/or an organization."[4] OCB thus includes discretionary "pro-social" ethical behavior, such as helping newcomers to the organization, assisting co-workers on the job, not taking unnecessary breaks, and volunteering to do things not "required" by a job description.

Katz observes that an organization in which members confine themselves to formal, in-role behavior will simply break down[5], while Smith et al. assert the importance of OCB in "lubricating" the social machinery of an organization.[6] Organ has also pointed out the significance of OCB for organizational efficiency, effectiveness, innovation, and adaptability within diverse organizations.[7]

Unfortunately, because investigations into this topic are still at an early stage, relatively little is yet known about the antecedents of, or key influences on, OCB. Job satisfaction and affective commitment have sometimes been considered antecedents to pro-social, extra-role behavior in organizations, but this is not always the case.[8] Organ & Rayan found, in their meta-analytic review of 55 studies, that satisfaction, fairness and organizational commitment were the only correlates of OCB in a considerable number of cases.[9]

The relationship between satisfaction, commitment, and OCB at the individual level, however, may create underlying positive attitudes about the job and the organization that encourage people to pursue or manifest extra-role behavior.[10 ]Although it has been found in several studies that job satisfaction and organizational commitment are related to OCB,[11,12,13,14] job satisfaction and organizational commitment have been found to be strongly related in other studies, and some scholars indicate that they should be examined together to discover their influence on OCB.[15, 16] Moreover, empirical research also supports the relationship between perceptions of fairness and OCB.[17,18,19]

Some researchers have argued that it would be beneficial to include "perceptions of fairness" when studying the impact of job satisfaction on OCB in order to describe the connection between these variables (fairness perceptions, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment).[20,21,22] As previous researchers have tied these variables together, I have chosen to term them "antecedent variables" for the purpose of this study in which I intend to examine the relative contributions of perceptions of fairness, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment in predicting OCB.

Determinants of OCB

Job Satisfaction

The relationship between job satisfaction and OCB can be depicted in several ways. Organ & Konovsky suggest that job satisfaction is the strongest measure that correlates to OCB.[23] It has been found in 15 independent studies that a significant relationship exists between job satisfaction and OCB. …

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