Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Developmental Experiences: Do Role Definitions Moderate the Relationship?

By Moideenkutty, Unnikammu | Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, January 2005 | Go to article overview

Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Developmental Experiences: Do Role Definitions Moderate the Relationship?


Moideenkutty, Unnikammu, Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management


ABSTRACT

Data from 136 supervisor-subordinate dyads indicated that Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) was positively related to developmental experiences after controlling for In-Role Performance (IRP). Results also indicated that when supervisors had broad role definitions, the relationship between OCB and developmental experiences was non-significant. On the other hand, when supervisors had narrow role definitions, there was a significant positive relationship between OCB and developmental experiences reported by employees.

Key words: organizational citizenship behavior, developmental experiences, role definitions

Introduction

Recently there has been a dramatic increase in research on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) (Podaskoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) or behavior that contributes indirectly to the organization through the maintenance of the organization's social system (Organ, 1997). This increase can be attributed to the greater use of flatter and autonomous team-based structures in organizations and the consequent emphasis on individual initiative and cooperation (Lepine, Erez, & Johnson, 2002).

Most of the early research on OCB focused on its antecedents. More recently, increasing attention has been paid to the consequences of OCB (Podaskoff, et al, 2000). Findings from this line of research indicate that OCB has important consequences for both the organization and individual employees (Podaskoff, et al, 2000).

At the organizational level, studies indicate that OCB is related to organizational effectiveness (Podsakoff, Ahearne, & MacKenzie, 1997; Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1994; Walz & Niehoff, 1996). At the individual level, OCB has been found to affect supervisory evaluations of employee performance (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Hui, 1993), reward recommendations (Allen & Rush, 1998; Kiker & Motowidlo, 1999; Park & Sims, 1989), and estimates of the dollar value of standard deviation difference in performance (Orr, Sackett, & Mercer, 1989). In addition, a recent field quasi- experiment found that employees who perform higher levels of OCB are more likely to be promoted than employees who perform lower levels of OCB (Hui, Lam, & Law, 2000). In summary, these studies indicate that the effect of OCB on personnel decisions of supervisors is at least as great as that of task performance (Podsakoff, et al, 2000).

Podsakoff et al. (2000) recommend that future research should examine the impact of OCBs on other personnel decisions of supervisors, including those related to training. This study tests the relationship of OCB to developmental experiences of employees. Developmental experiences include, opportunities for training and development, challenging work assignments, and work assignments with greater responsibility (Wayne, Shore & Liden, 1997). Though Allen and Rush (1998) included opportunities for professional development as an item in their measure of reward recommendations, the effect of OCB on the developmental experiences of subordinates have not been studied so far.

The willingness of supervisors to provide developmental experiences for their subordinates based on their OCB is likely to depend on whether they consider this behavior to be an expected part of the individual's job. An individual's interpretation of what constitutes the role obligations of a specific job can be called his or her role definition of that job (Morrison, 1994). This study also tests the moderating effect of supervisor's role definition of an employee's job on the relationship between OCB and developmental experiences.

It is important for employees to understand the consequences of engaging or not engaging in OCB. Since OCB is often considered to be discretionary, a clear understanding of the consequences will help employees to make more informed choices about engaging in OCB. It is also important for employees to know the circumstances under which supervisors value OCB. …

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