Organizational Citizenship Behavior and School Librarians

By Elkins, Aaron J. | School Libraries Worldwide, July 1, 2015 | Go to article overview

Organizational Citizenship Behavior and School Librarians


Elkins, Aaron J., School Libraries Worldwide


Introduction

In a recent survey (Elkins, Wood, & Mardis, in press), a majority of school librarians reported engaging in work behaviors they considered to fall outside the purview of their roles (such as test proctoring; performing technology repairs; providing instruction in math, science, music, and humanities; and supervising clubs and/or athletic activities) at least once a month. In addition to these work behaviors, school librarians are going beyond their specified roles by incorporating additions like makerspaces and other sources of programming formerly provided by other academic departments (Bowler, 2014). While a decline in financial resources (Farmer, 2011) may explain the origins of some school librarians' extra-role behaviors, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, a theory from the field of management, may shed more light on why school librarians voluntarily engage in other extra-role behaviors.

The Theory of Organizational Citizenship Behavior:

Origin and Definition

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) is a theory proposed by Dennis W. Organ, a researcher and professor of management at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business; he is also a fellow of the American Psychological Association, and a member of the Academy of Management. Organ's theory had its genesis in an article he wrote in 1977 that played "devil's advocate [to]... common sense, conventional wisdom, or the so-called Human Relations ideas about management" (Organ, 1988, p. xi). This conventional wisdom proposed that job satisfaction and job performance were linked only when there were rewards based on performance, in contrast to the "folk wisdom" (Bateman & Organ, 1983, p. 587) that job satisfaction caused job performance. Using ideas from Blau's Exchange and Power in Social Life (1964) and Katz and Kahn's The Social Psychology of Organizations (1966), Organ (1977) suggested that there might be something to the idea of job satisfaction causing job performance, depending on how one defined job performance.

In the early 1980s, Organ's doctoral students decided to take the ideas he had put forth in that article and pursue them further. C. A. Smith, Organ, and Near (1983) wrote about behaviors that managers would like their employees to engage in, but could not contractually require or substantially reward. These behaviors were not centered on the technical core of employees' job responsibilities, but spoke more to the social domain of the work environment. This research evolved into the book Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Good Soldier Syndrome, where OCB was first described as "individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization" (Organ, 1988, p. 4). In 2006, Organ, P. M. Podsakoff, and Mackenzie wrote Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Its Nature, Antecedents, and Consequences, where the definition of OCB was refined to include four major themes: 1) the behavior is something other than routine job functions; 2) the behavior improves the effectiveness of the organization, either directly or indirectly; 3) the behavior is voluntary behavior, or not something required by the job description or role; and 4) the behavior is variable, in the sense that some people engage in the behavior more or less frequently than other people.

Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

Organ et al. (2006) described 10 behaviors they considered to be OCBs; these behaviors speak to various aspects of the work environment. The behaviors are listed and defined in Table 1.

For school librarians, an example of demonstrating compliance behavior would be if they arrived before or stayed after their contractually obligated work hours. School librarians could demonstrate courtesy by ensuring the other teachers were aware of the programming, services, and resources offered through the school library. …

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