Organisational Citizenship Behaviour and Counterproductive Work Behaviour

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Organisational Citizenship Behaviour and Counterproductive Work Behaviour


Organisational behaviour is the study of human behaviour in the workplace, the interaction between people and the organisation, and organisation itself (Dubrin 2002, p. 2). In most of the organisational behaviour literature review, the following five types of behaviours are often highlighted- task performance, organisational citizenship, counterproductive work behaviours, joining and staying with the organisation and work attendance (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione, 2009). These individual-level dependent variables are present in most OB research which has a significant impact on the effectiveness of organisations.

In my following essay, I will be highlighting on two of the above factors-mainly Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) and Counterproductive Work Behaviour (CWB).

I will be discussing on how various authors agree that different personalities and positive affectivity levels contributes to the emergence of OCB and that how different authors view the stand of considering all OCB as voluntary acts based on own accord. In addition, I will also be discussing the issue in which a consensus has been reached by most authors that job dissatisfaction is one contributing factor of CWB and that CWB, being defined as harmful in nature, has been challenged by some authors to be a justifiable act.


Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) has been defined 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, cited in Vigoda-Gadot, 2006, p. 3) or as individual behavior that promotes the goals of the organization by contributing to its social and psychological environment (Organ; Rotundo & Sackett, cited in Vigoda-Gadot, 2006, p. 3). Personality and Positive Affectivity

Personality refers to the enduring, inner characteristics of individuals that organise their behaviour (Derlega et al, cited in Rothmann & Cooper, 2008, p. 24) and personality traits predict what a person will do as opposed to what he or she can do (Rothmann & Cooper 2008, p. 24).

As such, it is agreed that citizenship performance is well predicted by personality variables (Penner, Allen, & Motowidlo, 2001; Hurtz & Donovan, cited in Barrick & Ryan 2003). It is also stated that differences in citizenship performance by the employees are clearly tied to the differences in their personalities and attitudes (Landy & Conte 2004) and feelings about their work, also known as affects (Lee & Allen 2002).

I came across this survey done by (Bierhoff, Klein & Kramp, ed. Murphy 1996) in which ‘first aiders’ who rushed to the aid of the accident victims almost immediately scored lower on a measure of egocentrism- the absorption with one self’s lives and family. They also scored higher on a measure of empathy in which they expressed a greater level of concern for others (ed. Murphy 1996). From the above results, I feel that various personality factors do influence the tendency of one to render help to others thereby performing citizenship performance which benefits the organisation as a whole.

In addition to the above, I have learnt that the higher the level of positive affect, the higher the level of willingness to help is in individuals (ed. Murphy 1996). Besides the helping behaviour, I have also learnt that maintaining a positive mood in the course of our work may also inadvertently lead us to performing extra role behaviours (e.g.: protecting the organisation and developing oneself in terms of upgrading one’s skills to the benefit of the organisation) (George and Brief, cited in Lee & Allen, 2002). To my surprise, I found that positive affect is not just influenced on a personal level but also due to external environmental factors. These include the differences in shades of lightings at our...
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