In the last 20 years increasing attention has been drawn to the concept of Organizational Citizenship Behavior by academic researchers and, more recently, by managers. Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are employee behaviors that go beyond role requirements, not formally rewarded or punished by the organization, which in the “aggregate” facilitate organizational functioning and benefit the organization by improving efficiency (Organ in Schnake, 2003). Because working under changing circumstances becomes one of the main features of contemporary organizations (Lee et al. in Somech, 2004, p. 281) “organizations will necessarily become dependent on individuals who are willing to contribute to successful change regardless of formal job requirements”. This paper analyzes the concept of organizational citizenship behavior and seeks to determine in which ways it influences organizational performance and individual outcomes. Most of the research concerning OCB has focused on antecedents of the dimensions of OCB. Attempts to examine the consequences of OCB are more recent and relatively few (Bergeron, 2005; Podsakoff et al., 2000). The aim of the paper is to outline the importance of OCB for organizations and individuals and support Organ’s (in Schanke, 2003) suggestion that OCB impacts on organizational effectiveness and performance. Firstly, in this paper, the concept of OCB and its dimensions will be defined. Next, an analysis of the consequences of OCB on organizations’ effectiveness and personal outcomes will be conducted. Finally, based on the analysis mentioned above, solutions to the problem of motivating individuals to engage in OCBs will be suggested.
2.Definition and dimensions of OCB
Starting with Organ’s (in Ryan, 2002, p. 123) generally used definition of OCB: “OCB represents 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”, OCB has been proposed as one way to expand the definition and measurement of employee performance. Although OCBs seem unimportant when viewed as isolated events, they have a large organizational impact when aggregated among individuals, organizational units and time frames (Ryan, 2002). Examples of extra-role behaviors that constitute OCB are: helping co-workers that have been absent from work, persisting with extra effort when necessary to complete task successfully, supporting and defending organizational objectives (Borman, 2004). Because of the diverse conceptualizations concerning OCB as far as academic literature is concerned, defining OCB has been a widely discussed issue. For better analysis and understanding of the concept of OCB, in this study the broader conceptualization of OCB, which includes the traditional in-role job performance behaviors, will be used (Van Dyne, 1994). After defining OCB as a concept the necessity of adequately describing its construct domains (dimensions) arises. Initially Organ (in Walz, 1996) theorized five distinct categories of OCBs: a) altruism- the act of helping a person with a work-related task, b) conscientiousness- the act of carrying out duties beyond the required level, c) courtesy- actions of communicating with individuals affected by one’s decision, d) sportsmanship- actions that are positive when people hold back from doing them and e) civic virtue- actions that represent responsible participation in or involvement with meetings. Later on, Podaskoff et al. (2000) grouped the various forms of different behaviors in 7 categories according to the type of behavior: helping behaviors, sportsmanship, organizational loyalty, organizational compliance, individual initiative, civic virtue and self development. Another approach to classifying the types of OCBs is based on the target of OCB. According to these criteria, 2 broad categories of OCBs were...