Why is Organization Citizenship Behavior (OCB) an important aspect in our workplaces?
What is OCB?
Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is a term used to describe employees who go above and beyond their formal job requirements to help their organization. OCB goes beyond the scope of what is expected of an employee, such as volunteering for extra tasks, helping co-workers, being helpful to customers, and offering solutions to organizational problems.
Such tasks aren’t critical to the job, but benefit the team and encourage even greater organizational functioning and efficiency. Usually, these behaviors are seen as positive by managers, and the importance and impact of these behaviors are usually noted.
Organizational citizenship behaviors include; loyalty, initiative, sportsmanship, prosocial behavior, self-development, etc.
OCB can be exhibited in 3 major ways including;
- Altruism – This refers to behaviors that are acted to benefit others without expecting any reward. It would relate to a worker choosing to help a co-worker finish a project or a set of tasks even though the work does not necessarily relate to what they need to get done in their regular workday.
- Conscientiousness – This is characterized by a strong sense of responsibility and initiative in completing tasks, reliability, and self-discipline. It can be displayed in a form of co-workers helping out in times of crisis, and taking on additional tasks without being asked.
- Courtesy – Courtesy encompasses behaviors that demonstrate respect and consideration for other people. Courteous behavior includes being polite and respectful to colleagues, customers, and vendors.
How does organizational citizenship behavior contribute to workplace performance?
- A Sense of Purpose – Workers feel a more significant sense of purpose and work meaningfulness. This means that employees feel their work is essential and useful to the company.
- A Renewed Sense of Vigor – When employees feel they are doing good for others, it prevents feelings of burnout. Employees can become re-energized and have a new sense of purpose so they can continue to do work that furthers company goals.
- Enhanced Organizational Reputation – OCB can improve the reputation of the organization, making it more attractive to customers, clients, and employees. This can lead to increased business and a stronger, more dedicated workforce.
- Improved Teamwork – OCB behaviors can promote teamwork and cooperation among employees, leading to better relationships and improved communication, which can lead to better performance outcomes.
- Increased Employee Engagement and Commitment – When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work. OCB can help to create a sense of belonging and increase employee satisfaction, leading to higher levels of motivation and performance.
Despite being beneficial to the organization, OCB can pose several challenges, including:
- Difficulty in Measurement – OCB is often difficult to quantify, making it challenging to evaluate its impact and reward it accordingly.
- Resistance to Change – Employees may resist changes in organizational policies or procedures that they feel threaten their OCB activities.
- Lack of Recognition – OCB may not be recognized or valued by managers or leaders in some organizations, which negatively affects the motivation for employees to engage in such behaviors.
- Conflict with Job Demands – OCB activities may conflict with an individual’s job requirements or cause role ambiguity, leading to frustration or burnout.
- Individual Differences – OCB may not be relevant or valued by all employees, as individual differences such as personality, values, and cultural background can affect the extent to which an individual is likely to engage in OCB.
How can Organisations promote OCB?
- Recognize and reward employee contributions.
- Communicate the importance of organizational citizenship behavior.
- Feature OCB success stories in internal communication.
- Foster a culture of trust and respect.
- Encourage employees to discuss their experiences and ideas with one another.
- Encourage collaboration and team-building activities.
- Provide meaningful and challenging work by regularly communicating the organization’s mission, vision, values, and goals.
- Empower employees to take ownership of their work and responsibilities.
- Implement a leadership style that emphasizes communication and collaboration.
- Provide professional development opportunities for employees.
- Involve employees in decision-making processes that affect them.
By: Ssanyu Joanitah