August 29, 2023
It’s no secret that, before starting any job, each person is given a job description outlining the key responsibilities of the role. However, in many workplaces, it won’t take you too long to notice that there are certain employees who display that extra level of personal motivation and always seek opportunities to venture outside of their scope for the benefit of their co-workers and the success of the wider company.
By going above and beyond like this, these incredible individuals are unknowingly demonstrating something called Organisation Citizenship Behaviour (OCB), which has been known to propel success when harnessed in the right way. In today’s blog post, we’re going to delve into Organisation Citizenship Behaviour and what it actually means, its origins, its types, its advantages and how best to foster a culture of OCB in your workplace. Let’s get started!
Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) refers to an individual's voluntary dedication and contribution to an organisation that goes beyond the scope of their contractual obligations. It encompasses anything that an employee chooses to do of their own accord to help their colleagues and the company they work for.
Generally, Dennis Organ is considered to be the father of OCB and, in 1988, defined it as "individual behaviour that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognised by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organisation". In addition to this, he also conducted rigorous studies into the concept and, as a result, was able to identify five common behaviours that, from his perspective, are at the heart of Organisational Citizenship.
According to Organ, the five behaviours of Organisation Citizenship are the following:
- Civic Virtue
In order to get a clear picture of what the above five behaviours really mean, let’s define them one-by-one:
Have you ever helped someone to finish up a task at work because you could see they were really pushed for time? Ever seen someone struggling to carry their heavy bags upstairs and offered to give them a hand? Both of these cases are perfect examples of altruistic behaviour.
By definition, altruism involves helping another person without the expectation of receiving any compensation or gratification in return for those efforts. For an act to be considered altruistic, it must be done without the expectation of reciprocity, however, due to the contagious nature of this type of behaviour, it can often inspire others to show the same level of kindness and selflessness.
Courtesy in the workplace refers to displaying politeness, respect, and consideration towards the people you work with. This includes using polite language, showing appreciation, being attentive during discussions, and treating everyone with dignity, regardless of their position or role within the organisation.
Even small gestures like greeting the team as you enter the office in the morning or keeping the noise down when a colleague is trying to concentrate can contribute towards a much better overall atmosphere for everyone.
Similar to the principles observed in sports, at work, sportsmanship involves maintaining a positive attitude, embracing challenges, and collaborating effectively, even in competitive or challenging situations.
Sometimes things can be frustrating and not every decision will go your way, but it’s important not to react negatively in the face of such circumstances.
Conscientiousness in the workplace is about being diligent, attentive, and dependable in fulfilling tasks. It means striving for quality, being organised, and consistently delivering results, even if it does occasionally involve coming into work early or leaving late.
Conscientious individuals go the extra mile and have the discipline and self-control to get the job done without being monitored or needing a gentle push from a manager.
Last but not least, civic virtue refers to demonstrating a strong sense of ethical responsibility, integrity, and active engagement in positively representing the company you work for, both inside and outside of the office.
This can involve everything from the way in which you speak about the company to friends and family to the fundraisers and charitable events you choose to participate in. Even if you’re not in an official capacity, to show civic virtue, you still need to ensure that your actions reflect well on the organisation.
OCB has multiple known advantages, which is why many employers strive to introduce more and more of it into the workplace in order to effectively drive success amongst employees.
In more detail, some of these advantages include:
Organisational Citizenship Behaviour brings forth an array of positive outcomes that extend beyond individual performance. By nurturing a culture that encourages such behaviours, organisations can cultivate a more engaged, productive, and harmonious workplace environment.
Organisational Citizenship Behaviour is powerful because it's voluntary, which is why these genuine actions are quite hard to replicate. However, there are some strategies employers can use in order to foster a culture within which employees willingly seek to exceed expectations and display OCB. Let’s explore them!
During the employee selection phase, HR can emphasise existing company values through job descriptions and use stages like realistic previews, assessments, and interviews to gauge a candidate’s alignment with Organisational Citizenship Behaviour. This proactive approach ensures that the successful candidate already naturally exhibits the desired behaviours and, as a result, will fit right in!
As far as tools go, Listen Léon offers an assessment solution that delivers comprehensive outcomes, applying a culture match percentage to candidates, both within their prospective team and across the entire organisation. The results page also contains an intricate breakdown of candidates' strengths, areas for growth, and behavioural traits. This empowers organisations to make informed decisions and select candidates who exhibit the most pronounced organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB).
Just like in any field, leading by example is crucial for nurturing OCB. A capable manager who consistently showcases these behaviours will, more often than not, inspire their team to follow suit.
In addition to this, effective managers also find diverse ways to praise employees embodying OCB. Individual and company-wide recognition, both personal and in team settings, helps foster a culture of appreciation and motivation.
As a manager, you can never underestimate just how far a quick compliment can go towards an employee’s confidence and drive!
It’s possible to incorporate OCB into performance reviews by transforming the behaviours into goals, criteria, or even viewing them as "extra credit" for higher scores. This is often seen as a way to measure and reward OCB in a more formal manner.
However, including the five behaviours in evaluations has pros and cons that it’s important to be aware of. Whilst it clarifies expected behaviour and provides outside motivation, it could potentially take away the voluntary aspect and create stress, which defeats the purpose of OCB and the fact that it’s a personal choice.
In order to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on employees, it’s best to consider this on a case-by-case basis rather than instantly implementing it company-wide, as every employee is different and has different motivations.
In conclusion, as we’ve explored today, Organisational Citizenship Behaviour can significantly drive an organisation's success. Promoting OCB cultivates teamwork, dedication, and a positive work atmosphere, resulting in boosted productivity and overall achievement by all.