Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB)

“Organizational Citizenship Behavior” (OCB) is a term coined in the field of organizational behavior studies to describe actions taken by employees that go above and beyond their prescribed job roles. These actions, while not officially recognized or directly rewarded, contribute significantly to the overall functioning and success of an organization.

OCBs are voluntary, discretionary behaviors that are not part of an employee’s formal job description and not explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, yet they benefit the organization. These behaviors are often subtle and can include actions such as helping a co-worker with a task, staying late to complete a project, or taking the initiative to prevent potential problems.

OCBs can be categorized broadly into two types: OCBs directed towards individuals (OCBI), and OCBs directed towards the organization (OCBO). OCBI includes behaviors that directly benefit specific individuals and, indirectly, the organization, such as helping a coworker with their tasks. OCBO includes behaviors that benefit the organization as a whole, such as defending the organization when others criticize it or voluntarily doing extra work to help the organization succeed.

The concept of OCB is crucial for Human Resources (HR) as these behaviors significantly contribute to organizational effectiveness. They help create a positive work environment, improve team functioning, and increase efficiency and productivity. OCBs can also enhance employee morale, reduce turnover, and improve job satisfaction.

Several factors can encourage OCBs within an organization. Perceived organizational support, or the degree to which employees believe their organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being, can lead to an increase in OCBs. Fairness, or perceived justice in the workplace, also plays a significant role in fostering OCBs. When employees believe they are being treated fairly, they are more likely to go beyond their job description to help the organization.

Leadership is another crucial factor in promoting OCBs. Transformational leaders, who inspire and motivate their employees, can foster a work environment conducive to OCBs. Such leaders often role-model OCBs, setting a precedent for employees to follow.

HR policies and practices can also promote OCBs. For instance, HR can foster a supportive work environment, provide opportunities for employee growth and development, and implement fair evaluation and reward systems.

However, while promoting OCBs, it’s essential for organizations to ensure these behaviors don’t lead to employee burnout. Since OCBs are extra-role behaviors, they should not become an expected part of the job without proper recognition or compensation.

In summary, Organizational Citizenship Behavior represents a set of discretionary and voluntary actions by employees that, while not formally rewarded or recognized, contribute significantly to organizational success. Understanding, fostering, and appropriately managing OCBs are crucial for HR in creating a harmonious, productive work environment.