5 Types Of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCB)

Organizational citizenship behavior welearn learning services
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are defined as any individual contribution that is positive, constructive, and discretionary and is not outlined in the formal job description. Contributions of this nature are not required. The term refers, in layman’s terms, to anything that the employee accomplishes voluntarily. An individual can acquire this by taking actions that will benefit themselves, their co-workers, and the organization in which they are gainfully employed. Despite the fact that these tasks are noncontractual, employees often choose to contribute to OCB as part of their career development.

    It was Dennis Organ who coined the term, organizational citizenship behavior, in 1988. According to him, when OCB was first defined, it was… “an individual behavior not rewarded by a formal reward system…but when combined with the same behavior in a group, results in effectiveness.” Employee engagement, higher productivity levels, and long-term effectiveness have been linked to the term.

    In Organ’s study, OCB was classified into five common types of behavior. According to his study, when all of these behaviors are exhibited (especially in a group setting), employee effectiveness and engagement will be enhanced; thus, resulting in a higher level of output (of work).

    The Five Types Of OCB


    1. Altruism

    Altruism occurs when an employee assists a fellow employee without expecting any reward or compensation in exchange for their assistance. The act of altruism can be demonstrated by employees who offer to take on part of their co-workers’ workload, such as emailing financial reports to certain departments to help lighten their load. Consequently, employee morale and productivity are enhanced.

    2. Courtesy

    Courtesy occurs when an employee is courteous, kind, and considerate towards others at work. A common example of courtesy is asking a co-worker about their recent vacation with their family. In the workplace, courtesy encourages positive interactions between coworkers, which result in a more productive work environment, reduced stress among coworkers, and improved communication.

    3. Sportsmanship

    Sportsmanship refers to the ability of an employee to accept failure gracefully. This is demonstrated when something work-related does not go according to plan, which may be irritating, frustrating, or difficult to comprehend, but the ability to not exhibit negative behavior indicates good sportsmanship. 

    An example of sportsmanship would be an employee who applied for an advanced position that had recently become available to everyone but did not receive it. As it turns out, their co-worker was the lucky candidate chosen, so the employee shakes their hand and congratulates them. Good sportsmanship encourages positive behavior among colleagues.

    4. Conscientiousness

    Conscientiousness refers to the ability to control one’s self and adhere to a strict discipline so that one goes above and beyond the (bare bones) requirements for completing a task. When it comes to the workplace, this means going beyond showing up on time. It also means staying late when additional time is required for projects, especially when a heavy workload is involved. 

    A common example of conscientious behavior would be an employee who stays late to ensure that the presentation for the next business day is completed and the meeting agenda is on point to ensure that the meeting is successful. A conscientious attitude promotes productivity, effectiveness, and job satisfaction.

    5. Civic Virtue

    Civic virtue is defined as behavior that a person exhibits to represent an organization they work for, even after typical work hours. This refers to how an employee represents the organization even when he or she is not in their formal capacity. 

    A common example of civic virtue would be the manner in which an employee conducts himself or herself in an informal setting, such as during an event fundraiser that takes place outside normal business hours. In a business setting, civic virtue encourages a sense of community, better job performance, and overall satisfaction.

    Best Practices

    Organizational citizenship behaviors promote positive behavior among employees and within the organization as a whole. In order for your organization to reap the benefits of this type of behavior, it is essential to encourage it through the implementation of best practices. Consider the following learning strategies in order to steer your organization in a positive direction.

    To begin with, you should channel your hiring process in the right direction. Candidates should be shown the type of OCB your organization encourages during the selection process. Make sure that your hiring process incorporates an OCB adenium. There are several ways in which this can be demonstrated:

    • Job listing and description
    • Pre-employment assessment tools
    • Candidate interviews

    The next step is to involve managers and leaders equally in the process. Developing organizational citizenship begins at the top of any organization. It is imperative that the higher-ups represent it in order to support employees and motivate them to do the same. As employees observe leaders acting in a positive manner, such as being good losers or working additional hours to benefit the entire organization, they will take notice and follow suit. 

    Additionally, leaders need to recognize the organizational citizenship behaviors that employees engage in on a regular basis. Providing recognition can take the form of a handshake and a simple “thank you”, or it can be complex, such as offering incentives for obtaining a positive OCB. Whatever the case may be, it should be recognized company-wide to promote praise for every position and title within the company.

    Do not hesitate to recognize those who have demonstrated outstanding examples of OCB at work with a celebration of recognition. It may be appropriate to conduct a celebration in the “Cheers for Peers” style. In order to achieve this, several avenues can be explored. Consider posting a bulletin board in the break room or at the front of the office entitled, “Cheers for Peers.” Encourage employees to post their gratitude to their colleagues throughout the week. A few examples of this may be:

    • “I would like to thank Rebecca for organizing this week’s charity car wash. Her help was invaluable in contributing to the amount of money the organization was able to raise.”
    • Muhammad, thank you so much for taking over Alice’s project while she was out sick this week. Without your assistance, Alice’s project would have fallen behind and would have proved impossible to complete in time.”
    • “Roberto was kind enough to change the flickering light over my desk as the maintenance team was unable to arrive quickly enough. Thank you, Roberto!”

    Simple recognitions will make a huge difference among colleagues.

    Lastly, organizations may wish to reconsider how their performance management processes are concluded. The OCB should be included at the very least as a way of encouraging and rewarding this type of behavior. Incorporating organizational citizenship into annual evaluations and rewarding employees for their positive behaviors will result in positive results, such as improved self-efficacy and an increase in organizational citizenship behaviors.

    Closing Thoughts

    All employees within an organization may not follow organizational citizenship behaviors, and this is perfectly acceptable. In spite of this, the benefits far outweigh the risks for both employees and the organization. The recognition of all the simple behaviors that employees participate in order to go the extra mile for their work is imperative for promoting a positive work environment. Start by ensuring your managers are setting a good example, and the rest will follow; thus, resulting in a culture of recognition and inclusion that will attract spectators around the world.

    Share This Post:

    Subscribe to Our Blog:

    Leave a Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Scroll to Top
    Skip to content