The consequences of organizational citizenship in business
What is organizational citizenship?
Organizational citizenship behavior is defined as behavior in a workplace environment which benefits the workplace while not being directly required or recognized by a formal reward system. Instead, organizational citizenship behavior is the product of an instilled sense of community and citizenship in the workplace, an individual’s personality, and their personal decision making. Organizational citizenship behavior is referred to as “citizenship” behavior because the behavior which is defined under this category is intended to benefit a company and, more importantly, benefit the other individuals who are involved in the work life of the person exhibiting organizational citizenship behavior. These behaviors are not necessary or critical in order to perform a job; however, they can still enhance work performance and create a positive and more productive work environment.
Examples of organizational citizenship behavior include performing small tasks for the business that are not critical to their job. These small tasks are usually small behaviors, such as keeping the workplace tidy or helping to clean up messes even outside of their job description, which contribute to a sense of responsibility and citizenship among employees.
The consequences of organizational citizenship
There are many positive consequences to organizational citizenship in a business environment. When employees have a sense of organizational citizenship, they are more likely to behave as if they are a “citizen” of the company and as if their fellow employees are fellow citizens. In the context of business, this means that the employee feels as if they belong to the company and that their employees are not only their co-workers, but people who share the same community and who, like them, have responsibility to bettering that community.
One of the most significant consequences of organizational citizenship are employees who will want to go above and beyond their job description in order to create a better working environment for everyone involved in the business. Employees will feel compelled to perform small tasks, such as picking up scraps of paper on the floor or volunteering for work events, even though they are not actually within the limits of their job description. This benefits businesses for several reasons: one, it means that employees are performing work which the company does not have to monetarily reward them for, and two, employees who feel invested in the business and are therefore more likely to work hard to keep it running smoothly. This type of consequence applies to many different aspects of a business. For example: An employee who is instilled with a sense of organizational citizenship is more likely to report problems or issues which have the potential to be harmful or dangerous because they feel responsible for the safety of people in the business environment. They may report broken equipment or hazardous situations quickly in an attempt to prevent any accidents from occurring. They may even voice concerns about how the business is run and attempt to fix problems in the company that are hindering its productivity—for example, they may notice that fellow employees are being worked longer hours with little time for breaks, subsequently decreasing their productivity, and speak up about this to their superiors in an attempt to ensure that the employees are able to provide top-notch work for the business that they feel responsible for.
Another consequence of organizational citizenship is better employee rapport, or better interemployee relationships. Problems amongst employees are one of the biggest causes of low productivity and other problems associated with poor quality job performance, such as tardiness or even absenteeism. Employees who are fighting, causing drama, or otherwise creating a negative atmosphere for the business can all significantly affect the day-to-day operations at a company. Studies have shown again and again that employees who are stressed out, angry or even depressed because of these employee conflicts are less productive than their counterparts in environments without such stress. When organizational citizenship is in effect, employees are much more likely to feel a better rapport with one another. This not only decreases the amount of fighting and negativity that can exist between employees, but increases the amount of sympathy and caring among employees as the same time. This creates a much better working environment but also has an added benefit: if an employee is going through a tough time, such as a relationship break-up or another emotional trauma, their fellow employees will feel compelled to help that employee through their emotional troubles—for example, by offering to babysit their child so they can have a night to relax—which will reduce the amount of outside stress on that employee, thereby preventing that employee’s performance in the workplace suffering as a result of their personal problems.
Another significant consequence of organizational citizenship is an increased sense of job satisfaction. Job satisfaction has been linked to overall job performance time and time again—the more satisfied an employee is with their job, the more likely they are to provide quality work on a consistent basis for their employer. Conversely, if someone is not satisfied with their job, they are likely to provide a poor work performance.
Organizational citizenship increases job satisfaction by allowing an employee to feel invested in the success of the business while becoming invested in their success working for the business. Organizational citizenship essentially gives employees the drive and hopes that, because they are a “citizen” of the business and are constantly working hard to do their best for that business, that they will be rewarded in the future. The reward they are looking for may be monetary, such as raise, special bonus or a higher level position—but it can also be less tangible. Studies have shown that when a person feels invested in a company, they really do feel a sense of responsibility and even hope for that company. They want the business to succeed as much as they want themselves to succeed and they will often go above and beyond their actual job description to ensure that business does well in the future.