Do your employees ever do things that they don’t have to do to keep their jobs? Do they ever act with kindness and generosity towards colleagues even though doing so does not seem to give them any personal advantage? Do they ever help the organisation beyond what might practically be expected for their job? If so they are demonstrating Organisational Citizenship Behaviours (OCB’s).

OCB’s are extremely positive and valuable because they contribute to the productivity of an organisation but they also contribute to its corporate culture by instilling a sense of generosity and kindness. Organisations with high levels of OCB’s can be shown to have other positive characteristics such as high levels of employee intention to stay and lower levels of absenteeism (Podsakoff et al, 2009).

Leadership is a key driver of OCB’s. Leaders can maximise OCB’s by:

  1. Demonstrating these kind and positive behaviours themselves.
  2. Rewarding and recognising those who bring OCB’s to work.
  3. Empowering and encouraging staff to take responsibility for their own actions.
  4. Providing support to staff so that the atmosphere for OCB’s is fertile.

If you would like to measure these types of behaviours in leaders click here to find out how.

There has also been much research to try to identify what kinds of characteristics predict whether employees will be likely to demonstrate OCB’s. Personality has been repeatedly found as a good predictor of whether a particular employee is likely to act in this positive and generous fashion (eg Penner et al 1997). This creates the opportunity to improve levels of OCB’s within your organisation through your hiring practices. Click here to find out how personality assessment can help you in improving the corporate culture of your organisation.

Andrew Marty
Managing Director

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Penner, L. A., Midili, A. R., & Kegelmeyer, J. (1997). Beyond job attitudes: A personality and social psychology perspective on the causes of organizational citizenship behavior. Human Performance10(2), 111-131.

Podsakoff, N. P., Whiting, S. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & Blume, B. D. (2009). Individual-and organizational-level consequences of organizational citizenship behaviors: A meta-analysis.

Andrew Marty