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Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Volume 19, Number 2 Article by Sunil Kumar Singh June, 2007

Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Its Nature, Antecedents, and Consequences : By Dennis W Organ, Philip M Podsakoff and Sco :

Organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB) as a concept is now almost 25 years old. However, in the current hypercompetitive business environment, where organisations are looking for anything which can help them achieve competitive advantage, OCB may well provide the answer. The origin of this concept can be traced to the first author of this book, who published a paper titled ‘A Reappraisal and Reinterpretation of the Satisfaction-Causes-Performance Hypothesis’ in 1977. The paper looked at the casual and subtle contributions of employees, which cannot be captured by quantitative hard measures of output. The term OCB was first used by Organ in his studies in 1983 with two of his doctoral students, Tom Bateman and C Ann Smith.

This book is extremely valuable for two reasons. Apart from being written by Dennis Organ, the pioneer of the concept of OCB, the book comes at a time when the concept has travelled almost a quarter century. The objective of this book is to revisit the milestones in the course of its journey, clear some of the ambiguities which have been created and identify and address the gaps that have developed during this period. The book takes a relook at different relationships and creates some new ones, which will give its readers some valuable and interesting insights into the concept of OCB. The complete and unbiased view of the history of the concept that emerges is commendable, considering that one of the authors created the concept. The best part of this book however is the author’s detailed description of future research directions.

This book is an interesting piece of work that modestly defines its boundaries and objectives and delivers beyond those objectives. Targeted mainly at academicians and researchers, the book covers a vast amount of OCB research in just eight chapters, structured into in three parts: OCB and its roots; antecedents of OCB; and impact and implications of OCB.

Chapter 1 uses the acts and motives of an employee named ‘Sam’ to describe the intricacies of the term organisational citizenship behaviour. The analysis of what Sam does, why he does it, and how he does it helps readers recognise the various issues involved in OCB and its importance in the organisational context. It helps readers separate this concept from charity. Chapter 2 gives a rich view of the historical beginning of this concept. It provides a description of the various types of OCB, its cultural variants and a peek into topics like contextual performance, prosocial organisational behaviour, extra-role behaviour and issues pertaining to construct validity of OCB measures. Chapter 3 places this concept alongside other concepts of organisation theory including informal organisation, exchange and power, different contributions by organisational participants, performance appraisal, LMX, and transaction cost economics.

Part 2 of the book looks at the antecedents of OCB such as attitudinal, dispositional, personality, work environment and leadership and the research that has been carried out into these antecedents. It looks at the structural distance between employees, task routinisation, task formalisation, personality traits, morale etc. Part 3 looks at the impact of OCB – how OCB will affect managerial evaluations, managerial decisions, performance measures, impression management, reward allocation and organisational efficiency. It also dwells on what it means for HR practitioners in terms of different HR functions like recruitment and selection, compensation, training and development, and performance measurement.

Every chapter of the book ends with a detailed, in-depth discussion of implications for future research. The appendix gives a review of OCB in a convenient tabular form and also puts together all the different scales used in OCB research with content validity, conceptual definition, and psychometric properties, which will be of great help to researchers.

However the book also has its share of weaknesses. It does not offer much for practitioners, except for a short final chapter, which could have been left out without detriment, as the language and the style of this book make it more suitable for academicians and researchers. Apart from this minor weakness, this book is a must read for any one with any research interest in organisational citizenship behaviour. Considering the compactness and structured presentation, it is a value buy for academicians/ researchers working in this area.

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