Clute Institute Conferences, 2012 Orlando Florida

Font Size:  Small  Medium  Large

Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Its Importance in Academics

Thomas Kernodle, Deborah Noble

Last modified: 2012-01-03


The purpose of this paper is to support Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) as an essential area of study in the field of business education that is often neglected.  OCB has been defined as individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and that in the aggregate promotes the effective functioning of the organization (Organ, 1988).  The main dimensions of OCB are altruism, courtesy, sportsmanship, civic virtue, and conscientiousness.


There are two distinct ways that OCB’s could be beneficial to managers and organizations.  The first way is through education of the manager. Empirical evidence shows that there is a significant relationship between an individual’s level of education and the amount of OCB’s that are exhibited by the individual.  By developing managers that are aware of OCB’s and can exhibit the necessary skills to become a citizen of an organization, business schools can deploy managers that will increase the value of the organizations that employ them.


The second way is through employees. OCB is of great importance to managers because they can use the concepts and the findings in OCB studies to help them better manage employees.  As a result, if a manager could inspire employees to exhibit OCB’s, it could lead to improving the job performance of the employee, the effectiveness of the group the employee belongs to, as well as the overall effectiveness of the organization as a whole.


OCB is discussed in most Organizational Behavior (OB) text books and is often taught in OB classes.  It is, however, a relatively small part of the coursework when compared to the other topics included under OB.  Because of its importance to future managers, it would be beneficial to further explore the behavior of employees as citizens as part of OB course work.


Several other areas of management that are directly related fail to include OCB as part of academic content.  OCB is not discussed in most Human Resource Management textbooks or courses.  Knowledge of OCB could play an important role in selecting and developing individuals in a workforce.  Business Ethics is a growing area of study in business schools.  Literature has supported the overlap of OB and Business Ethics as well as the specific relationship between OCB and ethics.  However, OCB is not a part of most Business Ethics courses and is not mentioned in many Business Ethics text books.  Basic Business Management courses such as Principles of Management, Introduction to Business, or Business Organization and Management generally do not cover the concepts of OCB.  Because managers influence and inspire employees to exhibit OCBs, the concepts should also be included in Managerial Leadership courses.

Full Text: PDF