Organisational Citizenship Behaviour and Counterproductive Work Behaviour Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Organisational behaviour is the study of human behaviour in the workplace, the interaction between people and the organisation, and organisation itself (Dubrin 2002, p. 2). In most of the organisational behaviour literature review, the following five types of behaviours are often highlighted- task performance, organisational citizenship, counterproductive work behaviours, joining and staying with the organisation and work attendance (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione, 2009). These individual-level dependent variables are present in most OB research which has a significant impact on the effectiveness of organisations.

In my following essay, I will be highlighting on two of the above factors-mainly Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) and Counterproductive Work Behaviour (CWB).

I will be discussing on how various authors agree that different personalities and positive affectivity levels contributes to the emergence of OCB and that how different authors view the stand of considering all OCB as voluntary acts based on own accord. In addition, I will also be discussing the issue in which a consensus has been reached by most authors that job dissatisfaction is one contributing factor of CWB and that CWB, being defined as harmful in nature, has been challenged by some authors to be a justifiable act.

OCB

Organisational Citizenship Behaviour (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, cited in Vigoda-Gadot, 2006, p. 3) or as individual behavior that promotes the goals of the organization by contributing to its social and psychological environment (Organ; Rotundo & Sackett, cited in Vigoda-Gadot, 2006, p. 3). Personality and Positive Affectivity

Personality refers to the enduring, inner characteristics of individuals that organise their behaviour (Derlega et al, cited in Rothmann & Cooper, 2008, p. 24) and personality traits predict what a person will do as opposed to what he or she can do (Rothmann & Cooper 2008, p. 24).

As such, it is agreed that citizenship performance is well predicted by personality variables (Penner, Allen, & Motowidlo, 2001; Hurtz & Donovan, cited in Barrick & Ryan 2003). It is also stated that differences in citizenship performance by the employees are clearly tied to the differences in their personalities and attitudes (Landy & Conte 2004) and feelings about their work, also known as affects (Lee & Allen 2002).

I came across this survey done by (Bierhoff, Klein & Kramp, ed. Murphy 1996) in which first aiders who rushed to the aid of the accident victims almost immediately scored lower on a measure of egocentrism- the absorption with one selfs lives and family. They also scored higher on a measure of empathy in which they expressed a greater level of concern for others (ed. Murphy 1996). From the above results, I feel that various personality factors do influence the tendency of one to render help to others thereby performing citizenship performance which benefits the organisation as a whole.

In addition to the above, I have learnt that the higher the level of positive affect, the higher the level of willingness to help is in individuals (ed. Murphy 1996). Besides the helping behaviour, I have also learnt that maintaining a positive mood in the course of our work may also inadvertently lead us to performing extra role behaviours (e.g.: protecting the organisation and developing oneself in terms of upgrading ones skills to the benefit of the organisation) (George and Brief, cited in Lee & Allen, 2002). To my surprise, I found that positive affect is not just influenced on a personal level but also due to external environmental factors. These include the differences in shades of lightings at our workplaces (Baron et al, cited in ed. Murphy 1996) and even presence of pleasant smelling artificial fragrances in our workplaces (Baron & Bronfen 1994, cited in ed. Murphy 1996). Performed based on free will?

Most of the recent studies and researches on OCB have pointed out that it is based on voluntary helping behaviours. However, (Vigoda-Gadot E 2006, p. 1 ) pointed out on focusing on the exploitative and abusive tendency of supervisors and managements to impose so-called voluntary or extra-role activities via compulsory mechanisms in the workplace, thereby refuting the conventional definition of OCB being performed based on good will and free choice. In fact, some of these behaviours categorised under OCB may well be categorised under Compulsory Citizenship Behavior (CCB) (Vigoda-Gadot 2006, p. 1).

By reviewing the Expectancy Theory (Griffin & Ebert 2005, p. 246) in which people are motivated to work towards rewards that they want and that they believe they have a reasonable chance or expectancy of obtaining it in mind, I have actually agreed with the view that there is much possibility that OCB can also arise from other motives, some of them less voluntary or less self-initiated. Among these motivations are the abusive and exploitative behavior of immediate supervisors and the pressure by management or peers to become involved in activities in which the employee would otherwise not involve himself (Tepper, cited in Vigoda-Gadot 2006, p. 3).

CWB

Counterproductive Work Behaviours (CWB) is defined as voluntary behaviours that have the potential to directly or indirectly harm the organisation (McShane, Olekalns & Travaglione T, 2009, p. 18).

Job Dissatisfaction

Job dissatisfaction is defined as a set of unfavourable feelings and emotions with which employees view their work (Newstrom & Davis 1997, p. 255). It seems that authors have a consensus on job dissatisfaction contributing to the emergence and high levels of CWB. It is stated that dissatisfied employees may engage in psychological withdrawal (e.g.: daydreaming during job), physical withdrawal (eg: unauthorized absence, early departures, extended breaks, work slowdowns) or even overt acts of aggression and retaliation for presumed wrong.

There are many factors influencing job dissatisfaction which includes organisational factors like pay and promotion opportunities and the working condition itself. Group factors like the role of supervisor and co-workers; personal factors like needs and aspiration and how are these met, and how individuals views he instrumental benefits of the job also contributes to job dissatisfaction( Rothmann & Cooper 2008, p. 24).

Though I am in agreement that job dissatisfaction is a strong contributor to the performance of CWB, I feel that CWB may also be induced by other factors like accumulated work stress leading to the emergence of violence which is one form of CWB. Similarly, theft cases in the company, which is another form of CWB, may just be a personal justification of the employees due to a perception of lost equity in the course of their work (Newstrom & Davis 1997).

Justifiable Act

Various authors held on to their individual stands regarding the topic on CWB. In most of my readings, authors agreed that CWB are actually harmful acts towards either individuals or towards the organisation itself. However, (Fox 2002) had presented a different point of view discussing the view that CWB may could well be a justifiable act which is clearly challenging the most conventional definition of CWB which is being negative in nature.

(Fox 2002, p. 2) expanded the definition of CWB to include unintentional harm, as long as the act itself is volitional- an act which is motivated by other reasons to cause harm. Hence with this expanded definition, it raises the possibility of constructive CWB. In their article, they have considered on 3 categories of arguments which are moral issues, role conflicts and productivity arguments.

I personally feel strongly for the argument on role conflicts. Many of the withdrawal behaviours may be seen as counterproductive in the perspective of managers or even organisations. However, these behaviours shown may be required to be fulfilled by the employees in the perspectives of their family and even the community. Putting in simpler terms, employees may be expected by the society to perform these behaviours so as to be able to strike a work-life balance. Hence, I feel that CWB should not be seen as just a negative behaviour which is purely deviant from an organisations objectives as I strongly feel for the presence of positive CWB.

Key Findings

In this modern age, to adapt and survive in a workplace, other than equipping oneself with the generic skill of problem solving, it is also vital to place great importance on understanding fellow colleagues as this will lead to self knowledge and self insight (Dubrin 2002, p. 4). By understanding what motivates others to perform OCB through the study of organisational behaviour, it will also in turn allow employees to gain an understanding on what motivates them to have similar behaviours. Inadvertently, this may bring them to a greater level of job satisfaction which also leads to greater organisational effectiveness as a whole.

In addition, studying organisational behaviours enhances a professional or managers effectiveness relating to their interpersonal skills. Hence, if solid interpersonal skills are added on to ones professional or managerial knowledge, it will certainly be a bonus towards an organisations overall service and productivity.

Hence, information about organisational behaviours is vital to be known to the employees in organisations.

Reflection

If I were given a chance to assume the role of manager in an organisation, the notion of having OCB being induced by compulsion as mentioned earlier on will certainly be omitted by me as I feel that though it is an important goal of managers everywhere to make employees aware of the benefits of OCB and ideally, encourage it, it is far more important to conduct it through a legitimate way and not by other means such as abusive or exploitative activities. In this way, I believe conventional OCB will indeed be truly promoted as the employees will be serving and going the extra mile for the organisation in the most genuine way as I agree with the view that a person who engages in OCB might receive appreciation and recognition that induce positive moods and there will be a greater likelihood of repeating the OCB (Miles et al, cited in Zirgham 2009, p. 85) which will greatly benefit the organisation.

A discrepancy often exists among managers and employees about the definition of certain work tasks being in-role or extra-role. Each behaviour may be different for different people as every employee in an organization perceives job requirements differently (e.g.: for service sectors), helping others may be a routine, but some may see it as beyond their job scope. By acknowledging this in the position of an employee, I will be able to anticipate this possible occurrence of conflict between managers and employees and thus, expand the boundaries for the definition of my job scope. In this way, I believe that my chances of managerial exploitation and workplace abuse by supervisors to perform compulsive OCB will be reduced to the minimum.

Conclusion

OCB is a stable behaviour emerging in workplaces and it will always act as a value adding criterion in ones performance. However, it will only act as a value adding criterion only when it is performed through the free choice of employees and not by coercion means and negative external pressures. Thus, we have to be aware and alert so as to preserve the original positive results of OCB being performed, leading to a more successful and healthy establishment of an organisation.

CWB is always seen as a conduct having an adverse relationship with OCB. However, as the saying goes- there are always two sides to the same coin; we should probably broaden our perspectives in our view towards CWB and accept the notion that CWB may not be necessary all detrimental in nature.

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