Have you ever found yourself voluntarily organizing an office party, giving a hand to a co-worker swamped with the workload, or simply talking positively about the organization you work for outside of work? If the answer is yes, you have knowingly or unknowingly already demonstrated Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB).

The OCB refers to a broad set of values and practices. It constitutes activities that are not formally included in an employee’s job role but are still voluntarily carried forward, resulting in an uplifting psychological and social environment at the workplace. This is crucial for today’s modern workplaces because work is very high-demanding, and individuals are expected to perform many different kinds of work; it is challenging to specify and formalize job responsibilities. This is more seen in the startup ecosystem, where work is fast-paced. In the given circumstances, employees who possess significant ownership of the company and its people and willingly go “the extra mile” to support the organizational goals are more likely to stand out among their peers.



Individuals who choose to engage in OCB may do so for various reasons. For example, it could be intrinsic motivation such as personality traits where they feel more contentment by seeing others around them do good with their support; it could also be extrinsic motivation such as a want of a heightened social image or applause in the workplace. One may even display small-scale practices of the OCB by appreciating a co-worker or asking them how their day was. One may also choose to display OCB by mentoring the recruits and guiding them to better understand the organizational culture, which is a great way to bond with new colleagues and boost productivity.



The most subtle form of OCB is caring about the welfare of others. Developing a compassionate aura where another employee feels secure enough to share their challenges or can rant if they are having a rough day is way more rewarding than you think it is. It stimulates a warm and respectful environment minimizing potential workplace conflicts. Moreover, one may extend that by presenting their organization in a good way outside their work. This civic virtue is an essential manifestation of OCB.

For instance, let’s assume your team is facing some difficulties at work during a rather important event. At that time, one of your colleagues falls sick and cannot perform their designated duties. In this case, someone must step up and get that job done. Here, an act of OCB would be to voluntarily step-up and put in that extra effort necessary to get the work done. This would display ownership to your colleague and a work commitment.

Often an employee may have to work extra hours to complete a project, which would be delayed otherwise. In that case, happily completing that work would be an act of OCB. This would, in most instances, be appreciated by many because it would show that your work ethic is not limited to doing the bare minimum only but that you care for your organization and you are willing to go above and beyond for it.



If you are planning to stay in a company for an extended period or if the company you are working for is a good fit, you are probably looking for ways to make your presence more prominent in the office. There are a host of reasons that motivate the employees to take part in citizenship behaviour. Even though OCB is supposed to be selfless, research has shown a positive correlation between OCB and job satisfaction. Because engaging in productive tasks beyond traditional job roles provides the employees with a sense of relevance and meaningfulness. This positive sense leads to more job satisfaction and less turnover. The further implication of this finding is that employees who participate in positive discretionary activities at the office have higher chances of career advancement in that organization.




Women are often expected to be naturally altruistic and courteous. As a result, men are often more rewarded for OCB than their female counterparts. This disparity is not precisely a downside of OCB; instead, it is a cultural flaw. But not all managers are mindful of this elusive gender discrimination. Also, habituation of citizenship activities may lead to unfair expectations of the managers and leaders from their employees. Therefore, employees feeling “Citizenship pressure” within an organization is an unhealthy attribute of that workplace and directly contrary to the core purpose of OCB. A manager’s role in promoting healthy OCB culture Every employee has unique expertise in which they can excel if given the opportunity. For example, a person can be extraordinarily good at solving problems but doesn’t feel comfortable when it comes to socializing with new employees. Another person can be amicable but has a child at home, so they can’t stay back long after work. We all have our strengths and limitations. A good manager should be lenient enough to let the employees engage in citizenship behaviour per their comfort zone. This freedom of citizenship crafting is necessary not to cross the fine line of citizenship stress. Also, as a manager, it is crucial to consider that non-monetary rewards like the acknowledgement of efforts, trusting with important projects, etc., are pretty uplifting for the employees who are dedicated to their job. Most structures of today’s organizations have a wide span of control with a flatter hierarchy. Therefore, it is practically impossible for managers to supervise each worker to maximize productivity. So at the time of recruitment, HR managers are actively looking for candidates with a positive mindset toward unannounced assignments. While uncontrolled OCB can lead to precarious work-life balance, a healthy practice of it is a prerequisite for both personal and organizational growth.

Author- Hridita Islam

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