Exploring Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB): Types And Examples

The term “organizational citizenship behavior” (OCB) refers to all the positive and constructive actions and behaviors that employees engage in that are not outlined in their formal job descriptions. It’s anything an employee does on their initiative that helps their coworkers and the company as a whole.

Employees are not required to have OCB, which is not one of their contractual responsibilities.

Hierarchical citizenship conduct was first characterized by Dennis Organ in 1988 as “a singular way of behaving which isn’t compensated by a proper prize framework… yet that, when joined with similar conduct in a gathering, brings about viability.”

Dennis Organ was the same person who came up with the five distinct types of organizational citizenship behavior. In the following section, we’ll look at each one.

What Is Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB)?

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) refers to discretionary, extra-role behaviors exhibited by employees that go beyond their formal job requirements.

These behaviors are voluntary in nature and are not explicitly rewarded or mandated by the organization. OCB involves acts such as helping colleagues, going the extra mile, and contributing to the overall well-being of the organization.

It reflects the willingness of employees to engage in behaviors that promote the smooth functioning of the workplace, even if those behaviors are not directly related to their job descriptions.

Importance Of Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Enhancing Workplace Environment

One of the primary reasons why OCB is important in the workplace is its positive impact on the overall work environment.

When employees engage in behaviors that foster a sense of camaraderie, cooperation, and mutual support, it creates a positive atmosphere within the organization.

This, in turn, contributes to higher job satisfaction, increased employee engagement, and improved overall well-being.

Strengthening Team Dynamics

OCB plays a crucial role in enhancing team dynamics.

When employees engage in behaviors such as assisting their colleagues, sharing knowledge, and offering support, it helps build trust and collaboration among team members.

This, in turn, leads to improved teamwork, increased synergy, and higher team performance.

Improving Customer Satisfaction

OCB can also have a direct impact on customer satisfaction.

When employees exhibit behaviors such as going the extra mile to serve customers, being courteous and responsive, it creates a positive impression on customers.

This leads to higher levels of customer satisfaction, increased loyalty, and ultimately, positive business outcomes.

Fostering Innovation and Creativity

Organizations that encourage and recognize OCB are more likely to foster a culture of innovation and creativity.

When employees feel empowered to contribute their ideas, share their knowledge, and take initiative, it creates an environment conducive to innovation.

OCB promotes a sense of ownership and commitment among employees, leading to a higher level of creativity and innovation within the organization.

Types Of Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Organ identifies the following as the five most prevalent behaviors of organizational citizenship:


In the workplace, altruism occurs when a worker lends a hand to another worker without expecting anything in return. 

When someone offers their assistance to a coworker who is overwhelmed by taking over (part of) their tasks or volunteering to help clean the canteen after an internal company event, this is a straightforward illustration of altruistic behavior at work. 

Giving back to the community at work can improve morale, efficiency, and output.


Courtesy is treating others with respect and politeness—in this case, employees. Saying “good morning” is an example of workplace courtesy. 

Asking a coworker how their holiday was, how their children are doing, or how their current project is going; is essentially any question demonstrating that you have listened to what someone has to say and is related to a personal topic.


Simply put, sportsmanship is about an employee’s capacity to win. It’s about being able to handle situations that don’t go as planned, such as unpleasant surprises, and not behaving badly when they do.

An illustration of good sportsmanship in the work environment is a representative briefly assuming control over his colleague’s leg undertakings and will be on debilitated leave for half a month. 

Even though this employee’s workload is significantly increased as a result, she is not complaining to her coworkers because she is aware that the situation is only temporary and that she is taking one for the team (to use sports jargon.


Behavior that requires a certain amount of self-control and discipline in addition to exceeding the minimum requirements, is considered conscientiousness. 

This means that employees not only show up on time and meet deadlines at work but also plan before going on vacation so that their coworkers don’t have to deal with a lot of work.

One example of a remote work arrangement is having enough self-discipline to get up in the morning and finish your work, even if your manager isn’t around. 

Conscientiousness also means being aware of the fact that sometimes work needs to be done even after hours.

Civic Virtue

Civic virtue refers to how well an individual represents their work organization. It concerns how employees support their employer outside of their official roles. 

For instance, how do they discuss the organization with their friends and family?

Municipal righteousness can likewise be shown by representatives pursuing business occasions like pledge drives or running a (semi) long-distance race for a foundation with a group of colleagues. 

A form of corporate citizenship that fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie within an organization is known as a civic virtue. Better job performance and greater job satisfaction follow from this.

Encouraging Civic Behavior in Organizations

When figuring out how to encourage these behaviors in the workplace, individuals’ voluntarily displayed organizational citizenship should be the primary consideration. 

  • It is crucial to understand an employee’s circumstances and how they affect their ability to exhibit these behaviors. 
  • For instance, a person who has family or professional obligations outside of the workplace will probably not be able to attend events outside of the workplace, and it is unrealistic to expect them to do so. 
  • However, they may still be motivated to exhibit other behaviors, such as sportsmanship and politeness. It is essential to comprehend the areas in which an employer can have an impact.
  • The employer can impact employee morale, which is also very important for maintaining organizational citizenship behavior. The employee’s actions will be wasted if they lack motivation. 
  • To encourage their employees to continue engaging in these behaviors, managers need to play a role in recognizing their importance and providing supportive encouragement.
  • Praising, appreciating, and emphasizing the value of their employees, managers, and employers can help boost morale.
  • Allowing an employee to believe that they are exhibiting these behaviors for no reason is the biggest waste of potential. 
  • Ensuring these workers feel appreciated and acknowledged for their contributions to the workplace is critical. In addition, this acknowledgment will serve as a strong example for others who may not yet exhibit these behaviors.

Encouraging Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Employers

The fact that it is individual and voluntary is the main takeaway from organizational citizenship behavior. 

It isn’t easy to replicate these behaviors naturally because requiring employees to carry them out would make the behaviors less powerful.  

The behaviors are so beneficial because they are voluntary.

 An employee who acts in a certain manner by choice will always perform better than one who is forced to. 

An employer can increase the likelihood that an employee will go above and beyond while demonstrating organizational citizenship behaviors in various ways.

How To Do Encouragement in the Hiring Process?

Human resource management can take several measures to highlight the values and behaviors that are significant to you while choosing employees. 

  • One way to achieve this is by offering a thorough job description that emphasizes the company’s values and vision. 
  • An applicant who chooses to apply for a position because they share your values, is more likely to act in ways that support those values without being asked.
  • Being selective is an additional method for locating the ideal employees. An evaluation tool that can gauge a person’s personality and propensity for certain behaviors is frequently used by employers.
  • This is an excellent way to focus your search on candidates who would most likely make a valuable addition to your company.
  • By creating hypothetical interview questions that gauge how a candidate would react to various circumstances if hired, you can continue to be thoughtfully selective.
  • The hiring manager should also make sure to emphasize how organizational citizenship behaviors already exist in the workplace. 

By taking these actions, everyone will be one step closer to having shared visions even before hiring.

How To Maintain Strong Management? 

Similarly as with any calling or movement, showing others how it is done assumes a significant and fundamental part in cultivating OCB. 

  • A decent supervisor who does these ways of behaving consistently has severe strength areas for moving their workers likewise to complete these ways of behaving.
  • Good managers will also find a variety of ways to highlight employees who already exhibit the five key behaviors, as previously mentioned. 
  • A manager should know their team and what motivates or makes them feel valued because everyone responds differently to different forms of recognition, such as words of affirmation or tangible rewards.
  • Individual and company-wide recognition should be given. It’s great to congratulate an employee personally, but it’s also helpful to acknowledge their impact at a team meeting. 
  • Managers should give their employees praise themselves, but they should also give them a place or a way to praise each other, either through email or at a set time for meetings.

Influence of Organizational Citizenship on Work Performance

One of a business’s choices for further developing OCB is figuring them into a representative’s standard presentation assessment. 

  • Some employers may incorporate these behaviors into an employee’s goals and objectives, while others may include sportsmanship-related evaluation criteria. 
  • In addition, some employers decide not to include these actions in the evaluation process and instead treat them as “extra credit,” giving employees a chance to get a higher score than the overall score. 
  • There is no one-size-fits-all “correct” way to incorporate these behaviors into the evaluation process, and results may vary from person to person.
  • The inclusion of the five behaviors in a job evaluation may have both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it may bring to employees’ attention the characteristics of these behaviors and provide them with extrinsic motivation to exhibit them, encouraging them to do so. 
  • On the other hand, it may eliminate the voluntary component of organizational citizenship behaviors and put employees under a lot of stress because they may feel like they “have to” go above and beyond, even though they cannot.
  •  Understanding the motivations of your employees is ultimately the deciding factor in this decision..

Measures OF Organizational Citizenship Behavior

Several measures of OCB have been developed by researchers. However, a construct must first be defined before it can be measured. 

As previously stated, this is not a straightforward undertaking. As a result, the researchers’ conceptual definitions of OCB differ from one study to the next.

  • The measurement of OCB was the subject of one of the first studies, Bateman and Organ’s (1983). According to Bateman and Organ (1983, p. 588), According to their definition, OCB “includes any of those gestures (often taken for granted) that lubricate the social machinery of the organization but do not directly inherit the usual notion of task performance. 
  • Based on this definition, a 30-item OCB scale measuring dependability, cooperation, altruism, compliance, punctuality, compliance, housekeeping, and protecting company property was created.
  • On a 7-point scale ranging from negative 3 to positive 3, the scale asked each participant to rate their agreement or disagreement with each of the 30 items.
  • Smith was a significant early study as well. 1983), which developed a scale in stages and took a slightly more complicated measurement approach. 
  • These researchers interviewed managers in manufacturing organizations and asked them to “identify instances of helpful, but not required behavior” to develop their 16-item scale (Smith et al., 1983, p. 656). 

Based on the interviews and the scale items used in the earlier Bateman and Organ (1983) study, the researchers developed a 20-item scale. 

The scale was given to a group of 67 students with managerial experience in the third step. The students were asked to answer the questions on the scale while thinking of someone who worked for them now or in the past. 

Understudies then portrayed the individual’s work conduct and their reactions to the scale things. The 16-item scale was made possible by dropping four items after factor analysis. 

It is with this scale that the creators found results demonstrating the initial two particular components of OCB: altruism and general conformity Some examples from Smith et al. ‘s scale from 1983 include:  

  • Assists individuals who have been absent.
  • If unable to attend work, gives notice in advance.
  • Assists the supervisor in their work.
  • Participate in events that benefit the company’s image but are not required.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior Example

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) refers to voluntary actions and behaviors that are not part of an employee’s formal job description but contribute to an organization’s overall effectiveness and well-being.

These behaviors go beyond what is expected or required of employees and are considered discretionary.

Here is an example of organizational citizenship behavior:

Helping A Colleague

An employee notices that a co-worker struggles to meet a deadline due to a heavy workload.

The employee offers assistance and helps the colleague complete the task on time without being asked.

Providing Feedback

During a team meeting, an employee offers constructive feedback and suggestions for improving a project, even though it is not their responsibility.

They genuinely want the team to succeed and contribute their insights to enhance the quality of the work.

Volunteering For Additional Tasks

An employee consistently volunteers for extra assignments or tasks that are not directly related to their job responsibilities.

They take on these tasks willingly to support the team and ensure the smooth functioning of the organization.

Supporting Organizational Initiatives

When the company launches a new initiative, an employee actively participates and supports it.

They promote the initiative within the organization, encourage others to get involved and contribute their time and efforts to make it successful.

Positive Attitude And Morale Building

An employee consistently maintains a positive attitude and promotes a healthy work environment.

They actively engage in conversations, show appreciation for their colleagues’ work, and contribute to a positive and inclusive workplace culture.

Key Takeaways

  • Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) encompasses voluntary actions beyond job descriptions that benefit coworkers and the company.
  • The five types of OCB are altruism, courtesy, sportsmanship, conscientiousness, and civic virtue.
  • Altruism involves helping others without expecting anything in return, while courtesy means treating coworkers with respect and politeness.
  • Sportsmanship is about handling unexpected situations gracefully, and conscientiousness requires self-discipline and going above minimum requirements.
  • Civic virtue represents employees’ support for the organization outside their official roles. Encouraging OCB involves understanding employees, recognizing contributions, creating a supportive environment, and incorporating values in hiring and evaluations.


Is OCB related to job performance?

OCB is distinct from job performance as it encompasses behaviors beyond the formal job requirements.

However, research suggests a positive relationship between OCB and job performance, as OCB can indirectly contribute to better overall performance.

What motivates employees to engage in OCB?

Various factors can motivate employees to engage in OCB, including job satisfaction, organizational commitment, perceived fairness, positive leader-member relationships, and a supportive organizational culture.

Can OCB be measured?

While OCB can be challenging to measure directly, researchers have developed various scales and assessments to evaluate OCB based on employee self-reports, supervisor ratings, or a combination of both.

Can OCB be encouraged or influenced by the organization?

Yes, organizations can foster a culture that encourages OCB through effective leadership, fair and supportive policies, recognition and rewards for OCB, and providing opportunities for employee involvement and empowerment.

Unlock Your Knowledge? And Dive Into The Following Articles:

More To Explore:

Was this article helpful?

Leave a Comment