Do dissatisfied employees display organizational citizenship behavior?

Literature Review, 2018

13 Pages, Grade: B



This conceptual paper aims to explore whether dissatisfied non sales employees of life insurance industry in India would display Organizational Citizenship behavior. The paper investigates the moderating effect of Organizational Commitment on EVLN Model: Exit, voice, Loyalty and Neglect as a response to job dissatisfaction leading to OCB. The research pertaining to life insurance is scant. Further, previous studies have not examined whether or not dissatisfied non sales employees of life insurance industry would display OCB. The present study is an attempt to understand the same. If the organization identifies the dissatisfied employees and addresses their grievances then those employees responding to “Voice” and “Loyalty” option of EVLN Model would not only be retained with the organization but also are likely to display OCB. OCB enhances positive vibe, cohesiveness and bonding among the team members in the work place resulting into diminished conflicts and enhanced productivity.

Key words: OCB, job dissatisfaction, organization commitment, EVLN, life insurance

Paper type: Conceptual paper – Literature Review


The term insurance in common parlance is the protection of economic value of an asset. The non- sales employees of life insurance industry consists of those employees who are not directly involved into sales. They are the back office employees like the Operations Department, Training department and all other support functions who are based at the branches across various locations and not at the Head Office level. The head office is the controlling authority of all the branches and there would be a difference in the work culture at the Head office and the branches. Thus the degree of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction would vary both at Head Office and the branches. This study further excludes the product development department, actuarial department and other such departments which are exclusively based at Head Office level. In a nutshell, the non- sales employees based at the branches across various locations are taken into consideration for the study.

The non-sales employees of life insurance sector was chosen for the study primarily for the reason that the job role or the Key Performing Areas (KPAs) are very difficult to define and often ambiguous. Moreover even if the organizations claim to have well-defined KPAs for the non – sales employees yet how far the appraisal process is transparent may be questioned.

Twenty dis-satisfied Trainers working in different life insurance companies in India were interviewed. They all replied that the major cause for their dissatisfaction at work was because of their poor performance appraisal. The poor appraisal was not due to their performance but because of ego satisfaction of the stake holders. Hence, it can be construed that the performance to some extent depends on the taste and preference of the stake holders. If the stake holder does not like a particular Trainer and gives an adverse comment that the training delivery of the Trainer is not good or that the Trainer is less knowledgeable; then such a comment may lead to negative reputation of the Trainer leading to low morale and diminished performance. Thus, the satisfaction and motivational level among the non-sales employees pertaining to job role and work environment is expected to show huge variance compared to Sales professionals. In case of sales, it is totally figure driven , number of policies sold, amount of new business premium collected, amount of renewal premium collected etc. which is measurable and unambiguous.

Objective of the study: To explore whether dissatisfied non sales employees of life insurance industry in India would display Organizational Citizenship behavior.

Methodology: Secondary data were collected from 25 Journals to understand the c onstruct of Organizational Citizenship Behavior, EVLN Model and Organizational commitment and eight hypotheses were formulated.

Literature Review:

The literature review was done in three parts. Part 1 discusses about the construct of OCB and in Part 2, EVLN Model has been discussed. In part 3, literature review on the construct of Organizational Commitment was done followed by hypothesis formulation.

Part 1:

The OCB construct:

The term “Organizational Citizenship Behavior” was first coined 35 years before by Smith, Organ and Near (1983). OCB can be 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)

Based on the type of behavior for a better cognitive ability, Podaskoff et al (2000) grouped 30 forms of different behaviors into seven classes, namely, helping behaviors, sportsmanship, organizational loyalty, organizational compliance, individual initiative, civic virtue and self-development.

Borman and Motowidlo (1993, 1997) came out with two terminologies – 1) Task performance – It relates to the actionable that an employee undertakes to complete his/her assigned work which contributes to the organization`s productivity and 2) Contextual performance – This includes actions of an employee which are not task oriented rather those activities which are not defined in their job role like helping the co- workers in order to enable them accomplish the task. OCB was redefined in 1997 by Organ which included two elements of task performance – social and psychological.

Organ (1988) provided the five dimensions of OCB that included altruism which implies helping a coworker with task which is relevant to the organization. Conscientiousness which is reflected in being punctual, not spending time in unproductive conversation etc., Sportsmanship which is reflected in refraining oneself from complaining on petty issues. Courtesy includes taking suggestion from others before an action is initiated. C ivic virtue includes involvement in organization policies thus promoting smooth functioning of the organization. The five dimensions of OCB as suggested by Organ in 1988 have been widely accepted by researchers for empirical research.

Part 2:

EVLN Model: The Construct

The three components of job dissatisfaction, namely; Exit, Voice and Loyalty was first coined 48 years back by Hirschman (1970). 12 years later, Rusbult et al (1982) added the terminology “Neglect” as the fourth response to the job dissatisfaction.

The first response to job dissatisfaction is Exit which implies voluntary separation from the organization. According to Hirschman (1970), an employee would take the decision of exit when he/she believes or feels that the unfavourable work condition is unlikely to improve.

Hirschman further states that in the second option “Voice”, an employee would express dissatisfaction in work by raising voice by means of appeals to higher authorities or through other actions and protests. Steers and Mowday(1981) suggested that employees first strive to change the unfavorable work situations before they finally exit. Hagedoorn et al. (1999) came out with two types of voice option, namely, considerate voice and aggressive voice differing in the intensity of constructiveness. According to Fuller et al.(2007) and Seibert et al. (2001) voice response enhances employee productivity.

In the third option “loyalty”, Hirschman (1970, p. 38) states that when the work situation is unfavorable, the employees neither exit nor voice and thus, suffer in silence with the expectation that the work condition would soon improve.

Rusbult et al (1982) added the fourth option, “Neglect” whereby an employee feels that the unfavorable work condition would not improve and hence puts less effort and less time at work. Voice and loyalty are considered to be responses which are constructive in nature. On the other hand, exit and neglect are the responses which are considered to be detrimental for the organization. Further, loyalty and neglect are passive responses while exit and voice are active responses.

At a later stage, EVLN model has been reframed by researchers to include additional factors .For eg. Allen & Tuselmann (2009); Naus et al(2007), added factors to EVLN model such as economic and psychological costs, response efficacy and organizational cynicism.

Further Grima and Glayman (2012) argued that while evaluating job dissatisfaction among the employees a distinction should be maintained between actual and planned exits. Distinction should also be done between constructive and passive voice and a clear demarcation must be done between passive and active loyalty.

Withey and Cooper (1989) argued that EVLN model sans constructive mechanism to forecast the behavioral responses.

Part 3:

Organizational Commitment:

Richard M. et. al (1979)states that Organization commitment is the extent to which an employee gets associated with an organization and its goals. Researchers such as Luchak and Gellatly (2007) and Bentein et al (2005) opine that an organization to achieve its long term goal should have employees whose organization commitment is strong. According to Mulki et al (2006), organization commitment is the emotional attachment of the employees based on their belief in the organizational values and vision. Steven and and Brian (2007) found that the strength an individual possess to remain associated with an organization with great amount of involvement is the organizational commitment of the individual. In fact, Morrow (1993) identifies organizational commitment as psychological attachment of an individual towards the organization. The three component of Organization commitment include affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment.

As identified by Mowday and et al (1982, p.27) affective commitment is characterized by 1) willingness to accept the goals and values of the organization 2) a strong desire and attitude to put in extra effort for the organization in order to help the organization achieve its goal and 3) Willingness to remain associated with the organization.

On the contrary as argued by Commeiras and Fournier (2001, p.239) continuance commitment is characterized by the decision of an employee to remain associated with the organization since the employee has spent considerable time and effort in the organization and do not want to take any risk of changing the job as there may be a financial cost involved for changing the job. Continuance commitment may thus become an issue for an organization since the employees may become dissatisfied with their work but still unwilling to leave the organization.

Further, Wiener (1982, p.421) defined normative commitment as the totality of internalized normative pressures to act in a way which meets organizational goals and interests. In other words, normative commitment is characterized by desire of an employee to work in the organization since the employee feels that he/she is obliged to the organization since the latter has taken due care and have done all the things for the employee.


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Do dissatisfied employees display organizational citizenship behavior?
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Arunava Dey (Author), 2018, Do dissatisfied employees display organizational citizenship behavior?, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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