Investigating the effect of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenship

Master's Thesis, 2019
93 Pages, Grade: very good


Table of Content




List of abbreviations

Table of Content

List of tables

List of figures

1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the problem
1.3 Objective of the Study
1.3.1 General Objective
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
1.4 Scope of the Study
1.5 Significance of the Study
1.6 Operational Definition of Terms
1.7 Organization of the Paper

2.1 Perceived Organizational Support
2.1.1 Dimensions of Perceived Organizational Support
2.1.2 Effect of Perceived Organizational Support
2.2 Nature of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour
2.3.1 Dimensions of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour
2.3.2 Social Psychological Theories as Explanations for OCB
2.3.3 OCB and Related Concepts: Delimiting the Boundary
2.3.4 Nature of OCB in Educational Organizations and Role of Teachers
2.3 Perceived Organizational Support and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour
2.4 Conceptual Framework of POS

3.1 Background of the Study Area
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Sources of Data
3.4 Sampling Design
3.4.1 Target Population
3.4.2 Sample Size Determination
3.4.3 Sampling Method
3.4.4 Sampling Technique
3.5 Variables of the Study
3.6 Questionnaires Design
3.6.1 Perceived Organizational Support Questionnaires
3.6.2 Organizational Citizenship Behaviour Questionnaire
3.7 Pilot Test
3.8 Validity and Reliability Test
3.9 Data Analysis
3.8.1 Descriptive Statistics
3.9.2 Inferential Statistics

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
4.3 Descriptive Statistics of POS and Organizational Citizenship Behaviour
4.3.1 Employees Perception of Organizational Support
4.3.2 Employees Level of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour
4.4 t-Test result on POS dimensions and OCB based on gender
4.5 One-way ANOVA result on POS dimensions and OCB based on age group, education level, marital status and work experience
4.5.1 A One-way ANOVA results on POS dimensions and exhibition of OCB among various age groups
4.5.2 A One-way ANOVA results on POS dimensions and Exhibition of OCB based on marital status
4.5.3 A One-way ANOVA results on POS dimensions and Exhibition of OCB based on educational level
4.5.3 A One-way ANOVA results on POS dimensions and Exhibition of OCB based on work experience of the respondents
4.6 Association between POS and organizational citizenship behaviour
4.7 Regression Analysis
4.7.1 Predicting organizational citizenship behaviour by POS dimensions

5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Recommendations




This research aims to investigate the effect of perceived organizational support on employee organizational citizenship behaviour in the case of academic staffs of Arba Minch University. For the sake of achieving the objectives of this study, the information gathered through questionnaire from 282 respondents were analysed using statistical analysis. The respondents were selected using stratified sampling followed by simple random sampling technique. The most important findings of this study is that perceived organizational support has a positive and significant effect on organizational citizenship behaviour. Results revealed that there is significance difference between male and female academic staffs towards exhibiting organizational citizenship behaviour and insignificance difference found on dimensions of perceived organizational support. Moreover, there is significant difference on perception of supervisory support, procedural justice, career development opportunities, decision-making involvement and exhibition of organizational citizenship behaviour based on education level.

The result of Pearson correlation coefficient analysis showed that perceived organizational support dimensions have significant and positive relationship with organizational citizenship behaviour. The results of multiple linear regression showed that the best predictor of organizational citizenship behaviour had been supervisory support. Based on findings, recommendations to Arba Minch university management and suggestions for other researchers are forwarded.


First of all, my hearty thanks go to Almighty God for His blessing-full knowledge, inspiration and diligence required for the successful completion of this Thesis and for making my dream a reality.

My special thanks and recognition go to my research advisors Dr. Gemechu Nemera (Assistant Professor of Management) for his stimulating advice and constructive comments at every step of writing this thesis as well as for unreserved efforts to assist me.

A sincere thanks you to the academic staffs of Arba Minch university who willingly gave their time to participate in this research study. Last but not the least, I would like to thank all who encouraged me and provided necessary materials for the study.

List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

List of tables

Table 3.1: Population size by colleges, institutes and schools

Table 3.2 Proportionate Sampling Determination

Table 3.3: Reliability Statistics

Table 4.1 Mean of POS and Organizational Citizenship Behavior..

Table 4.2 A t- test showing sex difference in POS and exhibition of OCB

Table 4.3 One-way ANOVA table showing the difference POS and OCB based on age groups

Table 4.4 one-way ANOVA result on POS dimensions and OCB based on marital status

Table 4.5 one-way ANOVA result on POS dimensions and OCB based on educational level

Table 4.6 one-way ANOVA result on POS dimensions and OCB based on work experience of respondents

Table 4.7: Coefficient Range

Table 4.8 Pearson correlation between POS and organizational citizenship behaviour

Table 4.9 Model Summary of the regression analysis

Table 4.10 ANOVAa of regression analysis

Table 4.11 Regression analysis on POS dimensions and OCB

List of figures

Figure 4.1gender distribution of respondents

Figure 4.2 age distribution of respondents

Figure 4.3 marital status of respondents

Figure 4.4 Educational level of respondents

Figure 4.5Work experience of respondents



1.1 Background of the Study

Higher Education Institutions are very essential for the producing qualified and skilled human resources such as teachers, healthcare, professionals, lawyers, engineers, managers, businesspersons and researchers critical for the socio-economic development of a nation (Ministry of Education, 2008). Out of the available resources such as money, material, man and machine, human resource forms the prime source of competitive advantage because of its uniqueness and inimitable nature. Having a resourceful and talented human capital gives organization the much-needed cutting edge over its compotators (Singh and Singh, 2010).

Even within the presence of skilled, educated and talented workforce, many firms are unable to attain anticipated success. Many studies tried to identify key factors leading to organizational success and found that employee attitude plays important role (Cheung, 2013; Magd, Ahmed, & Hamza, 2007; Ibrahim, Ghani, & Embat, 2013; Emami, Alizadeh, Nazari, & Darvishi, 2012; Judge, & Kammeyer-Mueller, 2012). The perception of individual towards work environment plays a significant role in the formation of attitude compared to the real situation. Perceived organizational support is said to be one important factor that affects employee’s attitude. Therefore, it is vital for organization to study perceived organizational support to have better understanding of the experience and reactions of employees.

Organization support theory gives the foundation for the exchange relationship between individuals and organizations (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison and Sowa, 1986). Organization support theory states that in order to meet socio-economic needs and evaluate the benefits of accelerated work effort, employees for a general perception regarding the extent to which the firm gives importance to their contributions and cares about their well-beings (Krishhan & Mary, 2012).

The importance of perceived organizational support in the relationship between organization and employees, the way in which employee’s behaviour is affected by the relationship between employees and organization is explained using the social exchange theory (Chiu, Huang, Cheng, & Sun, 2015). Social exchange theory developed by Balu (1964) stated that when workers are getting benefits from the activity performed by their organization, they feel obligated to their organization and try their best to compensate their organization through their actions and hard works. Similarly, if employees observe that they are reviewing support from their work organization they will try to engage themselves in useful behaviours such as organizational citizenship behaviour which will increase the organization performance in return. Thus, the performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment as well as organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) can be affected by perceived organizational support (POS).

According to Aledeinat & Alrfou (2017), organizations are working hard to learn as well as teach their employees organizational behaviour that will help the organization adapt and thrive successfully in the global competitive environment which is continually changing. In this regard it is expected that employees go beyond their roles, job descriptions and duties to enhance the overall performance of the organization. Managers of the organization are in need of such employees who can go beyond their job boundaries to ensure that the performance of the organization is excellent. In addition, Benjamin (2012) points out that at the present time, the world-wide competition, increases the importance of organizational citizenship behavior as a mean for the improvement and utilization of human resources, and for enhancing organizational viability. In showing the benefits of organizational citizenship, Organ (1988) explains that organizational citizenship behavior ensures the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization by fostering creativity, innovation and enhancing flexibility.

Teachers are at the centre of education system and seem to accept huge and critical responsibilities at a national level (Abebaw, 2007). In general, achievement of goals in education institution is largely influenced by the perception of teachers towards organizational support and their willingness to go beyond their job descriptions and involving all helping behaviours to colleagues and supervisors. Taking this importance of having organizational support to encourage citizenship behaviour of employees, the researcher will investigate the effect of organizational support perception on academic staff’s citizenship behaviour at Arba Minch University.

1.2 Statement of the problem

In today’s competitive and turbulent environment, educational institutions like universities and colleges cannot reach their goals just through official duties of teachers (Bogler & Somech, 2004). Therefore, it is essential to acknowledge that organizational citizenship behaviour of teachers is crucial for education sectors which strive for continuous efficiency (Dipaola & Hoy, 2005). Most researchers are interested in investigating the factor which cultivates employee’s organizational citizenship behaviour (Bokeoglu & Yilmaz, 2008; Cheung, 2013; Muhammad, 2016; Muhammad, 2014). But the researches aiming to study perceived organizational support in promoting organizational citizenship behaviour are generally conducted at the business enterprise level, yet there has not been enough research in education organization to investigate factors which foster organizational citizenship behaviour of employees.

Organizational survival, success and prosperity are hard to achieve in the absence of workers with more citizenship behaviour who can devote their time and energy (Jahangir, Akbar & Haq, 2004). As a result, organization citizenship behaviour is becoming important in organizational researches.

Inconsistent results on the effect of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenship behaviour has been identified in the literature. For instance, findings of the study conducted by Miao and Kim (2010), found that job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behaviour were positively and significantly affected by perceived organizational support. However, the Meta-analysis on the outcomes perceived organizational support revealed that OCB is moderately affected by organizational support (Ahmed, Nawaz, Ali & Islam, 2015). In contrast Chan (2014) found a weak and negative relationship between organizational support and organizational citizenship behaviour.

Antecedents that remained unaddressed in organization citizenship behaviour research are organizational variables such as perceived organizational support, flexibility, level of bureaucracy and so on (Blanchard, 2012; Oplatka, 2009; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000). Therefore, there is a need to investigate the relationship between OCB and perceived organizational support.

Accordingly, it is important to investigate the effect of perceived organizational support on employee’s organizational citizenships behaviour. Moreover, due to non-existence of research done on the effect of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenships behavior in academic institutions of Ethiopia, the researcher is interested in contributing his own findings by making systematic study in higher education institution. Therefore, the aim of this study is to investigate those problems stated above by conducting systematic study in academic environment. Finally, this study has answered the following research questions.

- What is the level of perceived organizational support in academic staffs of Arba Minch University?
- What is the level of organizational citizenship behavior in academic staffs of Arba Minch University?
- What is the relationship between perceived organizational support and organizational citizenship behavior?
- What is the effect of perceived organizational support on the exhibition of organizational citizenship behavior in academic staffs of Arba Minch University?
- Is there a significance difference in perceived organizational support dimension and organization citizenship behavior of academic staffs based on demographic variables?

1.3 Objective of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The primary purpose of this study is investigating the effect of perceived organizational support on employee’s citizenship behaviour at Arba Minch University and determines the extent to which dimensions of employees’ citizenship behaviour affected by perceived organizational support.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives

Specific objectives of the study are:

- To assess perception of organizational support in academic staffs of the University.
- To assess the level of organizational citizenship behavior of academic staffs.
- Investigate the relationship between perceived organizational support and of organizational citizenship behavior.
- To determine the major predictor of organizational citizenship behavior from perceived organizational support dimensions.
- To explore the significant difference in exhibition of organizational citizenship behavior and perceived organizational support dimensions based on demographic characteristics (sex, work experience, age, marital status and educational qualification)

1.4 Scope of the Study

The study has focused on the effect of perceived organizational support on employee’s citizenship behaviour of Arba Minch University and the data of this study is delimited to academic staff of the institution while the administrative staffs were not included in this study. Administrative staffs were excluded due to lack of enough time for the researcher to administer data collection activity of both staffs at the same time. The study has focused only effects of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenship behaviour of academic staffs but other factors may affect citizenship behaviour of employees therefore, the study is neither exhaustive nor comprehensive. This study has also faced delimitations in the sampling frame which only considers Arba Minch University therefore, the results cannot be generalize to the whole universities of the country. In general, the researcher faces different delimitations; geographical delimitation, methodological delimitation and conceptual delimitation, but the researcher has tried to manage them and conduct the research.

1.5 Significance of the Study

The results of this study will have contribution in various ways. Firstly, it may serve as an indicator to the management of the universities on academic staff’s perception towards organization support as well as level in exhibition of citizenship behaviour. Secondly, it will give the researcher the opportunity to gain deep knowledge of conducting a research project. Finally, it will also help as reference for individuals who want to conduct further study in similar or related topic in other organizations.

1.6 Operational Definition of Terms

Citizenship behaviour: positive and responsible extra behaviours (in kind and degree) exhibited by teachers in their workplace that may benefit individuals (students, colleagues and customers) and the organization at large.

Perceived Organizational Support (POS): perceived care, support and recognition given by educational institutions and those in charge of leading them to ensure the wellbeing of teachers. A short version POS instrument having eight items with a seven-point scale measures it.

1.7 Organization of the Paper

The study is organized in to five chapters. Accordingly, the first chapter deals with the introductory part of the study, the second chapter discusses the details of related literature of the study, the third chapter focuses on research methodology, the fourth chapter discusses data presentation and analysis and finally in chapter five conclusions are drawn based on analysis and possible recommendations are forwarded by the researcher based on investigation.



Literature review provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study as well as benchmark for comparing the result with other findings. Therefore, this chapter presents major concepts of perceived organizational support and its dimensions. The nature, antecedents and the effect of perceived organizational support on citizenship behaviours are also discussed.

2.1 Perceived Organizational Support

Researchers employ the Social Exchange Theory to analyse the interrelationship between individuals and leaders, as well as the interaction between individuals and the organization. In the 1980s, the Social Exchange Theory received much attention by organizational experts which resulted in the development of the concept of organizational support. The concept of perceived organizational support was derived from one of traditional theories related to the relationships between employers and employees based on mutual expectations and obligations (Golparvar, Nayeri & Mahdad, 2009).

Eisenberger et al., (1986) firstly and formally developed the concept of perceived organizational support to the literature. Since then, scholars have been paying particular attention to the analysis on the formation of organizational support Supportive behaviours of leaders as well as organizational climate may be perceived to provide organizational support. The organizational support refers to feelings and beliefs held by individuals in terms of levels of value and respect directed by organizations towards cooperation, assistance and support to their employees. Furthermore, this concept reflects the fact that the extent to which a given organization is concerned with the welfare and future of its employees. If employees feel that they are backed and respected by their related organization and that the organization is addressing their welfare and future, they will inevitably proceed in a desired path (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Employees who experience a great deal of perceived organizational support will feel that they should develop appropriate behaviours in response to their related organizations to act in line with the objectives of their organizations. In this way, they can compensate for the support provided by their respective organizations.

Those employees who are experiencing high levels of perceived organizational support feel that they should play their role within the organization based on appropriate behaviors and attitudes so that their action be in line with the interests of their respective organization (Khanifar, Amiri; Jandagh; AhmadiAzarm; and HosseiniFard, 2010). In other words, when employees feel that the organization is concerned with their happiness and helps and supports its work forces (institutional support), they will consider themselves as a part of the organization regard the organization as their representative, and feel a sense of commitment and loyalty towards the organization (Zaki, 2006). As a result, employees will form a holistic view of the organizational support towards them and pay attention to organizational goals and their realization because of the support they receive. In other words, when the organization pays attention to the employees’ welfare they will compensate for it through more commitment and a better performance (Taleghani, Divandari; and ShirMohammadi, 2009).

2.1.1 Dimensions of Perceived Organizational Support

1.Supervisory Support

Supervisory support is the degree to which employees form impressions that their supervisors care about their interest and well-being, value their efforts and contributions and are supportive with encouragement (Eisenberger, Stinglhamber, Vandenberghe, Sucharski, & Rhoades, 2002). The immediate supervisor is playing a critical role in organizations. The encouragement and support from immediate supervisor are deemed to be important as past studies revealed that they are closest to the employee. Therefore, immediate supervisor is able to effectively managing their own respective subordinate’s emotions (Dawley, Andrews & Bucklew, 2008).

Supervisor support can strengthen the perceived organizational support through creating trust and confidence in the organization since supervisor of administrators are often seen as the representative of the entire organization. Therefore, if the supervisors to provide the staff with the necessary support in the right time and to win their trust then through replication the employees feel that they are supported on the part of the organization (Arizi, and Golparvar, 2011). That the superiors value the contribution of the staff and care for their welfare will have a huge impact on their views about the support they receive from the organization. Sometimes, employees consider the support they receive from their direct superiors as the support provided by the organization and therefore generalizing the superior’s support to the whole organization. Accordingly, the superior support can play a great role in the creation of the employees' perceived support (Taleghani,, 2009).

2. Organizational Rewards

Organizational support theory holds that favourable rewards indicate the organization values the employee’s contribution to the organization, which constitutes a major dimension of POS (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Specifically, it is argued that such organizational rewards represent investment by the organization in the employee and are interpreted by the employee as indication of organizational appreciation and recognition, and thus, contribute to the development of POS.

All successful organizations appreciate their employees for the services they offer and reward them appropriately. Rewards, policies, and practices are related to the payment of salaries and benefits and appreciating the staff (Ansari, BagheriGolchahi; and Salehi, 2010). In other words, the reward strategy is to ensure that employees' behavior and performance in achieving the goals of the organization will be appreciated by the management (Armstrong, 2002). Based on the theory of perceived organizational support, employees develop their general trust to the extent that they feel that the organization is ready to reward their efforts, to satisfy their social and emotional needs, and care for their participation and the welfare. The perceived organizational support is also associated with the assurance that the organizations will help employees when they are facing stressful situations or encounter problems in their jobs (AriziSamani, Dibaji; and Sadeghi, 2011).

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory (Vroom, 1964) and Adam’s Equity Theory (Adams, 1963) are among theories that form a basis for payment strategies. Expectancy Theory assumes that employees expect reward and its reasonableness to the work they do, while based on Equity Theory if an employee thinks that a reward he has received for his task is less than the rewards other employees get in that organization or other organizations he is very likely to work less, leave the organization, or go on strike to achieve equality and fairness or feels that a type of balance has been created between the work he does and the reward he receives.

3.Procedural Justice

Justice or Fairness as a concept refers to employee perceptions of fairness in the workplace which mean a sense of equality towards the use and implementation of methods of resource distribution among employees which is also called procedural justice (Zaki, 2006). Observation of justice and fairness in the implementation process should provide equal opportunities for everyone. Justice requires clear Procedural justice and rules; the law enforcement procedure is fair only when it is possible for all people to benefit easily from the law. As a result, the procedural justice refers to the perceived equality in using the means to distribute the compensation of salaries and benefits (RaminMehr, HadizadehMoghadam; and Ahmadi, 2009). Procedural justice pursues two goals: First of all to protect the people’s interests in the long term. Therefore, people get what they deserve. This procedural justice brings about the results of decisions such as consent, agreement, and commitment. The second goal of the procedural justice is symbolic and strengthens personal relationships with the group (trust in leaders) and organizational commitment. Fair procedures can be used as an indicator for people so that they feel they are valued and respected in the organization and it can improve the balance and trust in one’s relationship with others. According to Social Exchange Theory, one of the employees and managers’ expectations is that managers and employers to treat them fairly. Consequently, when employees are treated fairly and ethically they will try to compensate somehow for it and this may happens through greater involvement in their work and spend more effort and time to perform their duties (Saks, 2006). Fair behavior is a demand that all employees who spend their time and energy within an organization are expecting it. Such expectations make leaders put more emphasis on the observation of fairness. A question that arises is that what happens when managers do not pay attention to such expectations. Greenberg believes that those managers who violate these norms through their unfair behavior make the staff to show a negative reaction to such behaviors.

4. Career Development Opportunities

In addition to meeting physiological needs, employees also have a desire to extend their potential and develop their capabilities in organizations and to satisfy their needs for growth and self-actualization. Thus, another way that HR practices can create employee beliefs in higher POS is through providing them developmental opportunities that would meet their needs for personal growth. Likewise, Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002) suggested that providing potential career opportunities such as training and promotions may imply a high level of concern for employees and the recognition of their contributions by the organization. Since these organizational actions go beyond what is mandated by company policy or union contract, employees are likely to view them as discretionary treatment by the organization that are indicative of organizational caring and support.

5. Decision Making Involvement

Research by Robinson (2006) suggests there is considerable evidence that many employees are greatly under-utilized in the workplace through the lack of involvement in work-based decisions. Employee involvement is seen as a central principle of ‘soft’ HRM, where the focus is upon capturing the ideas of employees. The concept of employee involvement is strongly grounded in unitary views of organizations, as it assumes that managers and employees have the same interests.

2.1.2 Effect of Perceived Organizational Support

The perceived organizational support has several effects as follows: The more employees feel that they are strongly supported by the organization, the more they will be committed toward the organization. One of the most effective ways to increase organizational commitment is to increase the perceived organizational support. Some effects of the organizational support are related to job conditions such as job satisfaction. Job satisfaction means employees’ positive general attitudes and reactions towards their jobs. The more the staffs feel that they are supported by the organization, the more they will experience job satisfaction. Organizational support will improve employees’ positive attitude towards their jobs. In addition, organizational support affects the improvement of organizational commitment and job involvement which means involvement in working interests. The more the organizational support, the more the stuff will be committed to their works. The four final effects of the perceived organizational support are: The increased perceived organizational support will improve employees’ performance and their willingness to stay in the organization on one hand, and on the other hand, will decrease the level of work pressures and feedback behaviours (e.g. willingness to leave work). The higher levels of perceived organizational support will affect employees’ performance and increase their efficiency can be increased and willing to participate extra role behaviour. In general perceived organizational support will improve organizational commitment, job satisfaction (Ngo, Loi, Foley, Zheng, & Zhang, 2013; Thompson, & Phua, 2012), organizational citizenship behaviour (Chan, 2014; Cheung, 2013; Chiang, & Hsieh, 2012), engagement (Shantz, Alfes, Truss, & Soane, 2013) and organizational support will reduces job stress and employees’ intention to leave their work (Bogler, & Nir, 2012).

2.2 Nature of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

To better understand the nature of OCB, it is worth to consider its definition. OCB can be defined in different ways. According to Organ (1988, P.4), OCB defined as;

Individual behaviour 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. By discretionary, we mean that the behaviour is not an enforceable requirement of the role or the job description, that is, the clearly specifiable terms of the person’s employment contract with the organization; the behaviour is rather a matter of personal choice, such that, its omission is not generally understood as punishable.

Per the above definition, in an educational set up, preparation for courses, teaching, conducting and publishing research by professors is not considered as OCB regardless of the excellence they show in teaching and research (Organ, 1988). In-role activities cannot be considered as OCB regardless of the level and quality in which they are performed (Owen et al., 2000).

Organ (1988, P.5) went on by stating that:

Our definition of OCB requires that it is not be directly or formally recompensed by the organization’s reward system… (Does this) mean that OCB must be limited to those gestures that are utterly and eternally lacking in any tangible return to the individual? ... Not necessarily. Over time a steady stream of OCB of different types … could well determine the impression that an individual makes on a supervisor or on coworkers. That impression in turn could influence the recommendation by the boss for a salary increase or promotion. The important issue here is that such returns not be contractually guaranteed.

More recently, Borman (2004), defined Organizational citizenship as participating in activities or actions that are not formally a part of the job description, but that benefit the organization as a whole. Moreover, (Hoffman, et al 2007) conducted a Meta-analysis over the constructs of organizational citizenship behavior and he identified essential three characteristics of OCB which are derived from various definitions. First, OCB is discretionary in nature and goes far beyond the traditional requirements of the job unlike the formal job description written in the contract between the employee and organization, the employee is not obliged to engage in OCBs; rather, showing such behaviors depends on the willingness of the employee and it is not induced by the direction of any supervisor. Second, OCB is not directly or formally recognized by the reward system. Although engaging in such activities might facilitate some increase in salary or promotion by the recommendation of the boss, it cannot be guaranteed by the terms of the contract. Third, OCB in the aggregate promotes the efficient and effective functioning of the organization.

2.3.1 Dimensions of Organizational Citizenship Behaviour

Although interest in behaviors like citizenship has increased, it can be said that there has been a lack of agreement on its dimensions. As a result of their study, (Podsakoff et al., (2000) showed that there were 30 potentially different forms that comprise citizenship behaviors. This study followed the conceptualization of Organ (1988). Le Pine et al. (2002) pointed out reasons why scholars use Organ’s dimensions in their research. First, it has the longest history and Organ and his colleagues have produced various articles and book chapters on this issue. Second, Podsakoff et al., (1990) operationalized Organ’s dimensions and the OCB scales developed by them have been used in numerous empirical studies including contemporary ones (Haigh & Pfau, 2006; Torlak & Koc, 2007; Comeau & Griffith, 2005; Hui, Lee & Rousseau, 2004). Hence, the following are dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior that were conceptualized by organ in 1988.

1. Altruism

Altruism is voluntary behavior that includes helping others concerning an organization task or problem (organ, 1988). According to Todd (2003) Altruism, for instance, usually is interpreted to reflect the willingness of an employee to help a coworker, also is referred to and explained as the selflessness of an employee towards organization. Also, as per, Redman & Snape, ( 2005) ‘Altruism’ is concerned with going beyond job requirements to help others with whom the individual comes into contact. Altruism is accounted as a one of the significant antecedents of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCB), reason being, as Pare’ & Tremblay (2000) explains behaviors such as helping a colleague who has been absent from work, helping others who have heavy workloads, being mindful of how one’s own behavior affects others’ jobs, and providing help and support to new employees represent clear indications of an employee’s interest for its work environment. Altruism or helping coworkers makes the work system more efficient because one worker can utilize his or her slack time to assist another on a more urgent task (Niehoff & Yen, 2004).

2. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness expresses certain role behaviors displayed by employees at a level that exceeds the expected. In other words, it is sincere devotion to the organization, as well as respect for the rules of the organization beyond the organization’s requirements (Organ, 1988). Conscientiousness’ refers to discretionary behaviors that go beyond minimally required levels of attendance punctuality, housekeeping, conserving resources, and related matters of internal maintenance (Redman & Snape, 2005); (Podsakoff et al., 2000). In other words, conscientiousness means the thorough adherence to organizational rules and procedures, even when no one is watching. It is believed to be, the mindfulness that a person never forgets to be a part of an organization.

3. Sportsmanship

Sportsmanship is defined as “a person’s desire not to complain when experiencing the inevitable inconveniences and abuse generated in exercising a professional activity” (Organ, 1990). It refers to not complaining unnecessarily and being positive and tolerant towards difficulties that may be experienced in the workplace. Positive thinking by academician and their efforts to improve their students’ academic achievement, despite all the financial strains in their college especially in state college, is serves as another example.

4. Courtesy

Courtesy refers to the gestures that help others to prevent interpersonal problems from occurring, such as giving advance notice of the work schedule to someone who is in need, or consulting others before taking any actions that would affect them (Organ, 1990). The main idea of courtesy is avoiding actions that make colleagues’ not to work harder and giving them enough notice to get prepared when you add to their loads. Leaving the copier or printer in good condition for other workers’ use is an example of courtesy at work (Organ, Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 2006). Courtesy is related to undertaking and carrying out the obligation of cooperation with others (Organ, 1988). Courtesy or gestures are demonstrated in the interest of preventing creations of problems for coworkers (Organ, 1997). A courteous employee avoiding creating problems for co-workers reduces intergroup conflict so managers do not fall into a pattern of crisis management (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman & Fetter, 1990). For example, a college supervisor who informs teachers about something that may not directly concern them or that he/she is not obliged to reveal is an example of such.

5. Civic Virtue

Civic virtue is defined as constructive involvement in the political process of the organization and contribution to this process by expressing opinions, attending meetings, discussing with colleagues the issues of the day, and reading organizational communications such as mails for the wellbeing of the organization (Organ, 1988). ‘Civic Virtue’ refers to behaviors that demonstrate a responsible concern for the image and wellbeing of the organization (Redman & Snape, 2005). Borman et al., (2001) defines civic virtue as responsibly involving oneself in and being concerned about the life of the company. An academician attending receptions or meetings that promote the image of the college, when not necessary, may serve to exemplify such behavior (Podsakoff et al., 2000). For instance, when an academician becomes concerned with their college problems or educational problems in general and tries to find solutions to these, his/her behavior may be considered as civil virtue.

2.3.2 Social Psychological Theories as Explanations for OCB

Bolino, Klotz, Turnley, & Harvey (2013), noted that OCB and their manifestation are based on multiple reasons. In this regard, several social psychological theories such as social identity, labeling, social categorization, social cognition, and schema can be used in explaining the nature of OCB. To be consistent with the existing literature, consideration of the following selected theories is made.

1. Social Exchange Theory

Theory of social exchange is a dominant explanation for OCB. It refers to the voluntary give and take of benefits that take place between parties and OCB is a form of benefit given by individuals in an exchange relationship (Lester, Meglino, & Korsgaard, 2008). According to Elstad, Christophersen, & Turmo (2011), this theory best explains OCB though much research is required in the area. The theory states that workers of an organization manifest OCB in response to positive deeds and gains from their organization (Korsgaard, 2010). On the contrary, exhibition of OCB will disappear if employees are unable to perceive the possibility of getting something in exchange to their engagements (Shim, & Faerman, 2015).

2. Reciprocity Theory

Closely related to theory of social exchange is the theory of reciprocity. Reciprocity can be grouped as expected reciprocity and obligation to reciprocate which are governed by self-interest and others-interest, respectively (Korsgaard, 2010). For instance, employees who exhibit OCB within their organization may receive positive performance results.

Social exchange and reciprocity theories in general seem to over emphasize the role of give and take relationships in explaining the occurrence of OCB. However, such a relationship may not fully explain OCB in public organizations that are characterized by poor work environments and low satisfaction of employees (Shim & Faerman, 2015). This in turn necessitates for consideration of other alternative theories that could possibly explain as to why employees get involved in OCB in the absence of supportive work environment.

3. Theory of Others Orientation

This recent theory benefits one possible explanation for OCB. According to Lester et al. (2008), this theory refers to the predisposition to behave in a prosaically manner and concern for the welfare of others. It states the possibility of changing orientations from self to others and vice versa because of individual and contextual factors. In some contexts, people will shift the orientation to themselves, process information rationally, make calculations and advance their self- interest. In other situations, there comes a time when people channel their orientation to others giving less or no regard to consequences of their behavior (Korsgaard, 2010). According to these same authorities, people with higher other orientation are more prone to social influence and thus there is a higher chance for them to engage in voluntary behaviors.

4. Social Identity Theory

Social or organizational identity refers to strength of identity developed by employees about their work environment as determined by various contextual factors and social processes (Mayfield &Taber, 2009). It advances the idea that identification with an organization increases ones self-worth and employees perception of organizational success as their own thereby increasing the probability to engage in OCB (Mayfield &Taber, 2009; Shim & Faerman, 2015).

Mayfield &Taber (2009) also introduced a closely related idea of motivation-based self-concept, which is intrinsic as it is based on values and when the values are pro-social in nature, the self-concept avails source of motivation that can be manifested in altruistic forms. Besides, as employees identify and start to work with others in a group situation, different norms especially OCB norms that aid organizational success will be developed. Moreover, employees display OCB as means to express their values that characterize their self-concept (Mayfield &Taber, 2009). A study made on public servants revealed a statistically significant relationship between organizational identification, subjective OCB norms and OCB (Shim & Faerman, 2015).

5. Self-Monitoring and Impression Management Theory

Self-monitoring refers to individual’s tendency to read and react to social cues. Comparing individuals on their level of self-monitoring, unlike people with low self-monitoring, those with high-self monitoring are found to be more sensitive to social and contextual clues in judging the correctness of their behavior. It follows from here that high self-monitors are characterized by high impression management, communication and interpersonal skills which create a fertile ground for engaging in OCB especially in those dimensions that prioritize individuals (Blakley, Andrews and Fuller, 2003). Organ (1988) also witnessed that OCB aggregated over time may enable employees get positive impressions from supervisors. Moreover, Bolino et al., (2013) maintained that employees might use manifestation of OCB as a means to embellish and improve their self-image.

The next section is devoted to demarcating the boundary between OCB and similar other concepts used in the organizational literature.

2.3.3 OCB and Related Concepts: Delimiting the Boundary

There are many concepts that are closely related to OCB. Among the many, the following are major ones: extra-intra role behavior, pro-social behavior, contextual performance, and organizational spontaneity (Zang, Liao, & Zhao, 2011). A critical question to be posed here is the presence of a clear conceptual boundary among these concepts (Morrison, 1997). Here follows brief discussion of the various concepts and how they are related to each other and with OCB.

1. Extra-Role versus In-Role Behaviours

Extra-role and in-role behaviours are considered as important markers of OCB (Organ, 1988). In-role behaviour refer to set of roles that are specific, written in black and white, indicated in the job description and assigned to an individual by an organization. On the other hand, extra-role behaviours are those that are not indicated in the job description, similar across jobs and contribute to the success of the organization. Extra role behaviours are those that go beyond what is expected of targeting individuals, teams and organizations (Somech & Drach-Zahavy , 2000); (Tesfaye, 2005) voluntary, cooperative and informally initiated efforts in enhancing organizational success (Altinkurt & Yilmaz, 2012). Emphasizing the role of extra-role behaviour in organizations, Berber & Rofcanin, (2012) “An organization which depends solely on its blueprint of prescribed behaviour is a fragile social system.”

Recent researchers do not take into account Organ’s (1997) redefinition of OCB that omits the issue of extra-role behaviour. However, this omission of extra-role behaviour from OCB may weaken theoretical base of the construct, Vey and Campbell (2009) recommended. Morrison (1997) found out that workers who perceive OCB as in-role get higher ratings from supervisors. With passage of time, changes may take place in the status of roles from being in-role to extra-role and vice versa (Organ, 1988). There is a loose boundary between in-role and extra-role activities and more than others; managers have the highest power in categorizing behaviours in one of the two categories. For example, staying after class to help a student, using ones leisure time to organize a social event or other events for students are considered as extra-role by teachers but as in-role by managers (Vigoda-Gadot, 2006). Hence, in short, acts in an organization should be seen along a continuum and OCB are relatively more likely to be discretionary and are less likely to be formally rewarded (Podsakoff et al., 2000). For instance, with regard to teaching, Oplatka (2004) summarized what are believed to be in-role and extra-role behaviours as follows. Under in-role activities behaviours like knowledge and content transmission, preparation for the class, students basic assessment and evaluation, civics and values education , presence and participation in service training in and out of the school, low levels of absenteeism and tardiness, presence at parent meetings and presence at school ceremonies and performing duties in rotation are mentioned. Extra-role behaviours include activities such as change, innovation, initiation and implementation, student-tailored instruction, continuous assessment, design and decoration of the classroom, attendance and participation in class and school activities out of formal school hours. It also involves activities like face-to-face group pedagogical assistance for no extra wages, displays of emotion and caring for pupils, compassion to disadvantaged pupils, and helping colleagues and novice teachers in a variety of issues.

Extra-role behaviour is part of OCB and involves behaviours that are shown by people associated with their task and beyond what is actually required of them. In an educational setting, for example; it involves helping colleagues get prepared for class, staying late to prepare students for examination, and so on (Jackson, 2009).

OCB is a dynamic and relative concept and identifying it as in-role and extra-role depends on the expectation of who do the labelling, characteristics of the employee under observation and perceptions of the behaviours over a specified time (Belogolovsky & Somech, 2010). In checking whether or not certain behaviour is OCB and overcoming the difficulty of drawing the boundary, answering three questions is found to be central. First, asking respondents whether the behaviour is part of their job description. Second, asking them whether the behaviour is something they are trained to do. Third, asking them whether the behaviour is officially rewarded when it is exhibited and punished up on failure to do so (Podsakoff et al., 2000). Confirming the difficulty of solving the in-role and extra-role puzzle with regard to OCB and its complexity, Brown & Roloff ( 2015) noted that OCB include not only extra-role behaviours but also extra efforts within in-role activities.


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Investigating the effect of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenship
Arba Minch University  (Arba Minch university)
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Tezana Bekele (Author), 2019, Investigating the effect of perceived organizational support on organizational citizenship, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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