Why is Workplace Ostracism so Dangerous?

Workplace ostracism is a type of mistreatment that occurs when someone is made to feel excluded from the group of employees whom he or she works with. Past research seems to be conflicting on what we can expect when this happens. Sometimes, research shows that ostracized employees will become less interested in helping their organization and will cut back on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in response. This means that they will reduce activities that are not part of their formal job descriptions. On the other hand, some research shows that ostracized employees will increase pro-social behavior, meaning they will try harder to do things that will allow them to become accepted by the group. So which is it?  Will ostracized employees do more or less to help others at work?


How Organizational Citizenship Behavior Can Be Good for You

Organizational citizenship behavior means going the extra mile at work. Basically, it means doing anything that is not in your formal job description. We typically think of organizational citizenship behavior (or OCB) as something we do to help benefit our organization or the people we work with. In that sense, we might think of OCB as selfless giving that is actually to our own detriment. It makes sense, right? We only have a limited amount of time and resources during the day. If we do more than we need to do, we run the risk of burnout, fatigue, and stress. This is also supported by past research. However, new research shows that OCB can actually provide some advantages for the people performing it.


Can Mentoring Increase Organizational Citizenship Behavior?

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is the fancy term for going the extra mile, above and beyond job requirements. And while researchers have been studying OCB since the 1970s, there are still a few things we need to learn. For example, research has shown that mentoring is associated with more OCB, but it hasn’t been clear which is the cause and which is the effect. Perhaps the positive takeaways from mentoring can influence employees to start going beyond job requirements, or on the other hand, perhaps going beyond job requirements leads a person to be perceived as talented and is therefore deemed worthy of mentoring. Answering this chicken versus egg question was one of the primary purposes of new research (Eby, Butts, Hofman, & Sauer, 2015).


Why Would People Stigmatize Employees Who Volunteer?

What happens to employees who volunteer? After all, with the advent of social media, the activities employees engage in off-the-clock can affect their reputation at work. Coworkers and supervisors may make judgments about an employee based on the non work-related activities that he or she pursues. With this in mind, individuals may be motivated to discuss the positive activities that they dedicate time to outside of work, such as volunteering. But, is it possible that colleagues can perceive volunteering negatively? Are there times when volunteering would in fact be stigmatized or looked down upon? These important questions are the focus of a recent research study that investigated perceptions of volunteering (Rodell & Lynch, 2015).


Emotional Leaders

Emotional Leaders Can Affect Job Performance

It’s understandable that we have emotional leaders. After all, on a typical work day, people can experience many emotions. We can be happy about our work, frustrated at a missed deadline, or angry at the way a co-worker treated us. People often express these emotions to others around them, and these displays can affect the performance of those on the receiving end. This influence is especially potent when the displays come from more powerful people like organizational leaders.



Do Telecommuters Have Better Job Performance?

With the dawn of the technological age upon use, telecommuters are employees who are able to work in remote locations, such as home, outside of the traditional work setting. Rather than commute into work every day, technology enables people to work virtually and perform tasks while physically apart from their colleagues and supervisors.


Organizational Citizenship Behavior.500

What Does Job Security Have to Do With Organizational Citizenship Behavior?

Researchers have been trying to figure out if job security and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) are related. Job security is something we’ve probably all thought of, and OCB refers to workplace behavior that goes above and beyond the call of duty and helps the organization, like helping a co-worker or taking on extra responsibilities without extra compensation. Do people who have more job security perform more or less OCB? Some researchers have found that they perform more OCB, some have found that they perform less OCB, and some have found that it doesn’t matter either way. So who is right?


Proactive Employees Need Political Skills to Succeed

Proactive Employees Need Political Skills to Succeed

Employers assume that proactive employees are important for job success. Indeed past research shows that proactive employees, those who take initiative and champion change, perform better and earn more. However, proactive employees typically push the envelope, control their environment, and bring unexpected changes which may be viewed as threatening and distracting by others. A new study by Sun and van Emmerik (2014) introduces political skill as a factor that may reduce such concerns.


Are You Promoting Work Engagement, or Workaholism?

All business organizations want their employees to be highly involved in their work (which is also known as Work Engagement), but not obsessive-compulsive about it (a.k.a. Workaholism).

Unchecked workaholism can eventually lead employees to burnout, inclinations to leave the company, and other behaviors that put good organizational citizenship at risk.

But how can organization leaders spot the difference between healthy and unhealthy levels of work engagement, and encourage employees towards the former? In “The Differences Between Work Engagement and Workaholism, and Organizational Outcomes: An Integrative Model,” author Youngkeun Choi offers some guidance.


Sustaining Corporate Social Responsibility through Responsible Leadership

When an organization works to benefit an environmental, social or humane cause– whether by donating money to non-profit organizations or providing goods and services to them pro bono– it’s called Corporate Social Responsibility. What seems on the surface to be a purely charitable effort also helps to further the company’s work culture. But, according to a study by Susana C. Esper and Kathleen Boies, Responsible Leadership is required to ensure sustainable grassroots involvement.


Building a Positive Work Environment: Acts of Kindness at Work

According to researchers Sonnentag & Grant, a positive mood that comes from helping someone is so powerful that it can last till bedtime. Firstly, when you believe that you have helped someone at work you feel good. Then, over the day, you think about it, reflecting on the positive features of the event. This reflection spills over into the rest of your day, leaving you feeling good all day long. Due to our tendency to be more engaged with positive emotions and to detach from negative ones, we improve the positive parts of these memories in our minds, giving them greater power to make us happy.


Leave a Penny, Take a Penny: Effective Giving

You don’t have to be an I/O psychologist or HR professional to have observed that there are people in the world who are “givers” and others who are “takers.” Givers provide support and assistance to their colleagues, friends, and family expecting nothing in return. They’re classic ‘do-gooders.’ Then you’ve got the takers; the people who take what they can and rarely reciprocate.


With OCBs and Justice For All (IO Psychology)

Topic: Organizational Justice, Teams, Citizenship Behavior, Performance Appraisal
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2012)
Article: Examining Retaliatory Responses to Justice Violations and Recovery
Attempts in Teams
Authors: J.S. Christian, M.S. Christian, A.S. Garza, A.P.J. Ellis
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

Should managers deal fairly with their employees? Well yes, of course, if they are concerned about being nice people or perhaps want to be told the correct location of the
holiday party. But what if managers are only concerned with bottom-line organizational effectiveness, profit, and ruthless getting-ahead in life? For these types, research by
Christian, et al. (2012) has shown that treating employees unfairly can lead to certain negative workplace outcomes.


Proactive Performance Increases Customer Satisfaction (IO Psychology)

Topic: Culture, Self-Efficacy, Job Attitudes, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAY 2012)
Article: Doing the right thing without being told: Joint effects of initiative climate and general self-efficacy on employee proactive customer service performance.
Authors: S. Raub, H. Liao
Reviewed By: Ben Sher

In the customer service division, men and women of the proactive service performance unit go above and beyond the call of duty. Their efforts often lead to increased customer satisfaction. These are their stories…


Why LMX Works: Some Reasons Why High-Quality Relationships Are So Important

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Leadership
Publication: Personnel Psychology (Autumn 2011)
Article: How Leader–Member Exchange Influences Effective Work Behaviors: Social Exchange and Internal–External Efficacy Perspectives
Authors: Walumbwa, F. O., Cropanzano, R., & Goldman, B. M.
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory has been an influential leadership theory for many years. The central tenet of LMX theory is that managers and other individuals in leadership positions are likely to form relationships with their subordinates that differ in quality. A leader’s relationship with some subordinates may be close, personal, and open, while their relationship with other subordinates may be more formal, with less communication about non-work issues. LMX theory posits that these relational differences will lead to a variety of outcomes, including differences in performance and satisfaction among employees.


One Plank at a Time: Building the Bridge from OCBs to Performance

Topic: Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: A Moderated Mediation Model of the Relationship Between Organizational Citizenship Behaviors and Job Performance
Authors: Ozer, M.
Reviewed by: Neil Morelli

What do employers ultimately care about when considering employee behavior? Performance. Understanding organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have been an important part of understanding job performance. OCBs are defined as actions employees take to go “above and beyond” their regular job to help meet the needs of coworkers and company.


Help the Organization and…Help Yourself!!!

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Interviewing, Selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2011)
Article: Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews.
Authors: N. P. Podsakoff, S. W. Whiting, P. M. Podsakoff, & P. Mishra
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are behaviors an employee may engage in that have a positive impact on the work environment. Recent research has found that OCBs can have an important impact on productivity, turnover, and other outcomes that organizations value. In an effort to hire individuals who are likely to engage in OCBs, research has been devoted to finding ways to assess the tendency of job applicants to engage in these behaviors. However, little research has assessed how knowledge of an applicant’s tendency to engage (or not engage) in OCBs might impact selection decisions concerning that individual – until now.


Dysfunctional employees? It could be attachment issues.

Topic: Stress, Turnover, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology
Article: Attachment at (Not to) Work: Applying Attachment Theory to Explain Individual Behavior in Organizations
Authors: D. A. Richards A.C.H. Schat
Reviewed By: Neil Morelli

People seem to inherently know that a job isn’t just about where you work, but also who you work with. Recent research has helped validate this feeling by studying how our behavior at work is partly determined by how attached, or unattached, we become to the people we work with. Specifically, attachment theory states that people are naturally motivated to associate with others in tough times, and the quantity and quality of this attachment is largely dependent on early life experiences.  For example, those who are “securely attached” tend to exhibit strong self worth and a trust of others.  At work, these attachment types help explain how we behave when presented with a challenging task or stressful moment.


Role stressors and organizational citizenship behavior: Don’t stress those workers out

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Stress
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JAN 2011)
Article: Relationships of role stressors with organizational citizenship behavior: A meta-analysis
Authors: Erin Eatough, Chu-Hsiang Chang, Stephanie Miloslavic, and Russell Johnson
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Job performance is not only evaluated by looking at an employee’s formal tasks but also through extra-role behaviors like organizational citizenship behavior (OCB, or behavior that goes beyond job requirements to support and benefit the workplace).  However, while researchers have looked at a myriad of predictors of formal performance, much less attention has been awarded to predictors of OCB.  To address this, Eatough, Chang, Miloslavic, and Johnson (2011) conducted a meta-analysis to determine the effects of occupational role stressors on OCB.


Ethical Leadership and OCBs?

Topic: Organizational Citizenship Behavior, Ethics, Gender
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (DEC 2010)
Article: Fostering good citizenship through ethical leadership:  Exploring the moderating role of gender and organizational politics.
Authors:  Michele Kacmar, Daniel Bachrach, Kenneth Harris, and Suzanne Zivnuska
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

Kacmar, Bachrach, Harris, and Zivnuska (2010) sought to expand on ethical leadership research by examining its relationship with organizational citizenship behavior.  First, they examined the direct relationship between ethical leadership (honest, fair, and transparent leadership) and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB- prosocial behavior at work such as helping fellow employees with difficult tasks).  The results of their blanket study indicated that the presence of ethical leadership in an organization led to higher rates of OCB.  This showed that when employees feel indebted to ethical leaders, they may seek to “repay” them with OCB.  If it were that simple it would be great- make sure leaders act ethically and you could create a positive, prosocial work environment just like that!  Things aren’t always so simple, as we find out in the latter parts of their study.


When Helping Hurts: The Dark Side of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Work-Life Balance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (AUG 2010)
Article: Citizenship under pressure: What’s a good soldier to do?
Author: M. C. Bolino, W. H. Turnley, J. B. Gilstrap, & M. M. Sauzo
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) are defined as voluntary behaviors that facilitate organizational functioning but are not formally rewarded by the organization. The presence of these behaviors has consistently been shown to benefit both individual and organizational outcomes. In recent years, however, the accuracy of this definition has come into question as the degree to which employees engage in OCBs (or don’t) may actually be impacting the way they are evaluated by the organization. In the midst of the field’s infatuation with the impact of good deeds, the potentially dark side of OCBs has been largely neglected – a state of affairs that Bolino and colleagues intended to correct.


Thank you! Why do these two words mean so much?

Topic:  Citizenship Behavior, Work Environment
Publication: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
Article: A little thanks  goes a long way: Explaining why gratitude expressions motivate prosocial behavior (JUN 2010)
Authors: A. M. Grant, and F. Gino
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague


In recent years, employees’ jobs and job tasks have become increasingly interconnected, necessitating an increase in teams and groups in the workplace. This integration means that employees must interact with many different people at work on a regular basis and places a high value on interpersonal skills, even for non-service jobs.  Modern organizations need employees who can function well in teams and work together to help achieve a common goal. As such, it is important for these organizations to understand how to promote prosocial (helping) amongst their employees.


What Does Organizational Tenure Really Buy You?

Topic: Citizenship BehaviorsCounter-Productive Work BehaviorJob Performance

Publication: Journal of Management (SEP)

ArticleOrganizational tenure and job performance

Authors: T.W.H. Ng and D.C. Feldman

Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

It is often intuited that employees who remain in an organization longer gain more knowledge of their job and the organization and thus perform at a higher level than employees with less tenure. Indeed, it’s no secret that organizational tenure is common factor considered in administrative decisions such as offering promotions and awarding raises and other fringe benefits (e.g., pensions, vacation days).  For many of us, anecdotal evidence probably confirms the assumption that as tenure within the organization increases, so does performance. But what does the research say?


Organizational Citizenship: more than a matter of “scratching backs

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Fairness
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (MAR 2010)
Article: Paying you back or paying me forward: Understanding rewarded and unrewarded organizational citizenship behavior
Authors: M.A. Korsgaard, B.M. Meglino, S.W. Lester, & S.S. Jeong
Reviewed By: Bobby Bullock

When employees go above and beyond at work (organizational citizenship behaviors), we like to imagine that they go that extra mile because of personal strength or drive.  For many years though, it was believed that employees displayed organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) because they expected some sort form of payback down the line (i.e., “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”).


Leading Employees by Involving Them Leads to Results

Topic: Leadership, Job Performance, Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior (JAN 2010)
Article: Does participative leadership enhance work performance by inducing empowerment or trust? The differential effects on managerial and non-managerial subordinates
Authors: X. Huang, J. Iun, A. Liu, and Y. Gong
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Isn’t it nice when our supervisors invite our ideas/opinions and include us in decision making?  Of course it is!  These kinds of supervisory behaviors are known as participative leadership behaviors and, not surprisingly, they tend to positively impact employee job performance.  Although this effect is expected for all employees, a recent study by Huang and colleagues (2010) suggests that the reasons why participative leadership behaviors lead to improved performance depends on a subordinate’s hierarchical level in the organization.


Is it Fair to Include “Citizenship” in Performance Appraisals?

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Performance Appraisal
Publication: Journal of Business and Psychology (DEC 2009)
Article: Organizational citizenship behavior in performance evaluations: Distributive justice or injustice
Authors: S.K., Johnson, C.L. Holladay, & M.A. Quinones
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger

Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs) are volitional work behaviors that go above and beyond the call of duty and are intended to benefit the organization and/or its members.  Though OCBs are not  formally required of employees (e.g., don’t show up in the job description), they are highly valued by organizations. Thus, supervisors (and peers) often consider employees’ OCBs in formal performance appraisals.  But, how do employees feel about this?  In other words, since OCBs are not absolutely required of employees, do employees find this practice fair?


Organizational Citizenship: Lend a Hand and Look Good Doing It

Topic: Citizenship Behavior
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Good soldiers and good actors: Prosocial and impression management motives as interactive predictors of affiliative citizenship behaviors
Authors: A. M. Grant, D. M. Mayer
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague

In recent years, organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have received considerable attention in the workplace. OCBs refer to actions taken by an employee that further group and organizational goals but are not explicitly required by the job (e.g. taking on extra work to help a coworker meet their deadline). Research has consistently shown that these behaviors can benefit both the individual employee and the organization. But why do employees engage in these voluntary (and often unrewarded) behaviors at all?


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Stress at Work

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Counterproductive Work Behaviors
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (NOV 2009)
ArticleCan “good” stressors spark “bad” behaviors? The mediating role of emotions in links of challenge and hindrance stressors with citizenship and counter productive behaviors
Authors: J.B. Rodell, T.A. Judge
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

Research suggests that stress can come from good or bad sources (Cavanaugh, Boswell, Roehling, & Boudreau, 2000).


In the Mood for an OCB

Topic: Citizenship Behaviors, Workplace Deviance
Publication: Academy of Management Journal (OCT 2009)
ArticleA within-person approach to work behavior and performance: Concurrent and lagged citizenship-counterproductivity associations, and dynamic relationships with affect and overall job performance.
Authors: R.S. Dalal, H. Lam, H.M. Weiss, E.R. Welch, C.L. Hulin
Reviewed By: Katie Bachman

If you aren’t already, sit down because I’m about to blow your mind. Here it comes: happy people act nice and unhappy people act mean, but not everyone is happy or unhappy all the time. Now, where’s my gold star? Sorry, I just get a little sarcastic when I read things in the literature that smack of kindergarten logic. Amazingly, most of the researchers who study this type of thing in organizations totally missed that lesson in school.


Tell Your Boss to Get Off the Web and Back to Work

Topic: Citizenship, Counter-Productive Work Behaior
Publication: CyberPsychology & Behavior
Article:  On Cyberslacking: Workplace Status and Personal Internet Use at Work.   Blogger: Lit Digger

Does your boss check his personal email or read websites featuring non-work-related information (such as the news or online shopping) more often than you? It’s likely according to the findings of Garrett and Danziger (2008). By conducting a phone survey (n=1,024), these researchers found that employees of higher status (measured by job autonomy, income, education, and job status) use the internet for personal reasons while on the job more often than those of lower status.


Where leaving it to Beaver meets the bottom line

Topic: Citizenship BehaviorJob Performance
Publication: Human Performance
Article: Test of Motowidlo et al.’s (1997) theory of individual differences in task and contextual performance.
Blogger: James Grand

A helpful hand here or a thoughtful “hi-how-are-ya” might be more valuable than we think. Psychologists are starting to realize that such dispositional characteristics can be meaningful predictors of on-the-job performance. Nearly 10 years ago, Motowidlo, Borman and Schmit proposed that performance at work was more than just the number of pizzas one delivers in 30 minutes or less or any other similar indicators of taskwork proficiency.


Fostering Fairness in the Workplace: Why it’s so worth it!

Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Organizational Justice
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Meta-analytic tests of relationships between organizational justice and citizenship behavior: Testing agent-system and shared-variance models.
Blogger: Benjamin Granger

Leaders are recognizing that organizations, employees, and customers benefit from non-required cooperative behaviors that go on in the workplace.  These behaviors are referred to as organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs).  Because OCBs are highly valued in organizational settings, business researchers and practitioners are interested in uncovering the causes of these behaviors.