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 general assumption has been that people perform OCBs either because they genuinely want to “do good” or because they just want to “look good;” acting on (selfless) prosocial motives or (selfish) impression management motives, respectively. The current article suggests that those with strong prosocial motives are likely to engage in OCBs when they perceive a potential benefit to others, while those with strong impression management motives will engage in OCBs when they expect it to improve their image.
The authors also indicate, however, that it is actually possible for an employee to be simultaneously driven by both motives and that these individuals are more likely to engage in affiliative OCBs (those that benefit others without risking harm to their image).
These results suggest that if organizations want to reap the many benefits of OCBs, it is important to emphasize what’s in it for the employee; the satisfaction gained from doing good, as well as the potential for recognition and rewards.
Grant, A. M., & Mayer, D. M. (2009). Good soldiers and good actors: Prosocial and impression management motives as interactive predictors of affiliative citizenship behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 900-912.