Topic: Citizenship Behavior, Leadership
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2011)
Article: Leading by Example: The Case of Leader OCB
Authors: T. Yaffe & R. Kark
Reviewed By: Thaddeus Rada
Although many definitions of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) define such behavior as “extra” behavior that falls outside of the formal job description, most organizations want, and may even expect, employees to engage in OCB. This may be especially true for leaders of teams, who are generally expected to set the example of what is expected from all members of the team. As such, organizations have an interest in knowing if leaders’ OCB can serve as inspiration or motivation for other employees to engage in OCB, particularly at the group level (i.e. would OCB be more prevalent, or viewed as more important, in a group led by an individual who engaged in frequent OCB, compared to a group led by a leader who did not frequently engage in OCB). A new study by Tal Yaffe and Ronit Kark addresses this issue, examining the relationship between leader and follower OCB, and potential moderators and mediators of the relationship between the two types of OCB.
The authors collected survey data from over 60 work units in a large Israeli organization. Among the authors’ hypotheses, they believed that higher levels of leader OCB would be associated with higher levels of group OCB, as well as stronger group beliefs about the worthiness of OCB. They also hypothesized that leader (physical) distance, and group perceptions of the leader, would have an impact on the degree to which leader OCB facilitated group OCB.