Organizations Reward Citizenship Behavior

Topic(s): citizenship behavior, job performance, selection
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (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, above and beyond formal job requirements. 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.


Using an interview in a hypothetical hiring scenario, the current study found that individuals who demonstrated a tendency to engage in a variety of OCBs (helping behavior, constructively challenging the status quo, and verbally defending the organization) were given higher starting salary recommendations, higher ratings of competence, and overall higher evaluations than individuals who did not exhibit a tendency to engage in these OCBs.


Although our knowledge of how OCBs impact organizations is still growing, this study demonstrates that knowledge of applicant tendencies to engage in OCBs can have an impact on selection decisions. As we refine our knowledge of which OCBs are most useful for specific types of organizations, practitioners may use this knowledge to guide organizations towards selection systems that will effectively assess relevant OCBs.


Podsakoff, N. P., Whiting, S. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & Mishra, P. (2011). Effects of organizational citizenship behaviors on selection decisions in employment interviews. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96, 310-326.

Image credit: istockphoto/jacoblund