Topic: Personality, Job Attitudes
Publication: Journal of Applied Psychology (JUL 2009)
Article: Personality and Citizenship Behavior: The mediating role of job satisfaction
Authors: Ilies, R., Fulmer, I.S., Spitzmuller, M., & Johnson, M. D.
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs) are discretionary work behaviors that enhance the organizational environment and go above and beyond what is required (e.g., staying late to help a coworker).
OCBs are thought to be impacted by employees’ personalities. This implies that some employees are generally more inclined to engage in OCBs than others. But, what is unknown is “why” certain personality traits lead employees to engage in OCBs.
Ilies, Fulmer, Spitmuller and Johnson (2009) investigated the role of job satisfaction in explaining why certain personality traits lead to OCBs. To do this, Ilies et al. conducted a meta-analysis, using data from a large number of studies on personality, OCB, and job satisfaction. Regarding personality, Ilies et al. focused on the personality traits of agreeableness (altruistic and cooperative) and conscientiousness (diligent, organized and achievement-focused).
The results of the study suggest that agreeable and conscientious employees tend to engage in more OCBs than less agreeable and conscientious employees. Additionally, Ilies and colleagues confirmed that part of the reason for this is that agreeable and conscientious employees tend to be more satisfied with their jobs.
Finally, agreeableness better predicted OCBs that are directed toward individuals (OCB-I) in the workplace while conscientiousness better predicted OCBs directed toward the organization itself (OCB-O).
All in all, it’s clear that organizations and its members benefit from OCBs in the workplace. Thus, it makes sense to select employees on personality dimensions that predict such behaviors (agreeableness and conscientiousness). These results also highlight the importance of promoting job satisfaction since it is directly related to OCBs.