Human Resource Management (HRM) is defined as the organizational function that focuses on recruiting, management, and the directing of the employees that work in the organization. It also deals with compensation, performance management, organization development, safety, wellness, benefits, employee motivation, communication, administration, and training. Even though the HR functions evolved, some things never change.
Since most companies will always need the traditional HR functions such as hiring and firing employees, providing pay and benefits packages, training and developing the workforce, and dealing with employer – employee conflicts. Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is a concept defined as the set of additional activities that are beneficial to an organization and its employees. These activities are not required in a formal way; that is, they are not stated in a contract nor required by the company. OCB is commonly a behavior of employees towards their company and vice versa.
It is clear that the organization’s HRM plays a vital role in implementing OCB through creating a well-established relationship between the organization and the employees. Rousseau and Geller argued that this relationship’s status is critical in the amount of OCB produced by employees where the company must deliver first a few requirements. (cited in Morrison, 1996). Schuller states that each company’s HRM has a set of principles and values that are integrated in its overall philosophy, which includes a respectful treatment of its employees (cited in Morrison, 1996).
According to Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, and Sowa, how effective is an organization in applying that philosophy is related towards how much the employees feel appreciated in their work place and therefore related to the amount of OCB displayed (cited in Morrison, 1996). OCB is present in all companies and can be considered a cycle. In fact, the HR department encourages OCB through several actions, which pave the way to creating a healthy organizational culture where the company protects its employees who are devoted to their company.
This report will discuss OCB in Middle East Airlines (MEA) by taking a closer look at the employee – company relationship and the company – employee relationship. Literature Review on Organization Citizenship Behavior How Companies Encourage OCB In order for employees to work on achieving OCB, the human resource management has to work on some issues to help encourage each individual to participate in developing the company.
The management must ensure that several things should be well done: Social Exchange, ldentification with Organizational Objectives, Empowerment, Selection and Socialization, Evaluation and Rewards, Rules and Job Descriptions. In an organization, Blau identified two types of relationships that tie the management and the employees together: the economic relationship and the social relationship (cited in Morrison, 1996). Konovsky and Pugh’ analysis states that it is more likely for employees to perform OCB under good social conditions than economic (cited in Morrison, 1996).
Organ claims that this fact is due to several reasons: First, social relationships allow employees to have feelings of mutual trust with the organization and they will build long-term relationships with the management. This will encourage employees to help enhance the image of their company by practicing OCB. Second, the social relationship is one that is ambiguously defined, that is it does not have clear boundaries; therefore employees will more likely include certain citizenship acts in their job tasks (cited in Morrison, 1996).
The identification of the employees with the organizational objectives is crucial for achieving OCB. That is because each individual will adopt and familiarize with the values and principles of the company, and hence become a part of its system, which will give a feeling of belonging and an encouragement for being part of the progress of the company. For employees to achieve OCB, Conger and Kanungo believe that they must be first willing to do so, and that is by being encouraged and empowered (cited in Morrison, 1996).
Bowen and Lawler claim that many benefits are generated as a result of empowerment. First, it will shorten the time of response of employees to serve their customers. Second, the relationship between the employees and the customers will be more enthusiastic and kind. Third, it will allow the employees to be more innovative and generate ideas for the benefit of the company (cited in Morrison, 1996). Selection is the first phase of the entrance of an employee into a company.
During this stage, Shore and Tetrick claim that each individual becomes aware of the job responsibilities in his field. Also, it is through this stage that the company indicates to the employee the responsibilities that the company has towards him as well, such as security, progress and training; hence it identifies a two-way relationship. This will lead to a feeling of respect and interest from the other party, which will lead to employees achieving OCB (cited in Morrison, 1996).
Selection is also important in what is referred to by Chatman as person-organization fit: by learning about the organization’s objectives, the employee becomes aware that he or she will be chosen not solely for their job qualification, but for their compatibility with the work environment as well (cited in Morrison, 1996). Socialization as defined by Van Maanen and Schein is when the company prepares the new employees with the set of knowledge, approaches, and behaviors that they should apply in order to fit into their roles (cited in Morrison, 1996).
Similar to selection, socialization is about showing the new employee that the relationship with the organization is based on social exchange. This can be clarified through such processes as orientation that holds within it more value than it shows. Chatman claims that socialization also familiarizes the employees with the company’s objectives and values not to mention that it plays a vital part in the empowerment process. (cited in Morrison, 1996). There are two extremes stated by Jones in applying socialization.
The first is a highly institutionalized one where the new employees are separated and offered a common learning program. The second end is highly individualized, where employees are left on their own to engage in informal relationships with their fellow employees and to have self-learning experiences. There is however one disadvantage to socialization: when the objectives are clearly defined for employees, they tend to perform solely what they were expected to (cited in Morrison, 1996). Therefore, a company that seeks employee OCB will tend to have a more individualized socialization.
OCB by definition includes the set of actions performed by employees that are not asked by management, therefore it is not directly rewarded. Thus, to encourage employees into applying this behavior, O’Reilly and Chatman believe that the company should employ indirect means that will encourage them to do so. That can be done by giving a reward to the organization’s performance as a whole. This will be helpful in two ways: first, it will further familiarize the employees with the company’s objectives and this way they will tend to act more upon achieving those goals through citizenship behavior.
Second, by giving an award for the entire company’s performance, the organization will indirectly inform the employees that their job goes beyond what is clearly specified and limited into a certain role or department (cited in Morrison, 1996). According to Bowen, Siehl, and Schneider, when the company imposes a high number of rules and regulation, it is limiting and discouraging the employees’ ability to perform tasks outside their field of work, therefore limiting the OCB that can be achieved in that organization.
A high number of rules will clearly define the limits of the economic exchange relationship between the employees and their company which will diminish their will to achieve OCB by determining exactly what the employees are asked to do and not to do and preventing them from engaging in any other action that is indirectly rewarded even if it benefits the company as a whole. Hence, in order for employees to want to perform citizenship behavior, the company must reduce its rules and thus create a social exchange relationship (cited in Morrison, 1996).
Like rules and regulations, if a company describes the employees’ job in a very precise and narrow matter, it will reduce according to Bowen and Lawler the citizenship behavior applied by its subordinates. Employees will then have extremely well defined tasks to perform with no regard to any other company-wide actions. That way the exchange relationship between employee and company will more likely to be economic, not to mention that it reduces empowerment by limiting the resources needed by employees such as knowledge and skills to taking action towards OCB (cited in Morrison, 1996). How Employees Exercise OCB:
To achieve organizational citizenship behavior, employees must practice different means. First, as Organ defines it, helping behavior is critical and evident in creating inter-employee relationships. Such behavior can be noted in the simplest acts such as when an employee assists his co-worker when the latter is overstrained with his paperwork or any other task being done. Second, according to Organ as well, sportsmanship, another dimension of OCB, is the ability to accept criticism and unfortunate events in the company without complaints, verbal or written.
Consider a meeting for a marketing idea where employees are brainstorming. When the group rejects someone’s idea and the latter accepts that without being offended, he/she is considered to have a sense of sportsmanship. Third, organizational loyalty is a major concept when it comes to having a constructive organizational culture. This is evident whereby when employees are loyal to their company, they would feel safer and more content about the workplace and the organization’s culture. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) Individual initiative, a fourth aspect of OCB, is represented in taking on additional responsibilities and engaging in task-improving actions without being asked to do so.
This also includes encouraging others to do so, which helps the company as a whole improve. (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) An example is when an employee suggests to adopt a new method of performing a task, which he/she knows will improve the way things s done. Related to this is self-development, which is yet another dimension of OCB. According to George and Brief, self-development pertains to voluntarily engaging in development courses that are not required from the company in the attempt of improving one’s skills and broadening one’s knowledge. (Cited in Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) For instance, an employee could learn about upcoming seminars and training sessions and inform his colleagues of their dates.
A different aspect of OCB is civic virtue, which can be defined as a commitment to the organization as a whole. This takes place through engaging in governing the organization indirectly, looking out for its best interest, and protecting it from threats. (Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) A simple example of this is turning off the lights after having used the restroom. Similar to this is organizational compliance, the last dimension of OCB, which is when an employee complies with the company rules and regulations whether or not the latter is being monitored. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000)
Returning to work right after having finished the permitted lunch break is an example of organizational compliance. It is crucial to note that all these behavioral aspects of organizational citizenship behavior are not part of the work contract or job description. Factors that diminish OCB: Several factors antecede and affect organizational citizenship behavior. Such factors can be set into four basic categories: employee characteristics, organizational characteristics, task characteristics, and leadership behaviors.
The influence of these categories on OCB can be either positive or negative. It is evident that OCB is present in all companies, whether on a noticeable scale or an imperceptible one. This report will be depicting the negative relations between OCB and its antecedents, whereby, according to studies done in a meta-analysis by Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, and Bachrach, it has been found that organizational and task characteristics have little impact on OCB relative to individual and leadership behaviors which have greater impact on OCB.
Employee or individual characteristics affect the presence of OCB and how much the latter contributes to building a constructive organizational culture. Taking two extremes, one can consider an employee who is indifferent of his/her company’s interest. The latter would surely not engage in activities pertaining to civic virtue, thus not exercising good citizenship behavior. The other extreme is an employee who is very concerned about the company’s interest and always seeks to attain goals that hold the company’s benefit.
Such employee is more likely to be engaged in the different dimensions of citizenship behavior. To go back to the bigger image, an employee’s characteristics help in determining how well OCB is exercised in an organization. Indeed, it is found that the existence of OCB increases with the increase of employee loyalty and concern to the organization, and decreases with indifference to the greater benefit of the company and the rewards granted for good citizenship behavior. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000) Leadership behaviors are quite correlated to the presence of citizenship behavior in an organization. According to another meta-analysis reported by Podsakoff, MacKenzie, and Bommer in 1996, leadership behaviors are mostly positively related to OCB, whereby most leaders reward citizenship behavior within performance in general, which increases such behavior in the company as employees are aware of such rewards.
The only negative leadership behaviors are contingent and non-contingent punishment behavior as well as leader specification of procedures. This is due to the fact that employees feel confused as to why leaders perform contingent punishment, thereby decreasing their citizenship behavior. Non-contingent punishment is a discouraging factor by itself, which makes it obvious why it negatively affects OCB in an organization.