How can we get the most out of ourselves and others?
I study the social context of work, and how workers help each other to perform key job tasks.
Who helps and why? Contextualizing organizational citizenship behavior
Employees use organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) to achieve different functions: some OCB reflects altruistic motivations to help one’s organization or coworkers, and some OCB reflects self- serving impression management motivations. Across 2 samples (Ns = 191 and 189), we contextualize functional (i.e., goal-directed) OCB with respect to dispositional and situational factors. Other-serving OCB was more common among employees higher on Honesty-Humility, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness, and in workplaces with transformational (intrinsically motivating) leaders and low perceptions of politics. In contrast, all forms of self-serving OCB (i.e., OCB for impression management purposes) were more common among employees low in Honesty-Humility, and some forms of self-serving OCB were more common in more political workplaces (high perceptions of politics). These findings extend the theoretical and practical benefits of a functional approach to OCB, where employees use OCB to achieve different goals—namely, to serve or to receive recognition—within different social and material reward systems.
Public Significance Statement
People use helping behaviours to do good things (to serve others) or to look good (to serve themselves). Across two samples, employees with encouraging and ethically conscious leaders more often helped others for others’ sake, but employees in more political workplaces (i.e., unfair reward systems) tended to help others to garner social esteem for themselves.
Wingate, T. G., Lee, C. S., & Bourdage, J. S. (2019). Who helps and why? Contextualizing organizational citizenship behavior. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 51, 147-158. https://doi.org/10.1037/cbs0000125
Wingate, T. G., Jones, S. J., Khakhar, M. K., & Bourdage, J. S. (2020, May). Speaking of allergies: Communication challenges for restaurant staff and customers. Poster presentation for 80th Annual Canadian Psychological Association virtual conference, Montreal, Canada. *Winner 2nd Place Best Poster*
Wingate, T. G., Bourdage, J. S., & Lee, C. S. (2017, April). Personality & contextual covariates of organizational citizenship motives. Poster presentation for 32nd Annual Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology conference, Orlando, United States.
Wingate, T. G., Bourdage, J. S., & Lee, C. S. (2016, June). Self-serving motivations for organizational citizenship behaviours: Instrumental and affective. Poster presentation for 76th Annual Canadian Psychological Association conference, Victoria, Canada.
Timothy G Wingate
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