What We Do At The End

As promised, I’m sharing with you what we do in the last few weeks we have left on the PMBA program. You may wonder what it is that we do in class. Well, for our Organizational Behavior class we have to now write a research paper. I just submitted my part to the team for editing. I thought you may be interested to find out what the research was about just so you can see what you will do once join the PMBA at GA State. So, here it is, as raw as the research paper can be in its first day 🙂

Organizational citizenship behavior as an Unavoidable Necessity for Increasing Effectiveness in Organizations.

For the purpose of this research we explored the relationship between organizational citizenship behavior and employees’ effectiveness. We have looked into real-life examples of companies where OCB is evidently demonstrated and we established a relationship between the OCB and the effectiveness of those organizations. We then drew a conclusion in regard to how OCB affects effectiveness of an organization.

According to Navabakhsh et al (2009) employee’ level of commitment is likely to be determined by the job itself, employee’s personality, and the organization’s structure and characteristics.

The organizational citizenship behavior concept calls for a paradigm shift in today’s competitive business world and requires managers and leaders to perceive an organization as a separate country, in which they are further challenged to consider the establishment  of organizational citizenship as the greatest goal of their management.

The new paradigm of organizational citizenship behavior requests leaders and managers to promote the perspective and feeling of organization-related interests in its employees. Such a feeling is equal to civic virtue (the cultivation of habits of personal living that are claimed to be important for the success of the community – Wikipedia) and shall lie in the foundation of an organization’s entire culture.

The validity of this idea is demonstrated in a case study called “Human Resources at Hewlett-Packard (A)” by Michael Beer and Gregory C. Rogers published by Harvard Business School in 1995. The culture built by HP to encourage and promote organizational citizenship behavior in its employees was named “The HP Way”. Dave Packard’s initial idea of how to “simply get everybody agree on what… objectives were…[and] turn everybody loose [to] move along in a common direction” eventually became the foundation of the company’s success in the area of organizational citizenship behavior.

From the case we can see that The HP Way was in the words of employees “…about feeling responsibility to express your opinion” – the civic virtue concept we identified above. The employee continues to describe his feeling of organization-related interests: “[Working at HP is] about contributing as an individual while at the same time working in a team. As a result, there is an important value of trust and freedom at HP that employees need to work successfully as an individual and a team member. This inherent feeling within HP makes it a very special place to work.”

This particular case study reveals how organizational citizenship behavior promoted by the company via The HP Way increased effectiveness in the following ways:

Employees with OCB contributed to growth of productivity of other employees:

  • By helping their colleagues they caused the higher productivity of those
  • Such a behaviors determined organization’s effectiveness by bettering individual employees’ or / and  teams’  performance over time

Employees with OCB contributed to  the increase in administrative productivity:

  • Since HP employees had civic virtue (see the employee’s quotation above), the managers utilized their opinions, suggestions, and recommendations for the improvement of organizational effectiveness
  • HP employees avoided causing problems for others in the organization considering themselves a part of a big team, which prevented a potential crisis occurrence

Employees with OCB helped free the resources of the company for further production:

  • By helping their counterpart HP employees provided for more opportunities for the managers to perform the essential managerial, big-picture activities critical for company’s overall success
  • By demonstrating OCB HP employees required less supervision and control and established trust for themselves in the eyes of the management, thus allowing for more responsibility being delegated to them. Doing so these employees provided for more time the management could invest to build the organization
  • The employees who possess essential experience and demonstrate OCB were able to train new personnel and lead to the reduction of organization’s costs and resources required for training

Employees with OCB allowed for a better coordination between team members and group activities:

  • Fattahi & Azami (2008) explain that the civic virtue along with voluntary presence and active collaboration in the working environment is effective on the coordination between team members’ activities and the increase in the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization
  • By promoting complaisance with The HP Way HP employees with OCB encouraged their team mates and other organizational groups to prevent the probability of occurring time-consuming problems

“The HP Way” culture is a great example of how one company can get the benefits of embedded organizational citizenship behavior through higher effectiveness of its individual employees and teams.

Sohrabizadeh et al (2010) believe that employees tend to believe in their organization based on the valuation of the organization for them based on the perceptive of welfare, comfort, and security. This belief has been defined as organizational support perception. That is the perception of an individual employee that his or her collaboration within the organization is important to the success of that  organization as well as his or her own welfare, comfort, and security. Thus, high level of organizational support perception allows for a commitment to be made by employees, which leads to collaborative behavior and organizational citizenship behavior.

The validity of this idea is demonstrated in a case study called “Zappos.com: Developing a Supply Chain to Deliver WOW!” by Michael Marks, Hau Lee, and David W. Hoyt published by Stanford Graduate School of Business. Zappos’ culture of “delivering happiness” allows for OCB in employees who evidently see themselves as the company’s most important asset which its success is based on, thus they consider their own collaborative behaviors critical for Zappos’ vitality as well as their own welfare, comfort, and security. This organizational support perception leads the entire company to experience higher effectiveness and allows for the following outcomes:

  • J.D. Power Customer Service Champion Award, 2011
  • Unique, valuable, and inimitable competitive advantage
  • Brand loyalty by the customers
  • Viral word-of-mouth marketing with high-credibility referrals
  • Loyalty by employees and access to high-potential talent
  • Sustainability of the company in today’s global, rapidly-changing, highly-competitive business world

In this study of organizational citizenship behavior we are particularly interested in identifying the relationship between the OCB demonstrated by employees in sales organizations and those companies’ effectiveness in the area of sales. Performance has always been the major focus of industrial sales research. Typically, performance has tended to be expressed in terms of well-defined outcomes that are presumed to be an offshoot of the behaviors exhibited by salespeople within the context of their role, that is their in-role behaviors. Today, a wealth of research is dedicated to the investigation of salesperson behaviors beyond their typical in-role activities, that is their extra-role behaviors, or OCBs

The above described relationship between organizational citizenship behavior of employees and sales effectiveness of the organization is evident in a case study called “ZARA: Fast Fashion” by Pankaj Ghemawat and Jose Luis Nueno published by Harvard Business School in 2003. By establishing the corporate culture of entrepreneurial spirit, ZARA was able to embed the sense of ownership in its employees, particularly store managers, whose role was critical to the timely and comprehensive information exchange downstream the company’s chain, which led to instant feedback to designers, suppliers, and other critical members of ZARA’s successful business system. By promoting organizational citizenship behavior ZARA was able to experience the following benefits of high effectiveness:

  • Just-in-time production processes that are highly-efficient
  • High-quality product that market already desires and expects
  • Loyal customers and lasting brand equity
  • Unique, valuable, and inimitable competitive advantage
  • Sustainability of the company in today’s global, rapidly-changing, highly-competitive business world

The research literature presents the position of many that if a salesperson exhibits high OCB manifested by extra-role behaviors inside the firm via civic virtue and helping behavior, such OCB would also influence the relationship with customers. There has now been a direct link established between a salesperson’s OCB and his or her customer orientation. Since customer-oriented selling by definition implies a focus on the salesperson satisfying customer’s needs, it is clear that the long-term relationship with valued clients can be enhanced by promoting OCB within an organizational culture. ZARA case study is a strong example of how a company can become successful by establishing and promoting OCB in its people, particularly sales people who deal face-to-face with the end customer.


Organizational citizenship behavior directly affects the effectiveness of individual employees, teams, and organizations overall. OCB presents employees’ contributions that are altruistic in nature and when aggregated over time and persons may enhance the performance of individuals and teams in an organization by lubricating the social machinery and constructing the psychological fabric of the organization, reducing friction, and /or increasing efficiency.

Employees’ aim to demonstrate helping behaviors at work, assist co-workers in becoming more effective,  spread positive emotions and a can-do attitude at workplace lead to the increase in the overall effectiveness of the entire organization.

Organizational citizenship behavior has been recognized as one of the main success factors of effective sales due to the sales employees’ direct interaction with the end customer. OCB leads to a better customer service experience and helps create brand loyalty and sustainable success for the company.

Thus, on the basis of our discoveries about the relationship between employee’s OCB and organizational effectiveness, we confidently conclude that employees’ organizational citizenship behavior is positively associated with organizational effectiveness.

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