Define organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). Give an example of both from your own work-life or school-life. Why do you think you engaged in OCBs or CWBs in either of these examples?
Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs) are two distinct types of employee behaviors that significantly impact organizational effectiveness and functioning. OCBs refer to discretionary behaviors exhibited by employees that are not explicitly required in their job descriptions but contribute positively to the overall functioning of the organization. On the other hand, CWBs encompass behaviors that contradict organizational norms and values and hinder its functioning. Understanding these behaviors is crucial for organizations in cultivating a positive work environment and achieving optimal performance.
Firstly, let us explore OCBs. These behaviors are categorized into five broad dimensions: altruism, conscientiousness, sportsmanship, courtesy, and civic virtue. Altruism involves helping and assisting others in the workplace. For example, a display of altruism can be seen when an employee offers to cover a colleague’s shift during an emergency. Conscientiousness entails performing tasks diligently, going beyond what is required. One instance of conscientiousness could be a team member conducting thorough research and preparing comprehensive materials for a group project. Sportsmanship refers to maintaining a positive attitude despite challenging circumstances. An example of sportsmanship can be observed when an employee graciously accepts and supports a colleague’s achievement, even if it may overshadow their own accomplishments. Courtesy encompasses displaying politeness, respecting others, and being considerate. An instance of courtesy may be an employee consistently acknowledging and appreciating their colleagues’ efforts. Lastly, civic virtue pertains to participating in organizational activities and demonstrating loyalty. For instance, an employee actively engaging in employee feedback sessions or volunteering for company-sponsored events showcases civic virtue.
On the other hand, CWBs are behaviors that deviate from established norms and regulations and have negative consequences for the organization. These behaviors can take various forms, such as theft, sabotage, absenteeism, gossiping, or harassment. To understand CWBs more comprehensively, they are often classified into two types: interpersonal and organizational. Interpersonal CWBs target individuals within the organization, while organizational CWBs directly harm the organization itself.
Let’s now delve into a personal example from my own work-life to illustrate both OCBs and CWBs. During my previous employment as a project manager, I frequently engaged in OCBs and CWBs.
One example of an OCB I exhibited was when I took the initiative to mentor and coach a less experienced colleague who had recently joined the team. Despite not being explicitly required to do so, I dedicated extra time and effort to guide them through our work processes and foster their professional growth. This behavior displayed altruism and conscientiousness as I voluntarily assisted a colleague in enhancing their job performance.
Conversely, a personal instance of a CWB I observed in my work-life was the deliberate spreading of negative rumors about a colleague’s performance. This behavior not only deviated from organizational norms of professionalism and respect but also created a toxic work environment. The consequences included decreased collaboration, demotivation, and compromised team morale.
Reflecting upon my engagement in OCBs and CWBs, several factors influenced my behavior. Regarding OCBs, my motivation stemmed from a genuine desire to contribute to the success of the organization and foster a positive work environment. I believed that by going above and beyond my assigned tasks, I could enhance team cohesion and promote a culture of mutual support. Furthermore, I took pride in helping others and deriving satisfaction from witnessing their growth and development.
In the case of CWBs, factors such as workplace stress, job dissatisfaction, or interpersonal conflicts can contribute to engaging in counterproductive behaviors. In my personal example, frustration with a colleague’s perceived lack of effort and impact on team performance drove me to engage in gossip. However, it is important to note that CWBs are never justified and should be actively avoided, as they can have detrimental effects on both individuals and the organization as a whole.
Overall, OCBs and CWBs are crucial dimensions of behavior within organizations. While OCBs enhance organizational effectiveness and create a positive work atmosphere, CWBs pose significant challenges by undermining productivity, cohesion, and employee morale. Recognizing and addressing these behaviors within the workplace is crucial for organizations to foster a healthy and thriving work environment.