Behaviors that Go the Extra Mile



In recent years, management researchers have been looked at behaviors that are not categorized to so-called "in-role" behaviors. A part of the reason is that there is the increasing attention to the teamwork or cooperative behaviors as the nature of work is changing from the individual-based work to the team oriented work. In this essay, I will explain some behaviors that are related to the corporation or helping, describe differences and similarities, and discuss motivational and leadership issues in order to explain why people engage in these behaviors.

OCBs, ERBs, and other constructs

In 1988, Organ coined the term "organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs)" in order to understand people's cooperative behaviors in organizations. His initial definition of OCBs is "the discretionary behaviors that are not recognized by the formal rewards systems of the organizations but those, in the aggregate, contribute to the effective functioning of the organizations". OCBs can be classified into OCB-O (those that are targeted to organization) and OCB-I (those that targeted to individuals). Also, many researchers have identified five different components (i.e., altruism, conscientiousness, courtesy, sportsmanship and civic virtue).

Before and after the introduction of OCBs, other researchers also introduced similar constructs to OCBs. For example, Brief & Motowidlo (1984) used "pro-social behaviors (PSBs)" that represents peoples helping behaviors. Borman & Motowidlo (1993) introduced "contextual performance (CP)" that should be distinguished from task performance (TP). Note that I include this construct because performance is usually defined as behaviors (e.g., Campbell, 1990). Several other constructs were also introduced. They were "whistle blowing (WB)" and "principled organizational dissent (POD)". Van Dine et al. (1995) used extra-role behaviors (ERBs) in order to understand these different behaviors comprehensively.

Because there are some conceptual overlaps and differences in these constructs, researchers have tried to compare and contrast these different constructs in order to understand such behaviors further (e.g., Organ, 1990; Van Dine et al., 1995; Podsakof et al., 2000).

First, pro-social behaviors should be understood as wider construct that includes such behaviors as OCBs, WB and POD. Pro-social behaviors can be defined as the helping behaviors that are directed to the organizational members but they do not necessarily contribute to the organizational effectiveness. On the other hand, OCBs are behaviors that should contribute to the organizational effectiveness. Actually, OCBs are very similar constructs to CP that are defined as the non-technical core performance that contributes psychological, social environments in which technical core functions (Borman & Motowidlo, 1993). WB and POD include seemingly negative behaviors even if they are intended to the increasing organizational welfare. The major difference between OCB and WB & POD is that WB & POD may sometimes harm organizational effectiveness.

Van Dyne et al. (1995) explain these behaviors as extra-role behaviors (ERBs) as oppose to in-role behaviors although some researchers do not agree with that kind of typologies (e.g., Organ). It is because research in performance appraisal sometimes shows that supervisor include OCBs or CP as in-role performance (e.g., Podsakof et al., 1991). In the following, I will use "OCBs and other ERBs" that represents those behaviors I explained so far.

Motivational theories that are related to OCBs and other ERBs

To understand the motivational causes or antecedents of OCBs and other ERBs, (1) individual difference (ID) approach, (2) situational approach, and (3) intreactional approach (i.e., person-situation interaction) should be considered. These three approaches for motivation seem to be best suited to explain OCBs and other ERBs.

With regard to the individual difference approach, research on personality and HR selection shows that conscientiousness in Big 5 personality variables (e.g., Mount & Barrick, 1995) are related to OCBs. This is partly because the construct of conscientiousness overlaps with some components of OCBs. The person who is high in conscientiousness is dependable and responsible, so they are likely to help other persons or organizations in order to increase organizational effectiveness. However, when we consider individual difference variables, we should know that they are strong and weak situations (e.g., Mischel, 1973). In strong situation, there is less chance that people reflect their own personality in their behaviors.

The other ID construct, although it can be said as a cultural variable, is collectivism. I use collectivism as ID variable because Moorman & Blakerly (1995) treated individualism-collectivism as individual difference constructs. Research shows that people who are collectivistic are more likely to exhibit cooperative behaviors such as OCBs and ERBs.

With regard to the situational approach, research shows that perceived fairness (e.g., distributive, procedural and interactional justice) (e.g., Cropanzano & Greenberg, 1997) is one of the important antecedents of OCBs and other ERBs (e.g., Organ, 1990). That is, if people feel that they are treated fairly, they are likely to help people or organizations. The attitudinal variables such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment is also related to OCBs and other ERBs. Research shows that attitudinal variables are more related to OCBs and other ERBs than individual difference factors.

Theories on social loafing and social dilemma are also related to the OCBs and other ERBs. For example, cooperative norms can be foster the OCBs and ERBs (e.g., Barker, 1993). Communication within the groups may solve public goods dilemma and foster members' cooperative behaviors. Chen, XP and her colleagues also show that perceived criticality is one of the important factors that reduces free riding.

With regard to the person-situation interaction approach, the theory of affect (e.g., mood and emotions) might be important for understanding OCBs and other ERBs. That is, people who have positive moods or emotions are likely to show these helping behaviors (e.g., Gerorge, 1996). Group affective tone (e.g., George, 1992) may also influence members cooperative behaviors.

Leadership theories and OCBs and other ERBs

As for leadership theories, charismatic and transformational leadership theories and leader-member-exchange theories (LMX) appear to be best suited to explain OCBs and ERBs.

Charismatic and transformational leadership theories (e.g., House, 1996; Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Bass, 1985) explain leadership as the process of changing the followers needs, values, and self-concepts from individualistic orientation to collectivistic orientation, which make them perform beyond expectations. This process is related to the "going extra mile". That is, people try to do beyond their expected role in order to make exceptional organizational performance. Leaders' visionary behaviors, strong communication skills, strong self-confidence and intelligence cause to the followers' emotional arousal, trust to the leaders, and the change of their goals from individualistic to collectivistic ones. These followers' reactions lead to the OCBs and other ERBs in order to attain organizational missions.

In fact, research shows that transformational or charismatic leadership can increase members trust to the leaders, which in turn increase members OCBs (Podsakof et al). Also, individualized consideration among transformational leadership (e.g., MLQ) should increase members perceived fairness, which increase OCBs and other ERBs.

LMX (e.g., Graen, Liden, and their associates) basically explains the role making process between a leader and each member. It suggests that the quality of LMX (i.e., perceived contribution, affective factor, and royalty) lead to members' satisfaction and subsequent performance. It is suggested that if the quality of LMX is high, members' perceived fairness and other attitudes such as satisfaction and commitment will increase, which in turn will increase members' OCBs and other ERBs.

Future research

Future research is needed in order to understand the different kinds of constructs more fully, because there are sill some confusions about the terms such as OCBs, ERBs, PSB, WB, POD, etc. Also, comprehensive understanding of motivational causes of these behaviors should be increased (e.g., person factors, situation factors, and interactional factors). Then, we can have much confidence in linking various leadership theories and members OCBs and other ERBs for the organizational effectiveness.