Stockhult, Helen, Gerdin, Jonas, Johansson, Owe L., Abrahamsson, Gun, and Tengblad, Stefan, Professor
Örebro Studies in Business Dissertations.
Social Sciences, Economics and Business, Samhällsvetenskap, Ekonomi och näringsliv, organizational citizenship behavior, responsibility, employees, employeeship, dialogue, social structure, social rules, interaction, Business Studies, and Företagsekonomi
During the past years, interest in people’s willingness to take responsibility has increased. Earlier research has discussed this phenomenon varyingly and today a number of concepts in the literature discuss the proactive and responsible role of the employee. One of these concepts is Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). It accounts for the willingness of an employee to go above and beyond the 'call of duty' and the formally expected roles and demands of the organization served. The purpose of the study is to contribute to the current understanding of OCB by studying how social structures - in terms of OCB - are embodied and (re) constructed between employees in an organization.This study was conducted within a Swedish public company – Posten (the Postal Service). Data were collected by interviews and observations. Using a theoretical framework inspired by institutional theory, main assumption is that human action is guided by social structure. Social structure is viewed as a set of social rules. After identifying social rules in terms of OCB among employees at one of the workplaces in the company, these rules were used for analyzing employee dialogues focusing specifically on issues of OCB, an event internally referred to as Interna dialogen. Results show that the OCB rules that were identified affect employee willingness to do more than is formally expected and, importantly, this willingness is largely (re)formed in and through dialogues between employees. Another (related) key finding is that OCB is dynamic and changes depending on the situation. In contrast to the extant OCB-literature (which is characterized by a focus on perceptions of the individual and on deterministic assumptions), OCB is thus more social in character. OCB is also much more unpredictable than prior research has argued and taken into account. This said, however, we need more research to deepen the understanding of how this dynamic works. One implication from this study thus is that we need more research on OCB, conducted with other research methods than those mos commonly used. By using qualitative methods, we can obtain more knowledge about how OCB within organizations develops.