Faculty Scholarship 1994 - Present

A Social Contract Perspective on Organizational Citizenship Behavior

We contrast individualist and communitarian normative belief structures concerning the political-economic social contract and propose a relationship between these normative beliefs and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) performance. The theorietical foundation supporting this relationship is based in the management literature on organizational cooperation and citizenship behavior beginning with Barnard (1938/1968), and the political philosophy and political-economic theory literature derived from conflicting perspectives on the origens and consequences of the social contract. We develop a model to predict OCB using a new survey instrument measuring belief structures anchored by individualist versus communitarian prefernces. 315 organizational employees provided our survey data. Significant and positive relationships were found with employees expressing stronger communitarian beliefs - in contrast to more individualist beliefs - with measures of OCB performance including loyalty, advocacy participation, and social participation. Implications for management practice and specific suggestions for further research are provided.