Dr. Travis Burns, Ed.D.

Connect. Engage. Inspire.

Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Schools

With the increasing expectations and complexities associated with leading and managing educational institutions principals are compelled to develop and foster school cultures where teachers use professional discretion to go beyond minimum expected performance.  Performing mandatory tasks articulated in a job description or by a principal is simply not enough to improve practices that increase rigor and student achievement at the school level.  Katz and Kahn (1966) suggested that organizational managers in public and private sectors should strive to elicit contributory “extra role” professional behaviors of employees that are non-mandatory.  Non-mandatory “extra role” tasks are not required and may not result in either extrinsic rewards such as a promotion or higher pay or intrinsic rewards such as praise for a job well done.   This is the essence of organizational citizenship behavior.

Organizational citizenship behavior may be defined as “worker performance that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and in the aggregate promotes the efficient and effective functioning of the organization” (Organ, 1988, p.4).  Organizational citizenship behaviors in schools are thought to be critical to understanding interactions between principals and teachers and, more importantly, have also been found to be consistent correlates of student performance and/or academic achievement (DiPaola & Hoy, 2005a; DiPaola & Hoy, 2005b; DiPaola & Tschannen-Moran, 2001).  When applied to schools organizational citizenship behavior has been shown to be a one-dimensional construct: Benefits to the individual and organization (DiPaola & Tschannen-Moran, 2001).  More succinctly, a benefit to the individual is a benefit to the school and vice-versa (DiPaola, Tarter & Hoy, 2005).  Research by Hoy and DiPaola (2005a; 2005b) have consistently supported the linkage between organizational citizenship behavior and student achievement in elementary, middle, and high schools.  Examples of organizational citizenship behaviors in schools may include volunteering to serve on a school improvement committee, providing advance notice prior to taking personal leave, providing assistance to a new employee or substitute teacher, sponsoring a club or activity, and giving up planning time or staying after school hours to tutor students.

Below is a list of helpful tips principals may use to promote organizational citizenship behavior in their respectful schools.

  1. Maintain an optimistic and positive attitude during setbacks.
  2. Provide teachers with individualized attention.
  3. Celebrate individual and group successes.
  4. Empower teachers to take risks.
  5. Involve teachers in decision-making processes.
  6. Praise teachers for their efforts.
  7. Provide timely and meaningful feedback during performance appraisals.
  8. Encourage high levels of academic press or rigor.
  9. Be benevolent, open, honest, competent, and reliable when interacting with staff.
  10. Be fair, respectful, and equitable toward staff.

DiPaola, M.F., Tarter, C.J., & Hoy, W.K. (2005). Measuring organizational citizenship of schools: The OCB scale, In W. Hoy & C. Miskel (Eds.), Educational Leadership and Reform, 4, 319-341. Greenwich, CN: Information Age Publishing.

DiPaola, M. F. & Tschannen-Moran, M. (2001). Organizational citizenship behavior in schools and its relationship to school climate. Journal of School Leadership, 11, 424-447.

Katz, D., & Kahn, R. L. (1966).  The social psychology of organizations. New York: Wiley.

Organ, D. W.  (1988). Organizational citizenship behavior. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath.

Organ, D. W. (1990). Fairness, productivity, and organizational citizenship behavior: Trade-offs in student and manager pay decisions. Paper presented at Academy of Management meetings, San Francisco.

Tschannen-Moran, M. (2003). Fostering organizational citizenship in schools: Transformational leadership and trust. Studies in Leading and Organizing Schools, 157 – 179.



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This entry was posted on October 4, 2012 by and tagged , , , , .

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