Compulsory citizenship behavior: Theorizing some dark sides of the cood soldier syndrome in organizations

  • Vigoda-Gadot E
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The most prominent characteristic of good citizenship behavior is the
willingness of individuals to invest effort and energy in their social
environment beyond any formal requirement and with no expectation of
formal rewards. When studied in the workplace, this behavior has been
called Organizational Citizenship Behavior ( OCB) and has become the
subject of many works that have focused on the positive connotations of
the ``good soldier syndrome.{''} A majority of the 270 studies published
in recent decades about OCB have pointed to the benefits and advantages
of voluntary helping behaviors, pro-social behavior, altruism and
extra-role behavior. In contrast with this view, the present paper
suggests that OCB also has darker aspects, one of which is the
exploitative and abusive tendency of supervisors and managements to
impose so-called ``voluntary{''} or ``extra-role{''} activities via
compulsory or coercive mechanisms in the workplace. The paper focuses on
such exploitation and abusiveness and their potential impact on
employees' performance. It is argued that frequently individuals engage
in so-called OCBs not as a matter of free choice or good will, but as a
result of considerable social pressure by powerful others, be they
managers or other co-workers. It is suggested that such behaviors can be
placed on a continuum of extra-role behaviors, but that they should also
be recognized as a substantial deviation from the original meaning of
OCB and thus should be examined and analyzed separately.

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  • Eran Vigoda-Gadot

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