According to Jane Williams, professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University, job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior -- another term for organizational behavior -- are important topics in organizational psychology and employee relations. A direct cause and effect relationship exists between employee job satisfaction and worker behavior in the workplace. This relationship affects productivity, the quality of products and services, employee turnover and even the success of the organization.
Job satisfaction is the extent to which an employee likes or dislikes her work. Although it is an overall attitude about the work and the organization, a number of facets or dimensions influence it, including job conditions, supervision, nature of the work, co-workers, pay and benefits and personal characteristics. Employers monitor workers’ job satisfaction through a variety of tools, such as employee satisfaction surveys, to measure employee attitudes and identify opportunities for improving morale and job satisfaction. The goals of such efforts are desired organizational behaviors and improved employee retention.
In the employment context, organizational behavior is more commonly known as organization citizenship behavior (OCB) or organizational commitment. Developed by Dennis Organ in 1988 at the University of Indiana, the OCB concept is defined as discretionary employee behavior that benefits the organization. The behavior is not formally recognized or directly related to the employee's job description or performance standards. OCBs are the result of personal choices made by the employee. They are classified as altruism, courtesy, conscientiousness, civic virtue (involvement in company activities), sportsmanship, peacekeeping and cheerleading behaviors.
Employee commitment to the organization is a result of job satisfaction and influences OCB. Employee commitment takes one of three forms -- affective, normative and continuance. Affective commitment is an emotional commitment to the organization. Affectively committed employees are most likely to exhibit desired OCBs because they identify with the organization's mission and goals.
An employee with normative commitment feels an obligation to the organization. This is typical of employees who receive "awards in advance," such as extensive training, professional certification or tuition reimbursement. Given the company's financial investment in them, staying with the company is perceived as the right thing to do. These employees are satisfied with their jobs and display OCBs.
Employees with continuance commitment believe that the cost of leaving the organization is too high in terms of financial, social and professional factors, such as pay and benefits, a network of friends and nontransferable job skills. These employees feel locked in or trapped and demonstrate these feeling through attendance and performance problems, along with an absence of OCBs.
Improve Job Satisfaction
Employers can take steps to improve employee job satisfaction, thus increasing employees’ OCB. They can implement policies and procedures that are fair and impartial and provide timely, objective performance feedback and fair compensation and benefits. They can also create and sustain a trusting environment by keeping promises, respecting employee privacy, encouraging employees to ask questions or express opinions without fear of ridicule or retaliation and allowing workers to decide how they will complete certain aspects of their work. Communicate openly and honesty with employees. Treat them as individuals, not as resources or full-time equivalents. Get to know them, recognize their accomplishments and give them opportunities for skills development and career advancement.
Diane Chinn is a freelance writer with more than 15 years experience in many areas, including business and technical communications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from California State University and a Master of Arts in human resources and industrial relations from the University of Minnesota. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt .