Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 285–299

Ethical Duties of Organizational Citizens: Obligations Owed by Highly Committed Employees


    • Georgia Southwestern State University
  • Larry A. Floyd
    • Liberty University
  • Ryan Atkins
    • University of Georgia
  • Russell Holzgrefe
    • University of Georgia

DOI: 10.1007/s10551-011-1154-9

Cite this article as:
Caldwell, C., Floyd, L.A., Atkins, R. et al. J Bus Ethics (2012) 110: 285. doi:10.1007/s10551-011-1154-9


Individuals who demonstrate organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) contribute to their organization’s ability to create wealth, but they also owe their organizations a complex set of ethical duties. Although, the academic literature has begun to address the ethical duties owed by organizational leaders to organizational citizens, very little has been written about the duties owed by those who practice OCB to their organizations. In this article, we identify an array of ethical duties owed by those who engage in extra-role behavior and describe those duties in context with personality theory. We suggest that employees who understand the complex nature of OCB and the associated duties they owe to others are more likely to reach their potential and make greater contributions within their organizations.


Organizational citizenship behaviorPersonality theoryDuties of employeesWealth creationEmployee stewardship

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012