Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 110, Issue 3, pp 285-299

First online:

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

  • Cam CaldwellAffiliated withGeorgia Southwestern State University Email author 
  • , Larry A. FloydAffiliated withLiberty University
  • , Ryan AtkinsAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia
  • , Russell HolzgrefeAffiliated withUniversity of Georgia

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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 behavior Personality theory Duties of employees Wealth creation Employee stewardship