Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 409-418

First online:

Organizational Citizenship Behavior in Performance Evaluations: Distributive Justice or Injustice?

  • Stefanie K. JohnsonAffiliated withSchool of Business, University of Colorado Denver Email author 
  • , Courtney L. HolladayAffiliated withOrganization Development, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
  • , Miguel A. QuinonesAffiliated withEdwin L. Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University

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The purpose of this study was to examine employees’ reactions to the use of organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in performance evaluations. In addition, gender differences in such reactions were examined.


Data were obtained from a sample of working adults (n = 78) and a sample of students (n = 249). In the first study, participants compared the fairness of 11 different weighting combinations of OCB and core task behavior, using a within-subjects design. In the second study, low, medium, and high weightings of OCB were compared using a between-subjects design.


In both studies, participants reported that evaluating employees on OCB was fair. OCB weightings of 30– 50% were perceived as the most fair. Men felt that OCB weighting of 20–30% were the most fair and women felt that OCB weightings of 25–50% were the most fair.


Considering that employees are evaluated on their OCB, it is important to know that they feel that it is fair to do so. Choosing how heavily to weigh OCB may be more difficult, although weightings of 25–30% OCB were perceived to be fair to both the men and women in this research.


This is the first study to examine employee reactions to the use of OCB in performance evaluations and add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that there are gender differences in the perceptions of OCB.


Organizational citizenship behavior Core task behavior Gender Distributive justice Performance evaluations Social exchange theory