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

  • Stefanie K. Johnson
  • Courtney L. Holladay
  • Miguel A. Quinones



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 


  1. Allen, T. D., & Rush, M. C. (1998). The effects of organizational citizenship behavior on performance judgments: A field study and laboratory experiment. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83, 247–260.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen, T. D., & Rush, M. C. (2001). The influences of ratee gender on organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 31, 2561–2587.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  4. Borman, W. C., White, L. A., & Dorsey, D. W. (1995). Effects of ratee task performance and interpersonal factors on supervisors and peer performance ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80, 168–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Colquitt, J. A. (2001). On the dimensionality of organizational justice: A construct validation of a measure. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 386–400.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Colquitt, J. A., Conlon, D. E., Wesson, M. J., Porter, C. O. L. H., & Yee Ng, K. (2001). Justice at the millennium: A meta-analytic review of 25 years of organizational justice research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 425–445.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Coyle-Shapiro, J. A.-M. (2002). A psychological contract perspective on organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 927–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Coyle-Shapiro, J. A.-M., Kessler, I., & Purcell, J. (2004). Exploring organizationally directed citizenship behaviour: Reciprocity or ‘It’s my job’? Journal of Management Studies, 41, 85–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social-role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Ehrhart, M. G. (2004). Leadership and procedural justice climate as antecedents of unit-level organizational citizenship behavior. Personnel Psychology, 57, 61–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fodchuk, K. M. (2007). Work environments that negate counterproductive behaviors and foster organizational citizenship: Research-based recommendations for managers. The Psychologist—Manager Journal, 10, 27–46.Google Scholar
  12. Gelfand, M. J., Erez, M., & Aycan, Z. (2007). Cross-cultural organizational behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 479–514.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity. American Sociological Review, 25, 161–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guest, D. E. (1998). Is the psychological contract worth taking seriously? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 19, 649–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Halverson, S. K., & Holladay, C. L. (2004). Mood at work, transformational leadership, and organizational citizenship behavior: Testing an integrative model. A paper presented at the Annual Conference for the Academy of Management, New Orleans, Louisiana.Google Scholar
  16. Holladay, C. L., Halverson, S. K., Strong, M. H., Quiñones, M. A., & Caplinger, J. A. (2004). Organizational Citizenship Behavior and Salary: The Moderating Effects of Employee Race, Gender, and Job Level. A paper presented at the 19th Annual Conference of the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Chicago, Illinois.Google Scholar
  17. Johnson, J. (2001). The relative importance of task and contextual performance dimensions to supervisor judgments of overall performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86, 984–996.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Johnson, S. K. (2008). I second that emotion: Effects of emotional contagion and affect at work on leader and follower outcomes. The Leadership Quarterly, 19, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kidder, D. L. (2002). The influence of gender on the performance of organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of Management, 28, 629–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kidder, D. L., & McLean Parks, J. (2001). The good soldier: Who is s(he)? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 939–959.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lovell, S. E., Kahn, A. S., Anton, J., Davidson, A., Dowling, E., Post, D., et al. (1999). Does gender affect the link between organizational citizenship behavior and performance evaluation? Sex Roles, 41, 469–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. MacKenzie, S. B., Podsakoff, P. M., & Fetter, R. (1991). Organizational citizenship behavior and objective productivity as determinants of managerial evaluations of salesperson’s performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50, 123–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Milkovich & Newman. (2002). Compensation, 7th Edition. Chapter 11: Performance Appraisals.Google Scholar
  24. Morrison, E. W. (1994). Role definitions and organizational citizenship behavior: The importance of the employees’ perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 37, 1543–1567.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Motowidlo, S. J., & Van Scotter, J. R. (1994). Evidence that task performance should be distinguished from contextual performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 475–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Organ, D. W. (1988). Organizational citizenship behavior: The good soldier syndrome. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  27. Organ, D. W. (1997). Organizational citizenship behavior: It’s construct clean-up time. Human Performance, 10, 85–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Orr, J. M., Sackett, P. R., & Mercer, M. (1989). The role of prescribed and nonprescribed behaviors in estimating the dollar value of performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 34–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pond, S. B., Nacoste, R. W., Mohr, M. F., & Rodriguez, C. M. (1997). The measurement of organizational citizenship behavior: Are we assuming too much? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 1527–1544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rotundo, M., & Sackett, P. R. (2002). The relative importance of task, citizenship, and counterproductive performance: A policy-capturing approach. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 66–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, C. A., Organ, D. W., & Near, J. P. (1983). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature and antecedents. Journal of Applied Psychology, 68, 653–663.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Werner, J. M. (1994). Dimensions that make a difference: Examining the impact of in-role and extrarole behaviors on supervisory ratings. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79, 98–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Witt, L. A., Kacmar, M., Carlson, D. S., & Zivnuska, S. (2002). Interactive effects of personality on contextual performance. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23, 911–926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefanie K. Johnson
    • 1
  • Courtney L. Holladay
    • 2
  • Miguel A. Quinones
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BusinessUniversity of Colorado DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.Organization DevelopmentM. D. Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Edwin L. Cox School of BusinessSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

Personalised recommendations