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Evidence demonstrates a robust relationship between procedural justice perceptions and the performance of
OCB (Moorman, 1991). These researchers argued that procedural justice perceptions affect an employee’s
decision to perform OCB by creating the conditions for a social exchange relationship in which OCB becomes
a likely form of work behaviour. Social exchange terms comprise diffuse, non-specific, informal agreements, as
opposed to economic exchange terms involving precise obligations for each party. The former offer scope for
reciprocation in non-prescribed ways.
The same kind of explanation may underpin decisions to pursue OCB. Specifically, procedural justice
perceptions may communicate that the employee is perceived to be of value and worth to the organization (that
is, beliefs about how much he or she is valued by the organization; . Procedural justice perceptions may
communicate perceived organizational support (POS). Indeed, Moorman (1991) found that procedural justice
judgements were better predictors of OCB than job satisfaction or organizational commitment insofar as they
represented an employee’s view of how the organization valued him/her. Research has also shown that POS can
elicit OCB (Eisenberger et al., 1990) and that in turn, perceptions of procedural justice predict POS.
The association obtained between procedural justice perceptions, POS and OCB also supports the view that
OCB is primarily a cognitive- rather than affect-based construct. That is, OCB presupposes the cognitive
appraisal, assessment, or evaluation of circumstances, opportunities and outcomes as opposed to what the
individual feels, in terms of hedonic tone. Thus, based on the norm of reciprocity, employees who perceive that
they are treated fairly are more likely to (through organizational cognitions) seek out ways to promote the
welfare of the organization.
The following functions have been ascribed to OCB:
• enhancing coworker and managerial productivity;
• freeing up resources so they can be used for productive purposes;
• reducing the need to devote scarce resources to purely maintenance functions;
• helping to coordinate the activities both within and across work groups;
• strengthening an organizations’ ability to attract and retain the best employees
• increasing the stability of the organization’s performance;
• enabling the organization to more effectively adapt to environmental changes.
In their review of the available evidence, Podsakoff and MacKenzie (1997) found that ‘helping’ had a stronger
impact on organizational effectiveness than other types of OCB. They also found that helping behaviour
sometimes increases and sometimes decreases the quantity of performance depending on the workings of
‘moderator’ variables (for example, technological requirements of the job, systems of reward/compensation).
The proposed causal relationship between OCB and organizational effectiveness is as yet based only on
assumption rather than evidence. OCB might well cause performance gains, but performance gains might also
engender OCB via concepts like satisfaction. Alternatively the association between OCB and organizational
effectiveness may be spurious – that is, attributable to the way an organization explains its performance
(Podsakoff & MacKenzie, 1997).