Gathering Information and Exercising Influence: Two Forms of Civic Virtue Organizational Citizenship Behavior
ABSTRACT Political behavior at work often is disparaged as self-serving activity that undermines the efficient pursuit of organizational goals. Yet politics has a more benign meaning as well: responsible participation in decision-making processes, keeping informed, and promoting innovative ideas that serve long-term organizational interests. To date, the negative image of organizational politics among managers and scholars has limited research on the positive contributions of responsible political participation, a form of Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) known as civic virtue.This paper draws on political philosophy and organizational research to consider two forms of civic virtue OCB: gathering information and exercising influence. Both are proactive and can have beneficial results for individuals, organizations, and society. Conceptually, the two forms of civic virtue are related. Yet they also are different. Results of a field study of 245 employees and their supervisors provide support for similarities and differences in the two forms of civic virtue. We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our study, and the benefits of continued research on both aspects of civic virtue OCB.
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ABSTRACT: The rapid growth of research on organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) has resulted in some conceptual confusion about the nature of the construct, and made it difficult for all but the most avid readers to keep up with developments in this domain. This paper critically examines the literature on organizational citizenship behavior and other, related constructs. More specifically, it: (a) explores the conceptual similarities and differences between the various forms of “citizenship” behavior constructs identified in the literature; (b) summarizes the empirical findings of both the antecedents and consequences of OCBs; and (c) identifies several interesting directions for future research.Journal of Management 07/2013; 26(3):513–563. · 4.59 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The tides of party voting are as fascinating as the fluctuations of economic activity. Regularities in the ebb and flow of voting with the alternation of Congressional and Presidential elections challenge the analyst to find an explanation. This article seeks it in propositions rooted in survey data.01/1960;
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ABSTRACT: This field study of 441 full-time employees in 95 work groups examined voice behavior (constructive challenge to the status quo with the intent of improving the situation rather than merely criticizing) as a function of person-centered (satisfaction with the work group, global self-esteem) and situational factors (group size, self-managed vs. traditional style of management). Using a measure of voice with demonstrated construct validity, the study showed that these person and situation factors explained 10% of the variance in peer-rated voice assessed 6 mo later. Significant Person × Situation interactions suggested that individuals with low global self-esteem or high satisfaction with their group were more responsive to the situational factors than individuals with high global self-esteem or low satisfaction. The authors discuss the importance of including person-centered characteristics, situational factors, and their interactions as predictors of voice. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)Journal of Applied Psychology 11/1998; 83(6):853-868. · 4.31 Impact Factor
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Gathering Information and Exercising Influence: Two
Forms of Civic Virtue Organizational Citizenship Behavior
Jill W. Graham · Linn Van Dyne
C ?Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006
Abstract Political behavior at work often is disparaged as self-serving activity that under-
mines the efficient pursuit of organizational goals. Yet politics has a more benign meaning as
well: responsible participation in decision-making processes, keeping informed, and promoting
innovative ideas that serve long-term organizational interests. To date, the negative image of
organizational politics among managers and scholars has limited research on the positive con-
tributions of responsible political participation, a form of Organizational Citizenship Behavior
(OCB) known as civic virtue.
This paper draws on political philosophy and organizational research to consider two forms
of civic virtue OCB: gathering information and exercising influence. Both are proactive and can
civic virtue are related. Yet they also are different. Results of a field study of 245 employees and
their supervisors provide support for similarities and differences in the two forms of civic virtue.
We discuss theoretical and practical implications of our study, and the benefits of continued
research on both aspects of civic virtue OCB.
Keywords Civic virtue.Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB).Participation
FL, April 2003, in a symposium entitled “New Perspectives on the Dimensionality of Organizational Citizenship
A newer version of this paper was presented at the October 2005 International Meeting of the Association on
Employment Practices and Principles (AEPP) in Baltimore, MD.
J. W. Graham (?)
School of Business-Management, Loyola University Chicago,
1 E. Pearson, #432, Chicago, IL, 60611
L. Van Dyne
The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, Michigan State University,
N475 Business College Complex, East Lansing, MI
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Smith, Organ, and Near (1983) introduced the term organizational citizenship behavior to
describe innovative and spontaneous behavior as a form of employee performance that goes
“beyond role requirements for accomplishment of organizational functions” (Katz & Kahn,
1978: 403). Over the years, the theoretical discipline on which most OCB researchers have
based their work is social psychology, where a substantial literature on prosocial behavior
already exists (see Staub, 1978 for an early review). Political philosophy, which is the original
source of the term citizenship, provides an alternative theoretical basis for studying citizenship
within organizations (Graham, 1986a, 1991, 2000).
Different theoretical foundations need not be incompatible because diverse perspectives can
enrich our understanding of organizational processes. The research reported here explores a
form of OCB – civic virtue, which Graham initially defined as “responsible participation in the
political life of the organization” (1986a: 11). Proactive behaviors such as civic virtue, which
require initiative and active participation, are critical to organizational effectiveness because
informed involvement contributes to sustainable competitive advantage (Crant, 2000; Frese &
Fay, 2001). Engaging in civic virtue at work, moreover, develops skills and habits that can
benefit individuals and the larger society. Individuals who demonstrate civic skills such as
information processing and persuasive communication may advance their career prospects. In
addition, utilizing such skills in one arena may lead to people using them in other arenas as well.
More responsible political participation at work could help to reverse the societal trend in some
western democracies of decreased political involvement in local and national governance.
Even though political participation is highly valued in the abstract and Organ’s early work
(1988) endorsed civic virtue as an important form of OCB, civic virtue also can be controversial
and even suspect in organizational settings (Organ, 1997). Perhaps that is one reason early OCB
research in the tradition of social psychology operationalized civic virtue only with uncontro-
versial behaviors such as the willingness to stay informed about organizational affairs through
voluntary meeting attendance and reading organizational publications (MacKenzie, Podsakoff,
& Fetter, 1991). For example, a recent meta-analysis of nearly two decades of research on
OCB (where civic virtue was typically operationalized with the social psychological emphasis
on uncontroversial behaviors) demonstrated strong relationships among the most commonly
studied dimensions of OCB (LePine, Erez, & Johnson, 2002). This research also demonstrated
equivalent relationships between types of uncontroversial OCB and the predictors considered
most often by OCB scholars.
Those findings raise important questions about the dimensionality of OCB. Perhaps the five
most commonly researched dimensions “are not much more than equivalent indicators of OCB”
the tendency to be cooperative and helpful in organizational settings. Alternatively, perhaps the
and recognize both cooperative and change-oriented forms of civic virtue.
Including challenging behaviors as part of civic virtue has the potential of enriching our
understanding of OCB by moving beyond pleasant and positive employee behaviors that are
popular with management: generalized compliance (obedience), altruism (helping), courtesy,
and sportsmanship (Organ, 1988). In addition, this broader conceptualization is consistent with
Katz and Kahn’s (1978) original emphasis on change-oriented behaviors. We draw on political
philosophy to emphasize two types of responsible participation that can be referred to as gath-
ering information and exercising influence. Political philosophy includes both the potentially
challenging aspects of voice, such as advocating new ideas and encouraging others to speak up
(Avery & Quinones, 2002; Graham, 1986a; Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994, and others),
and the uncontroversial behaviors of staying informed about organization affairs, as equally
important aspects of responsible participation.
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
The goal of the research we report in this paper is to draw on political theory and research
on responsible political participation in the public arena, as well as on existing research on civic
virtue in work organizations, to examine similarities and differences in two forms of civic virtue.
We also compare and contrast the two forms of civic virtue with the more commonly researched
form of OCB known as altruism or helping behavior. Thus, we argue that OCB should not be
limited to behaviors that managers find unambiguously positive, at the expense of citizenship
behaviors that managers may sometimes find inconvenient, such as civic virtue (Graham, 1991),
but which can stimulate organizational innovation and, where warranted, timely self-correction.
Research on civic virtue is important for several reasons. First, it is consistent with Organ’s
(1988) initial delineation of citizenship as multidimensional. It also responds to LePine and
colleagues’ (2002) call for theoretically-based studies that enhance our knowledge of under-
researched forms of organizational citizenship. Second, differences in the fundamental con-
ceptual nature of gathering information (affiliative) and exercising influence (change-oriented)
suggest that these two forms of civic virtue OCB may have related but different nomological
networks (Graham, 2000; Van Dyne, Cummings, & McLean Parks, 1995). Third, understanding
predictors of civic virtue citizenship behavior is important because prosocial behaviors based on
employee initiative and active participation are increasingly critical to ongoing organizational
performance, given the dynamic nature of the competitive environment (Frese & Fay, 2001).
Graham (1986a) and Organ (1988) identified two aspects of civic virtue: prosocial behaviors
contributions to the organization. Both forms represent promotive behavior that is positively
intended and proactive; it causes things to happen. In theorizing about promotive behaviors, Van
behaviors: affiliative and change-oriented behaviors. In developing our ideas about two forms of
civic virtue as equally important forms of responsible participation, we draw on the theoretical
distinctions proposed by Van Dyne and colleagues. Thus, we ground our conceptualization in
an existing literature. This should facilitate comparison with prior research and should also help
scholars to integrate and accumulate knowledge about different types of promotive behaviors.
For example, Van Dyne and colleagues reviewed and integrated over 50 papers on extra-role
behavior and related constructs, and then concluded that most promotive constructs could be
described in terms of a continuum ranging from highly affiliative (behavior that solidifies and
preserves relationships) to highly challenging (behavior that recommends changes to the status
quo). Affiliative behavior is overtly cooperative and is generally uncontroversial. Challenging
and high standards of excellence.
Van Dyne and colleagues’ definition of promotive behaviors (proactive and positively in-
tended) parallels the political philosophy conceptualization of responsible participation. Thus,
we use their theoretical framework to further our understanding of civic virtue as a form of
promotive behavior that can range along a continuum from more affiliative to more challenging.
In presenting these ideas, we focus on the two ends of this continuum (primarily affiliative
versus primarily challenging behaviors) to elucidate similarities and differences. In general, we
influence exemplifies change-oriented-promotive behavior. Consistent with the OCB literature,
we limit our focus to prosocial behaviors and exclude behavior that is motivated by self-interest
alone. Thus, we acknowledge that some forms of gathering information and exercising influence
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
can be self-serving and/or politically motivated (Bolino, 1999), but we exclude them from our
consideration in this paper.
Affiliative-promotive behavior is cooperative. Gathering information as a form of civic virtue
includes participating in meetings and organizational functions, reading newsletters and an-
nouncements, and paying attention to other sources of information that might be relevant to the
able about events and issues that might have implications for the organization, their work group,
and/or their jobs. We term this aspect of civic virtue CV-information.
In contrast, change-oriented-promotive behavior has the goal of modifying the status quo.
Exercising influence as a form of civic virtue includes speaking up and making suggestions
for change. Responsible organizational citizens use critical thinking skills to identify possible
problems or improvements. After careful analysis, they speak up to express their opinions,
exercise influence, and recommend modifications in policies or procedures. Speaking up is
change-oriented and thus a potentially controversial aspect of civic virtue. We use the term
CV-influence for change-oriented civic virtue.
Overview of this paper
In the next section, we present a brief overview of civic virtue based on classical and con-
temporary political philosophy. We also describe Verba, Schlozman, and Brady’s (1995) Civic
Voluntarism Model of political participation in the public arena. We apply these perspectives to
civic virtue in workplace organizations and develop a preliminary model of antecedents to civic
virtue (responsible participation) in work organizations. We then test the model with matched
field study data from employees and their supervisors and conclude by discussing implications
for research and practice.
Graham (2000) outlined three historical perspectives on the purpose and functioning of gover-
nance systems, each with a distinctive definition of what constitutes civic virtue for the average
citizen. Contemporary political theory similarly emphasizes the role of civic virtue and includes
governance approaches that place contrasting emphasis on gathering information and exercising
influence (Putnam, 1993). Governance by the elite, which Graham (2000) traces back to Plato’s
Republic, entails a hierarchical division of labor that concentrates the proactive behaviors of CV-
information and CV-influence in the hands of a meritocratic elite. Good citizenship for ordinary
citizen-subjects in such a system is limited to obedience and loyalty, with no place for responsi-
ble political participation. A contemporary example of civic virtue based on Plato’s hierarchical
governance system might be Singapore, where governance is centralized and officials are highly
trained, highly paid, and well respected (Keng, Jiuan, & Wirtz, 1998).
Governance based on broad citizen participation, which Graham (2000) traces back to Aris-
totle’s Politics, assumes an educated middle class that can provide moderation and stability
within a constitutional governance system. Aristotle recommended wide participation in leg-
islative and judicial functions, giving rise eventually, for example, to citizen assemblies and
trial-by-jury. The result is a constitutional form of government where average citizens proac-
tively gather information (CV-information) and, when chosen to serve, express their opinions
(CV-influence). In contemporary America, those who adopt republican values (note the small
“r” in republican, indicating a philosophical perspective rather than affiliation with a particular
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
benefits of community caucuses, newsletters, and interest group sessions that facilitate informa-
tion exchange and community consensus-building (Etzioni, 1993). Here, gathering information
(CV-information) is key to political involvement and citizen participation.
Governance based on structural mechanisms, which Graham (2000) traces to the eighteenth
century Age of Enlightenment, highlights individual rights and the design of systems to protect
rights from the abuse of power (Berlin, 1970; Sinopoli, 1987). The result is a functional division
of labor, with constraints on government, that grants citizens the right to participate proactively
in governance, should they choose to get involved in acquiring knowledge (CV-information) and
(again, note the small “l” in liberal) stress structural checks and balances in the distribution
of power, augmented by citizen responsibility to safeguard individual liberty by monitoring
government conduct and proposing constructive suggestions for change (Burtt, 1993). Looking
further back, Manville and Ober (2003) proposed that the obligation in classical Athenian
democracy to “seek to reverse misguided policy or decisions or to call attention to misbehavior”
could serve as a useful governance model for contemporary knowledge economies in which a
willingness to challenge the status quo stems from the fact “that every citizen is responsible
for the welfare of every other” (Manville & Ober, 2003: 140). Throughout western history,
exercising influence (CV-influence) has been and continues to be an important form of political
involvement and citizen participation.
Having briefly described these three perspectives on governance and the relative importance
of the two forms of civic virtue in each, we now shift our attention to research and theory
on political participation. Verba and colleague’s (1995) Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM) of
engage in political participation: (1) Ability: they can’t because they don’t have the necessary
resources (time, money, or civic skills); (2) Motivation: they don’t want to because they are
not psychologically engaged by political issues (no interest, no belief that involvement makes
a difference, or no sense of membership in a group with shared political interests); and (3)
Recruitment/Opportunity: they haven’t been asked to participate. Empirical research supports
volunteering to support particular civic issues, raising and contributing money for civic causes,
and persuading other citizens to get involved and engage in active political participation) have
different antecedents (Verba et al., 1995).
Civic virtue within workplace organizations
Crant (2000) reviewed several of the existing proactive employee behavior constructs (proactive
personality, personal initiative, role-breadth, self-efficacy, and taking charge) and recommended
that future research should compare different types of proactive behavior within the same re-
prior research on OCB has focused on affiliative behaviors (e.g., altruism, courtesy, and sports-
manship). In addition, their results provided initial evidence that the nomological networks for
these affiliative constructs are more similar than different. Accordingly, they recommended that
future research examine other forms of OCB (such as constructive, change-oriented behaviors)
that have received less attention. Applying this to our interest in civic virtue suggests the benefits
of comparing the similarities and differences in the antecedents of two specific promotive and
proactive behaviors: CV-information and CV-influence.
In this section, we draw on classical and contemporary political philosophy and research on
participation (in the public arena and in work organizations) to develop a preliminary model of
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
antecedents to CV-information and CV-influence. Since both forms of civic virtue represent re-
our analysis of differences in the constructs leads us to predict different antecedents because
CV-information is fundamentally affiliative and CV-influence is fundamentally change-oriented
(Van Dyne et al., 1995).
We start by describing the rationale for our model. We included work performance, job
level, and organizational commitment because prior research has demonstrated relationships
with OCB and we wanted to make sure that our research could be linked to and compared
with prior OCB research (LePine et al., 2002; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Paine, & Bachrach, 2000;
Van Dyne, Graham, & Dienesch, 1994). Moving beyond past research, we also included three
additional predictors that should have special relevance to civic virtue citizenship. Experienced
significance on the job heightens awareness of the importance of organizational issues and thus
may increase felt responsibility to keep informed and exercise influence directed at improving
organizational policies and practices (Graham, 1986b). Self-esteem is an individual’s sense of
positive self-worth and self-confidence (Brockner, 1988), which should be related to OCB that
involves the potential risk of speaking up and making suggestions for change. Finally, justice
beliefs provide a standard for evaluating organizational issues and should provide a foundation
for responsible change-oriented types of OCB. In sum, our research builds on and extends past
research by specifying similarities and differences in these two forms of civic virtue.
over 300 insurance sales agents demonstrated positive relationships between task performance,
altruism OCB, and civic virtue OCB. Van Dyne and LePine’s (1998) field study of over 500 em-
ployees in a wide range of jobs and organizations demonstrated positive relationships between
task performance, helping OCB, and voice OCB. Skarlicki and Latham (1995) demonstrated
a positive relationship between OCB by faculty members directed at their colleagues and per-
formance as operationalized by number of publications. Thus, we include task performance as
a predictor of civic virtue so that we can examine whether the other predictors in our model
increase explained variance in the two forms of civic virtue OCB, over and above task perfor-
performance would be positively related to both forms of civic virtue.
Platonic theory provides the classic rationale for linking job level and participation: those at the
top (the elite) are responsible for governance. Consistent with this, studies of political partici-
pation consistently demonstrate that socio-economic status (SES, which includes occupational
stratification) predicts civic responsibility and active political participation (Milbrath & Goel,
1977; Verba & Nie, 1972). In addition, more recent political research has examined the com-
ponents of SES separately and demonstrated that occupational stratification (comparable to
job level) independently increased participation (Verba et al., 1995). The explanation for this
enhanced opportunity to participate actively is twofold: (a) high-level jobs require and further
develop communication and influence skills that are essential to political participation; and (b)
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
those in high status occupations are often asked to serve in leadership roles for community and
Similarly in work organizations, those at higher job levels have more responsibility and
opportunity to gather information and influence decision-making (Salancik, 1977). They also
experience social pressure to participate actively in the organization (Hrebiniak, 1974). Prior
research demonstrates that employees in jobs with more responsibility spend more time inter-
acting with others, exchanging information, exhibiting initiative, and engaging in innovative or
change-oriented behaviors (Scott & Bruce, 1994; Van Dyne et al., 1994; Van Dyne & LePine,
1998). Those in higher level positions have greater ability and opportunity to participate. This
is true even though accurate and timely information may sometimes be withheld from man-
agers by subordinates who are afraid that their information might be received as “bad news” or
reflect badly on their own behavior. In fact, those at higher job levels who are aware of their
subordinates’ reticence are likely to try even harder to seek out information because it is vital to
making good decisions (i.e., to do their job). Managers who do not take the initiative to gather
information and act on it (and recent corporate scandals suggest some managers are like that)
do not exemplify the form of OCB under study here. Thus, we predicted positive relationships
for both forms of civic virtue.
H2: The higher the job level, the higher the CV (2a: CV-information; 2b: CV-influence).
Commitment to the organization
Psychological involvement and political engagement are terms used by political researchers to
cite thirteen studies demonstrating the importance of psychological involvement for political
participation. In the civic arena, psychological involvement leads to community identification
and participation in civic processes (Almond & Verba, 1963; Verba & Nie, 1972; Verba et al.,
In the organizational realm, affective organizational commitment describes individual attach-
ment to the organization (Meyer & Allen, 1984). When individuals feel strongly committed to
the organization, they reciprocate with high levels of involvement (Settoon, Bennett, & Liden,
1996) such as attending meetings, acquiring information about organizational issues (Moorman,
Niehoff, & Organ, 1993), protecting company resources, and speaking up with suggestions for
improvements (Farh, Earley, & Lin, 1997; Van Dyne et al., 1994; Withey & Cooper, 1989).
Thus, we hypothesized a positive relation between commitment and both forms of civic virtue.
H3: The higher the commitment, the higher the CV (3a: CV-information; 3b: CV-influence).
In sum and consistent with prior research on other forms of OCB, our first three hypotheses
level, and affective commitment to the organization. We now address three additional predictors
with potential relevance to civic virtue.
When individuals attach special meaning to an event or issue, their attention and involvement
increase. For example, right before an election, even those who are not routinely involved in
political affairs become psychologically engaged. This is especially relevant in high-stimulus
campaigns where election outcomes are uncertain and the importance of each individual vote is
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
emphasized (Campbell, 1960). Psychological involvement and active participation also increase
during national elections when outcomes have implications for future policy making and gover-
nance (Milbrath & Goel, 1977). In these cases, psychological involvement stimulates political
behaviors (such as reading candidate position statements, discussing differences in candidate
voting records, and expressing personal opinions about the suitability of candidates) in response
to a heightened sense of the importance of participation.
to which employees feel their work is important and that their contributions make a difference
to the organization (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Experienced significance is a situation-specific
function of the job and work contributions. When employees have a heightened sense of task
meaningfulness, responsibility, and intrinsic motivation, they are more willing to invest time and
effort to acquire information that might be relevant to their jobs (Moorman, 1993). Furthermore,
when employees experience high levels of responsibility at work, they respond proactively by
taking charge and suggesting improvements to the system (Morrison & Phelps, 1999; Van Dyne
et al., 1994). Accordingly we hypothesized positive relationships for both forms of civic virtue.
H4: The higher the experienced significance of the work, the higher the CV (4a: CV-information; 4b:
In contrast to experienced meaningfulness which is situation-specific, global self-esteem is a
sense of positive self-worth and self-confidence across situations, settings, and time (Brockner,
1988). Research on political behavior in civil society demonstrates a link between self-esteem
self-esteem feel they can influence decision-making (Almond & Verba, 1963; Lane, 1959). This
leads to proactive political behavior such as engaging in political protests and persuading others
to get involved in political issues (Verba & Nie, 1972).
with a strong sense of self exhibit initiative and assertiveness; they conform less; they are less
afraid to rock the boat (Staw & Boettger, 1990; Wells & Marwell, 1976); and they are more
willing to take risks and express opinions, even if others differ (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998).
By definition, CV-influence requires risk-taking and initiative because it can be viewed as a
challenge to the status quo (Nemeth & Staw, 1989). Combining the evidence from political
philosophy and organizational research, we proposed that self-esteem is an important antecedent
H5: The higher the self-esteem, the higher the CV-influence.
clear. Low self-esteem could dampen initiative, thereby reducing willingness to gather informa-
tion and attend meetings. Alternatively, low self-esteem could increase motivation to participate
and the lack of prior relevant research, we do not expect a relationship between self-esteem and
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Since the time of Plato and Aristotle, philosophers have proposed that virtue entails love of
justice and that justice is a key purpose of governance. Building social capital through civic
engagement and influence (Putnam, 1993) increases “the capacity to transcend narrow points of
view and conceptualize the common good”(Schlozman, Verba, & Brady,1999: 428).Promoting
justice in organizations can require individuals to challenge managerial decisions, i.e., to engage
in principled organizational dissent (Graham, 1986b). When policies or practices appear unfair
or inconsistent with moral principles, those who value justice speak up and challenge the status
quo, even when their opinions differ from the majority. In organizational settings, those with
strong beliefs in the value of justice are more likely to try to influence decision making to
assure fair policies and fair treatment for all stakeholders. This includes expressing supportive
or change-oriented opinions about these policies (Weisband & Franck, 1975). Thus, based on
theory from political philosophy and organizational studies, we predicted that those who place
a high value on justice will proactively speak up and try to influence outcomes in organizations.
H6: The stronger the belief in justice, the higher the CV-influence.
The valence of a relationship between justice beliefs and information-gathering is less clear.
Those who value justice might actively gather information, especially when justice issues are
salient. Alternatively, they might prefer to rely on their own internal standards and might be
less inclined to gather information from others. Accordingly, we do not expect a relationship
between justice beliefs and CV-information.
Relationship between CV-information and CV-influence
As indicated earlier in the introduction to the paper, we focused on positively intended proactive
reasonable that they should be positively related. Consistent with this, some of our predictions
for the two behaviors are similar (H1–H4). Both gathering information and exercising influence
require employee initiative, and both illustrate responsible participation intended to promote
organizational well-being. This commonality is the basis for our predictions that work perfor-
mance, job level, affective commitment, and experienced significance all are associated with
both CV-information and CV-influence. At the same time, we have also emphasized differences
in the fundamental nature of the two types of responsible participation because CV-information
is more affiliative and CV-influence is more challenging. Thus, some of our predictions differed
for the two behaviors (H5–H6). Although we expect self-esteem and justice beliefs to predict
CV-influence, we do not expect them to predict CV-information. In sum, we have proposed that
although the nomological networks for the two forms of civic virtue are not identical, they share
important similarities. This leads us to predict that although the two forms of civic virtue are
distinct constructs, they will be positively related.
H7: CV-information will be positively related to CV-influence.
The primary objective of this research was to examine two forms of civic virtue (information
and influence) as examples of responsible participation. At the same time, we recognize the
importance of connecting our research to existing research on other positive proactive behav-
iors. To date, the largest amount of management research on positive proactive behaviors has
occurred under the label of organizational citizenship behavior and has emphasized affiliative
behaviors such as helping (altruism). Accordingly, we included helping OCB in our research
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
to facilitate comparisons with prior OCB findings. Since all three behaviors are forms of or-
ganizational citizenship, we expected them to be positively related. We also expected that the
three forms could be differentiated conceptually and empirically. Finally, given conceptual over-
laps between helping and CV-information (affiliative behaviors) and overlaps between helping
and CV-influence (proactive behaviors), we expected the antecedents of helping to have both
similarities and differences with the two forms of CV. More specifically, and consistent with
past research, we expected work performance, affective commitment, and experienced signifi-
cance to predict helping OCB (Anderson & Williams, 1996; Podsakoff et al., 2000; Van Dyne,
VandeWalle, Kostova, & Cummings, 2000).
We assessed our hypotheses with field data collected from employees and their supervisors.
At T1, we asked 349 employees (from a wide variety of organizations who were attending a
management seminar) to participate in our study. Of these, 82% (286 employees) completed
questionnaires reporting their job level, commitment, experienced significance, self-esteem,
justice beliefs, and supervisor contact information. We then contacted supervisors who rated
employee performance. At T2 (six months later), we again contacted supervisors who rated
employee civic virtue and helping. Overall, we obtained matched data on 245 of the employees
(85%) who participated at T1. All participants completed questionnaires on their own time and
mailed them directly to the researchers. Participation was voluntary and all were assured their
responses would remain confidential. On average, employees were 37 years old, with 6.5 years
tenure. The sample was 51% female, 48% had college degrees, and 82% were managers or
We used established measures to assess our constructs. Unless specified below, responses were
1=strongly disagree to 7=strongly agree.
Specific items for the dependent variables are listed in Table 1. We measured CV-information
at T2 with supervisor responses to four items from the previously validated MacKenzie and
colleagues’ (1991) civic virtue scale (α =.74). We measured CV-influence at T2 with supervisor
responses to four items from Van Dyne and LePine’s (1998) previously validated voice scale
(α =.90). Supervisors assessed helping at T2 with four items from Van Dyne and LePine’s
(1998) previously validated helping scale (α =.92).
Supervisors rated employee performance at T1 (six months before they assessed OCB) with six
items including overall effectiveness, quantity, quality, and reliability (1=very much does not
meet performance expectations; 7=very much exceeds performance expectations; (α =.92).
They also reported employee job level (0=support staff, 1=supervisor, 2=manager).
We measured affective organizational commitment with Meyer and Allen’s (1984) previ-
ously validated 8-item scale (α =.86). Items included “This organization has a great deal of
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Completely standardized confirmatory factor loadings for civic virtue and helping
Civic Virtue–Information: This employee ...
1 reads and keeps up with organization announcements, memos, and so on
2 attends functions that are not required, but help the company image
3 keeps abreast of changes in the organization
4 attends meetings that are not mandatory, but are considered important
Civic Virtue–Influence: This employee ...
1 speaks up with ideas for new projects or changes in procedures
2 expresses his/her opinions about issues even when others in the group think differently
3 makes suggestions to others in the group about changes that might improve things here
4 communicates his/her opinions about work issues to others even if his/her opinion is different and
others in the group disagree with him/her
Helping OCB: This employee ...
1 volunteers to do things for this group
2 helps orient new employees
3 assists others with their work for the benefit of the group
4 helps others learn about the work
personal meaning for me” and “I do not feel ‘emotionally attached’ to this organization” (r). To
operationalize experienced significance, which we conceptualized as grounded in the current
job and immediate work context, we used four items from the Pierce, Gardner, Cummings, and
Dunham (1989) previously validated organization-based self-esteem scale to assess employee
feelings of experienced significance (α =.90). Items included “I count in this group,” “I am
a valuable part of this group,” and “I make a difference in this group.” We note that these
items are situation-specific and that they refer explicitly to the employee’s sense of experienced
significance within the context of their work group.
We measured global self-esteem using Brockner’s (1988) 18-item previously validated scale
(1=never; 7=always). Items included “In general, how often do you feel confident about your
abilities” and “How often do you have the feeling that you can do everything well” (α =.89). We
measured employee beliefs about justice with twelve items from Ravlin and Meglino’s (1987)
previously validated CES scale. This scale ranks four work values (working hard, concern for
problems of ranked data (McNeely & Meglino, 1994) and to allow treatment as a continuous
variable in regression (Hicks, 1970). Items included “Being sure that work assignments are fair
to everyone” and “Trying to bring about a fair solution to a dispute.”
Before testing our hypotheses, we used two methods to examine discriminant validity of our
maximum likelihood estimation (CV-information, CV-influence, Helping). Results indicated the
superiority of the three-factor model (χ2=201.72, 51 df, p<.001; RMSEA=.09, CFI=.94)
compared to two-factor models of helping versus civic virtue (χ2=530.70, 53 df, p<.001;
RMSEA=.16, CFI=.85) and affiliative versus CV-influence (χ2=436.29, 53 df, p<.001;
RMSEA=.15, CFI=.87) or a one-factor model (χ2=919.32, 54 df, p<.001; RMSEA=.22,
CFI=.75). In each case, the three-factor model (CV-information, CV-influence, helping) pro-
duced a significantly better fit (?χ2=309.98 2 df, p<.001; ?χ2=225.57, 2 df, p<.001;
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Completely standardized confirmatory factor loadings for reflected appraisal of two forms of civic
1 In general, others would describe me as keeping up with things around here
2 Others would typically describe me as attending events that are not required, but help the group or
3 Generally, others would describe me as keeping abreast of changes around here
4 In general, others would describe me as attending meetings that are not mandatory, but important
1 Others generally would describe me as speaking up with ideas for new projects
2 Generally, others would describe me as expressing my opinions about issues. even when others in the
group think differently
3 In general, others would describe me as making suggestions in groups about changes that might
4 Others would typically describe me as communicating my opinions in the group even if my opinion is
different and others disagree with me
?χ2=708.60, 3 df, p<.001). All loadings were statistically significant and are reported in
Second, we verified the discriminant validity of the two forms of civic virtue on a second
sample of 469 undergraduate students. Here we used the reflected appraisal approach described
by Farmer, Tierney, and Kung-McIntyre (2003), based on Piliavin and Callero (1991) and
Stryker (1987) where individuals describe themselves as others experience them. According to
self-identity theory, the reflected appraisal approach reduces positive self-presentation biases
and provides a more accurate representation of behavior. Specific items for reflected appraisal
of the two forms of civic virtue are listed in Table 2. Confirmatory factor analysis of these eight
civic virtue items (maximum likelihood estimation) indicated the superiority of a two-factor
model (χ2=76.09, 19 df, p<.001; RMSEA=.08, CFI=.98) compared to a one-factor model
(χ2=228.91, 20 df, p<.001; RMSEA=.15, CFI=.92) based on a significant difference in χ2
values (?χ2=152.82, 1 df, p<.001). All loadings (see Table 2) were statistically significant.
We tested hypotheses with hierarchical regression. We entered the previously researched
constructs of performance, job level, and commitment in the first three steps so we could
ascertain variance explained over and above this prior research. In step four, we entered the three
(1977), a variance inflation factor (VIF) over 10 indicates potential multicollinearity problems.
Our VIF statistics (1.00–1.19) were below 10, suggesting no multicollinearity problems. We
assessed each step with the ?F and, given our directional predictions, interpreted individual
parameters with one-tailed t-values for the last-step beta coefficients.
Table 3 summarizes descriptive statistics, inter-correlations, and Cronbach’s alpha (.74–.92).
explained 20% of the variance in CV-information (F=11.07, p<.001), 30% of the variance
in CV-influence (F=17.56, p<.001), and 44% of the variance in helping OCB (F=32.44,
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Descriptive statistics and correlations
1. Civic Virtue-Information
2. Civic Virtue-Influence
3. Helping OCB
4. Prior Performance
5. Job Level
6. Affective Commitment
7. Experienced Significance
9. Justice Beliefs
aNumbers on the diagonal are Cronbach’s alpha.
Results demonstrate similarities and differences across the three forms of OCB. Only prior
performance predicted all the OCBs. Job level predicted CV-information and CV-influence.
Affective commitment predicted only CV-information; experienced significance predicted CV-
influence and helping. Self-esteem and justice beliefs predicted only CV-influence.
Results support H1, demonstrating a positive relationship between prior performance and
both forms of civic virtue (CV-Information: β =.35, p<.001; CV-Influence: β =.40, p<.001).
Results also support H2. Those in higher job levels were higher in CV-Information (β =.17,
p<.001) and CV-Influence (β =.18, p<.001).
Results provide support for H3a, demonstrating a link between affective commitment and
CV-information (H3a: β =.12, p<.01), but fail to show a significant relationship between
commitment and CV-influence (H3b: β = −.04, p > .05). Similarly, results provide support for
H4b, demonstrating a positive relationship between experienced significance and CV-influence
(H4b: β =.12, p<.01), but not for CV-information (H4a: β =.05, p > .05).
Results support H5 and H6. Self-esteem was positively related to CV-influence (β =.12,
p<.01), but not to CV-information (β = −.05, p > .05). Similarly, justice beliefs were related
to CV-influence (β =.10, p<.05), but not to CV-information (β = −.02, p > .05).
Finally, results also support H7, demonstrating a positive relation between CV-information
and CV-influence (r=.49, p<.001).
Turning now to helping behavior, we describe the pattern of results for that more traditionally
studied form of OCB. As expected, helping was positively related to CV-information (r=.59,
p<.001) and CV-influence (r=.75, p<.001). In addition, performance was a strong predictor
of helping (β =.54, p<.001). As expected, job level was not significantly related to helping
(β =.09, p > .05). Table 4, however, shows that even though commitment was significant in
step three (β =.10, p<.01), it failed to reach significance in step 4 when effects of experienced
significance, self-esteem, and justice beliefs were added to the model (β =.05, p > .05). Thus,
contrary to expectations, commitment was not related to helping. Finally, results demonstrate
a positive relationship between experienced significance and helping (β =.12, p<.01) and as
expected,norelationshipwithself-esteem(β =.08,p>.05)orjusticebeliefs(β =.08,p>.05).
Overall, results of this study demonstrate the benefits of a multi-disciplinary focus on less-often
researched forms of OCB (such as change-oriented behaviors) as recommended by LePine et al.
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
Results of hierarchical regression analyses predicting civic virtue and helping
Overall adjusted R2
Employ Respons Rights J (2006)
(2002). Results demonstrate empirical differences in CV-information and CV-influence based
on conceptual differences (affiliative versus change-oriented behaviors), statistical differences
(CFA model fit and factor loadings), and nomological network differences (different predictors
– CV-information: affective commitment; CV-influence: experienced significance, self-esteem,
and justice beliefs). Of the six predictors in our model, only prior work performance and job
level were significant predictors of both CV-information and CV-influence. Otherwise, results
suggest that the two forms of civic virtue have different antecedents and different patterns of
relationships with other constructs. In sum, these findings support the conceptual differences in
affiliative versus change-oriented forms of OCB and civic virtue.
In addition, results of this study show the benefits of examining the incremental validity of
conceptually justified predictors over and above the effects of prior performance. For example,
the overall R2for our three regression models ranged from .20–.44 and this is higher than
the typical R2(5–20%) reported in most prior research on OCB that uses multiple sources of
data (LePine & Van Dyne, 1998; Moorman, 1993; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Bommer, 1996;
Robinson, 1996; Stamper & Van Dyne, 2001; Turnley & Feldman, 1999; Van Dyne et al.,
1994: Withey & Cooper, 1989). More important, our results demonstrate significant incremental
increases in explained variance due to our predictors, over and above past performance (5% for
civic virtue-information; 8% for civic virtue-influence; and 6% for helping OCB).
Finally, by augmenting traditional organizational literature with political philosophy and
research, the significant findings of this study suggest practical implications that extend be-
yond the organization’s boundaries. The following sections address theoretical issues, practical
implications, and future research.
Our findings are consistent with classical and contemporary approaches to political philosophy
that identify gathering information and exercising influence as different aspects of civic virtue.
In addition, results support the civic voluntarism model of political participation (Verba et al.,
1995) as applied to responsible employee participation in work organizations. In interpreting
our findings, we draw on Van Dyne and colleagues’ (1995) discussion of the differences be-
tween affiliative-promotive behaviors (such as CV-information) and change-oriented-promotive
behaviors (such as CV-influence).
Both forms of civic virtue illustrate responsible participation. Both behaviors are proactive
and promotive. As a consequence, it is not surprising that they are related with a moderately
strong correlation (.49, p<001). Given the conceptual differences in the constructs, it also is not
by CFA and the differing pattern of relationships with other constructs). Interestingly, however,
results demonstrated more differences than similarities in the antecedents in our models. Based
on prior research, we hypothesizedthat commitment and experienced significance would predict
both forms of civic virtue. Regression analyses, however, demonstrated that these antecedents
were related to either CV-information or CV-influence, but not to both. Perhaps the social
exchange orientation of affective commitment has more relevance to CV-information (being
informed), and the task-oriented nature of experienced significance has more relevance to CV-
influence (exercising influence).
Promotive behavior that is affiliative (e.g., gathering information) is cooperative. Our results
show job level and commitment were related to proactive information gathering. Job level is an
indicator of status. From a political philosophy perspective, status is consistent with Plato’s view
to gather information proactively. In organizational settings, affective commitment emphasizes