Counterproductive Work Behavior and Organisational Citizenship Behavior: Are They Opposite Forms of Active Behavior?

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We question the common supposition that active acts of counterproductive work behavior (CWB) and organisational citizenship behavior (OCB) are negatively related in that people who perform one tend not to perform the other, and that they tend to relate oppositely to potential antecedents. We argue that under some circumstances these active behaviors may occur together or sequentially. Using an emotion focused framework, we discuss five situations that lead from one form of behavior to the other: Understimulation at work, co‐worker lack of performance, organisational constraints, lack of expected rewards for OCB, and unjustified (to the actor) acts of CWB. Finally, we provide suggestions for studying these behaviors episodically as opposed to aggregating frequencies of behavior over extended periods of time.

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Applied Psychology, v. 59, issue 1, p. 21-39