Disentangling the Direct and Indirect Effects of Task, Individual, and Organizational Factors on Occupational Citizenship Behavior

Published date01 October 2020
Date01 October 2020
Subject MatterArticles
Criminal Justice Policy Review
2020, Vol. 31(8) 1136 –1164
© The Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0887403419866895
Disentangling the Direct
and Indirect Effects of Task,
Individual, and Organizational
Factors on Occupational
Citizenship Behavior
James Frank1, Eric G. Lambert2, Hanif Qureshi3,
Andrew J. Myer4, Charles F. Klahm5, Bradley Smith5,
and Nancy L. Hogan6
Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) have been the subject of considerable
research attention within business organizations. Much less attention has been directed
at OCBs within criminal justice agencies, and even less research has addressed OCBs
within police organizations. The present study uses survey data collected from 829
police officers in India to assess the antecedents of several dimensions of OCBs.
Unlike most prior research, we use a path model in an effort to disentangle the
direct and indirect effects of organizational justice, job demands and job resources,
organizational justice, stress, and work attitudes on OCBs while controlling for officer
personal characteristics. Our findings indicate that job satisfaction and organizational
commitment are strong predictors of OCBs and that they mediate the effects of
job stress, which did not directly influence OCBs. In addition, organizational justice
factors exerted inconsistent effects on OCBs. Strategies for increasing the likelihood
that officers will engage in OCBs are discussed.
1University of Cincinnati, OH, USA
2University of Nevada, Reno, USA
3Haryana Police, Chandigarh, India
4North Dakota State University, Fargo, USA
5Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, USA
6Ferris State University, Big Rapids, MI, USA
Corresponding Author:
Eric G. Lambert, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nevada, Reno, AB601D, Mail Stop 0214,
1664 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV 89557, USA.
Email: ericlambert@unr.edu
866895CJPXXX10.1177/0887403419866895Criminal Justice Policy ReviewFrank et al.
Frank et al. 1137
organizational citizenship behavior, police officers, law enforcement, India
Police organizations’ most expensive and important resource is their personnel. Officers
are responsible for numerous duties and tasks to enforce the law and maintain order.
The exercise of discretion by police officers has been the subject of considerable atten-
tion in the policing literature. Most of this attention has been directed at explaining
factors that influence discretionary street-level decisions made by officers when they
encounter citizens, namely, the decisions to arrest, stop and frisk, search, or use force
(Klahm & Tillyer, 2015; Novak, Frank, Smith, & Engel, 2002). Much less attention has
been focused on factors that explain officer decisions to engage in organizational citi-
zenship behaviors (OCBs; Organ, 1988; Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983)—behaviors that
support the work activities of coworkers, show respect for the police organization, and
are intended to promote the effective functioning of the organization. Studies of these
voluntary, prosocial OCBs have proliferated across organizational types and have
received extensive attention in the social psychology and organizational literatures,
especially since the 1990s (Podsakoff, Whiting, Podsakoff, & Blume, 2009). Research
to date, however, is limited to a few occupational fields.
The majority of the studies examining OCBs have been conducted in traditional
manufacturing organizations (Dekas, Bauer, Welle, Kurkoski, & Sullivan, 2013). Only
a limited number of the studies exploring the antecedents and consequences of OCBs
involve criminal justice agencies (e.g., Lambert, Hogan, & Griffin, 2008), and a
smaller subset of these address police agencies. Only three published studies dealing
with OCBs among police officers could be located. Among a group of government
workers in Egypt and Saudi Arabia—a group that included police officers—self-
esteem, organizational self-esteem (the degree that people feel performing their orga-
nizational role will meet their own needs), level of work ethic, job satisfaction, and
leadership consideration help shape OCBs (Tang & Ibrahim, 1998). With Taiwanese
police, collective efficacy and self-efficacy had positive effects on OCBs (Chen &
Kao, 2011). Chen and Kao (2012) reported that perceptions of the psychological con-
tract (i.e., organizational autonomy, control, rewards, and benefits) and professional
commitment (i.e., commitment to being a police officer) had positive effects on OCBs
among cadets in the Taiwanese police academy. Exploring OCBs in policing organiza-
tions is important, particularly, in how workplace variables are associated with police
officer OCBs.
The present study examined how different workplace variables influence the dis-
cretion of officers to engage in OCBs using data from survey of officers with the
Haryana state in India. Past studies of law enforcement agencies examining the rela-
tionship between task, organization, and work environment variables have assumed a
specific direct path between variables and the dependent variable of interest. This is
not the case in the current study. Based on a review of the literature, there appears to
be both direct and indirect effects of workplace variables on OCBs. Using a path
model, the present study examined the antecedents of OCBs, focusing on perceptions

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