“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” President John Kennedy gave us this mantra of citizenship in his 1961 inaugural address. Two hundred and seventeen words before this now famous call to action, he told us why it matters with these words: “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course.”
Citizenship matters. Good citizenship has the power to transform not only countries, states, and local communities, but also organizations. Scientists in my field of organizational behavior and management have been studying citizenship in the workplace since the late 1970s.
“How can I help?” is the attitude of a good organizational citizen. Good organizational citizens help both the organization and people in the organization by exhibiting innovative and spontaneous behaviors (Katz, 1964) and a willingness to cooperate (Barnard, 1938).
In future posts I will summarize what the evidence shows are the causes and consequences of citizenship in the workplace. I’ll also offer my two cents worth on why we should choose to be good citizens at work even if the people we work for or the people we work with don’t support, acknowledge, and appreciate our posture.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.