Motivation and conditions for citizenship behaviour

1 The rationale of the investigation

Although the strategy literature is often vague or in disagreement on how to design an organizational structure (ie, authority relationship, coordination and control system) suited to a global strategy there is a suprising agreement on what function that organizational structure should serve. It needs to create a context which favours cooperation among organizational members across subsidiaries in a way that local interests would be sacrificied for global level goals, and that knowledge transfer and cooperation among subsidiaries (and its members) would be the norm as opposed to intersubsidiary rivalries. However, it is still an unresolved question as to how to create such conditions which motivates members of various subsidiaries on a global level to engage in behaviours which might be costly to themselves but favourable to the wider organization. We suggest that to answer to this question strategists should draw from research outside the strategy area which has long been interested in explaining what motivates individuals (or a group of individuals) to engage in so called citizenship behaviour. Citizenship behaviour is conceptualized here as all seemingly altruistic behaviour indicated to benefit a community of which the actor is a member.

2 Theoretical framework for citizenship behaviour

There has been extensive research conducted on citizenship (and cooperative) behaviour in political science, game theory and in organizational behaviour theories. Many individuals (or group of individuals) show a tendency to engage frequently in cooperative behaviour which favours not just another individual, or a narrow community but often a global network of individuals. Citizenship behaviour ranges from an inclination for helping out fellow colleagues in a working place to sharing knowledge on a global scale, for example, by offering free sotware on the internet. There are various, competing explanations on what motivates individuals to engage in such behaviour (e.g., desire of social acceptance) or what conditions are favourable to such behaviour (e.g., trust, job satisfaction, perceived fair treatment). These competing explanations on individual motivations to citizenship behaviour have not been tested against each other and furthermore the conditions which favour citizenship behaviour have been often confused with providing an explanation of what motivates individuals (or group of individuals) to engage in such behaviour. For example, many authors conclude that trust relationship leads to citizenship behaviour without explaining why this would work or defining what ``trust'' is. We suspect that trust in fact includes citizenship behaviour in its definition. We suggest that the first step to understanding the sources of citizenship behaviour is to separate explanations on individual motivations for such behaviour from explanations on what conditions lead to citizenship behaviour and then test which motivation (or mixture of motivations) drive individuals to engage in citizenship behaviour. After identifying the motivation(s) of individuals for such behaviour we can investigate what conditions enhance such motivation or understand why certain conditions seem to favour cooperative behaviour.

The enclosed addendum describes in detail the underlying theory and the method of the research.

3 Benefits to Burmah Castrol

The findings of the above research will help managers in global companies to understand what conditions they need to create for enhancing cooperation and knowledge sharing among organizational members within and across subsidiaries.

As part of this research, detailed field work will be conducted by the supported full-time Ph.D student in Burmah Castrol. This fieldwork is aiming to capture the already existing level of organizational citizenship behaviour in Burmah Castrol and the conditions which either supported or constrained such behavior so far. On the basis of this detailed fieldwork managers in Burmah Castrol will be advised on how to change the existing conditions so that the already existing citizenship behaviour could be extended to a global level and that the existing constraints on such behaviour could be removed.
Mon Jul 1 19:18:41 BST 1996