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Organizational citizenship for safety: psycho-social mediation processes. Matteo Curcuruto, Dina Guglielmi & Marco G. Mariani Summary of the research article a warded with the price “Young Researcher Best WOP Paper – 2013” by the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP)

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Organizational citizenship for safety: psycho-social mediation processes

Matteo Curcuruto, Dina Guglielmi & Marco G. Mariani

Summary of the research article awarded with the price

“Young Researcher Best WOP Paper – 2013”

by the Italian Association of Psychology (AIP)

[published in: Psicologia Sociale, 2/2013, pp. 229-248]

introduction organizational citizenship workplace safety
Introduction: organizational citizenship & workplace safety
  • Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) is a type of volunteering behavior by individuals in the workplace which produce positive consequences for companies, (efficiency of organizational processes & work performances; positive social climate).
  • OCB’s used to indicate those behaviors and actions which are useful for the organization but that can neither be imposed on the basis of the duties of the position, nor induced by contract and salary compensation. OCB is an informal contribution that participants may decide to give or withhold, without taking into account social sanctions or incentives (Organ, 1997).
  • These behaviors are discretionary and not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward systems. They have a major impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the working groups and organizations, contributing to the overall productivity of the organization.
  • The aim of our research is to investigate organizational and psychological antecedents of OCB’s in the organizational domain of workplace safety .
theoretical foundations
Theoretical foundations
  • Recent studies have paid attention to the differentiation between different categories of OCB’s in relation to the degree of change introduced in the socio-organizational environment (e.g. initiative) as opposed to maintaining the status-quo and balance between organizational forces (e.g. helping) (McAllister et al., 2007).
    • Challenging OCB: A relatively new OCB macro-category would consist of OCBs focused on organizational change or improvement generation (challenging OCB) through ideas generation and promotion and proactive problem solving(i.e. taking charge; voice).
    • Affiliative OCB: A second more classic macro-category of citizenship behaviors would be included of affiliative behaviors, generally defined as pro-social, interpersonal, altruistic and co-operative. (i.e. helping; stewardship).
  • Focus of this study is a particular class of OCB, with a specific value for the safety of workers within organizations, here defined as safety citizenship behavior (SCB) (Conchie, 2013; Hofmann, Gerras and Spreitzer, 2003; Zohar, 2008).
research aims
Research aims
  • This research distinguishes two main categories of SCB behavior: affiliation oriented (prosocial SCB’s) and change-oriented (proactive SCB’s).
  • The study aimed to verify how different types of SCB’s are actually related to different organizational antecedents like perceived organizational support to safety participation and team safety climate
  • It also considers simultaneous two psychological mediators between safety climate/organizational support and the SOCBs, which in the existing studies have been highlighted as being positively related to extra-role safety behaviors: affective commitment (Parker, Axtell & Turner, 2001) and proactive role orientation toward safety (Curcuruto, 2001; Curcuruto, Mariani & Battistelli, 2011).
  • It can be assumed that people who experiment a positive affective feeling of organizational membership are more motivated to engage in prosocial SCBs;
  • It may also argued that proactive SCBs may be more influenced by the breadth of worker role orientations toward the management of safety related issues.
research hypotheses
Research hypotheses







  • We hypothesized prosocial SCB’s (safety stewardship) principally related with positive feelings of organizational memberships (affective commitment) (h1a), whereas we assumed change-oriented SCB’s (safety voice)associated with a broader perception of one’s own safety-specific role orientation (h2a).
  • We hypothesized that distal antecedents like the perceived organizational support toward safety participation (POSSP) and team safety climate(TSC)affect prosocial SCB’s through total mediation effects of affective commitment (h1b/h1c), andimproving-oriented SCB’s via mediation effects of safety-specific role-orientation (h2b/h2c).
  • Finally, we hypothesized TSC as partial mediator of the effects of POSSP on affective commitment and proactive safety orientation (h1d/h2d)
  • The data were collected through a questionnaire distributed personally by the researchers in a sealed envelope along with instructions for filling it out, at the beginning of regular bi-monthly activity planning meetings of the working groups. Upon delivery of the questionnaires, complete anonymity of responses and the scientific aims of the data collection were guaranteed.
  • There were 298 (71% of the population) valid questionnaires collected.
  • All scales administered used a five intervals Likert response format.
  • After the verification of the assumptions inherent in the univariate and multivariate normality of the variables, the study of the direct and hypothesized mediation effects was achieved by path analysis with structural equation models that used the method of maximum likelihood parameter estimation. Useful indices used to assess the fit between model and data were: χ2 and gdl ratio (<3.0), CFI (≥ .95) and RMSEA (<.08).
most relevant results
  • The hypothesized model has an adequate fit with the data (χ2/gdl = 3.04; CFI = .96; RMSEA = .07), but the explained variance of the two SOCB categories is low.
  • The affective commitment influences the implementation of prosocial and affective SOCB type. Furthermore, affective commitment mediates the effects of team safety climate and organizational support for safety participation on affiliative SOCBs.
  • A proactive role-orientation towards safety management positively influences the implementation of change-oriented SCB. It also mediates the effects of team safety climate and organizational support for safety participation on change-oriented SOCBs.
concluding remarks
  • Result summary: the statistic findings seem to support the recent theoretical tendencies inherent in the OCB, which distinguish at least two general OCB macro-categories (affiliative vs change-oriented types). Path analysis models have confirmed that these SOCB macro-categories are linked in different ways to specific mediation processes (affective commitment and safety-specific proactive role orientation).
  • Main limitations: cross-sectional design; exclusive use of self-report measures.
  • Future research: beyond replicating the study using a longitudinal research design and including extra source of information (supervisor evaluation; data archive data), further research should consider the inclusion of control and moderating variables that may affect the emergence of processes of safety organizational citizenship behaviors, such as: risk-perception; team related variables (psychological safety; team cohesion); job autonomy; other demographic and organizational dimensions (job tenure/experience).
main references
Main references

Conchie, S. (2013). Transformational Leadership, Intrinsic Motivation, and Trust: A Moderated-Mediated Model of Workplace Safety. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 18(2), 198–210.

Curcuruto, M. (2011). Proactivity and safety in high-reliability systems: Applications of the proactive role orientation paradigm. Unpublished doctoral dissertation.

Curcuruto, M, Mariani, M.G., & Battistelli, A. (2011). The safety participation in organizations: development of a cognitive-motivational model of proactivity. Proceeding of 15th conference of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology 25-28 May 2011, Maastricht, The Netherlands.

Griffin, M.A & Neal, A. (2000). Perceptions of safety at work: a framework for linking safety climate to safety performance, knowledge, and motivation. Journal of occupational health psychology, 5, 347-367.

Hofmann, D. A., Morgeson, F. P., & Gerras, S. J. (2003). Climate as a moderator of the relationship between leader-member exchange and content specific citizenship: Safety climate as an exemplar. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(1), 170-178.

McAllister, D., Kamdar, D., Morrison, E.M., & Turban, D.B (2007). Disentangling role perceptions: how perceived role breadth, discretion, instrumentality, and efficacy relate to helping and taking charge. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 1200–1211.

Organ, D. W., Podsakoff, P. M., & MacKenzie S. P. (2006). Organizational citizenship behavior: Its nature, antecedents, and consequences. London: Sage Publications.

Parker, S. K., Axtell, C. M., & Turner, N. (2001). Designing a safer workplace: Importance of job autonomy, communication quality, and supportive supervisors. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 6(3), 211-228.

Zohar, D. (2008). Safety Climate and Beyond: A Multi-level Multi-climate Framework. Safety Science, 46, 376-387.

how to cite this research article
How to cite this research article:

Matteo Curcuruto, Dina Guglielmi, Marco Giovanni Mariani,

Organizational citizenship for safety: psycho-social processes of mediation,

in "Psicologiasociale" 2/2013, pp. 229-248, doi: 10.1482/74261

Direct link to the original Italian article:

Please contact the first author for further information

or to obtain a more complete English report of our research: ;