Tip of the Week: Organizational Citizenship Improves Trust, Pharmacy


Organizational citizenship can be described as behaviors that are discretionary, not necessarily formally recognized by the formal reward system, and are not expressly described in the context of job duties.

A recent tip of the week discussed the importance of trust within the pharmacy, and a baseline requirement for trust is collegiality. Collegiality manifests in the way that we behave toward others and through organizational citizenship behaviors.

Organizational citizenship can be described as behaviors that are discretionary, not necessarily formally recognized by the formal reward system, and are not expressly described in the context of job duties. There are 5 major domains that are said to comprise organizational citizenship: (1) altruism; (2) conscientiousness; (3) sportsmanship, or the ability to tolerate less than ideal circumstances without complaining; (4) civic virtue (concern about others and the organization); and (5) courtesy, which prevents problems from occurring.

Desselle and Semsick broke down these 5 overall domains to create a list of 26 positive and negative organizational citizenship behaviors relevant to academic pharmacists, although many of these behaviors could be applied in any pharmacy setting.1 Positive behaviors included taking a personal interest in the well-being of others, showing empathy for others’ problems and concerns, consistently volunteering to help others, providing informal mentorship, empowering others, and providing quality feedback to others. Negative behaviors included creating negative energy by gossiping or bullying, not returning communications, not showing up to team meetings, being disrespectful to those in authority, complaining about minor things, and taking credit for the ideas or work of others.

Demonstrating positive organizational citizenship is always the right thing to do, but it becomes more challenging under certain conditions, such as when resources are scarce, when a weak culture pervades the organization, or when its leaders fail to foster a sense of security and appreciation for employees. Collegial cultures facilitate higher trust and solidarity among colleagues.

Trust and collegiality are increasingly recognized for their importance within professional bureaucracies, such as those often seen within pharmacy environments. In addition to the explanation provided here, one can always refer to the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Just imagine going through an entire work week without anyone being petty, displaying insecurity, talking behind your back, or engaging in self-glorification. But first, imagine yourself doing that for an extended period of time. If everyone does it, then we’ll all have great places to work. Managers can help by emphatically encouraging citizenship and even making it part of the annual performance review process.

Additional information about Managing Yourself for Success and Organizational Structure and Behavior can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.

Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at Touro University California College of Pharmacy.


Desselle SP, Semsick GR. Identification and development of items comprising organizational citizenship behaviors among pharmacy faculty. Am J Pharm Educ. 2016;80(10): Article 168.

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