What Are The Three Different Types of Job Performance?

Task Performance, Organizational Citizenship Behavior, and Counterproductive Work Behavior

Job Performance at Work

Organizational researchers have identified three broad categories of job performance at work. These include task performance, organizational citizenship behaviors, and counterproductive work behaviors (Dalal, 2005). By better understanding these behaviors, you can be a better leader and work towards achieving organizational goals.

Task Performance

The first, and most obvious, type of job performance is called task performance. Put simply, task performance is getting the job done. If you are a cashier, you are taking orders. If you are a salesperson, it means making sales. Task performance means executing the duties and responsibilities that are in your job description.

Now, there are different ways that you can “do your job”. According to Jason Colquitt, Professor of Management at Notre Dame, this includes creative task performance, adaptive task performance, and routine task performance.

  • Creative task performance is when an employee generates novel and useful ideas or approaches to completing one’s job. The employee is still completing their core job requirements, but they are improving on it somehow. An example of this is when a software engineer designs innovative code while working on a program.

  • Adaptive task performance occurs when an employee has to modify one’s behavior or style to complete the job. This could be in response to new, changing, or uncertain work conditions. An example of this is when the software engineer has to learn a new software language to complete the job.

  • Routine task performance occurs when employees do their day-to-day job consistently and efficiently. This is simply “doing your job”. An example of this is when the software engineer does debugging and makes sure the code actually runs.

Organizational Citizenship Behaviors

The next type of job performance is called organizational citizenship behaviors, or OCB. OCB occurs when an employee goes above and beyond to help others or the organization. This means doing more than what you are required to do, in ways that directly impact the organization positively. Early theorizing separated OCB into 2 separate dimensions—OCBI and OCBO.

  • OCBI occurs when helping behaviors are directed toward a specific individual and OCBO occurs when helping behaviors are directed toward the organization (Williams & Anderson, 1991).

  • Recent theorizing has looked at OCB from both the individual level as well as the unit or group level. Groups and teams can engage in this helping behavior.

Other theorizing has examined the specific types of behaviors of OCB. This includes AOCB and COCB. AOCB stands for affiliation-oriented OCB, and COCB stands for challenge-oriented OCB.

  • Affiliation-oriented OCB occurs when people try to be peacemakers and help things run smoothly.

  • Challenge-oriented OCB occurs when people try to help the organization by voicing opinions, giving constructive feedback, and taking charge. Podsakoff and colleagues (2014) asserted that OCB should be looked at in terms of AOCB and COCB.

Counterproductive Work Behaviors

The last type of job performance is called counterproductive work behavior, or CWB. Just as it sounds, these are work behaviors that are destructive to the organization. These are typically intentional actions that harm the organization See Marcus and colleagues (2016) for a review. There are a few different ways that CWB has been classified in the literature. For example, the model put forth by Bennett and Robinson (2000) views CWB as either organizational-oriented deviance or interpersonal deviance. Other views include Robinson and Bennett’s (1995) article, which put forth a typology of deviant workplace behaviors. These included:

  • Production Deviance: A worker intentionally slows down their work pace to reduce output.

  • Property Deviance: An employee stealing office supplies for personal use.

  • Political Deviance: A manager spreading false rumors about a coworker to undermine their chances of promotion.

  • Personal Aggression: An employee verbally insulting their colleague during a team meeting.

Job Performance at Work

It is important for managers and employees to be aware of the different categories of job behavior at work. This list does not encompass all behavior that an employee could exhibit, but it is a great overview. Thanks for reading, and happy learning!


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