The virtuous cycle of prosocial behaviour and perceived prosocial impact in organizations : a longitudinal three-wave study

Marcos Gómez*, Álvaro Espejo, Frank Martela, Catalina Bastías, Diego Bravo, Wencesalo Unanue

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This study aims to deepen our understanding of the dynamics of prosociality in organizations by examining how organizational citizenship behaviour relates to perceived prosocial impact. First, we propose that a sense of prosocial impact is a rewarding experience that could motivate employees to engage in more prosocial behaviour over time, thus predicting increased OCB. Second, organizational citizenship behaviour can be directed towards other individuals (OCBI) or towards the organization (OCBO), with partly different antecedents and consequences. We propose that engaging in OCBI is prone to increase perceived prosocial impact as there the helping is aimed at concrete individuals, while engaging in OCBO, in being more indirectly prosocial, is either a weaker or non-existent predictor of future perceived prosocial impact. Using longitudinal data collected in three waves (N1 = 631, N2 = 240, and N3 = 148), we found that OCBI (but no OCBO), prospectively predicts perceptions of prosocial impact. Additionally, we find evidence for perceptions of prosocial impact prospectively predicting both subsequent OCBI and subsequent OCBO. As such, our research shows a virtuous cycle of prosociality between individually focused prosocial behaviours at work and perceived prosocial impact at work, which has theoretical and practical implications for both employee well-being and motivation as well as the performance of organizations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • individual-directed OCB
  • Organizational citizenship behaviours
  • organizational-directed OCB
  • perceived prosocial impact
  • prosocial behaviour


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