Citizenship ambivalence: Its nature, causes and consequences

By Thomas K. Kelemen
Kansas State University

William H. Turnley
Kansas State University

Diane M. Bergeron
Center for Creative Leadership

Kylie Rochford
University of Utah

Jessi Hinz
Case Western Reserve University


Early research on organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) indicated that such actions were beneficial to organizations and employees. In contrast, more recent work has suggested that there are also some negative consequences associated with these behaviors as well. However, research has yet to examine how employees who recognize both positive and negative aspects of OCB navigate this reality. To better understand this phenomenon, we define a new construct, citizenship ambivalence, which occurs when employees feel torn as to whether they should engage in or refrain from engaging in a specific act of OCB. We discuss the likely sources of citizenship ambivalence and employee responses to citizenship ambivalence, focusing particular attention on how citizenship ambivalence relates to the quantity of OCB performed, the quality of OCB performed, and citizenship fatigue. After discussing the causes and consequences of citizenship ambivalence, we conclude with a discussion of the implications for human resource management and directions for future research.


Kelemen, T. K., Turnley, W. H., Bergeron, D. M., Rochford, K., & Hinz, J.  (2022). Citizenship ambivalence: Its nature, causes and consequences. Human Resource Management Review.


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