Self-interest and other-orientation in organizational behavior: implications for job performance, prosocial behavior, and personal initiative

J Appl Psychol. 2009 Jul;94(4):913-26. doi: 10.1037/a0014494.


In this article, the authors develop the self-concern and other-orientation as moderators hypothesis. The authors argue that many theories on work behavior assume humans to be either self-interested or to be social in nature with strong other-orientation but that this assumption is empirically invalid and may lead to overly narrow models of work behavior. The authors instead propose that self-concern and other-orientation are independent. The authors also propose that job performance, prosocial behavior, and personal initiative are a function of (a) individual-level attributes, such as job characteristics when employees are high in self-concern, and (b) group-level attributes, such as justice climate when employees are high in other-orientation. Three studies involving 4 samples of employees from a variety of organizations support these propositions. Implications are discussed for theory on work behavior and interventions geared toward job enrichment and team-based working.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspirations, Psychological
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Employee Performance Appraisal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Individuation*
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Social Identification*
  • Social Justice / psychology
  • Social Responsibility