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Revista Psicologia Organizações e Trabalho

versão On-line ISSN 1984-6657

Rev. Psicol., Organ. Trab. vol.21 no.4 Brasília out./dez. 2021 



Citizenship fatigue as mediator between compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict


Fadiga de cidadania como mediador entre comportamentos obrigatórios de cidadania e conflito trabalho-família


La fatiga de la ciudadanía como mediadora entre comportamientos obligatorios de ciudadanía y conflicto trabajo-familia



Paula C. Neves; Cláudia Andrade

Politécnico de Coimbra, Escola Superior de Educação, Portugal

Information about the authors




Framed by the conservation of resources theory, we investigated the mediating role of citizenship fatigue in the relationship between compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict. Using a sample of 171 women (M = 41.16, SD = 10.18) working in facilities for the elderly in Portugal, we examined the direct and indirect relationship between compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict. The data, collected using a self-reported questionnaire, shows that compulsory citizenship behavior influences work-family conflict with citizenship fatigue as a mediator. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Keywords: compulsory citizenship behavior, citizenship fatigue, work-family conflict.


Apoiados na teoria da conservação de recursos, investigamos o papel mediador da fadiga de cidadania na relação entre os comportamentos obrigatórios de cidadania organizacional e o conflito trabalho-família. Com base numa amostra de 171 mulheres (M = 41,16; SD = 10,18) a trabalhar em instituições para idosos em Portugal, examinámos a relação direta e indireta entre comportamentos obrigatórios de cidadania organizacional e o conflito trabalho-família. Os dados recolhidos através de um questionário de autopreenchimento mostram que os comportamentos obrigatórios de cidadania influenciam o conflito trabalho-família e que esta relação é mediada pela fadiga de cidadania. Implicações teóricas e práticas são discutidas.

Palavras-chave: comportamentos obrigatórios de cidadania, fadiga de cidadania, conflito trabalho-família.


Con base en la teoría de la conservación de recursos, investigamos el papel mediador de la fatiga de la ciudadanía en la relación entre los comportamientos de ciudadanía organizacional y el conflicto trabajo-familia. A partir de una muestra de 171 mujeres (M = 41.16; SD = 10,18) que trabajan en instituciones para la tercera edad en Portugal, examinamos la relación directa e indirecta entre comportamientos obligatorios de ciudadanía organizacional y el conflicto trabajo-familia. El resultado muestra que los comportamientos obligatorios de ciudadanía influyen en el conflicto trabajo-familia y que esta relación está mediada por la fatiga ciudadana. Se discuten las implicaciones teóricas y prácticas.

Palabras clave: comportamientos obligatorios de ciudadanía, fatiga de la ciudadanía, conflicto trabajo-familia.



Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) (Organ, 1988) are defined as extra role behaviors that are not directly, explicitly, and formally rewarded by the organization. However, OCBs are considered to have an important role in obtaining and maintaining the company's competitive advantage (Bolino, Klotz, Turnley, & Harvey, 2013). Research done within health organizations found that OCBs have a positive impact on organizational performance (Mallick, Pradhan, Tewari, & Jena, 2014), and in-service quality (Berta, Laporte, Deber, Baumann, & Gamble, 2013; Hadjali & Salimi, 2012). In fact, OCBs appear to be related with higher standards of quality in services mainly because they are related with better planning strategies and problem-solving actions for both employees and managers (Basu, Pradhan, & Tewari, 2017).

OCBs were found to have benefits for employees because they lead to higher levels of performance (Rosen, Kacmar, Harris, Gavin, & Hochwarter, 2017), job satisfaction (Munyon, Hochwarter, Perrewé, & Ferris, 2010), and successful career (Russo, Guo, & Baruch, 2014). Since the performance of OCBs lead to positive outcomes for employees and organizations (Podsakoff, Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Maynes, & Spoelma, 2014) managers often encourage their subordinates to perform tasks beyond their formal duties. However, some of this encouragement may take the form of specific and continued pressure to perform extra-role activities (Vigoda-Gadot, 2006), leading to citizenship pressure (Bolino, Turnley, Gilstrap, & Suazo, 2010). In these situations, the result is that the essential characteristic of OCBs, like their voluntary nature, is often lost, converting OCBs into extra-role non-voluntary behaviors, identified as compulsory citizenship behavior (CCB) (Vigoda-Gadot, 2006, 2007).

Even though research on CCB is scarce, some studies identified CCB in employees from different economic sectors and different cultures (Ahmadian, Sesen, & Soran, 2017, Alkan & Turgut, 2015, Vigoda-Gadot, Beeri, Birman-Shemesh, & Somech, 2007; Yam, Klotz, He, & Reynolds, 2017; Zhao, Peng, & Chen, 2014). Additionally, some authors found a relation between CCB and some negative work attitudes such as the intention to leave the organization (Vigoda-Gadot, 2007; Tepper, 2000), deviant behaviors (He, Xiaoling, Li, Wu, & Estay, 2018; Yam et al., 2017), low in-role performance (De Clercq, Suhail, Azeem, & Haq, 2019), weak organizational identification and low performance of extra activities (Zhao et al., 2014). Moreover, CCB has also been linked to negative outcomes that go beyond the performance of the worker role, such as the work-family conflict. Researches identified that the experience of work-family conflict is a consequence of citizenship pressure (Bolino et al., 2010) and CCB (Liu, Zhao, & Sheard, 2017; Vigoda-Gadot, 2007). Despite the merit of these studies to uncover the links between CCB, citizenship pressure and work-family conflict, they were carried out in non-European cultures and did not consider the potential mediating effects of citizenship fatigue. To fill this gap, the present study aims to explore the relationship between compulsory citizenship behavior and work- family conflict and the mediating role of citizenship fatigue.

This study aims to contribute to the literature in three ways. First, it expands the possible effects of compulsory citizenship behavior and citizenship fatigue further by assuming the effects on work and family relations. Second, the mediating role of citizenship fatigue is considered taking the conservation of resources theory (COR) (Hobfoll, 1989) into consideration. An employee enforced to perform extra work will have their personal resources drained causing citizenship fatigue which can impact work-family conflict. Finally, since this study is the first to our knowledge to consider the possible relations between compulsory citizenship behavior, citizenship fatigue and work-family conflict it aims to contribute to further develop the literature that address the dynamics of CCB in different cultural and organizational environments.

Compulsory Citizenship Behavior and Work Family Conflict

In today's competitive workplaces many behaviors performed within the organizational contexts that are considered as OCBs are not, in fact, carried out voluntarily. Several authors have suggested (Vigoda-Gadot, 2006), and revealed (Germeys, Lynn, Griep, & De Gieter, 2019) that many of these behaviors are carried out because of pressure from superiors (Liu et al., 2017; Zhao, Peng, Han, Sheard, & Hudson, 2013) or are a consequence of abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000). As a result of this pressure to perform OCBs, workers feel obliged to engage in these extra-role tasks changing their intrinsic of being voluntary into a mandatory behavior. This kind of behavior has been studied under different designations, for example Germeys et al. (2019) refer it as controlled OCB (as opposed to autonomous OCB), Bolino et al. (2010) call it as citizenhip pressure, and Vigoda-Gadot (2006) described them as CCB. Often, such behaviors are performed by subordinates that do not resist to pressure, and who want to be evaluated favorably because of the risk of losing their jobs or being faced with other negative consequences (Bolino et al., 2010; Tepper, Hoobler, Duffy, & Ensley, 2004). Performing an extra-role behavior CCB requires the employees to mobilize additional energy, which can further increase by being performed involuntarily as a result from a supervisor pressure. Employees' perceptions of having to perform additional tasks under pressure for compliance with supervisor request, can account for an additional form of work pressure that can spill over other life domains. As such it can be linked with work-family conflict. As defined by Greenhaus and Beutell (1985) work-family conflict is as a form of inter-role conflict in which the role pressures from the work and family domains are mutually incompatible in some respect. Following this line performing CCB (extra-role tasks, resulting from pressure) may interfere with the requests inherent to family roles (e.g., parenting) causing a perception of work-family conflict. Some studies have addressed the links between work-family conflict and OCB (Bolino et al., 2010) and CCB (Liu et al., 2017; Vigoda-Gadot, 2007). Despite the merit of these studies, they were carried out with non-European samples and can reflect some of the cultural dimensions related with compliance behaviors. To our knowledge only one study, with an european sample, addressed specifically the relation between the performance of controlled OCB (non voluntary) and work-home conflict on a daily basis. The study was done by Germeys et al. (2019) resulting in an absence of relation between these dimensions. Furthermore, at the country level the research on CCB is also limited to the study by Neves (2009) performed with a sample of teachers. COR theory (Hobfoll, 1989) has been generally used as a theory that explains work stress related behaviors. Therefore, according to COR theory, employees who are not able to preserve their personal resources at work by being persuaded to perform CCB can result in perceived feeling of their work interfering with their family life generating work-family conflict. Thus, the attempt to adequality meet the responsibilities, at work and in the family, can be exacerbated by workplace demands such as the performance of CCB since they require extra energy and time. In line with the COR theory (Hobfoll, 1989), we can argue that CCB performance might trigger a resource loss spiral of mental and physical resources which can create work-family conflict.

Therefore, the following hypothesis has been formulated:

H1: Compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict are positively related to each other.

Citizenship Fatigue as a Mediator

Citizenship fatigue is a state of cognition and affect characterized by "feeling of worn out, tired, or on edge" (Bolino, Hsiung, Harvey, & LePine, 2015, p. 57) rooted in the willingness to engage in behaviors that intend to benefit the organization. Although citizenship fatigue could resemblance to felt stress, role overload, and burnout, it is different from these constructs, which means that workers can experience citizenship fatigue without suffer from stress, overload, or burnout (Bolino et al., 2015). Employees reporting citizenship fatigue feel frustrated or underappreciated and stop being available to the organization. Citizenship fatigue is not only an unfavorable state but also leads to adverse outcomes, such as reduced levels of subsequent citizenship behavior (Bolino et al., 2015).

Research show that engaging in OCB (which is voluntary) is resource-depleting (Halbesleben, Harvey, & Bolino, 2009), and may generate citizenship fatigue (Bolino et al., 2015). However, other studies show that OCB not always produce citizenship fatigue. For instance, Klotz, Bolino, Song and Stornelli (2018) suggest that when employees intrinsically enjoy going the extra mile, they are less likely to feel citizenship fatigue. Qiu, Lou, Zhang and Wang (2020) also reported that employee who go extra-mile voluntary on his own initiative (resulting from intrinsic motivation) show less citizenship fatigue than others who perform OCB for instrumental motives (extrinsic motivation). COR theory (Hobfoll, 1989) is a useful framework to explain how individuals respond to pressure situations. Because CCB are non-voluntary behaviors that are not performed based on the personal will but result from supervisors' pressure, it will be expected to have an increased role on personal resource-depleting that can account for the development of feeling of citizenship fatigue. Thus, when employees perform CCB, they will possibly drain more resources (time or energy) than they would be willing to, which can lead to citizenship fatigue (He et al., 2018) as described by Bolino et. al. (2015), "feeling worn out, tired, or on edge" (p. 57).

The above literature leads to the following hypothesis:

H2- Compulsory citizenship behavior is positively related to citizenship fatigue.

Performing CCB can generate tiredness, exhaustion, and feelings of being on the edge due to performance of behaviors under involuntary circumstances and in addition to their prescribed work tasks. In order to adequately meet these work demands employee deplete their resources in the workplace (time and energy), making them less available to use those personal resources in other life domains such as family they are unlikely to be able to allocate them (time and energy) to the family domain. In this sense, they are likely to experience work-family conflict.

In accordance with COR theory, performing CCB is a source of stress and loss of resources. Even though employees can easily find a motivation to make these additional investments of energy and time in non-voluntary work based on their expectations of keeping their jobs, having a more favorable personal performance evaluation and even a salary increase that can ultimately have a positive impact on their families, it was also showed by the research that these employees find themselves with low levels of energy after the workday (He et al., 2018; Liu, Chow, & Huang, 2019).

Hence it has been hypothesized that:

H3: Citizenship fatigue is positively associated with work-family conflict.

H4: The association between compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict will be mediated by citizenship fatigue.

Figure 1 depicts the proposed research model.




Inclusion criteria to participate in the study involved being a full-time worker in an elderly care facility. Only full-time workers are considered in this study, because of the evidence that those working full-time in the labor market are exposed to more pressures, including time pressures, when compared to part-time workers (Roxburgh, 2002). Further, we considered only potential participants who stated that their professional activities involved interacting directly with the elderly clients.

A convenience sample consisted of 171 female elderly care professionals, aged between 21 and 64 years old (M = 41.16, SD = 10.18). Among the participants 45% had a university degree, 34% completed high school/vocational training and 21% had elementary education. From the total sample 48 % are mothers. They worked in two types of elderly care facilities: non-profit or private owned institutions (96%) and public institutions (4%). In what concerns the working schedule 64% work in a fixed schedule and 36% work in shifts.


Compulsory citizenship behavior was measured with the Portuguese version from Neves (2009) of Vigoda-Gadot's (2007) five-item scale, with response options ranging from 1 = never to 5 = always. Cronbach's coefficient was α=.848. One of the sample items is "The management in this organization puts pressure on employees to engage in extra-role work activities beyond their formal job tasks".

Work-Family Conflict was measured using 6 items capturing the time and strain experienced by study participants adapted from Matthews, Kath and Barnes-Farrell (2010), that was translated and back-translated in Portuguese. One of the sample items is "Due to my work responsibilities I'm not able to spend the time with my family that I would like". Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with each item (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree). The internal consistency for work-family conflict (time) was α=.95 (three items), and for work-family conflict (strain) α=.92 (three items).

Citizenship Fatigue was measured using Bolino et al. (2015) 6 items scale, that was translated and back translated in Portuguese. One of the sample items include "Doing so much for my organization leaves me mentally or physically exhausted". Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with each item (1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree). The internal consistency α=.92.

Data Collection and Ethical Procedure Care

Graduate students enrolled in a program on Social Gerontology, that received prior training in research methods, identified potential elderly care facilities to participate in the research project about "Well-Being at the workplace in elderly care facilities". Upon Directors' approval authorization to contact the potential participants and request for the email contacts an on-line questionnaire, using Google forms, was sent. Each participant received an on-line form with information about the purpose of the study, the voluntary nature of participation, and stated their agreement to participate through an informed consent form, ensuring confidentiality about their identity. Participants completed all materials online and provided written informed consent.

Data Analysis Procedure

The statistics software SPSS 25 was used to perform descriptive data analysis and Pearson correlations were tested to detect relationships between the variables and Cronbach's alpha coefficient was calculated to verify the scales' reliability in the whole sample.



Preliminary Analysis

Initial support to hypotheses was evident in correlational analysis with zero-order correlation.

Table 1 shows the descriptive statistics and Pearson correlation between variables mean, standard deviation and coefficient of correlation. The data demonstrates that, compulsory citizenship behavior work-family conflict and citizenship fatigue were significant under the level of 0.01. It is proved that there is significant positive correlation between those variables.

Direct Effects

The hypothesized model was examined using mediation analysis has been done with the Macro PROCESS (Hayes, 2013; Preacher & Hayes, 2008). As observed in Table 2, compulsory citizenship behavior was positively associated with work-family conflict (β=.39, t(171) =6.50, p<.001), supporting the first hypothesis of the study. Compulsory citizenship behavior was positively related to citizenship fatigue (β=.59, t(171) =8.79, p<.001), thereby, supporting the second hypothesis. Similarly, the third hypothesis of the study was also supported when citizenship fatigue was found to be positively related to work-family conflict. (β=.66, t(171) =7.26, p<.001).

Mediation Analysis

It was observed that compulsory citizenship behavior was associated with work-family conflict indirectly through citizenship fatigue (Effect=.20, SE=.04, LLCI=.258 and ULCI=.556), hence, supporting the fourth hypothesis of the study which states that the association between compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflict will be mediated by citizenship fatigue.



Conservation of resource theory states that people retain resources in order to adequality perform their work roles. Drawing on the framework from the COR theory, this study examines the mediating role of citizenship fatigue in the relationship between CCB and work-family conflict.

This study found that compulsory citizenship behavior significantly influences work-family conflict and support the previous studies (Liu et al., 2017; Vigoda-Gadot, 2007). Further, this study also examined the relationship between compulsory citizenship behavior and citizenship fatigue and work and family conflict and found that citizenship fatigue mediates the relationship between CCB and work-family conflict.

While previous research has concentrated on the effects of CCB in work domain, e.g, counterproductive work behavior, workload, and creativity (He, Peng, Zhao, & Estay, 2019; He, Zhou, Zhao, Jiang, & Wu, 2020; Liu et al., 2019), our study explores the effects of CCB further by considering the potential effects on other life domains by considering the impact on work-family conflict.

As predicted, CCB can lead to work-family conflict through citizenship fatigue. Therefore, we have extended prior research on the relationship between CCB and work-family conflict, not only by confirmaning this impact but also considering the mediating effect of citizenhip fatigue to understand how CCB influences work-family conflict.

For a possible explanation for this effect, we argue that, in line with Conservation of Resources Theory (Hobfoll, 1989), employees pressured by their superiors to perform CCB may feel under-supported and may experience citizenship fatigue. It means that CCB depletes subordinates' emotional resources, resulting in citizenship fatigue. When using their personal resources and energy to restore a balance point, they can experience a conflict between work obligations and family requests. As COR theory suggests if employees have spent significant resources coping with a demand in the past, there are likely to have less resources to continue to cope with work demands so, they tend to preserve the resources by adopting a defensive posture (Hobfoll, 2001).Thus, employees who perform CCB (meaning they could not resist to the pressure) have their resources depleted than they would want, thus they are more prone to experience citizenship fatigue. If so, in the future, they tend to conserve what they have left by adopting a defensive posture, which means they save resources to spend on CCB because they do not want to be fired or give a wrong impression, and they can even expect to be promoted, which can have positive implications for the future of all family.

Practical and Managerial Implications

The study has some practical implications for practitioners and organizations. The finding that CCB leads to citizenship fatigue and increases the likelihood of work-family conflict should give significant warnings to organizations to assess the level of supervisor's pressure to OCB that their employees experience and engage in actions to prevent it.

Supervisors must distinguish between OCB and CCB since the latter has negative effects. It is also important that employees carefully consider what they are asked to do and have the autonomy to choose what extra-role they are willing to do and seek support from supervisors' pressure in order to avoid some negatives outcomes, including work-family conflict. For this, it is important that the organizations and the supervisors foster an autonomy supportive climate (Deci & Ryan, 2000) where employee may resist to pressure without afraid of retaliatory behavior.

Limitations and Future Research

While the present study has theoretical implications and practical implications some limitations should be noted.

First, data was collected using from self-reporting questionnaires, raising concerns about common method variance causing an overestimation. Second, the sample only involves women. In fact, decades of researchers have consistently identified that increased demands on the work side create personal resources depletion which can cause imbalance in the management of work and family roles often leading to work-family conflict (Bakker, Demerouti, & Euwema, 2005; Chen, Powell, & Cui, 2014; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998), with work-family scholars calling the attention to sociocultural factors that include societal norms and gender as they relate to work and family relations. Social norms and gender role representations regarding women's participation in unpaid labor, along with actual family practices of household labor and care work, creates tensions for the reconciliation of paid and unpaid work that often affects more women than men (Perista, et al., 2016), with Portuguese women reporting higher levels of work-family conflicts when compared to men (Matias, Andrade, & Fontaine, 2011; Matias, Andrade, & Fontaine, 2012; Perista et al., 2016). Because of this, further research with gender balanced samples is needed in order to dismantle the gender dimension that could have had an impact on the results of the present study. Researchers may also wish to explore the effects of potential moderators of the relationship between CCB and WFC, such as leadership styles. In fact, previous studies have identified that leadership styles impact subordinates' organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) (Liam & Tui, 2012; Organ, 1988; Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Borman, 1996), thus considering leadership styles as moderator might shed additional light into the effects of CCB on WFC. Another important dimension to be considered, in future studies, is psychological contract (Rousseau, 1998) since relational psychological contract can reinforce the employee-organization relationship and employees' willingness to contribute to the organization in discretionary ways without feeling pressured to do it. Finally, a possible avenue for further developments of this study could be undertaken a similar study considering more diverse types of organizations elderly care organizations (eg. private and public sectors, elderly care facilities with and without assisted living facilities, etc.) in order to broaden the research that focus on compulsory citizenship behavior and work-family conflicts. Taken together, this study findings extends our understanding of how CCB and citizenship fatigue have detrimental effect for the employees and might impair work-family conflict opening avenues for future research.



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Information about the authors:
Paula C. Neves
Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra
Rua Dom João III, Solum
3030-329 Coimbra, Portugal

Cláudia Andrade
Escola Superior de Educação de Coimbra
Rua Dom João III, Solum
3030-329 Coimbra, Portugal

Submission: 24/1/2020
First Editorial Decisionl: 28/06/2021
Final Version: 12/07/2021
Accepted: 15/07/2021

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