Guilty and Helpful: An Emotion-Based Reparatory Model of Voluntary Work Behavior



This study proposed a dynamic reparatory model of voluntary work behavior. We tested the hypothesis that when people are made aware of their high level of negative behavior at work (i.e., counterproductive work behavior), and also informed that their behavior is counter-normative and undesirable, the knowledge that they violated injunctive social norms would induce guilt through moral self-regulation. This guilt, in turn, results in compensatory behavior that is positive in nature (i.e., organizational citizenship behavior). We report results from a field experiment involving randomized normative feedback about employees' counterproductive work behavior to support this model. The findings indicate that negative behaviors in the workplace can be redressed by making employees aware of the undesirable consequences of these behaviors.