Previous studies find a strong relationship between job satisfaction and altruistic OCB. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of a different kind of employee satisfaction, namely the extent to which employees are satisfied with the career opportunities that their organization offers. Based on social exchange theory, two contrasting hypotheses are formulated and tested. Hypothesis 1 argues that satisfaction with career opportunities is positively related to altruistic OCB because it strengthens the relationship between employees and organizations. Hypothesis 2 states that altruistic OCB is part of the horizontal exchange relationship between co-workers and that career opportunities are negatively related to this kind of behaviour since it disrupts the social exchanges taking place between co-workers. The hypotheses are investigated using survey data from 280 employees. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression is applied to analyze the data. The empirical analyses find support for Hypothesis 2: career satisfaction is negatively related to altruistic OCB. The practical implication of this research concerns the potential trade-off between career satisfaction and employees' levels of altruistic OCB. This indicates that strengthening vertical organizational relationships may weaken horizontal relationships. For managers this implies that they have to take this trade-off into account if they want to sustain altruistic OCB. Research on OCB focused mainly on the vertical exchange relationship within organizations. This article also includes the horizontal dimension and shows how it may be related to employee behaviour.
Keywords: Altruistic OCB, career satisfaction, social exchange theory, vertical and horizontal dimensions in organizations