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Empowering Employees to Go Beyond Their Jobs: The Art of Citizenship Crafting

In today's competitive business landscape, organizations need employees who are not only productive but also willing to go the extra mile. Research has shown that employees who engage in extra-role behaviors, also known as "citizenship behaviors," contribute significantly to their company's efficiency and effectiveness. These behaviors include helping out coworkers, volunteering for special assignments, introducing new ideas and work practices, attending non-mandatory meetings, and putting in extra hours to complete important projects.

However, it's not enough to simply expect employees to exhibit these behaviors. Managers must take an active role in motivating their team members to engage in citizenship behaviors. One effective way to do this is through a concept called "citizenship crafting," which involves redesigning work to play to employees' strengths, motives, and passions.

Today we will explore the concept of citizenship crafting and provide specific examples of how managers can empower their employees to go beyond their jobs.

Task Crafting

Task crafting involves altering aspects of the job itself to make it more engaging and meaningful for employees. Managers can do this by giving employees the autonomy to choose their own projects, allowing them to work on tasks that align with their interests and strengths. For example, a marketing manager could give their team members the freedom to choose the social media platforms they want to focus on, or a software development team leader could allow their team to choose the features they want to add to their product.

Another way to implement task crafting is by providing opportunities for employees to learn new skills and take on new challenges. This not only helps employees feel more engaged but also helps the organization as a whole by developing a more skilled workforce. For instance, a financial analyst could be given the opportunity to learn data analysis and visualization tools, or a customer service representative could be trained in conflict resolution techniques.

Relationship Crafting

Relationship crafting involves altering the people with whom employees work to create a more supportive and collaborative work environment. Managers can do this by fostering open communication, encouraging teamwork, and creating opportunities for employees to build meaningful relationships with their colleagues. For example, a manager could create cross-functional teams to work on projects, allowing employees to collaborate with people from different departments and build new relationships.

Managers can also encourage mentorship programs, where experienced employees can guide and support less experienced colleagues. This not only helps employees feel more connected but also helps to develop their skills and knowledge. For instance, a senior software engineer could mentor a junior developer, providing guidance and feedback on their code and helping them to improve their skills.

Cognitive Crafting

Cognitive crafting involves altering employees' mindset about their jobs to make them more meaningful and engaging. Managers can do this by helping employees see the bigger picture and understand how their work contributes to the organization's overall goals. For example, a manager could provide regular updates on the company's progress and achievements, highlighting the impact that employees' work has on the business.

Another way to implement cognitive crafting is by encouraging employees to think creatively and suggest new ideas and work practices. This not only helps employees feel more engaged but also helps the organization innovate and stay ahead of the competition. For instance, a manager could hold regular brainstorming sessions, where employees are encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions for improving processes and procedures.


Citizenship crafting is a powerful tool that managers can use to motivate employees to go beyond their jobs and engage in extra-role behaviors. By redesigning work to play to employees' strengths, motives, and passions, managers can create a more engaged, productive, and innovative workforce. The three aspects of citizenship crafting - task crafting, relationship crafting, and cognitive crafting - provide managers with practical ways to empower their employees and make work more meaningful and less depleting.

By implementing citizenship crafting, managers can not only improve their employees' well-being but also contribute to their organization's success. As a result, it's essential for managers to understand the concept of citizenship crafting and start implementing it in their workplace. By doing so, they'll not only create a more positive work environment but also empower their people and encourage continual growth and development.


Jonathan H. Westover, PhD is Chief Academic & Learning Officer (HCI Academy); Chair/Professor, Organizational Leadership (UVU); OD Consultant (Human Capital Innovations). Read Jonathan Westover's executive profile here.



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