Imagine the following situation: Your secretary knows you have an important meeting coming up and, without any prompting, prepares a file for you with all the documentation you need, anticipating that you may otherwise forget something. Or, think of a customer service employee in your firm who takes the initiative to suggest changing a standard administrative procedure so it can be done more efficiently and will cost the firm less. Or, consider employees asking their supervisor for feedback about their performance as they want to improve the quality of their work. These scenarios share a common theme: the employees try to anticipate future changes, opportunities or problems and want to prepare for those by taking action today. They are not simply reacting to cues from the environment, but proactively trying to make a difference. In the organisational psychological literature, such anticipatory (‘acting in advance’), self-initiated and change-oriented (‘making a difference’) behaviour is labelled proactive behaviour.
See on www.thepsychologist.org.uk