Drawing on both social exchange theory and impression management theory, this study sought to explain how perception of organizational politics (POP) influences organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB) through two contrary psychological processes. We proposed that through the mediation of job satisfaction, POP has an inhibiting effect on OCB; through the mediation of careerism, POP has a nourishing effect on OCB. Data were obtained from 393 police officers and their colleagues from a city police department in northern Taiwan. Results from structural equation modelling (SEM) revealed that the relationship between POP and OCB was negatively mediated by job satisfaction and positively mediated by careerism. Such antithetical psychological processes imply that employees may experience psychological dilemmas over the performance of OCB when they perceive their organization as political. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.