Organization Behavior

Case Study 

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd i 11/07/17 02:56 PM
University of Georgia
Arizona State University
Texas A&M University
Improving Performance and
Commitment in the Workplace
Sixth Edition
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd ii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Published by McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121. Copyright © 2019 by
McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Previous
editions © 2017, 2015, and 2013. No part of this publication may be reproduced or distributed in
any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written
consent of McGraw-Hill Education, including, but not limited to, in any network or other electronic
storage or transmission, or broadcast for distance learning.
Some ancillaries, including electronic and print components, may not be available to customers
outside the United States.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 LWI 21 20 19 18
ISBN 978-1-259-92766-9
MHID 1-259-92766-0
Portfolio Manager: Michael Ablassmeir
Lead Product Developer: Kelly Delso
Senior Product Developer: Kelly I. Pekelder
Directors of Development: Rose Koos and
 Meghan Campbell
Executive Marketing Manager: Debbie Clare
Content Project Managers: Melissa M. Leick,
 Keri Johnson, Karen Jozefowicz
Buyer: Sandy Ludovissy
Design: Egzon Shaqiri
Content Licensing Specialist: Ann Marie Jannette
Cover Image: ©Hidden Figures/Twentieth Century
 Fox Film Corporation/Photofest
Compositor: SPi Global
All credits appearing on page or at the end of the book are considered to be an extension of the
copyright page.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Colquitt, Jason, author. | LePine, Jeffery A., author. | Wesson,
Michael J., author.
Title: Organizational behavior: improving performance and commitment in the
workplace / Jason A Colquitt, Jeffery A LePine, Michael J. Wesson.
Description: Sixth Edition. | Dubuque : McGraw-Hill Education, 2018. |
Revised edition of the authors’ Organizational behavior, [2016]
Identifiers: LCCN 2017048454 | ISBN 9781259927669 (hardback : alk. paper)
Subjects: LCSH: Organizational behavior. | Personnel management. | Strategic
planning. | Consumer satisfaction. | Job satisfaction. | BISAC: BUSINESS &
ECONOMICS / Organizational Behavior.
Classification: LCC HD58.7 .C6255 2018 | DDC 658.3—dc23
LC record available at
The Internet addresses listed in the text were accurate at the time of publication. The inclusion
of a website does not indicate an endorsement by the authors or McGraw-Hill Education, and
McGraw-Hill Education does not guarantee the accuracy of the information presented at these sites.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd iii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
To Catherine, Cameron, Riley, and Connor, and also to Mom, Dad,
Alan, and Shawn. The most wonderful family I could imagine, two
times over.
To Marcie, Izzy, and Eli, who support me and fill my life with meaning
and joy.
To Liesl and Dylan: Their support in all I do is incomparable. They
are my life and I love them both. To my parents: They provide a
foundation that never wavers.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd iv 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Jason A. Colquitt is the William H. Willson Distinguished Chair in the Department of
Management at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He received his PhD
from Michigan State University’s Eli Broad Graduate School of Management and earned his
BS in psychology from Indiana University. He has taught organizational behavior and human
resource management at the undergraduate, masters, and executive levels and has also taught
research methods at the doctoral level. He has received awards for teaching excellence at the
undergraduate, masters, and executive levels.
Jason’s research interests include organizational justice, trust, team effectiveness, and per-
sonality influences on task and learning performance. He has published more than 40 articles
on these and other topics in Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review,
Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and
Personnel Psychology. He recently served as editor-in-chief for Academy of Management Journal
and has served on a number of editorial boards, including Academy of Management Journal,
Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Applied Psychology,
Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Personnel Psychology. He is a recip-
ient of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Distinguished Early Career
Contributions Award and the Cummings Scholar Award for early to mid-career achievement,
sponsored by the Organizational Behavior division of the Academy of Management. He was
also elected to be a representative-at-large for the Organizational Behavior division.
Jason enjoys spending time with his wife, Catherine, and three sons, Cameron, Riley,
and Connor. His hobbies include playing basketball, playing the trumpet, watching movies,
and rooting on (in no particular order) the Pacers, Colts, Cubs, Spartans, Gators, Hoosiers, and
Jeffery A. LePine is the PetSmart Chair in Leadership in the Department of Management
at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. He received his PhD in orga-
nizational behavior from the Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State
University. He also earned an MS in management from Florida State University and a BS in
finance from the University of Connecticut. He has taught organizational behavior, human
resource management, and management of groups and teams at undergraduate and graduate
levels. He has also delivered courses to doctoral students in research methods, meta-analysis,
scale development, and human resource management. He received the Outstanding Doctoral
Professor Award from the W.P. Carey School of Business for his teaching and mentoring of
doctoral students and his work as PhD program director.
Jeff’s research interests include team functioning and effectiveness, individual and team
adaptation, citizenship behavior, voice, employee engagement, and occupational stress. He
has published more than 30 articles on these and other topics in Academy of Management
Journal, Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, and Journal of Management.
He has served as associate editor of Academy of Management Review and Journal of Applied
Psychology. He has also served on the editorial boards of Academy of Management Journal,
About the Authors
Courtesy of Jason Colquitt
Courtesy of Jeffrey A. LePine
Final PDF to printer

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd v 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision Processes, Personnel Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of
Organizational Behavior, and Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. He is a
recipient of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s Distinguished Early
Career Contributions Award and the Cummings Scholar Award for early to mid-career achieve-
ment, sponsored by the Organizational Behavior division of the Academy of Management.
He was also elected to the Executive Committee of the Human Resource Division of the
Academy of Management. Prior to earning his PhD, Jeff was an officer in the U.S. Air Force.
Jeff spends most of his free time with his wife, Marcie, daughter, Izzy, and son, Eli. He also
enjoys playing guitar, hiking and mountain biking, working on his growing collection of clas-
sic Pontiacs, and serving as the caretaker of his family’s desert hideaway, tentatively called
the Goat Farm.
Michael J. Wesson is an associate professor in the Management Department at Texas A&M
University’s Mays Business School. He received his PhD from Michigan State University’s
Eli Broad Graduate School of Management. He also holds an MS in human resource man-
agement from Texas A&M University and a BBA from Baylor University. He has taught orga-
nizational behavior and human resource management–based classes at all levels but currently
spends most of his time teaching Mays MBAs, EMBAs, and executive development at Texas
A&M. He was awarded Texas A&M’s Montague Center for Teaching Excellence Award.
Michael’s research interests include organizational justice, leadership, organizational
entry (employee recruitment, selection, and socialization), person–organization fit, and com-
pensation and benefits. His articles have been published in journals such as Journal of Applied
Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Academy of Management Review, and Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision Processes. He has served on several editorial boards and has been an ad
hoc reviewer for many others. He is active in the Academy of Management and the Society
for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Prior to returning to school, Michael worked
as a human resources manager for a Fortune 500 firm. He has served as a consultant to the
automotive supplier, health care, oil and gas, and technology industries in areas dealing with
recruiting, selection, onboarding, compensation, and turnover.
Michael spends most of his time trying to keep up with his wife, Liesl, and son, Dylan. He
is a self-admitted food and wine snob, home theater aficionado, and college sports addict.
(Gig ’em Aggies!)
Courtesy of Michael J. Wesson
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd vi 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Why did we decide to write this text? Well, for starters, organizational behavior (OB) remains
a fascinating topic that everyone can relate to (because everyone either has worked or is
going to work in the future). What makes people effective at their job? What makes them
want to stay with their employer? What makes work enjoyable? Those are all fundamental
questions that organizational behavior research can help answer. However, our desire to write
this text also grew out of our own experiences (and frustrations) teaching OB courses using
other texts. We found that students would end the semester with a common set of questions
that we felt we could answer if given the chance to write our own text. With that in mind,
Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace was writ-
ten to answer the following questions.
Organizational behavior might be the most relevant class any student ever takes, but that
doesn’t always shine through in OB texts. The introductory section of our text contains two
chapters not included in other texts: Job Performance and Organizational Commitment. Being
good at one’s job and wanting to stay with one’s employer are obviously critical concerns
for employees and managers alike. After describing these topics in detail, every remaining
chapter in the text links that chapter’s content to performance and commitment. Students
can then better appreciate the practical relevance of organizational behavior concepts.
In putting together this text, we were guided by the question, “What would OB texts look
like if all of them were first written now, rather than decades ago?” We found that many
of the organizational behavior texts on the market include outdated (and indeed, scientifi-
cally disproven!) models or theories, presenting them sometimes as fact or possibly for the
sake of completeness or historical context. Our students were always frustrated by the fact
that they had to read about, learn, and potentially be tested on material that we knew to be
wrong. Although historical context can be important at times, we believe that focusing on
so-called evidence-based management is paramount in today’s fast-paced classes. Thus, this
text includes new and emerging topics that others leave out and excludes flawed and outdated
topics that some other texts leave in.
Organizational behavior is a diverse and multidisciplinary field, and it’s not always easy to
see how all its topics fit together. Our text deals with this issue in two ways. First, all of the
chapters in our text are organized around an integrative model that opens each chapter (see
the back of the text). That model provides students with a road map of the course, showing
them where they’ve been and where they’re going. Second, our chapters are tightly focused
around specific topics and aren’t “grab bag–ish” in nature. Our hope is that students (and
instructors) won’t ever come across a topic and think, “Why is this topic being discussed in
this chapter?”
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd vii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Research on motivation to learn shows that students learn more when they have an intrinsic
interest in the topic, but many OB texts do little to stimulate that interest. Put simply, we
wanted to create a text that students enjoy reading. To do that, we used a more informal, con-
versational style when writing the text. We also tried to use company examples that students
will be familiar with and find compelling. Finally, we included insert boxes, self-assessments,
and exercises that students should find engaging (and sometimes even entertaining!).
• Chapter 1: What Is OB?—This chapter now opens with a wraparound case on IKEA.
The case describes the personality of the company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad, as well
as the values at play in the corporate culture. The case also describes some of the prac-
tices IKEA uses to maximize job satisfaction and motivation, along with some of its
corporate social responsibility initiatives. The OB at the Bookstore selection has been
changed to How to Have a Good Day. This book describes how research in psychology,
neuroscience, and behavioral economics can be used to improve employee attitudes
and behaviors.
• Chapter 2: Job Performance—This chapter features a new wraparound case on General
Electric (GE), which describes how and why the company’s approach to managing
employee job performance has changed. With a new emphasis on creativity and rapid
innovation, GE abandoned formal annual job performance evaluations. Our OB at the
Bookstore feature has been changed to Mastering Civility. This book overviews implica-
tions and costs of incivility in the workplace, and outlines steps that employees and
managers can take to manage this form of counterproductive behavior. Our new OB on
Screen feature, Sully, provides a glimpse of extraordinary job performance as well as
the dilemma of distinguishing job performance behavior from results.
• Chapter 3: Organizational Commitment—PwC serves as the wraparound case in this edi-
tion, spotlighting the things the company does to build loyalty among Millennials. The
case also describes studies that PwC performed on what Millennials value at work, and
how those studies match the findings of scientific research. One key finding was that
Millennials value leisure time more than prior generations. That insight triggered a new
initiative at PwC where managers work with employees to chart out a schedule that
suits them.
• Chapter 4: Job Satisfaction—This chapter’s wraparound case now highlights Publix,
the Florida-based supermarket chain. Publix does a number of things to keep their
employees satisfied, including promoting from within, paying above market wages, and
reimbursing tuition. The case also focuses on Publix’s employee stock ownership plan
and what owning a piece of the company can do for job satisfaction. The OB at the
Bookstore selection is now The Power of Meaning, which contrasts the pursuit of short-
term happiness with the pursuit of long-term meaning. The book describes a number of
ways to pursue meaning, including work that promotes a purpose. The OB on Screen
feature examines the subjective nature of job satisfaction. Paterson depicts a bus driver
who has a seemingly boring, repetitive job. Yet he winds up satisfied because it affords
him free time for his passion in life: poetry.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd viii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
viii P R E F A C E
• Chapter 5: Stress—Honeywell is now featured in the wraparound case for this chapter.
Honeywell has grown and evolved through mergers and acquisitions, and this has placed
a variety of stressful demands on employees. The case describes how the company’s
response to a slowdown in one of its businesses created even more stress. Our OB on
Screen feature has been changed to Deepwater Horizon. The film provides insight into
the nature of role conflict and how it contributed to the the largest marine oil spill in
U.S. history. The bestselling book, Work Without Stress, is now our OB at the Bookstore
feature. The authors argue that rumination is responsible for turning demands into
stress, and thus, the whole key to managing stress, is to stop ruminating. The authors
provide many suggestions for putting this rather provocative idea into practice.
• Chapter 6: Motivation—This chapter now opens with a wraparound case on Google. The
case describes exactly how Google evaluates and compensates its employees so that it
can motivate them. The case also describes Google’s philosophy on “star” employees,
including how to retain talent that contributes fundamentally more than the norm. The
OB on Screen feature focuses on psychological empowerment using Star Trek Beyond,
where Captain Kirk struggles with purpose given the monotony of his job and the infi-
nite vastness of space. The OB at the Bookstore focuses on Deep Work, a form of work
that requires a distraction-free state that pushes the limits of one’s ability. The book
argues that deep work is increasingly vital in a knowledge economy, but several factors
conspire to limit the motivation to perform such work.
• Chapter 7: Trust, Justice, and Ethics—SeaWorld serves as the wraparound case for the
revised chapter. The case spotlights the controversies over the park’s orca shows that
have caused it to phase out those attractions. The case also describes how corporate
ethics are often shaped by a combination of public pressure and government interven-
tion. The Founder is the OB on Screen selection for the chapter. The film details how
Ray Kroc wrested control over McDonald’s from the brothers who founded the com-
pany, including performing actions that the brothers deemed unethical. The OB at the
Bookstore selection is now Radical Candor, which describes how trust can be cultivated
by a combination of caring personally, but also challenging directly. Of course, the lat-
ter component is difficult for many managers, so the book provides some specific tips
for improvement.
• Chapter 8: Learning and Decision Making—Bridgewater Associates and the highly
unique “radical transparency” philosophy established by hedge fund manager and
founder Ray Dalio serves as the wraparound case in this edition. The case describes
how Bridgewater is attempting, by using decisions made by people in the organization
paired with organizational “principles,” to develop a software system that will make the
majority of management decisions after Dalio is gone. The OB on Screen feature now
focuses on The Big Short, highlighting how decision-making errors were at the core of
the financial crash of 2008. A new OB at the Bookstore feature highlights Peak and
the development of expertise through deliberate practice. The chapter also includes a
number of research updates as well as several new company examples.
• Chapter 9: Personality and Cultural Values—This chapter’s wraparound case is now the
Chicago Cubs. The case describes the personality traits that Theo Epstein, the club’s
president, looked for to turn around the losing history of the franchise. La La Land is
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd ix 11/07/17 02:56 PM
the chapter’s OB on Screen selection, with the film spotlighting a musician who pos-
sesses high openness to experience but low conscientiousness. He’s therefore talented
with his music, but finds it difficult to hold down a job. The OB at the Bookstore selec-
tion is Grit, which focuses on a personality trait that represents a combination of pas-
sion and perseverance. It is the “gritty” employees that remain resilient and determined
in the face of adversity.
• Chapter 10: Ability—This chapter’s wraparound case now features the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI). The case describes how various jobs at the FBI require unique abil-
ities, and how the organization ensures that agents possess these abilities when they’re
hired. The case also discusses how the FBI introduced annual physical fitness testing
to deal with the potential erosion of physical abilities after agents are hired. Humility
Is the New Smart is now our OB at the Bookstore feature. The authors argue that jobs
are quickly being replaced by smart machines, and following from this, the definition
of what it means to be smart is also changing. Specifically, the authors propose that
being smart now involves interpersonal capacities, such as humility and putting others
first, that promote cooperation and collaborative efforts. The new movie for our OB on
Screen feature is Hidden Figures. This film provides vivid real-world examples of vari-
ous quantitative abilities, and their role in the U.S. space program during the 1960s.
• Chapter 11: Teams: Characteristics and Diversity—Whole Foods serves as the new wrap-
around case for this chapter. The case discusses how Whole Foods relies on teams,
which are largely self-managed, at all levels of the organization. The case describes how
existing teams are involved in the hiring of new team members. The OB on Screen fea-
ture now discusses the movie Arrival, which provides excellent examples of task, goal,
and outcome interdependence. Inclusion is now discussed in our OB at the Bookstore
feature. The author of this book describes how a special type of parallel team, the
employee resource group or ERG, provides support and guidance to members of their
communities who may be dealing with diversity- or inclusion-related challenges.
• Chapter 12: Teams: Processes and Communication—This chapter includes a new wrap-
around case featuring Microsoft. Microsoft responded to an erosion of their position
in the tech industry by restructuring around multidisciplinary teams. The case focuses
on how Microsoft redesigned two buildings to inspire creativity and encourage col-
laboration among team members. The OB on Screen feature now centers on the movie
Spotlight. This film illustrates how boundary-spanning activities are crucial to the effec-
tiveness of a team of investigative reporters. Our OB at the Bookstore feature has been
changed to Smart Collaboration. This book addresses the challenge of managing teams
in the professional services industry, where highly specialized employees are typically
not keen on collaborating.
• Chapter 13: Leadership: Power and Negotiation—This chapter features a new wraparound
case on Zappos’s move toward “holocracy”—a self-management oriented organizational
structure. Tony Hsieh (CEO) expects this move to get rid of organizational politics and
take away organizational forms of power, which should allow Zappos employees to
manage themselves and make decisions for the right reasons. It isn’t going well. The
chapter has been updated with new research including our decision to move “exchange”
to a lower tier of effectiveness as an influence tactic based on a new meta-analysis.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd x 11/07/17 02:56 PM
x P R E F A C E
The new OB on Screen feature uses Bridge of Spies to illustrate what might lead one to
take a competing style of conflict resolution in a negotiation. Pre-suasion is the new OB
at the Bookstore feature, which focuses on the best way to set things up to be able to
influence others.
• Chapter 14: Leadership: Styles and Behaviors—The chapter begins with a new wrap-
around case featuring the consistent Mary Barra of General Motors. The opener and
the case highlight Barra’s push to make GM’s culture shift from slow to fast. Several
examples, including Barra’s push toward her vision of autonomous cars, highlight her
transformational leadership style. A new OB at the Bookstore feature highlights Sydney
Finkelstein’s Superbosses, which is a unique book that ends up being more about trans-
formational leadership than it lets on. The new OB on Screen is The Martian, which
gives students a chance to utilize the time-driven model of leadership to see if the
leader made the correct decision in the movie. The chapter includes a number of new
research findings as well as updated company examples, including organizations such
as American Apparel, Chobani, and GoPro.
• Chapter 15: Organizational Structure—Apple is the focus of this chapter’s new wraparound
case that highlights the company’s dogged determination to stay with the functional
structure that has served them well for so long amid lots of pressure to change. A number
of new company examples such as Facebook, Chipotle, and Cargill have been added as
well as the introduction of “Dunbar’s number” (150), which a number of companies pay
attention to when it comes to size and structure. A new OB at the Bookstore features
The Silo Effect, which illustrates the trials and tribulations of how organizational structure
(and culture) plays havoc with our perceptions and ability to communicate inside an
• Chapter 16: Organizational Culture—This chapter has a new wraparound case that
focuses on both Delta and United. The case spotlights the differences in the cultures at
the two carriers—differences that can explain specific actions and their larger reputa-
tions. The OB at the Bookstore feature now highlights Originals, a book that describes
the kinds of people who “go against the grain” by performing creative acts. Many orga-
nizations try to foster a culture that encourages such originality. The OB on Screen
selection is now The Circle, a film that spotlights a faux Silicon Valley corporation
whose work is ethically murky. The film provides a vivid example of several elements
of organizational culture. A number of new company examples such as Wells Fargo,
Cirque du Soleil, and Whataburger have been added.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xi 11/07/17 02:56 PM
An enormous number of persons played a role in helping us put this text together. Truth be
told, we had no idea that we would have to rely on and put our success in the hands of so
many different people! Each of them had unique and useful contributions to make toward the
publication of this text, and they deserve and thus receive our sincere gratitude.
We thank Michael Ablassmeir, our executive editor, for his suggestions and guidance on
the last four editions, and John Weimeister for filling that same role with earlier editions.
We are thankful to both for allowing us to write the text that we wanted to write. Thanks
also go out to Kelly Pekelder, our product developer, for keeping us on track and being such
a pleasure to work with during this revision. We also owe much gratitude to our marketing
manager, Debbie Clare. We also would like to thank Melissa Leick, Egzon Shaqiri, and Ann
Marie Jannette at McGraw-Hill, as they are the masterminds of much of how the text actu-
ally looks; their work and effort were spectacular. A special thanks also goes out to Jessica
Rodell (University of Georgia) and Megan Endres (Eastern Michigan University) for their
assistance with our CONNECT content.
We would also like to thank our students at the undergraduate, masters, and executive
levels who were taught with this text for their constructive feedback toward making it more
effective in the classroom. Thanks also to our PhD students for allowing us to take time out
from research projects to focus on this effort.
Finally, we thank our families, who gave up substantial amounts of time with us and put up
with the stress that necessarily comes at times during an endeavor such as this.
Jason Colquitt
Jeff LePine
Michael Wesson
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Text Features: OB Insert Boxes
“ Very comprehensive. Well laid-out. Interesting. Good mix
of theoretical material and practical insights.”
This feature uses memorable scenes
from recent films to bring OB concepts
to life. Films like Hidden Figures, The
Founder, La La Land, The Martian,
Sully, and The Big Short offer rich, vivid
examples that grab the attention of
This feature links the content in each
chapter to a mainstream, popular
business book. Books like Originals,
The Power of Meaning, Grit, and Peak
represent the gateway to OB for many
students. This feature helps them put
those books in a larger context.
©Moviestore collection Ltd/Alamy
©Roberts Publishing Services
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xiii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
This feature helps students see where
they stand on key OB concepts in each
chapter. Students gain insights into their
personality, their emotional intelligence,
their style of leadership, and their ability
to cope with stress, which can help
them understand their reactions to the
working world.
“ The material presented in this chapter is well balanced. Again,
the tables, charts, and figures help to organize the material for
Changes in technology, communications,
and economic forces have made business
more global and international than ever.
This feature spotlights the impact of glo-
balization on the organizational behavior
concepts described in this text. It describes
cross-cultural differences in OB theories,
how to apply them in international corpora-
tions, and how to use OB to manage cultural
diversity in the workplace.
©Namas Bhojani/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xiv 11/07/17 02:56 PM
■ Connect content is authored by the world’s best subject
matter experts, and is available to your class through a
simple and intuitive interface.
■ The Connect eBook makes it easy for students to
access their reading material on smartphones
and tablets. They can study on the go and don’t
need internet access to use the eBook as a
reference, with full functionality.
■ Multimedia content such as videos, simulations,
and games drive student engagement and critical
thinking skills.
©McGraw-Hill Education
■ Connect’s assignments help students
contextualize what they’ve learned through
application, so they can better understand the
material and think critically.
■ Connect will create a personalized study path
customized to individual student needs through
■ SmartBook helps students study more efficiently
by delivering an interactive reading experience
through adaptive highlighting and review.
McGraw-Hill Connect® is a highly reliable, easy-to-
use homework and learning management solution
that utilizes learning science and award-winning
adaptive tools to improve student results.
73% of instructors
who use Connect
require it; instructor
satisfaction increases
by 28% when Connect
is required.
Homework and Adaptive Learning
Quality Content and Learning Resources
Over 7 billion questions have been
answered, making McGraw-Hill
Education products more intelligent,
reliable, and precise.
Using Connect improves retention
rates by 19.8%, passing rates by
12.7%, and exam scores by 9.1%.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xv 11/07/17 02:56 PM
More students earn
As and Bs when they
use Connect.
©Hero Images/Getty Images
■ Connect Insight® generates easy-to-read
reports on individual students, the class as a
whole, and on specific assignments.
■ The Connect Insight dashboard delivers data
on performance, study behavior, and effort.
Instructors can quickly identify students who
struggle and focus on material that the class
has yet to master.
■ Connect automatically grades assignments
and quizzes, providing easy-to-read reports
on individual and class performance.
■ Connect integrates with your LMS to provide single sign-on and automatic syncing
of grades. Integration with Blackboard®, D2L®, and Canvas also provides automatic
syncing of the course calendar and assignment-level linking.
■ Connect offers comprehensive service, support, and training throughout every
phase of your implementation.
■ If you’re looking for some guidance on how to use Connect, or want to learn
tips and tricks from super users, you can find tutorials as you work. Our Digital
Faculty Consultants and Student Ambassadors offer insight into how to achieve
the results you want with Connect.
Trusted Service and Support
Robust Analytics and Reporting
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xvi 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Additional Resources
PowerPoint® Presentation Slides
The PowerPoint presentation slides are designed to help instructors deliver course content in a
way that maintains students’ engagement and attention. The slides include a Notes section that
offers specific tips for using the slides (and the text). The Notes also provide bridges to many of
the resources in the Instructor’s Manual, including innovative teaching tips and suggestions for
using OB on Screen. Finally, the PowerPoints also include bonus OB Assessments for instructors
who want additional assessments for their teaching.
Instructor’s Manual
Prepared by Jason Colquitt, this manual was developed to help you get the most out of the text
in your own teaching. It contains an outline of the chapters, innovative teaching tips to use with
your students, and notes and answers for the end-of-chapter materials. It also provides a guide for
the assessments in the text, and suggestions for using the OB on Screen feature. The manual also
contains additional cases, exercises, and OB on Screen selections from earlier editions of the text,
giving you extra content to use in your teaching.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xvii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Brief Contents
What Is Organizational Behavior?
Job Performance
Organizational Commitment
Job Satisfaction
Trust, Justice, and Ethics
Learning and Decision Making
Personality and Cultural Values
CHAPTER 10 304
CHAPTER 11 336
Teams: Characteristics and Diversity
CHAPTER 12 374
Teams: Processes and Communication
CHAPTER 13 410
Leadership: Power and Negotiation
CHAPTER 14 442
Leadership: Styles and Behaviors
CHAPTER 15 480
Organizational Structure
CHAPTER 16 508
Organizational Culture
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xviii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Table of Contents
What Is Organizational Behavior?
What Is Organizational Behavior? 6
Organizational Behavior Defined 6
An Integrative Model of OB 7
Does Organizational Behavior Matter? 9
Building a Conceptual Argument 10
Research Evidence 12
So What’s So Hard? 14
How Do We “Know” What We Know About Organizational
Behavior? 16
Summary: Moving Forward in This Book 20
Job Performance
Job Performance 30
What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Performer”? 31
Task Performance 31
Citizenship Behavior 35
Counterproductive Behavior 39
Summary: What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Performer”? 44
Trends Affecting Performance 45
Knowledge Work 45
Service Work 45
Application: Performance Management 46
Management by Objectives 46
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scales 47
360-Degree Feedback 48
Forced Ranking 48
Social Networking Systems 49
Organizational Commitment
Organizational Commitment 62
What Does It Mean to Be “Committed”? 63
Types of Commitment 63
Withdrawal Behavior 69
Summary: What Does It Mean to Be “Committed”? 75
Trends That Affect Commitment 75
Diversity of the Workforce 75
The Changing Employee–Employer Relationship 77
Application: Commitment Initiatives 79
Job Satisfaction
Job Satisfaction 94
Why Are Some Employees More Satisfied Than Others? 94
Value Fulfillment 94
Satisfaction with the Work Itself 98
Mood and Emotions 104
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xix 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Summary: Why Are Some Employees More Satisfied
Than Others? 109
How Important Is Job Satisfaction? 109
Life Satisfaction 111
Application: Tracking Satisfaction 113
CASE 117
Stress 126
Why Are Some Employees More “Stressed” Than Others? 127
Types of Stressors 128
How Do People Cope with Stressors? 132
The Experience of Strain 135
Accounting for Individuals in the Stress Process 137
Summary: Why Are Some Employees More “Stressed”
Than Others? 139
How Important Is Stress? 140
Application: Stress Management 143
Assessment 143
Reducing Stressors 143
Providing Resources 145
Reducing Strains 146
CASE 150
Motivation 162
Why Are Some Employees More Motivated Than
Others? 164
Expectancy Theory 164
Goal Setting Theory 170
Equity Theory 173
Psychological Empowerment 177
Summary: Why Are Some Employees More Motivated
Than Others? 180
How Important Is Motivation? 180
Application: Compensation Systems 182
CASE 186
Trust, Justice, and Ethics
Trust, Justice, and Ethics 196
Why Are Some Authorities More Trusted Than Others? 197
Trust 197
Justice 203
Ethics 208
Summary: Why Are Some Authorities More Trusted
Than Others? 215
How Important Is Trust? 217
Application: Social Responsibility 219
CASE 221
Learning and Decision Making
Learning and Decision Making 234
Why Do Some Employees Learn to Make Decisions
Better Than Others? 234
Types of Knowledge 234
Methods of Learning 236
Methods of Decision Making 241
Decision-Making Problems 246
Summary: Why Do Some Employees Learn to Make
Decisions Better Than Others? 251
How Important Is Learning? 253
Application: Training 254
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xx 11/07/17 02:56 PM
CASE 256
Personality and Cultural Values
Personality and Cultural Values 266
How Can We Describe What Employees Are Like? 266
The Big Five Taxonomy 266
Other Taxonomies of Personality 279
Cultural Values 280
Summary: How Can We Describe What Employees
Are Like? 283
How Important Are Personality and Cultural Values? 285
Application: Personality Tests 287
CASE 293
CHAPTER 10 304
Ability 306
What Does It Mean for an Employee to Be “Able”? 307
Cognitive Ability 307
Emotional Ability 313
Physical Ability 318
Summary: What Does It Mean for an Employee
to Be “Able”? 320
How Important Is Ability? 321
Application: Selecting High Cognitive Ability Employees 323
CASE 327
CHAPTER 11 336
Teams: Characteristics and Diversity
Team Characteristics and Diversity 338
What Characteristics Can Be Used to Describe Teams? 339
Team Types 339
Variations Within Team Types 342
Team Interdependence 345
Team Composition 349
Summary: What Characteristics Can Be Used
to Describe Teams? 357
How Important Are Team Characteristics? 358
Application: Team Compensation 359
CASE 361
CHAPTER 12 374
Teams: Processes and Communication
Team Processes and Communication 376
Why Are Some Teams More Than the Sum of Their
Parts? 376
Taskwork Processes 378
Teamwork Proceses 384
Communication 386
Team States 389
Summary: Why Are Some Teams More Than the Sum
of Their Parts? 392
How Important Are Team Processes? 392
Application: Training Teams 395
Transportable Teamwork Competencies 395
Cross-Training 396
Team Process Training 396
Team Building 397
CASE 399
xx T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xxi 11/07/17 02:56 PM
CHAPTER 13 410
Leadership: Power and Negotiation
Leadership: Power and Negotiation 412
Why Are Some Leaders More Powerful Than Others? 412
Acquiring Power 412
Using Influence 416
Power and Influence in Action 420
Negotiations 426
Summary: Why Are Some Leaders More Powerful
Than Others? 429
How Important Are Power and Influence? 429
Application: Alternative Dispute Resolution 431
CASE 434
CHAPTER 14 442
Leadership: Styles and Behaviors
Leadership: Styles and Behaviors 444
Why Are Some Leaders More Effective Than Others? 446
Leader Decision-Making Styles 447
Day-to-Day Leadership Behaviors 452
Transformational Leadership Behaviors 456
Summary: Why Are Some Leaders More Effective
Than Others? 461
How Important Is Leadership? 464
Application: Leadership Training 466
CASE 468
CHAPTER 15 480
Organizational Structure
Organizational Structure 482
Why Do Some Organizations Have Different Structures
Than Others? 482
Elements of Organizational Structure 483
Organizational Design 489
Common Organizational Forms 491
Summary: Why Do Some Organizations Have Different
Structures Than Others? 497
How Important Is Structure? 498
Application: Restructuring 500
CASE 502
CHAPTER 16 508
Organizational Culture
Organizational Culture 510
Why Do Some Organizations Have Different Cultures
Than Others? 510
Culture Components 510
General Culture Types 514
Specific Culture Types 514
Culture Strength 517
Maintaining An Organizational Culture 520
Changing An Organizational Culture 523
Summary: Why Do Some Organizations Have Different
Cultures Than Others? 526
How Important Is Organizational Culture? 527
Application: Managing Socialization 529
CASE 532
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd xxii 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_fm_i-1.indd 1 11/07/17 02:56 PM
Improving Performance and
Commitment in the Workplace
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 2 10/11/17 08:38 AM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 3 10/11/17 08:38 AM
What Is Organizational Behavior?
Job Performance
Organizational Commitment
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 4 10/11/17 08:38 AM
1.1 What is the definition of “organizational behavior” (OB)?
1.2 What are the two primary outcomes in studies of OB?
1.3 What factors affect the two primary OB outcomes?
1.4 Why might firms that are good at OB tend to be more profitable?
1.5 What is the role of theory in the scientific method?
1.6 How are correlations interpreted?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
What Is Organizational
Styles &
Power &
Processes &
Characteristics &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 5 10/11/17 08:38 AM
oes the name Ingvar Kamprad ring a bell? What
if I told you he grew up on a farm called Elmtaryd
near the village of Agunnaryd? That’s right—he’s the
founder of Sweden-based IKEA (and now you know what
the letters stand for). IKEA operates 389 stores worldwide,
employing 183,000 employees. Kamprad built his massive
company from the humblest of beginnings. At the age of
five, he began buying boxes of matches in order to sell them
by the book for profit. He founded IKEA in 1943 at the age
of seventeen, using seed money from his father. Kamprad
began by selling knickknacks and trinkets before moving
on to furniture five years later. IKEA expanded beyond Swe-
den in 1963 and opened its first U.S. store in Philadelphia
in 1985.
Kamprad has been described as having the classic entre-
preneur’s personality—highly conscientiousness, highly cre-
ative, but very willing to disagree with the opinions and views
of others. Those traits helped him make a number of inno-
vations, including shipping furniture using “flatpacking”—
where the buyer assembles the finished product. Today,
Kamprad’s company tries to instill specific traits in its
employees and its organizational culture. New hires are
given the “Little IKEA Dictionary” that describes the impor-
tance of humility, heritage, simplicity, equality, togetherness,
and sustainability.
How do such values shape the experience of working
at IKEA? In terms of equality, Lars Petersson, the leader of
IKEA’s Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based U.S. headquar-
ters, notes that “Hierarchy is not a big Swedish thing  .  .  .
We actually work with trust rather than control.” The com-
pany has also successfully combatted the glass ceiling,
with more than half of senior managerial roles filled by
women. In terms of sustainability, Nabeela Ixtabalan, the
head of human resources, notes “My boss would say, ‘Go
home, you’ve been here too long,’ .  .  . Here, if you can’t
do your job successfully in a reasonable amount of time,
you’re doing something wrong.” IKEA’s pay philosophy
is also sensitive to the long term. Hourly wages average
$15.45—double the minimum wage—and are indexed to
MIT’s Living Wage Calculator. And part-time employees
qualify for health benefits if they work 20 hours per week.
These and other aspects of life at IKEA explain why it was
recently named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to
Work For.
©Kumar Sriskandan/Alamy
Final PDF to printer

6 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 6 10/11/17 08:38 AM
Before we describe what the field of organizational behavior studies, take a moment to ponder
this question: Who was the single worst coworker you’ve ever had? Picture fellow students who col-
laborated with you on class projects; colleagues from part-time or summer jobs; or peers, subordi-
nates, or supervisors working in your current organization. What did this coworker do that earned
him or her “worst coworker” status? Was it some of the behaviors shown in the right column
of Table 1-1 (or perhaps all of them)? Now take a moment to consider the single best coworker
you’ve ever had. Again, what did this coworker do to earn “best coworker” status—some or most of
the behaviors shown in the left column of Table 1-1?
If you found yourself working alongside the two people profiled in the table, two questions
would be foremost on your mind: “Why does the worst coworker act that way?” and “Why does
the best coworker act that way?” Once you understand why the two coworkers act so differently,
you might be able to figure out ways to interact with the worst coworker more effectively (thereby
making your working life a bit more pleasant). If you happen to be a manager, you might formu-
late plans for how to improve attitudes and behaviors in the unit. Such plans could include how
to screen applicants, train and socialize new organizational members, manage evaluations and
rewards for performance, and deal with conflicts that arise between and among employees. With-
out understanding why employees act the way they do, it’s extremely hard to find a way to change
their attitudes and behaviors at work.
Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study devoted to understanding, explaining, and ulti-
mately improving the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups in organizations. Scholars
What is the definition of
“organizational behavior”
TABLE 1-1 The Best of Coworkers, the Worst of Coworkers
Have you ever had a coworker who usually
acted this way?
Have you ever had a coworker who usually
acted this way?
Got the job done, without having to be man-
aged or reminded
Did not got the job done, even with a great
deal of hand-holding
Adapted when something needed to be
changed or done differently
Was resistant to any and every form of change,
even when changes were beneficial
Was always a “good sport,” even when bad
things happened at work
Whined and complained, no matter what was
Attended optional meetings or functions to
support colleagues
Optional meetings? Was too lazy to make it to
some required meetings and functions!
Helped new coworkers or people who
seemed to need a hand
Made fun of new coworkers or people who
seemed to need a hand
Felt an attachment and obligation to the
employer for the long haul
Seemed to always be looking for something
else, even if it wasn’t better
Was first to arrive, last to leave Was first to leave for lunch, last to return
The Million-Dollar Question:
Why do these two employees act so differently?
Final PDF to printer

7C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 7 10/11/17 08:38 AM
in management departments of universities and scientists in business organizations conduct
research on OB. The findings from those research studies are then applied by managers or con-
sultants to see whether they help meet “real-world” challenges. OB can be contrasted with two
other courses commonly offered in management departments: human resource management and
strategic management. Human resource management takes the theories and principles studied in
OB and explores the “nuts-and-bolts” applications of those principles in organizations. An OB
study might explore the relationship between learning and job performance, whereas a human
resource management study might examine the best ways to structure training programs to pro-
mote employee learning. Strategic management focuses on the product choices and industry char-
acteristics that affect an organization’s profitability. A strategic management study might examine
the relationship between firm diversification (when a firm expands into a new product segment)
and firm profitability.
The theories and concepts found in OB are actually drawn from a wide variety of disciplines.
For example, research on job performance and individual characteristics draws primarily from
studies in industrial and organizational psychology. Research on satisfaction, emotions, and team
processes draws heavily from social psychology. Sociology research is vital to research on team
characteristics and organizational structure, and anthropology research helps inform the study
of organizational culture. Finally, models from economics are used to understand motivation,
learning, and decision making. This diversity brings a unique quality to the study of OB, as most
students will be able to find a particular topic that’s intrinsically interesting and thought provok-
ing to them.
Because of the diversity in its topics and disciplinary roots, it is common for students in an organi-
zational behavior class to wonder, “How does all this stuff fit together?” How does what gets cov-
ered in Chapter 3 relate to what gets covered in Chapter 13? To clarify such issues, this textbook
is structured around an integrative model of OB, shown in Figure 1-1, that’s designed to provide a
roadmap for the field of organizational behavior. The model shows how the topics in the next 15
chapters—represented by the 15 ovals in the model—all fit together. We should stress that there are
other potential ways of combining the 15 topics, and Figure 1-1 likely oversimplifies the connec-
tions among the topics. Still, we believe the model provides a helpful guide as you move through
this course. Figure 1-1 includes five different kinds of topics.
INDIVIDUAL OUTCOMES The right-most portion of the model contains the two primary out-
comes of interest to organizational behavior researchers (and employees and managers in orga-
nizations): job performance and organizational commitment. Most employees have two primary
goals for their working lives: to perform their jobs well and to remain a member of an organiza-
tion that they respect. Likewise, most managers have two primary goals for their employees:
to maximize their job performance and to ensure that they stay with the firm for a significant
length of time. As described in Chapter 2, there are several specific behaviors that, when taken
together, constitute good job performance. Similarly, as described in Chapter 3, there are a
number of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions that cause an employee to remain committed to an
This book starts by covering job performance and organizational commitment so that you can
better understand the two primary organizational behavior goals. Our hope is that by using perfor-
mance and commitment as starting points, we can highlight the practical importance of OB top-
ics. After all, what could be more important than having employees who perform well and want
to stay with the company? This structure also enables us to conclude the other chapters in the
book with sections that describe the relationships between each chapter’s topic and performance
and commitment. For example, the chapter on motivation concludes by describing the relation-
ships between motivation and performance and motivation and commitment. In this way, you’ll
learn which of the topics in the model are most useful for understanding your own attitudes and
What are the two primary
outcomes in studies of OB?
Final PDF to printer

8 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 8 10/11/17 08:38 AM
INDIVIDUAL MECHANISMS  Our integrative model also illustrates a number of individual
mechanisms that directly affect job performance and organizational commitment. These include
job satisfaction, which captures what employees feel when thinking about their jobs and doing their
day-to-day work (Chapter 4). Another individual mechanism is stress, which reflects employees’
psychological responses to job demands that tax or exceed their capacities (Chapter 5). The model
also includes motivation, which captures the energetic forces that drive employees’ work effort
(Chapter 6). Trust, justice, and ethics reflect the degree to which employees feel that their company
does business with fairness, honesty, and integrity (Chapter 7). The final individual mechanism
What factors affect the two
primary OB outcomes?
FIGURE 1-1 Integrative Model of Organizational Behavior
Styles &
Power &
Processes &
Characteristics &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Final PDF to printer

9C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 9 10/11/17 08:38 AM
shown in the model is learning and decision making, which deals with how employees gain job
knowledge and how they use that knowledge to make accurate judgments on the job (Chapter 8).
INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERISTICS  Of course, if satisfaction, stress, motivation, and so forth
are key drivers of job performance and organizational commitment, it becomes important to
understand what factors improve those individual mechanisms. Two such factors reflect the char-
acteristics of individual employees. Personality and cultural values reflect the various traits and
tendencies that describe how people act, with commonly studied traits including extraversion,
conscientiousness, and collectivism. As described in Chapter 9, personality and cultural values
affect the way people behave at work, the kinds of tasks they’re interested in, and how they react
to events that happen on the job. The model also examines ability, which describes the cognitive
abilities (verbal, quantitative, etc.), emotional skills (other awareness, emotion regulation, etc.),
and physical abilities (strength, endurance, etc.) that employees bring to a job. As described in
Chapter 10, ability influences the kinds of tasks an employee is good at (and not so good at).
GROUP MECHANISMS  Our integrative model also acknowledges that employees don’t work
alone. Instead, they typically work in one or more work teams led by some formal (or sometimes
informal) leader. Like the individual characteristics, these group mechanisms shape satisfac-
tion, stress, motivation, trust, and learning. Chapter 11 covers team characteristics and diversity—
describing how teams are formed, staffed, and composed, and how team members come to rely on
one another as they do their work. Chapter 12 then covers team processes and communication—how
teams behave, including their coordination, conflict, and cohesion. The next two chapters focus
on the leaders of those teams. We first describe how individuals become leaders in the first place,
covering leader power and negotiation to summarize how individuals attain authority over others
(Chapter 13). We then describe how leaders behave in their leadership roles, as leader styles and
behaviors capture the specific actions that leaders take to influence others at work (Chapter 14).
ORGANIZATIONAL MECHANISMS  Finally, our integrative model acknowledges that the
teams described in the prior section are grouped into larger organizations that themselves affect
satisfaction, stress, motivation, and so forth. For example, every company has an organizational
structure that dictates how the units within the firm link to (and communicate with) other units
(Chapter 15). Sometimes structures are centralized around a decision-making authority, whereas
other times, structures are decentralized, affording each unit some autonomy. Every company
also has an organizational culture that captures “the way things are” in the organization—shared
knowledge about the values and beliefs that shape employee attitudes and behaviors (Chapter 16).
SUMMARY Each of the chapters in this textbook will open with a depiction of this integrative
model, with the subject of each chapter highlighted. We hope that this opening will serve as a
roadmap for the course—showing you where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going.
We also hope that the model will give you a feel for the “big picture” of OB—showing you how all
the OB topics are connected.
Having described exactly what OB is, it’s time to discuss another fundamental question: Does it
really matter? Is there any value in taking a class on this subject, other than fulfilling some require-
ment of your program? (You might guess that we’re biased in our answers to these questions,
given that we wrote a book on the subject!) Few would disagree that organizations need to know
principles of accounting and finance to be successful; it would be impossible to conduct business
without such knowledge. Similarly, few would disagree that organizations need to know principles
of marketing, as consumers need to know about the firm’s products and what makes those prod-
ucts unique or noteworthy.
However, people sometimes wonder whether a firm’s ability to manage OB has any bearing
on its bottom-line profitability. After all, if a firm has a good-enough product, won’t people buy it
Final PDF to printer

10 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 10 10/11/17 08:38 AM
regardless of how happy, motivated, or committed its workforce is? Perhaps for a time, but effec-
tive OB can help keep a product good over the long term. This same argument can be made in
reverse: If a firm has a bad-enough product, isn’t it true that people won’t buy it, regardless of how
happy, motivated, or committed its workforce is? Again, perhaps for a time, but the effective man-
agement of OB can help make a product get better, incrementally, over the long term.
Consider this pop quiz about the automotive industry: Which two automakers were rated tops
in car technology by J.D. Power in 2016? BMW was one—can you guess the other? The answer is
Hyundai (yes, Hyundai).1 The study focused on entertainment, connectivity, navigation, collision
avoidance, driving assistance, and convenience. The South Korean automaker has come a long
way since comedian Jay Leno likened a Hyundai to a bobsled (“It has no room, you have to push
it to get going, and it only goes downhill!”).2 Today its Sonatas and Elantras are built in an very
modern factory in Montgomery, Alabama. The factory employs 3000 workers and pays $17 per
hour as an entry-level wage.3 Much of Hyundai’s turnaround can be credited to the company’s
increased emphasis on quality. Work teams devoted to quality have been expanded eightfold, and
almost all employees are enrolled in special training programs devoted to quality issues.4 Hyundai
represents a case in which OB principles are being applied across cultures. Our OB Internationally
feature spotlights such international and cross-cultural applications of OB topics in each chapter.
Of course, we shouldn’t just accept it on faith that OB matters, nor should we merely look for specific
companies that appear to support the premise. What we need instead is a conceptual argument that
captures why OB might affect the bottom-line profitability of an organization. One such argument
is based on the resource-based view of organizations. This perspective describes what exactly makes
resources valuable—that is, what makes them capable of creating long-term profits for the firm.5
Changes in technology, communications, and economic forces have made business more global
and international than ever. To use Thomas Friedman’s line, “The world is flat.” The playing field
has been leveled between the United States and the rest of the world. This feature spotlights the
impact of globalization on the organizational behavior concepts described in this book and covers
a variety of topics.
Cross-Cultural Differences. Research in cross-cultural organizational behavior has illustrated
that national cultures affect many of the relationships in our integrative model. Put differently,
there is little that we know about OB that is “universal” or “culture free.”
International Corporations. An increasing number of organizations are international in scope,
with both foreign and domestic operations. Applying organizational behavior concepts in these
firms represents a special challenge—should policies and practices be consistent across locations
or tailored to meet the needs of the culture?
Expatriation. Working as an expatriate—an employee who lives outside his or her native
country—can be particularly challenging. What factors influence expatriates’ job performance and
organizational commitment levels?
Managing Diversity. More and more work groups are composed of members of different
cultural backgrounds. What are the special challenges involved in leading and working in such
Sources: T.L. Friedman, “The World Is Flat,” Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2002; and H. Aguinis and C.A. Henl,
“The Search for Universals in Cross-Cultural Organizational Behavior.” In Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science,
ed. J. Greenberg, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003, pp. 373–411.
Final PDF to printer

11C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 11 10/11/17 08:38 AM
A firm’s resources include finan-
cial (revenue, equity, etc.) and
physical (buildings, machines,
technology) resources, but they
also include resources related to
organizational behavior, such as
the knowledge, ability, and wis-
dom of the workforce, as well as
the image, culture, and goodwill
of the organization.
The resource-based view
suggests that the value of
resources depends on several
factors, shown in Figure 1-2.
For example, a resource is
more valuable when it is rare.
Diamonds, oil, Babe Ruth baseball cards, and Action Comics #1 (the debut of Superman) are
all expensive precisely because they are rare. Good people are also rare—witness the adage “good
people are hard to find.” Ask yourself what percentage of the people you’ve worked with have
been talented, motivated, satisfied, and good team players. In many organizations, cities, or job
markets, such employees are the exception rather than the rule. If good people really are rare, then
the effective management of OB should prove to be a valuable resource.
The resource-based view also suggests that a resource is more valuable when it is inimitable,
meaning that it cannot be imitated. Many of the firm’s resources can be imitated, if competitors
have enough money. For example, a new form of technology can help a firm gain an advantage for
a short time, but competing firms can switch to the same technology. Manufacturing practices can
be copied, equipment and tools can be approximated, and marketing strategies can be mimicked.
Good people, in contrast, are much more difficult to imitate. As shown in Figure 1-2, there are
three reasons people are inimitable.
Hyundai’s emphasis on
work teams and training
has increased the quality
of its cars, like these mod-
els built in its Montgomery,
Alabama, plant.
©Dave Martin/AP Images
FIGURE 1-2 What Makes a Resource Valuable?
Socially Complex
Final PDF to printer

12 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 12 10/11/17 08:38 AM
HISTORY  People create a
history—a collective pool of
experience, wisdom, and
knowledge that benefits the
organization. History cannot be
bought. Consider an example
from the consumer electronics
retailing industry where Micro-
soft, taking a cue from Apple,
launched its first retail store in
Scottsdale, Arizona, in 2009.6
The company hoped that the
stores would give it a chance
to showcase its computer soft-
ware, along with its hardware
and gaming products. Micro-
soft continues to face an uphill climb in the retail space, however, because Apple had an eight-year
head start after opening its first store in 2001, in McLean, Virginia.7 Microsoft’s position on the
“retail learning curve” was therefore quite different, meaning that it had to grapple with many of
the same issues that Apple had resolved years earlier.
NUMEROUS SMALL DECISIONS The concept of numerous small decisions captures the idea
that people make many small decisions day in and day out, week in and week out. “So what?”
you might say, “Why worry about small decisions?” To answer that question, ask yourself what
the biggest decisions are when launching a new line of retail stores. The location of them maybe,
or perhaps their look and feel? It turns out that Microsoft placed their stores near Apple’s, and
mimicked much of their open, “Zen” sensibility. Said one patron, “It appears that the Microsoft
Store in Mission Viejo is dressed up as the Apple Store for Halloween.”8 Big decisions can be cop-
ied; they are visible to competitors and observable by industry experts. In contrast, the “behind
the scenes” decisions at the Apple Store are more invisible to Microsoft, especially the decisions
that involve the hiring and management of employees. Apple seems to understand the inimitable
advantage that such decisions can create. One article in Workforce Management included features
on the top human resources executives for 20 of the most admired companies in America.9 Inter-
estingly, the entry for Apple’s executive was cryptic, noting only that the company “keeps its
human resources executive shrouded in secrecy and refuses to respond to any questions about
HR’s contribution to the company’s most admired status.”
SOCIALLY COMPLEX RESOURCES People also create socially complex resources, like culture,
teamwork, trust, and reputation. These resources are termed “socially complex” because it’s not
always clear how they came to develop, though it is clear which organizations do (and do not) pos-
sess them. One advantage that Apple has over Microsoft in the retail wars is the unusual amount
of interest and enthusiasm created by products like the iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and Apple Watch.
Those products have an “it factor” that brings customers into the store, and Apple itself sits atop
Fortune’s list of 50 most admired companies in the world.10 Competitors like Microsoft can’t just
acquire “coolness” or “admiration”—they are complex resources that evolve in ways that are both
murky and mysterious.
Thus, we can build a conceptual argument for why OB might affect an organization’s profitability:
Good people are both rare and inimitable and, therefore, create a resource that is valuable for
creating competitive advantage. Conceptual arguments are helpful, of course, but it would be even
better if there were hard data to back them up. Fortunately, it turns out that there is a great deal of
research evidence supporting the importance of OB for company performance. Several research
studies have been conducted on the topic, each employing a somewhat different approach.
One study began by surveying executives from 968 publicly held firms with 100 or more employ-
ees.11 The survey assessed so-called high performance work practices—OB policies that are widely
Why might firms that are
good at OB tend to be
more profitable?
Microsoft opened its first
retail stores in 2009,
including this one in Mis-
sion Viejo, California. The
look and feel of Microsoft’s
stores are very similar to
Apple’s retail outlets.
©Mark Boster/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

13C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 13 10/11/17 08:38 AM
agreed to be beneficial to firm performance. The survey included 13 questions asking about a
combination of hiring, information sharing, training, performance management, and incentive
practices, and each question asked what proportion of the company’s workforce was involved in
the practice. Table 1-2 provides some of the questions used to assess the high- performance work
practices (and also shows which chapter of the textbook describes each particular practice in
more detail). The study also gathered the following information for each firm: average annual
rate of turnover, productivity level (defined as sales per employee), market value of the firm,
and corporate profitability. The results revealed that a one-unit increase in the proportion of the
workforce involved in the practices was associated with an approximately 7 percent decrease in
turnover, $27,000 more in sales per employee, $18,000 more in market value, and $3,800 more in
profits. Put simply, better OB practices were associated with better firm performance.
Although there is no doubting the importance of turnover, productivity, market value, and profit-
ability, another study examined an outcome that’s even more fundamental: firm survival.12 The study
focused on 136 nonfinancial companies that made initial public offerings (IPOs) in 1988. Firms that
undergo an IPO typically have shorter histories and need an infusion of cash to grow or introduce
some new technology. Rather than conducting a survey, the authors of this study examined the pro-
spectus filed by each firm (the Securities and Exchange Commission requires that prospectuses con-
tain honest information, and firms can be liable for any inaccuracies that might mislead investors). The
authors coded each prospectus for information that might suggest OB issues were valued. Examples
of valuing OB issues included describing employees as a source of competitive advantage in strategy
and mission statements, emphasizing training and continuing education, having a human resources
management executive, and emphasizing full-time rather than temporary or contract employees. By
1993, 81 of the 136 firms included in the study had survived (60 percent). The key question is whether
the value placed on OB predicted which did (and did not) survive. The results revealed that firms that
valued OB had a 19 percent higher survival rate than firms that did not value OB.
Source: Adapted from M.A. Huselid, “The Impact of Human Resource Management Practices on Turnover, Productivity,
and Corporate Financial Performance.” Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 38, pp. 635–72. Academy of Management.
TABLE 1-2 Survey Questions Designed to Assess High-
Performance Work Practices
What is the proportion of the workforce whose jobs have
been subjected to a formal job analysis?
What is the proportion of the workforce who are adminis-
tered attitude surveys on a regular basis?
What is the proportion of the workforce who have access to
company incentive plans, profit-sharing plans, and/or gain-
sharing plans?
What is the average number of hours of training received by
a typical employee over the last 12 months?
8, 10
What is the proportion of the workforce who have access to
a formal grievance procedure and/or complaint resolution
What proportion of the workforce are administered an
employment test prior to hiring?
9, 10
What is the proportion of the workforce whose performance
appraisals are used to determine compensation?
Final PDF to printer

14 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 14 10/11/17 08:38 AM
A third study focused on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, which has appeared
annually since 1998.13 Table 1-3 provides some highlights from the 2017 version of the list. If the
100 firms on the list really do have good OB practices, and if good OB practices really do influ-
ence firm profitability, then it follows that the 100 firms should be more profitable. To explore
this premise, the study went back to an earlier version of the list and found a “matching firm” for
those companies that were included.14 The matching firm consisted of the most similar company
with respect to industry and size in that particular year, with the added requirement that the
company had not appeared on the “100 Best” list. This process essentially created two groups of
companies that differ only in terms of their inclusion in the “100 Best.” The study then compared
the profitability of those two groups of companies. The results revealed that the “100 Best” firms
were more profitable than their peers. Indeed, the cumulative investment return for a portfolio
based on the “100 Best” companies would have doubled the return for the broader market.
S O W H AT ’ S S O H A R D?
Clearly this research evidence seems to support the conceptual argument that good people con-
stitute a valuable resource for companies. Good OB does seem to matter in terms of company
profitability. You may wonder then, “What’s so hard?” Why doesn’t every company prioritize
the effective management of OB, devoting as much attention to it as they do accounting, finance,
marketing, technology, physical assets, and so on? Some companies do a bad job when it comes to
managing their people. Why is that?
One reason is that there is no “magic bullet” OB practice—one thing that, in and of itself, can
increase profitability. Instead, the effective management of OB requires a belief that several dif-
ferent practices are important, along with a long-term commitment to improving those practices.
This premise can be summarized with what might be called the Rule of One-Eighth:
One must bear in mind that one-half of organizations won’t believe the connection between
how they manage their people and the profits they earn. One-half of those who do see the
connection will do what many organizations have done—try to make a single change to solve
their problems, not realizing that the effective management of people requires a more compre-
hensive and systematic approach. Of the firms that make comprehensive changes, probably
TABLE 1-3 The “100 Best Companies to Work For” in 2017
1. Google 23. PwC 63. Delta
2. Wegmans 26. Hilton 64. Deloitte
3. Boston Consulting 28. REI 68. QuikTrip
4. Baird 29. EY 69. American Express
5. Edward Jones 32. Hyatt 72. IKEA
6. Genentech 33. Marriott 79. Four Seasons
10. Quicken Loans 48. Cheesecake Factory 84. Mayo Clinic
12. KPMG 49. Container Store 88. Accenture
13. Intuit 50. Mars 91. Aflac
15. SAS 54. Nationwide 93. AT&T
17. Capital One 58. Whole Foods 94. Nordstrom
21. Publix 62. Goldman Sachs 99. FedEx
Source: M.C. Bush and S. Lewis-Kulin., “The 100 Best Companies to Work For.” Fortune, March 15, 2017.
Final PDF to printer

15C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 15 10/11/17 08:38 AM
only about one-half will persist with their practices long enough to actually derive economic
benefits. Because one-half times one-half times one-half equals one-eighth, at best 12 percent
of organizations will actually do what is required to build profits by putting people first.15
The integrative model of OB used to structure this book was designed with this Rule of One-
Eighth in mind. Figure 1-1 suggests that high job performance depends not just on employee
motivation but also on fostering high levels of satisfaction, effectively managing stress, creating
a trusting climate, and committing to employee learning. Failing to do any one of those things
could hinder the effectiveness of the other concepts in the model. Of course, that systemic nature
reveals another reality of organizational behavior: It’s often difficult to “fix” companies that strug-
gle with OB issues. Such companies often struggle in a number of different areas and on a number
of different levels. For more discussion about why firms struggle to manage their people, see our
OB at the Bookstore feature, which appears in each chapter to showcase a well-known business
book that discusses OB concepts.
This feature spotlights bestselling business books that complement the content of each chapter.
Drawing a bridge from our chapters to these books lets you see how the titles at the bookstore
complement the concepts in our integrative model of OB.
by Caroline Webb (New York: Brown Business, 2016).
We’re living in a golden age of behavioral science, where every pass-
ing week seems to deliver fresh insights into the way we think, feel,
and act. Neuroscientists, psychologists, and economists are busy
unraveling the important mysteries of our time, questions like: “How
can I conquer my inbox?” “Why do perfectly reasonable people get
their wires crossed?” “What would it take for me to stop procrastinat-
ing right now (or later today, or tomorrow)?” Scientific research has
ever more to say in answer to these sorts of pressing questions.
With those words, Webb highlights the potential of scientific
research for several different corners of our integrative model of
OB. An economist by trade, Webb also spent time doing in-depth
reading of research in psychology and neuroscience. The book then
applies a “neuro-psycho-economic” perspective to a number of dif-
ferent questions—questions relevant to any employee or manager.
For example, Webb describes research on priorities and produc-
tivity that echoes some of what we’ll cover in our Motivation and Job Performance chapters.
Studies on relationships and influence complement the content in our Teams and Leadership
chapters. Her coverage of thinking research reflects aspects of our Learning and Decision Making
chapter. Finally, her focus on resilience and energy supplements our discussions of Job Satisfac-
tion and Stress. In all of those sections, Webb pauses to explain scientific principles while high-
lighting specific studies and experiments.
What happens if we successfully bring to bear all of this scientific knowledge in our working
lives? Well, according to Webb, such efforts will result in more good days at work—and fewer bad
days. “We have more room to maneuver than we realize,” she argues. “The secret lies in learning
some of the science explaining how the brain works, and why people behave the way they do . . .
Grasp these essentials, and it becomes far clearer how to bring the best out of ourselves and oth-
ers. And that puts us in a much stronger position to create the kind of day we really want to have.”
©Roberts Publishing Services
Final PDF to printer

16 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 16 10/11/17 08:38 AM
H O W D O W E “ K N O W ” W H AT W E K N O W A B O U T
Now that we’ve described what OB is and why it’s an important topic of study, we now turn to
how we “know” what we know about the topic. In other words, where does the knowledge in this
textbook come from? To answer this question, we must first explore how people “know” about
anything. Philosophers have argued that there are several different ways of knowing things:16
• Method of experience: People hold firmly to some belief because it is consistent with their own
experience and observations.
• Method of intuition: People hold firmly to some belief because it “just stands to reason”—it
seems obvious or self-evident.
• Method of authority: People hold firmly to some belief because some respected official, agency,
or source has said it is so.
• Method of science: People accept some belief because scientific studies have tended to replicate
that result using a series of samples, settings, and methods.
Consider the following prediction: Providing social recognition, in the form of public displays
of praise and appreciation for good behaviors, will increase the performance and commitment of
work units. Perhaps you feel that you “know” this claim to be true because you yourself have always
responded well to praise and recognition. Or perhaps you feel that you “know” it to be true because
it seems like common sense—who wouldn’t work harder after a few public pats on the back? Maybe
you feel that you “know” it to be true because a respected boss from your past always extolled
the virtue of public praise and recognition.
However, the methods of experience, intuition, and authority also might have led you to the
opposite belief—that providing social recognition has no impact on the performance and commit-
ment of work units. It may be that public praise has always made you uncomfortable or embar-
rassed, to the point that you’ve tried to hide especially effective behaviors to avoid being singled
out by your boss. Or it may seem logical that social recognition will be viewed as “cheap talk,”
with employees longing for financial incentives rather than verbal compliments. Or perhaps the
best boss you ever worked for never offered a single piece of social recognition in her life, yet her
employees always worked their hardest on her behalf. From a scientist’s point of view, it doesn’t
really matter what a person’s experience, intuition, or authority suggests; the prediction must be
tested with data. In other words, scientists don’t simply assume that their beliefs are accurate; they
acknowledge that their beliefs must be tested scientifically.
Scientific studies are based on the scientific method, originated by Sir Francis Bacon in the
1600s and adapted in Figure 1-3.17 The scientific method begins with theory, defined as a collec-
tion of assertions—both verbal and symbolic—that specify how and why variables are related, as
well as the conditions in which they should (and should not) be related.18 More simply, a theory
tells a story and supplies the familiar who, what, where, when, and why elements found in any
newspaper or magazine article.19 Theories are often summarized with theory diagrams, the “boxes
and arrows” that graphically depict relationships between variables. Our integrative model of OB
in Figure 1-1 represents one such diagram, and there will be many more to come in the remaining
chapters of this textbook.
A scientist could build a theory explaining why social recognition might influence the per-
formance and commitment of work units. From what sources would that theory be built? Well,
because social scientists “are what they study,” one source of theory building is introspection.
However, theories may also be built from interviews with employees or from observations where
scientists take notes, keep diaries, and pore over company documents to find all the elements of a
theory story.20 Alternatively, theories may be built from research reviews, which examine findings
of previous studies to look for general patterns or themes.21
Although many theories are interesting, logical, or thought provoking, many also wind up being
completely wrong. After all, scientific theories once predicted that the earth was flat and the sun
revolved around it. Closer to home, OB theories once argued that money was not an effective motivator
What is the role of theory in
the scientific method?
Final PDF to printer

17C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 17 10/11/17 08:38 AM
and that the best way to structure jobs was to make them as simple and mundane as possible.22 Theo-
ries must therefore be tested to verify that their predictions are accurate. As shown in Figure 1-3, the
scientific method requires that theories be used to inspire hypotheses. Hypotheses are written predic-
tions that specify relationships between variables. For example, a theory of social recognition could be
used to inspire this hypothesis: “Social recognition behaviors on the part of managers will be positively
related to the job performance and organizational commitment of their units.” This hypothesis states,
in black and white, the expected relationship between social recognition and unit performance.
Assume a family member owned a chain of 21 fast-food restaurants and allowed you to test this
hypothesis using the restaurants. Specifically, you decided to train the managers in a subset of the
restaurants about how to use social recognition as a tool to reinforce behaviors. Meanwhile, you
left another subset of restaurants unchanged to represent a control group. You then tracked the
total number of social recognition behaviors exhibited by managers over the next nine months
by observing the managers at specific time intervals. You measured job performance by tracking
drive-through times for the next nine months and used those times to reflect the minutes it takes
for a customer to approach the restaurant, order food, pay, and leave. You also measured the com-
mitment of the work unit by tracking employee retention rates over the next nine months.
So how can you tell whether your hypothesis was supported? You could analyze the data by
examining the correlation between social recognition behaviors and drive-through times, as well as
the correlation between social recognition behaviors and employee turnover. A correlation, abbre-
viated r, describes the statistical relationship between two variables. Correlations can be positive
or negative and range from 0 (no statistical relationship) to 1 (a perfect statistical relationship).
Picture a spreadsheet with two columns of numbers. One column contains the total numbers of
social recognition behaviors for all 21 restaurants; the other contains the average drive-through
times for those same 21 restaurants. The best way to get a feel for the correlation is to look at a
scatterplot—a graph made from those two columns of numbers. Figure 1-4 presents three scatter-
plots, each depicting different-sized correlations. The strength of the correlation can be inferred
from the “compactness” of its scatterplot. Panel (a) shows a perfect 1.0 correlation; knowing the
score for social recognition allows you to predict the score for drive-through times perfectly. Panel
(b) shows a correlation of .50, so the trend in the data is less obvious than in Panel (a) but still
easy to see with the naked eye. Finally, Panel (c) shows a correlation of .00—no statistical rela-
tionship. Understanding the correlation is important because OB questions are not “yes or no”
in nature. That is, the question is not “Does social recognition lead to higher job performance?”
but rather “How often does social recognition lead to higher job performance?” The correlation
provides a number that expresses an answer to the “how often” question.
How are correlations
FIGURE 1-3 The Scientific Method
Final PDF to printer

18 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 18 10/11/17 08:38 AM
So what is the correlation between social recognition and job performance (and between social
recognition and organizational commitment)? It turns out that a study very similar to the one
described was actually conducted, using a sample of 21 Burger King restaurants with 525 total
employees.23 The correlation between social recognition and job performance was .28. The restau-
rants that received training in social recognition averaged 44 seconds of drive-through time nine
months later versus 62 seconds for the control group locations. The correlation between social
recognition and retention rates was .20. The restaurants that received training in social recogni-
tion had a 16 percent better retention rate than the control group locations nine months later.
The study also instituted a financial “pay-for-performance” system in a subset of the locations and
found that the social recognition effects were just as strong as the financial effects.
Of course, you might wonder whether correlations of .28 or .20 are impressive or unimpres-
sive. To understand those numbers, let’s consider some context for them. Table 1-4 provides some
notable correlations from other areas of science. If the correlation between height and weight is
only .44, then a correlation of .28 between social recognition and job performance doesn’t sound
too bad! In fact, a correlation of .50 is considered “strong” in organizational behavior research,
given the sheer number of things that can affect how employees feel and act.24 A .30 correlation
is considered “moderate,” and many studies discussed in this book will have results in this range.
Finally, a .10 correlation is considered “weak” in organizational behavior research. It should be
noted, however, that even “weak” correlations can be important if they predict costly behaviors
such as theft or ethical violations. The .08 correlation between smoking and lung cancer within
25 years is a good example of how important small correlations can be.
Does this one study settle the debate about the value of social recognition for job perfor-
mance and organizational commitment? Not really, for a variety of reasons. First, it included only
FIGURE 1-4 Three Different Correlation Sizes
Social Recognition Behaviors
Social Recognition Behaviors
Social Recognition Behaviors
(a) r = 1.00
(b) r = .50
(c) r = .00
Final PDF to printer

19C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 19 10/11/17 08:38 AM
21 restaurants with 525 employees—maybe the results would have turned out differently if the
study had included more locations. Second, it focused only on restaurant employees—maybe
there’s something unique about such employees that makes them particularly responsive to social
recognition. Third, it may be that the trained locations differed from the control locations on
something other than social recognition, and it was that “something” that was responsible for
the performance differences. You may have heard the phrase, “correlation does not imply causa-
tion.” It turns out that making causal inferences—establishing that one variable really does cause
another—requires establishing three things.25 First, that the two variables are correlated. Second,
that the presumed cause precedes the presumed effect in time. Third, that no alternative explana-
tion exists for the correlation. The third criterion is often fulfilled in experiments, where research-
ers have more control over the setting in which the study occurs.
The important point is that little can be learned from a single study. The best way to test a theory
is to conduct many studies, each of which is as different as possible from the ones that preceded
it.26 So if you really wanted to study the effects of social recognition, you would conduct several
TABLE 1-4 Some Notable Correlations
Height and weight .44 16,948
Ibuprofen and pain reduction .14  8,488
Antihistamines and reduced sneezing .11  1,023
Smoking and lung cancer within 25 years .08  3,956
Coronary bypass surgery and 5-year survival .08  2,649
Source: Robert Hogan, “In Defense of Personality Measurement: New Wine for Old Whiners.” Human Performance, Vol. 18,
2005, pp. 331–41.
A study of Burger King
restaurants revealed
a correlation between
social recognition—praise
and appreciation by
managers—and employ-
ees’ performance and
commitment. Such studies
contribute to the growing
body of organizational
behavior knowledge.
©Wilfredo Lee/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

20 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 20 10/11/17 08:38 AM
studies using different kinds of samples, different kinds of measures, and both experimental and
nonexperimental methods. After completing all of those studies, you could look back on the results
and create some sort of average correlation across all of the studies. This process is what a technique
called meta-analysis does. It takes all of the correlations found in studies of a particular relationship
and calculates a weighted average (such that correlations based on studies with large samples are
weighted more than correlations based on studies with small samples). It turns out that a meta-
analysis has been conducted on the effects of social recognition and job performance. That analysis
revealed an average correlation of .21 across studies conducted in 96 different organizations in the
service industry.27 That meta-analysis offers more compelling support for the potential benefits of
social recognition than the methods of experience, intuition, or authority could have provided.
Indeed, meta-analyses can form the foundation for evidence-based management—a perspective that
argues that scientific findings should form the foundation for management education, much as they
do for medical education.28 Proponents of evidence-based management argue that human resources
should be transformed into a sort of R&D department for managing people.29 Notes one advocate, “In
R&D, you go into the laboratory, you experiment and you keep up with the research that others do. . . .
Can you imagine walking into the R&D lab at a pharmaceutical company, asking the chief chemist
about an important new study and having him respond that they don’t keep up with the literature on
chemistry?” Verizon Business, the Basking Ridge, New Jersey–based unit of Verizon Communica-
tions, is one example of a company that is moving toward evidence-based management. The company
notes that the dollars spent on human resources issues demand more than an intuition-based justifica-
tion for new plans. More informed decisions come from running systematic experiments in smaller
units of an organization, making greater use of internal data, hiring PhDs with relevant expertise, and
pursuing collaborations with academics. Such practices form the foundation for the use of analytics
as a tool for management, with analytics defined as the use of data (rather than just opinion) to guide
decision making.30 For a look at how analytics is used in the world of sports, see our OB on Screen
feature, which appears in each chapter and uses well-known movies to demonstrate OB concepts.
The chapters that follow will begin working through the integrative model of OB in Figure 1-1,
beginning with the individual outcomes and continuing with the individual, group, and organiza-
tional mechanisms that lead to those outcomes. Each chapter begins by spotlighting a company
that historically has done a good job of managing a given topic or is currently struggling with a
topic. Theories relevant to that topic will be highlighted and discussed. The concepts in those
theories will be demonstrated in the OB on Screen features to show how OB phenomena have
“come to life” in film. The OB at the Bookstore feature will then point you to bestsellers that dis-
cuss similar concepts. In addition, the OB Internationally feature will describe how those concepts
operate differently in different cultures and nations.
Each chapter ends with three sections. The first section provides a summarizing theory dia-
gram that explains why some employees exhibit higher levels of a given concept than others. For
example, the summarizing theory diagram for Chapter 4 will explain why some employees are
more satisfied with their jobs than others. As we noted in the opening of this chapter, knowledge
about why is critical to any employee who is trying to make sense of his or her working life or any
manager who is trying to make his or her unit more effective. How often have you spent time try-
ing to explain your own attitudes and behaviors to yourself? If you consider yourself to be an intro-
spective person, you’ve probably thought about such questions quite a bit. Our OB Assessments
feature will help you find out how reflective you really are. This feature also appears in each
chapter of the textbook and allows you to gain valuable knowledge about your own personality,
abilities, job attitudes, and leadership styles.
The next concluding section will describe the results of meta-analyses that summarize the rela-
tionships between that chapter’s topic and both job performance and organizational commitment.
Over time, you’ll gain a feel for which of the topics in Figure 1-1 have strong, moderate, or weak
relationships with these outcomes. This knowledge will help you recognize how everything in OB
fits together and what the most valuable tools are for improving performance and commitment
Final PDF to printer

21C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 21 10/11/17 08:38 AM
This feature is designed to illustrate OB concepts in action on the silver screen. Once you’ve
learned about OB topics, you’ll see them playing out all around you, especially in movies.
You don’t put a team together with a computer, Billy. . . . Baseball isn’t just numbers; it’s not sci-
ence. If it was, then anybody could do what we’re doing. But they can’t because they don’t know
what we know. They don’t have our experience and they don’t have our intuition.
With those words, Grady Fuson (Ken Medlock) tries to show Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) the error
of his ways in Moneyball (Dir. Bennett Miller, Columbia Pictures, 2011). Billy is the general man-
ager of the Oakland Athletics (A’s). After losing to the New York Yankees in the playoffs, Billy’s
been forced to trim a payroll that is already a third of what the Yankees pay. To the angst of his head
scout Grady, Billy turns to Pete Brand, aka “Google boy,” a recent hire with a degree in economics
from Yale. Pete is well versed in “sabermetrics”—the scientific search for objective baseball knowl-
edge begun by Bill James, with a nod to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
©Columbia Pictures/Photofest
The film, based on the Michael Lewis bestseller,31 shows how science can complement experience
and intuition. For example, Pete’s advanced analytics showed that “on-base percentage”—a statistic
dependent not just on hits but also on walks—was a more valid indicator of a player’s value than the
home runs emphasized by traditional scouts. Ironically, the success of Moneyball caused a number of
baseball teams to hire “sabermetricians,” erasing some of the advantages that Billy’s approach had
given Oakland.32 Indeed, the use of advanced analytics has taken hold in other professional sports,
most notably the National Basketball Association.33 Hopefully evidence-based management will allow
organizational managers to do what sports managers are doing—test their theories of success with data.
in the workplace. As you will discover, some of the topics in OB have a greater impact on how
well employees perform their jobs, whereas others have a greater impact on how long employees
remain with their organizations. Finally, the third concluding section will describe how the con-
tent of that chapter can be applied, at a specific level, in an actual organization. For example, the
motivation chapter concludes with a section describing how compensation practices can be used
to maximize employee effort. If you’re currently working, we hope that these concluding sections
will help you see how the concepts you’re reading about can be used to improve your own organi-
zations. Even if you’re not working, these application sections will give you a glimpse into how you
will experience OB concepts once you begin your working life.
Final PDF to printer

22 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 22 10/11/17 08:38 AM
If your scores sum up to 26 or above, you do a lot of introspection and are highly self-aware. You
may find that many of the theories discussed in this textbook will help you better understand your
attitudes and feelings about working life.
Source: Adapted from A. Fenigstein, M.F. Scheier, and A.H. Buss, “Public and Private Self-Consciousness: Assessment and
Theory,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 43, August 1975, pp. 522–27. American Psychological Association.
This feature is designed to illustrate how OB concepts actually get measured in practice. In many
cases, these OB assessments will provide you with potentially valuable insights into your own
attitudes, skills, and personality. The OB assessments that you’ll see in each chapter consist of
multiple survey items. Two concepts are critical when evaluating how good the OB assessments
are: reliability and validity. Reliability is defined as the degree to which the survey items are free
from random error. If survey items are reliable, then similar items will yield similar answers. Valid-
ity is defined as the degree to which the survey items seem to assess what they are meant to assess.
If survey items are valid, then experts on the subject will agree that the items seem appropriate.
How introspective are you? This assessment is designed to measure introspection—sometimes
termed “private self-consciousness”—which is the tendency to direct attention inward to better
understand your attitudes and behaviors. Answer each question using the response scale provided.
Then subtract your answers to the boldfaced questions from 4, with the difference being your new
answers for those questions. For example, if your original answer for question 5 was “3,” your
new answer is 1 (4 – 3). Then sum your answers for the 10 questions. (Instructors: Assessments
on scientific interests and methods of knowing can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect
Library’s Instructor Resources and in the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
1. I’m always trying to figure myself out.
2. Generally, I’m not very aware of myself.
3. I reflect about myself a lot.
4. I’m often the subject of my own daydreams.
5. I never scrutinize myself.
6. I’m generally attentive to my inner feelings.
7. I’m constantly examining my motives.
8. I sometimes have the feeling that I’m off somewhere watching myself.
9. I’m alert to changes in my mood.
10. I’m aware of the way my mind works when I work through a problem.
Final PDF to printer

23C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 23 10/11/17 08:38 AM
1.1 Organizational behavior is a field of study devoted to understanding and explaining the
attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups in organizations. More simply, it focuses
on why individuals and groups in organizations act the way they do.
1.2 The two primary outcomes in organizational behavior are job performance and organiza-
tional commitment.
1.3 A number of factors affect performance and commitment, including individual mechanisms
(job satisfaction; stress; motivation; trust, justice, and ethics; learning and decision making),
individual characteristics (personality and cultural values; ability), group mechanisms (team
characteristics and diversity; team processes and communication; leader power and negotia-
tion; leader styles and behaviors), and organizational mechanisms (organizational structure;
organizational culture).
1.4 The effective management of organizational behavior can help a company become more
profitable because good people are a valuable resource. Not only are good people rare, but
they are also hard to imitate. They create a history that cannot be bought or copied, they
make numerous small decisions that cannot be observed by competitors, and they create
socially complex resources such as culture, teamwork, trust, and reputation.
1.5 A theory is a collection of assertions, both verbal and symbolic, that specifies how and why
variables are related, as well as the conditions in which they should (and should not) be
related. Theories about organizational behavior are built from a combination of interviews,
observation, research reviews, and reflection. Theories form the beginning point for the
scientific method and inspire hypotheses that can be tested with data.
1.6 A correlation is a statistic that expresses the strength of a relationship between two variables
(ranging from 0 to ± 1). In OB research, a .50 correlation is considered “strong,” a .30 cor-
relation is considered “moderate,” and a .10 correlation is considered “weak.”
• Organizational behavior (OB) p. 6
• Human resource management p. 7
• Strategic management p. 7
• Resource-based view p. 10
• Inimitable p. 11
• History p. 12
• Numerous small decisions p. 12
• Socially complex resources p. 12
• Rule of One-Eighth p. 14
• Method of experience p. 16
• Method of intuition p. 16
• Method of authority p. 16
• Method of science p. 16
• Theory p. 16
• Hypotheses p. 17
• Correlation p. 17
• Causal inference p. 19
• Meta-analysis p. 20
• Evidence-based management p. 20
• Analytics p. 20
1.1 Assuming you possessed the right technical skills for the job, would a position at IKEA be
appealing to you? What would be the most important positives associated with the position,
in your view? What would be the most important negatives?
Final PDF to printer

24 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 24 10/11/17 08:38 AM
The values in the “Little IKEA Dictionary” do more than shape the experience of working at
IKEA. They also shape the actions the company takes as it interfaces with the world at large. For
example, IKEA is a leader in helping to support refugees—people forced to leave their countries
because of wars, disasters, or persecutions. The company designed and manufactured the Better
Shelter—a flat-packed shelter that’s solar-powered and can fit a family of five. More than 16,000
shelters have been distributed around the world since 2015. The shelter even won the the presti-
gious Beazley Design of the Year Award. IKEA also plans to sell a line of rugs made by Syrian
refugees. The initiative will provide jobs for 200 refugees and the rugs will be sold in several
Middle Eastern countries. Jesper Broden, an IKEA managing director, notes, “The situation in
Syria is a major tragedy of our time. . . . We decided to look into how IKEA can contribute.”
As another example, the company is doing what it can to promote environmental s ustainability—
a key challenge given the number of stores it operates. IKEA has installed solar panels at 90 percent
of its stores. Moreover, a recent report placed it among the top U.S. companies for producing solar
power (alongside Target, Walmart, Apple, Costco, and Kohl’s). IKEA also unveiled “The Farm,” a
hydroponic garden that allows it to grow the food served in its in-store cafes—famous for their Swed-
ish meatballs and cinnamon rolls. Finally, the company launched a “Save the Furniture” campaign
in Belgium, where customers can sell their old furniture to IKEA, with the store then selling the
furniture to its customers. The program, which will be piloted in the United States, is described as
“amnesty for pre-loved furniture” and is not limited to IKEA’s own products.
Of course, those sorts of expressions of IKEA’s values may not be as salient to employees as
management philosophies, promotion rates, working hours, and compensation levels. Still, such
actions may instill a sense of pride among the rank-and-file, encouraging them to see more mean-
ing and purpose in their work. Such actions may also make employees think twice before accept-
ing jobs at competitors who are less “society minded.” Of course, customer awareness of IKEA’s
policies and initiatives could breed product loyalty—or even turn customers into applicants for
job openings in the company.
1.1 To what extent does a company’s culture wind up reflecting the personality of its founder?
To what extent does it reflect the values of the country it was founded in? Which seems to
be a stronger force in the case of IKEA?
1.2 IKEA operates in a number of countries around the world. The governments and people
in those countries may have different attitudes about working hours, diversity efforts, pay
levels, and political and environmental activism. Should companies alter their policies and
activities in a way that is sensitive to such differences?
C A S E : I K E A
1.2 Think again about the worst coworker you’ve ever had—the one who did some of the things
listed in Table 1-1. Think about what that coworker’s boss did (or didn’t do) to try to
improve his or her behavior. What did the boss do well or poorly? What would you have
done differently, and which organizational behavior topics would have been most relevant?
1.3 Which of the individual mechanisms in Figure 1-1 (job satisfaction; stress; motivation; trust,
justice, and ethics; learning and decision making) seems to drive your performance and
commitment the most? Do you think you’re unique in that regard, or do you think most
people would answer that way?
1.4 Create a list of the most successful companies that you can think of. What do these compa-
nies have that others don’t? Are the things that those companies possess rare and inimitable
(see Figure 1-2)? What makes those things difficult to copy?
1.5 Think of something that you “know” to be true based on the method of experience, the
method of intuition, or the method of authority. Could you test your knowledge using the
method of science? How would you do it?
Final PDF to printer

25C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 25 10/11/17 08:38 AM
1.3 Assume you were an employee at an organization like IKEA, and Fortune surveyed you for
its 100 Best Companies to Work For list. To what extent would your attitudes be shaped not
just by internal work policies, but also by how the company engages with society?
Sources: S. Begley, “IKEA Will Sell Rugs and Textiles Made by Syrian Refugees,” Fortune, January 31, 2017; A. Byland,
“How Ingvar Kamprad Made His Billions,” The Motley Fool, April 19, 2014; K. Fehrenbacher, “These Are the U.S. Com-
panies with the Most Solar Power.” Fortune, October 19, 2016; IKEA 2016 by Numbers, August, 2016, http://franchisor ; M. Gladwell, David and Goliath:
Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants; (New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2013); G. Houston, “How
IKEA Plans to Help Restaurants Build Their Own Indoor Farms,” Fortune, June 21, 2016; B. Kowitt, “The Coolest Things
IKEA, Coca-Cola, and Walmart Are Doing to Cut Waste,” Fortune, May 16, 2016; B. Kowitt, “At IKEA: No Ranks, No
Rancor,” Fortune, March 15, 2016; R. Levering, “The 100 Best Companies to Work For,” Fortune, March 15, 2016; and
M. Rhodan, “IKEA Refugee Shelter Wins Design of the Year Award,” Fortune, January 30, 2017.
E X E R C I S E : I S O B C O M M O N S E N S E ?
The purpose of this exercise is to take some of the topics covered in this textbook and examine
whether improving them is “just common sense.” This exercise uses groups, so your instructor
will either assign you to a group or ask you to create your own. The exercise has the following
1.1 Consider the theory diagram shown below. It explains why two “independent variables” (the
quality of a movie’s script and the fame of its stars) affect a “dependent variable” (how much
the movie makes at the box office).
Quality of
Fame of
of Reviews
1.2 Now build your own theory diagram about organizational behavior. In your groups, choose
one of the following four topics to use as your dependent variable:
• Job satisfaction: The pleasurable emotions felt when performing job tasks.
• Strain: The headaches, fatigue, or burnout resulting from workplace stress.
• Motivation: The intensity and persistence of job-related effort.
• Trust in supervisor: The willingness to allow a supervisor to have significant influence
over key job issues.
Using a laptop, whiteboard, or chalkboard, build a theory diagram that summarizes the fac-
tors that affect your chosen dependent variable. To be as comprehensive as possible, try to
include at least four independent variables. Keep your books closed! You should build your
diagrams using only your own experience and intuition.
1.3 Each group should present its theory diagram to the class. Do the predicted relationships
make sense? Should anything be dropped? Should anything be added?
1.4 Now compare the theory diagram you created with the diagrams in the textbook (Figure 4-7
for Job Satisfaction, Figure 5-3 for Strain, Figure 6-7 for Motivation, and Figure 7-7 for Trust
in Supervisor). How does your diagram compare to the textbook’s diagrams? (Search the bold-
faced key terms for any jargon that you don’t understand.) Did you leave out some important
independent variables or suggest some variables that have not been supported by the academic
research summarized in the chapters? If so, it shows that OB is more than just common sense.
Final PDF to printer

26 C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 26 10/11/17 08:38 AM
1.1 Kiley, D. “J.D. Power:
BMW and Hyundai
Are Tops in Car Tech.”
Forbes, October 11,
1.2 Source: Ihlwan, M., and
C. Dawson. “Building
a ‘Camry Fighter’: Can
Hyundai Transform
Itself into One of the
World’s Top Auto Mak-
ers?” BusinessWeek, Sep-
tember 6, 2004, http://
www. businessweek
1.3 Levin, D. “New Hyun-
dai Sonatas Rolling Out
of Super-Busy Alabama
Plant.” Fortune, June
26, 2014.
1.4 Taylor, A. III. “Hyundai
Smokes the Competi-
tion.” Fortune, January
18, 2010, pp. 62–71;
and Ihlwan, M.; L.
Armstrong; and M.
Eldam. “Kissing
Clunkers Goodbye.”
BusinessWeek, May 17,
2004, http://www
1.5 Barney, J.B. “Looking
Inside for Competitive
Advantage.” In Stra-
tegic Human Resource
Management, ed.
R.S. Schuler and S.E.
Jackson. Malden, MA:
Blackwell, 1999,
pp. 128–41.
1.6 McIntyre, D.A.
“Microsoft Launches
Retail Stores to Save
Windows.” Time,
February 13, 2009,
1.7 Edwards, C. “Com-
mentary: Sorry, Steve:
Here’s Why Apple
Stores Won’t Work.”
BusinessWeek, May
21, 2001, http://www
1.8 Source: Frommer, D.
“Microsoft’s New Retail
Stores Look Just Like
Apple Stores.” Business
Insider, November 1,
1.9 Hansen, F. “Admirable
Qualities.” Workforce
Management, June 23,
2008, pp. 25–32.
1.10 DeCarlo, S. “The
World’s Most Admired
Companies.” Fortune,
March 1, 2017.
1.11 Huselid, M.A. “The
Impact of Human
Resource Management
Practice on Turnover,
Productivity, and
Corporate Financial
Performance.” Academy
of Management Journal
38 (1995), pp. 635–72.
1.12 Welbourne, T.M.,
and A.O. Andrews.
“Predicting the Perfor-
mance of Initial Public
Offerings: Should
Human Resource
Management Be in the
Equation?” Academy of
Management Journal 39
(1996), pp. 891–919.
1.13 Bush, M.C., and S.
Lewis-Kulin. “100 Best
Companies to Work
For” Fortune, March 15,
1.14 Fulmer, I.S.; B. Gerhart;
and K.S. Scott. “Are
the 100 Best Better? An
Empirical Investigation
of the Relationship
Between Being a ‘Great
Place to Work’ and
Firm Performance.”
Personnel Psychology 56
(2003), pp. 965–93.
1.15 Source: Pfeffer, J., and
J.F. Veiga. “Putting
People First for Organi-
zational Success.” Acad-
emy of Management
Executive 13 (1999),
pp. 37–48.
1.16 Kerlinger, F.N., and
H.B. Lee. Foundations
of Behavioral Research.
Fort Worth, TX: Har-
court, 2000.
1.17 Bacon, F.; M. Silver-
thorne; and L. Jardine.
The New Organon.
Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 2000.
1.18 Campbell, J.P. “The
Role of Theory in
Industrial and Organi-
zational Psychology.” In
Handbook of Industrial
and Organizational Psy-
chology, Vol. 1, edited
by, M.D. Dunnette and
L.M. Hough. Palo Alto,
CA: Consulting Psy-
chologists Press, 1990,
pp. 39–74.
1.19 Whetten, D.A. “What
Constitutes a Theo-
retical Contribution?”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 14 (1989),
pp. 490–95.
Final PDF to printer

27C H A P T E R 1 What Is Organizational Behavior?
coL27660_ch01_002-027.indd 27 10/11/17 08:38 AM
1.20 Locke, K. “The
Grounded Theory
Approach to Quali-
tative Research.”
In Measuring and
Analyzing Behavior
in Organizations, ed.
F. Drasgow and N.
Schmitt. San Fran-
cisco, CA: Jossey-Bass,
2002, pp. 17–43.
1.21 Locke, E.A., and
G.P. Latham. “What
Should We Do About
Motivation Theory?
Six Recommendations
for the Twenty-First
Century.” Academy of
Management Review 29
(2004), pp. 388–403.
1.22 Herzberg, F.; B. Maus-
ner; and B.B. Snyder-
man. The Motivation to
Work. New York: John
Wiley, 1959; Taylor,
F. W. The Principles of
Scientific Management.
New York: Harper &
Row, 1911.
1.23 Peterson, S.J., and F.
Luthans. “The Impact
of Financial and
Nonfinancial Incen-
tives on Business-Unit
Outcomes over Time.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 91 (2006),
pp. 156–65.
1.24 Cohen, J.; P. Cohen;
S.G. West; and L.S.
Aiken. Applied Multiple
Analysis for the Behav-
ioral Sciences. Mahwah,
NJ: Erlbaum, 2003.
1.25 Shadish, W.R.; T.D.
Cook; and D.T. Camp-
bell. Experimental and
Designs for General-
ized Causal Inference.
Boston, MA: Houghton
Mifflin, 2002.
1.26 Ibid.
1.27 Stajkovic, A.D., and
F. Luthans. “A Meta-
Analysis of the Effects
of Organizational
Behavior Modification
on Task Performance,
1975–1995.” Academy
of Management Journal
40 (1997), pp. 1122–49.
1.28 Rousseau, D.M.; J.
Manning; and D.
Denyer. “Evidence
in Management and
Organizational Science:
Assembling the Field’s
Full Eight of Scientific
Knowledge Through
Syntheses.” Academy
of Management Annals
2 (2008), pp. 475–515;
and Briner, R.B.; D.
Denyer; and D.M. Rous-
seau. “Evidence-Based
Management: Concept
Cleanup Time?” Acad-
emy of Management
Perspectives 23 (2009),
pp. 19–32.
1.29 Hansen, F. “Merit-Pay
Payoff?” Workforce
Management, Novem-
ber 3, 2008, pp. 33–39.
1.30 Davenport, T.H.
“Analytics 3.0.” Har-
vard Business Review,
December, 2013.
1.31 Lewis, M. Moneyball.
New York: Norton, 2003.
1.32 Fox, J. “The Moneyball
Myth.” Bloomberg
Businessweek, October
20, 2011, pp. 110–11.
1.33 Schwartz, J. “Net
Loss.” Slate, Febru-
ary 28, 2013, http://
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 28 10/17/17 11:34 AM
2.1 What is job performance?
2.2 What is task performance?
2.3 How do organizations identify the behaviors that underlie task performance?
2.4 What is citizenship behavior?
2.5 What is counterproductive behavior?
2.6 What workplace trends are affecting job performance in today’s organizations?
2.7 How can organizations use job performance information to manage employee performance?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Job Performance
Characteristics &
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Learning &
Decision Making
Styles &
Processes &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 29 10/17/17 11:34 AM
hen you think of General Electric, or GE for short,
company founder, Thomas Edison, might come
to mind. You might also think of light bulbs or
appliances, GE products you may use every day. Depend-
ing on your background, you might also think of medical
equipment, jet engines, or even locomotives. In fact, GE is
a huge multinational conglomerate with a diverse array of
businesses, which include aviation, digital, energy, oil and
gas, power, renewable energy, health care, appliances,
lighting, and transportation. With operations in all these dif-
ferent industries, it’s easy to appreciate the vast range of
jobs that are held by GE’s workforce, which numbers well
over 300,000 full- and part-time employees. You might also
appreciate the management challenge faced by GE. That is,
how does GE ensure that employees in all these different
jobs produce results and perform in ways that are consis-
tent with the company’s values and objectives?
In the mid 1950s GE established a management training
center in Crotonville, New York, just east of the Hudson River,
north of Manhattan about halfway to Poughkeepsie. High
potential managers are sent to Crotonville to learn about
practices that GE believes will promote high performance
across the organization. For example, in the 1970s and 80s,
GE was facing competitive pressure from Asian manufactur-
ers, and the company responded by training managers in
practices, such as Six Sigma, that focused on reducing costs
and increasing efficiency and quality in operations. With the
adoption of these types of practices, GE employees were
no longer just responsible for carrying out tasks involved in
the design and manufacturing of products, but they were
also accountable for measuring and eliminating defects
and reducing waste through continuous improvements in
manufacturing processes. During this period, GE managers
also learned how to push their employees hard to achieve
results with regard to these ends.
The training center in Crotonville continues to serve as a
means of instilling GE’s values to managers. GE continues to
believe this effort is vital to ensuring that employees across
the globe function as one. However, the training that manag-
ers receive at Crotonville has changed its focus to the type of
performance needed for the company to thrive in a constantly
evolving fast-paced global competitive environment. So, for
example, to help enhance creativity and other behaviors nec-
essary for innovation and rapid product development, GE man-
agers receive training on things like mindfulness, emotional
self-regulation, and the importance of constant feedback.
©PA Images/Alamy
Final PDF to printer

30 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 30 10/17/17 11:34 AM
We begin our journey through the integrative model of organizational behavior with job perfor-
mance. Why begin with job performance? Because understanding one’s own performance is a
critical concern for any employee, and understanding the performance of employees in one’s unit
is a critical concern for any manager. Consider for a moment the job performance of your univer-
sity’s basketball coach. If you were the university’s athletic director, you might gauge the coach’s
performance by paying attention to various behaviors. How much time does the coach spend on
the road during recruiting season? How effective are the coach’s practices? Are the offensive and
defensive schemes well-designed, and are the plays called during games appropriate? You might
also consider some other behaviors that fall outside the strict domain of basketball. Does the
coach run a clean program? Do players graduate on time? Does the coach represent the university
well during interviews with the media and when in public?
Of course, as your university’s athletic director, you might be tempted to ask a simpler ques-
tion: Is the coach a winner? After all, fans and boosters may not care how good the coach is at
the previously listed behaviors if the team fails to win conference championships or make it deep
into the NCAA tournament. Moreover, the coach’s performance in terms of wins and losses has
important implications for the university because it affects ticket sales, licensing fees, and booster
donations. Still, is every unsuccessful season the coach’s fault? What if the coach develops a well-
conceived game plan but the players repeatedly make mistakes at key times in the game? What if
the team experiences a rash of injuries or inherits a schedule that turns out to be much tougher
than originally thought? What if a few games during the season are decided by fluke baskets or by
bad calls by the referees?
This example illustrates one dilemma when examining job performance. Is performance a set
of behaviors that a person does (or does not) engage in, or is performance the end result of those
behaviors? You might be tempted to believe it’s more appropriate to define performance in terms
of results rather than behaviors. This is because results seem more “objective” and are more con-
nected to the central concern of managers—“the bottom line.” For example, the job performance
of sales employees is often measured by the amount of sales revenue generated by each person
over some time span (e.g., a month, a quarter, a year). For the most part, this logic makes perfect
sense: Sales employees are hired by organizations to generate sales, and so those who meet or
exceed sales goals are worth more to the organization and should be considered high performers.
It’s very easy to appreciate how the sales revenue from each salesperson might be added up and
used as an indicator of a business’s financial performance.
However, as sensible as this logic seems, using results as the primary indicator of job perfor-
mance creates potential problems. First, employees contribute to their organization in ways that
go beyond bottom line results, and so evaluating an employee’s performance based on results
alone might give you an inaccurate picture of which employees are worth more to the organiza-
tion. Second, there’s evidence that managers’ focus on bottom line results can create a bottom line
mentality among employees, which in turn, results in social undermining—sabotaging coworkers’
reputations or trying to make them look bad.1 Similarly, the quest to enhance the bottom line may
lead employees to violate policies and regulations, which in turn, may result in staggering legal fees,
fines, and lost customers. As an example, Wells Fargo bank had long focused on employee sales of
new accounts, and it has come to light that employees of the bank opened as many as two million
accounts without their customers’ consent or knowledge.2 Third, results are often influenced by
factors that are beyond the employees’ control—product quality, competition, equipment, tech-
nology, budget constraints, coworkers, and supervisors, just to name a few. Fourth, even if these
uncontrollable factors are less relevant in a given situation, there’s another problem with a results-
based view of job performance: Results don’t tell you how to reverse a “bad year.” That is, perfor-
mance feedback based on results doesn’t provide people with the information they need to improve
their behavior. Walgreens, for example, uses knowledge of job performance behaviors to create
comprehensive training and development programs so that employees can be effective at various
jobs they may have throughout their careers with the company.3 In sum, given that the field of OB
Final PDF to printer

31C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 31 10/17/17 11:34 AM
aims to understand, predict,
and improve behavior, we refer
to job performance as behav-
ior. We use the term “results”
or “job performance results”
when referring to important
outcomes that are associated
with those behaviors.
So what types of employee
behaviors constitute job per-
formance? To understand
this question, consider that
job performance is formally
defined as the value of the set
of employee behaviors that
contribute, either positively
or negatively, to organiza-
tional goal accomplishment.4 This definition of job performance includes behaviors that are
within the control of employees, but it places a boundary on which behaviors are (and are not)
relevant to job performance. For example, consider the behavior of a server in a restaurant that
prides itself on world-class customer service. Texting a friend during a work break would not
usually be relevant (in either a positive or negative sense) to the accomplishment of organiza-
tional goals. That behavior is therefore not relevant to the server’s job performance. However,
texting in the middle of taking a customer’s order would be relevant (in a negative sense) to
organizational goal accomplishment. That behavior, therefore, is relevant to the server’s job
W H AT D O E S I T M E A N TO B E A “ G O O D P E R F O R M E R ” ?
Our definition of job performance raises a number of important questions. Specifically, you might
be wondering which employee behaviors fall under the umbrella heading of “job performance.”
In other words, what exactly do you have to do to be a good performer? We could probably spend
an entire chapter just listing various behaviors that are relevant to job performance. However,
those behaviors generally fit into three broad categories.5 Two categories are task performance and
citizenship behavior, both of which contribute positively to the organization. The third category is
counterproductive behavior, which contributes negatively to the organization. The sections that fol-
low describe these broad categories of job performance in greater detail.
Task performance refers to employee behaviors that are directly involved in the transformation of
organizational resources into the goods or services that the organization produces.6 If you read a
description of a job in an employment ad online, that description will focus on task performance
behaviors—the tasks, duties, and responsibilities that are a core part of the job. Put differently, task
performance is the set of explicit obligations that an employee must fulfill to receive compensa-
tion and continued employment. For a flight attendant, task performance includes announcing
and demonstrating safety and emergency procedures and distributing food and beverages to pas-
sengers. For a firefighter, task performance includes searching burning buildings to locate fire
victims and operating equipment to put out fires. For an accountant, task performance involves
preparing, examining, and analyzing accounting records for accuracy and completeness. Finally,
for an advertising executive, task performance includes developing advertising campaigns and
preparing and delivering presentations to clients.7
What is job performance?
Geno Auriemma has led
the University of Connecti-
cut women’s basketball
team to 11 national
championships (including
four in a row), six perfect
seasons, and 100 percent
graduation rate for all four-
year players. He’s been the
Naismith College Coach
of the Year seven times
since taking over the team
in 1985. If the Huskies suf-
fered through a couple los-
ing seasons, would Coach
Auriemma be considered a
low performer?
©Mike Carlson/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

32 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 32 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Although the specific activities that constitute task performance differ widely from one job
to another, task performance also can be understood in terms of more general categories. One
way of categorizing task performance is to consider the extent to which the context of the job is
routine, changing, or requires a novel or unique solution. Routine task performance involves well-
known responses to demands that occur in a normal, routine, or otherwise predictable way. In
these cases, employees tend to behave in more or less habitual or programmed ways that vary little
from one instance to another.8 As an example of a routine task activity, you may recall watching
an expressionless flight attendant robotically demonstrate how to insert the seatbelt tongue into
the seatbelt buckle before your flight takes off. Seatbelts haven’t really changed since . . . oh . . .
1920, so the instructions to passengers tend to be conveyed the same way, over and over again.
In contrast, adaptive task performance, or more commonly “adaptability,” involves employee
responses to task demands that are novel, unusual, or, at the very least, unpredictable.9 For exam-
ple, on August 2, 2005, Air France Flight 358, carrying 297 passengers and 12 crew members
from Paris, France, to Toronto, Canada, skidded off the runway while landing and plunged into
a ravine. Amid smoke and flames, the flight attendants quickly responded to the emergency and
assisted three-quarters of the 297 passengers safely off the plane within 52 seconds, before the
emergency response team arrived. One minute later, the remaining passengers and 12 crew mem-
bers were out safely.10 From this example, you can see that flight attendants’ task performance
shifted from activities such as providing safety demonstrations and handing out beverages to per-
forming emergency procedures to save passengers’ lives. Although flight attendants receive train-
ing so they can handle emergency situations such as this one, executing these behaviors effectively
in the context of an actual emergency differs fundamentally from anything experienced previously.
Adaptive task performance is becoming increasingly important as globalization, technologi-
cal advances, and knowledge-based work increase the pace of change in the workplace.11 In fact,
adaptive task performance has become crucial in today’s global economy where companies have
been faced with the challenge of becoming more productive with fewer employees on staff. For
example, Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin–based Johnsonville Sausage feels that adaptability is impor-
tant for employees at all levels of the organization and has invested significant resources in train-
ing to ensure that employees develop competency in this aspect of job performance.12 As another
example, at the German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer, the hiring of plant direc-
tors involves the search for candidates who not only possess a wide range of skills and abilities so
that they can adapt to various job demands, but in addition, competence in helping others adapt
to changes that occur in the workplace.13 Table 2-1 provides a number of examples of adaptability
that are relevant to many jobs in today’s economy.14
Finally, creative task performance refers to the degree to which individuals develop ideas or
physical outcomes that are both novel and useful.15 The necessity of including both novelty and
usefulness in the definition of creativity can be illustrated with the following example of what effec-
tive performance for a swimsuit designer involves. Consider first the case of a swimsuit designer
who suggests in a meeting that next season’s line of swimsuits should be made entirely out of
chrome-plated steel. Although this idea might be very novel, for many reasons it’s not likely to be
very useful. Indeed, someone who offered an idea like this would likely be considered silly rather
than creative. Another swimsuit designer suggests in the meeting that swimsuits for next season
should be made out of materials that are attractive and comfortable. Although under some cir-
cumstances such an idea might be useful, the idea is not novel because attractiveness and comfort
are generally accepted design elements for swimsuits. Someone who offered an idea like this might
be appreciated for offering input, but no one would consider this individual’s performance to be
particularly creative. Finally, a third designer for this swimsuit manufacturer suggests that perhaps
a two-piece design would be preferred for women, rather than a more traditional one-piece design.
Although such an idea would not be considered creative today, it certainly was in 1946 when, in
separate but nearly simultaneous efforts, Jacques Heim and Louis Reard introduced the bikini.16
Although you might be tempted to believe that creative task performance is only relevant to
jobs such as artist and inventor, its emphasis has been increasing across a wide variety of jobs.
Indeed, more than half the total wages and salary in the United States are paid to employees
who need to be creative as part of their jobs, and as a consequence, some have argued that we
are at the “dawn of the creative age.”17 This increase in the value of creative performance can be
What is task performance?
Final PDF to printer

33C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 33 10/17/17 11:34 AM
TABLE 2-1 Behaviors Involved in Adaptability
Handling emergencies or
crisis situations
Quickly analyzing options for dealing with danger or crises
and their implications; making split-second decisions based on
clear and focused thinking
Handling work stress Remaining composed and cool when faced with difficult
circumstances or a highly demanding workload or schedule;
acting as a calming and settling influence to whom others can
look for guidance
Solving problems creatively Turning problems upside-down and inside-out to find fresh
new approaches; integrating seemingly unrelated information
and developing creative solutions
Dealing with uncertain and
unpredictable work situations
Readily and easily changing gears in response to unpredict-
able or unexpected events and circumstances; effectively
adjusting plans, goals, actions, or priorities to deal with chang-
ing situations
Learning work tasks, tech-
nologies, and work situations
Quickly and proficiently learning new methods or how to
perform previously unlearned tasks; anticipating change in the
work demands and searching for and participating in assign-
ments or training to prepare for these changes
Demonstrating interpersonal
Being flexible and open-minded when dealing with others;
listening to and considering others’ viewpoints and opinions and
altering one’s own opinion when it’s appropriate to do so
Demonstrating cultural
Willingly adjusting behavior or appearance as necessary to
comply with or show respect for others’ values and customs;
understanding the implications of one’s actions and adjusting
one’s approach to maintain positive relationships with other
groups, organizations, or cultures
Source: Adapted from E.E. Pulakos, S. Arad, M.A. Donovan, and K.E. Plamondon, “Adaptability in the Workplace:
Development of a Taxonomy of Adaptive Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology 85 (2000), pp. 612–24. American
Psychological Association.
explained by the rapid technological change and intense competition that mark today’s business
landscape.18 In this context, employee creativity is necessary to spark the types of innovations that
enable organizations to stay ahead of their competition. Because creative ideas do not always get
implemented, it is important to recognize creative performance behaviors, as well as the creative
outcomes that result from those behaviors.19
Now that we’ve given you a general understanding of task performance behaviors, you might be
wondering how organizations identify the sets of behaviors that represent “task performance” for
different jobs. Many organizations identify task performance behaviors by conducting a job analysis.
Although there are many different ways to conduct a job analysis, most boil down to three steps.
First, a list of the activities involved in a job is generated. This list generally results from data from
several sources, including observations, surveys, and interviews of employees. Second, each activ-
ity on this list is rated by “subject matter experts,” according to things like the importance and
frequency of the activity. Subject matter experts generally have experience performing the job or
managing the job and therefore are in a position to judge the importance of specific activities to
the organization. Third, the activities that are rated highly in terms of their importance and fre-
quency are retained and used to define task performance. Those retained behaviors then find their
How do organizations
identify the behaviors that
underlie task performance?
Final PDF to printer

34 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 34 10/17/17 11:34 AM
way into training programs as
learning objectives and into
performance evaluation sys-
tems as measures to evaluate
task performance.
As an example, to deter-
mine training objectives for
production workers, Toyota
uses a highly detailed job
analysis process to identify
important tasks as well as the
behaviors necessary to effec-
tively complete those tasks.20
The core job tasks involved in
the job of a bumper-molding
operator, for example, include
“routine core tasks,” “machine tending,” and “quality,” and each of these tasks further consists of
several more detailed steps. For example, routine core tasks include de-molding, trimming, spray-
molding, and sanding. Each of these tasks can be broken down further into more detailed steps,
and in turn, the specific behaviors involved in each step become the focus of the training. For
example, to de-mold the left side of the bumper, the worker must “use left thumb to push along
edge of bumper,” “place pressure in the crease of thumb,” “push toward left side away from mold,”
and “grasp top edge when bumper is released.” Although this level of detail might seem like an
awful lot of analysis for what one might imagine to be a relatively straightforward job, Toyota
competes on the basis of quality and cost, and its success in selling millions of Priuses, Camrys,
Tacomas, and Highlanders each year has been attributed to its ability to train production workers
to follow the standardized and efficient procedures.21
Men’s Wearhouse, the Houston-based retailer, provides another good example of an organiza-
tion that uses task performance information to manage its employees.22 The company first gathers
information about the employee’s on-the-job behaviors. For example, the job of wardrobe consul-
tant involves greeting, interviewing and measuring customers properly, ensuring proper alteration
revenue is collected, and treating customers in a warm and caring manner. After the information
is gathered, senior managers provide feedback and coaching to the employee about which types of
behaviors he or she needs to change to improve. The feedback is framed as constructive criticism
meant to improve an employee’s behavior. Put yourself in the place of a Men’s Wearhouse wardrobe
consultant for a moment. Wouldn’t you rather have your performance evaluated on the basis of
behaviors such as those mentioned above, rather than some overall index of sales? After all, those
behaviors are completely within your control, and the feedback you receive from your boss will be
more informative than the simple directive to “sell more suits next year than you did this year.”
If organizations find it impractical to use job analysis to identify the set of behaviors needed
to define task performance, they can turn to a database the government has created to help with
that important activity. The Occupational Information Network (or O*NET) is an online database
that includes, among other things, the characteristics of most jobs in terms of tasks, behaviors,
and the required knowledge, skills, and abilities ( Figure 2-1 shows the
O*NET output for a flight attendant’s position, including many of the tasks discussed previously
in this chapter. Of course, O*NET represents only a first step in figuring out the important tasks
for a given job. Many organizations ask their employees to perform tasks that their competitors do
not, so their workforce performs in a unique and valuable way. O*NET cannot capture those sorts
of unique task requirements that separate the most effective organizations from their competitors.
For example, the authors of a book titled Nuts identify “fun” as one of the dominant values of
Southwest Airlines.23 Southwest believes that people are willing to work more productively and cre-
atively in an environment that includes humor and laughter. Consistent with this belief, flight atten-
dant task performance at Southwest includes not only generic flight attendant activities, such as
those identified by O*NET, but also activities that reflect a sense of humor and playfulness. Effec-
tive flight attendants at Southwest tell jokes over the intercom such as, “We’ll be dimming the lights
Toyota production workers
assemble vehicles using
a highly standardized and
efficient set of tasks.
©Eric Gay/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

35C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 35 10/17/17 11:34 AM
in the cabin . . . pushing the light-bulb button will turn your reading light on. However, pushing the
flight attendant button will not turn your flight attendant on.”24 As another example, Nisshinbo
Automotive, a part of the Japanese company Nisshinbo Holdings, was faced with the challenge of
increasing productivity with fewer workers. They developed a system where they not only evaluated
and compensated employees for behaviors reflected in their job descriptions, but also in behaviors
that supported the company’s mission defined more broadly.25 In summary, though O*NET may
be a good place to start, the task information from the database should be supplemented with infor-
mation regarding behaviors that support the organization’s values and strategy.
Before concluding our section on task performance, it’s important to note that task perfor-
mance behaviors are not simply performed or not performed. Although poor performers often fail
to complete required behaviors, it’s just as true that star performers often exceed all expectations
for those behaviors.26 Moreover, although star performers are much rarer than those who perform
poorly or at average levels, they are often quite visible in their fields.27 In fact, you can probably
think of examples of employees who have engaged in task performance that’s truly extraordinary.
Our OB on Screen feature certainly illustrates one!
Sometimes employees go the extra mile by actually engaging in behaviors that are not within their
job description—and thus that do not fall under the broad heading of task performance. This situ-
ation brings us to the second category of job performance, called citizenship behavior, which is
defined as voluntary employee activities that may or may not be rewarded but that contribute to
the organization by improving the overall quality of the setting or context in which work takes
place.28 Have you ever had a coworker or fellow student who was especially willing to help some-
one who was struggling? Who typically attended optional meetings or social functions to support
his or her colleagues? Who maintained a good attitude, even in trying times? We tend to call those
people “good citizens” or “good soldiers.”29 High levels of citizenship behavior earn them such
FIGURE 2-1 O*NET Results for Flight Attendants
O*NET, or Occupational Information Network, is an online government database that lists the characteristics of most
jobs and the knowledge required for each. This sample is for the job of flight attendant.
Final PDF to printer

36 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 36 10/17/17 11:34 AM
That’s the funny thing, I’ve delivered a million passengers over 40 years in the air, but in the end,
I’m going to be judged by 208 seconds.
With those words, US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) laments to First Officer
Jeff Skiles (Aaron Eckart) that, despite years of performing his job effectively, his legacy hinges
on judgments regarding what occurred during a three-and-a-half minute time span, in the movie
Sully (Dir. Clint Eastwood, Flashlight Films, 2016). In this true story, Sullenberger, or Sully for
short, was the pilot of Cactus 1549, which hit a flock of birds, destroying both engines, shortly
after taking off from New York’s LaGuardia Airport. Sully calmly discussed the problem with his
first officer and an air traffic controller, considered options, and ultimately chose to ditch the
aircraft in the Hudson River. Although Sully executed a perfect water landing, and saved the lives
of all 155 souls on board, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board questioned
his performance that day. Computer and piloted simulations indicated that Sully could have flown
the damaged jet back to LaGuardia, or diverted to Teterboro, a nearby airport in New Jersey.
The opening quote reveals that Sully understood the tension between performance and results.
He was an effective pilot for several decades. Yet his performance was being judged by the results
of a single incident for which he had little control. The movie also illustrates that results are often
in the eye of the beholder. Sully’s decision did result in the loss of a costly aircraft and put the pas-
sengers and the crew at risk, however, the passengers and crew were all saved and each considered
him to be a hero. Ultimately, the investigators came to the same conclusion as Sully’s passengers
and others who referred to the incident as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” The simulations didn’t
take into account the time needed to assess and understand the situation, and there wasn’t any
precedent for losing both engines to a bird strike at such a low altitude in the middle of one of the
most densely populated cities in the world.
©Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
titles. Although there are many different types of behaviors that might seem to fit the definition of
citizenship behavior, research suggests two main categories that differ according to who benefits
from the activity: coworkers or the organization (see Figure 2-2).30
The first category of citizenship behavior is the one with which you’re most likely to be familiar:
interpersonal citizenship behavior. Such behaviors benefit coworkers and colleagues and involve
What is citizenship
Final PDF to printer

37C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 37 10/17/17 11:34 AM
assisting, supporting, and developing other organizational members in a way that goes beyond
normal job expectations.31 For example, helping involves assisting coworkers who have heavy
workloads, aiding them with personal matters, and showing new employees the ropes when they
first arrive on the job. Although helping may require a great deal of time and effort, it often makes
a big difference in the lives of others, and for this reason, those who help others often experience
positive emotions and a sense of being energized.32 Do you consider yourself a helpful person?
Check the OB Assessments feature to see how helpful you really are. Courtesy refers to keeping
coworkers informed about matters that are relevant to them. Some employees have a tendency
to keep relevant facts and events secret. Good citizens do the opposite; they keep others in the
loop because they never know what information might be useful to someone else. Sportsmanship
involves maintaining a good attitude with coworkers, even when they’ve done something annoying
or when the unit is going through tough times. Whining and complaining are contagious; good
citizens avoid being the squeaky wheel who frequently makes mountains out of molehills.
Although interpersonal citizenship behavior is important in many different job contexts, it may
be even more important when employees work in small groups or teams. A team with members
who tend to be helpful, respectful, and courteous is also likely to have a positive team atmosphere
in which members trust one another. This type of situation is essential to foster the willingness
of team members to work toward a common team goal rather than goals that may be more self-
serving.33 In fact, if you think about the behaviors that commonly fall under the “teamwork”
heading, you’ll probably agree that most are examples of interpersonal citizenship behavior (see
Chapter 12 on team processes and communication for more discussion of such issues).34
The second category of citizenship behavior is organizational citizenship behavior. These
behaviors benefit the larger organization by supporting and defending the company, working to
improve its operations, and being especially loyal to it.35 For example, voice involves speaking up
and offering constructive suggestions regarding opportunities to improve unit or organizational
functioning or to address problems that could lead to negative consequences for the organiza-
tion.36 Although supervisors may react more positively to employee suggestions that focus on
opportunities and initiatives to enhance the organization rather than on problems that need to be
addressed in order to prevent potential harm, all forms of voice are important to organizational
effectiveness.37 When there is an opportunity, good citizens express their ideas and suggestions
FIGURE 2-2 Types of Citizenship Behaviors
– Helping
– Courtesy
– Sportsmanship
– Voice
– Civic Virtue
– Boosterism
Final PDF to printer

38 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 38 10/17/17 11:34 AM
How helpful are you? This assessment is designed to measure helping, an interpersonal form
of citizenship behavior. Think of the people you work with most frequently, either at school or
at work. The questions refer to these people as your “work group.” Answer each question using
the scale. Then sum up your answers. (Instructors: Assessments on sportsmanship, boosterism,
political deviance, and trait creativity can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s
Instructor Resources and in the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
If your scores sum up to 40 or higher, you perform a high level of helping behavior, which means
you frequently engage in citizenship behaviors directed at your colleagues. This is good, as long as
it doesn’t distract you from fulfilling your own job duties and responsibilities. If your scores sum
up to less than 40, you perform a low level of helping behaviors. You might consider paying more
attention to whether your colleagues need assistance while working on their task duties.
Source: L.V. Van Dyne and J.A. LePine, “Helping and Voice Extra-Role Behaviors: Evidence of Construct and Predictive
Validity,” Academy of Management Journal 41 (1998), pp. 108–19.
1. I volunteer to do things for my work group.
2. I help orient new members of my work group.
3. I attend functions that help my work group.
4. I assist others in my group with their work for the benefit of the group.
5. I get involved to benefit my work group.
6. I help others in this group learn about the work.
7. I help others in this group with their work responsibilities.
for positive change rather than remaining silent. Good citizens also react to bad rules or policies
by constructively trying to change them as opposed to passively complaining about them (see
Chapter 3 on organizational commitment for more discussion of such issues).38 Civic virtue refers
to participating in the company’s operations at a deeper-than-normal level by attending voluntary
meetings and functions, reading and keeping up with organizational announcements, and keeping
abreast of business news that affects the company. Boosterism means representing the organiza-
tion in a positive way when out in public, away from the office, and away from work. Think of
friends you’ve had who worked for a restaurant. Did they always say good things about the res-
taurant when talking to you and keep any “kitchen horror stories” to themselves? If so, they were
being good citizens by engaging in high levels of boosterism.
Three important points should be emphasized about citizenship behaviors. First, as you’ve prob-
ably realized, citizenship behaviors are relevant in virtually any job, regardless of the particular
Final PDF to printer

39C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 39 10/17/17 11:34 AM
nature of its tasks,39 and research suggests that these behaviors can boost organizational effective-
ness.40 As examples, research conducted in a paper mill found that the quantity and quality of crew
output were higher in crews that included more workers who engaged in citizenship behavior.41
Research in 30 restaurants also showed that higher levels of citizenship behavior promoted higher
revenue, better operating efficiency, higher customer satisfaction, higher performance quality, less
food waste, and fewer customer complaints.42 Thus, it seems clear that citizenship behaviors have
a significant influence on the bottom line.
Second, because citizenship behaviors are relatively discretionary and influenced by the spe-
cific situation the employee is working in, they can vary significantly over time.43 In other words,
an employee who engages in citizenship behavior during one point in time might not engage in
citizenship behavior at other points in time. As an example, it’s likely that you’ve had a very posi-
tive experience working with another student or colleague on a project and were willing to invest
a great deal of extra effort in order to be helpful. At some point, however, the person with whom
you were working may have done something that made you feel much less positive about the col-
laboration and, as a consequence, you decided to withhold your extra help so that you could focus
your energies elsewhere. In fact, researchers have shown that good citizens can develop citizenship
fatigue, or the sense that one is worn out and on edge from engaging in citizenship.44 Citizenship
fatigue reduces future acts of citizenship, and may be especially likely to occur when good citizens
feel that their extra efforts are not supported, or they experience pressure to continue to engage in
citizenship even when they’re already feeling stretched by other demands.
Third, from an employee’s perspective, it may be tempting to discount the importance of citi-
zenship behaviors—to just focus on your own job tasks and leave aside any “extra” stuff. After all,
citizenship behaviors appear to be voluntary and optional, whereas task performance requirements
are not. However, discounting citizenship behaviors is a bad idea because supervisors don’t always
view such actions as optional. In fact, research on computer salespeople, insurance agents, pet-
rochemical salespeople, pharmaceutical sales managers, office furniture makers, sewing machine
operators, U.S. Air Force mechanics, and first-tour U.S. Army soldiers has shown that citizenship
behaviors relate strongly to supervisor evaluations of job performance, even when differences
in task performance are also considered.45 As we discuss in our OB Internationally feature, the
tendency of supervisors to consider citizenship behaviors in evaluating overall job performance
seems to hold even across countries with vastly different cultures.46 Of course, this issue has a lot
of relevance to you, given that in most organizations, supervisors’ evaluations of employee job per-
formance play significant roles in determining employee pay and promotions. Indeed, employee
citizenship behavior has been found to influence the salary and promotion recommendations
people receive, over and above their task performance.47 Put simply, it pays to be a good citizen.
Now we move from the “good soldiers” to the “bad apples.” Whereas task performance and cit-
izenship behavior refer to employee activities that help the organization achieve its goals and
objectives, other activities in which employees engage do just the opposite. This third broad
category of job performance is counterproductive behavior, defined as employee behaviors that
intentionally hinder organizational goal accomplishment. The word “intentionally” is a key aspect
of this definition; these are things that employees mean to do, not things they accidentally do.
Although there are many different kinds of counterproductive behaviors, research suggests that—
like task performance and citizenship behavior—they can be grouped into more specific categories
(see Figure 2-3).48
Property deviance refers to behaviors that harm the organization’s assets and possessions. For
example, sabotage represents the purposeful destruction of physical equipment, organizational pro-
cesses, or company products. Do you know what a laser disc is? Probably not—and the reason you
don’t is because of sabotage. A company called DiscoVision (a subsidiary of MCA) manufactured
laser discs in the late 1970s, with popular movie titles like Smokey and the Bandit and Jaws retailing
for $15.95. Although this price is approximately the same as a new movie on a Blu-ray disc today,
it was far less than the $50–$100 needed to buy videocassettes (which were of inferior quality)
at the time. Unfortunately, laser discs had to be manufactured in clean rooms because specks of
What is counterproductive
Final PDF to printer

40 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 40 10/17/17 11:34 AM
As we’ve already explained, citizenship behavior tends to be viewed as relatively voluntary because
it’s not often explicitly outlined in job descriptions or directly rewarded. However, people in orga-
nizations vary in their beliefs regarding the degree to which citizenship behavior is truly voluntary,
and these differences have important implications. As an example, consider a situation in which
an employee engages in citizenship behaviors because of his or her belief that the behaviors are
part of the job. However, this employee works for a supervisor who believes that citizenship behav-
iors are unnecessary. Assuming that the supervisor would not consider the citizenship behaviors
on a performance evaluation, the employee would likely react negatively because he or she has
not been recognized for putting effort into activities that help other members of the organization.
So what types of factors cause differences in beliefs regarding whether or not citizenship behav-
ior is discretionary? One factor that would appear to be important is national culture. It is widely
believed that the culture in countries like the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands encour-
ages behaviors that support competition and individual achievement, whereas the culture in coun-
tries like China, Colombia, and Portugal encourages behaviors that promote cooperation and
group interests over self-interests. On the basis of these cultural differences, it seems logical to
expect that people from the former set of countries would consider citizenship behavior relatively
unimportant compared with people from the latter set of countries. In reality, however, the find-
ings from one recent study comparing Canadian and Chinese managers found that this cultural
stereotype was simply not true. Managers in both countries not only took citizenship behavior
into account when evaluating overall job performance, but the weight they gave to citizenship
behavior in their overall evaluation of employees was the same. One explanation for this result is
that the realities of running effective business organizations in a global economy have a signifi-
cantly stronger impact on managerial practices than do cultural norms. It is important to note
that the results of this study do not mean that we can ignore culture when trying to understand
employee job performance. In fact, there are reasons to believe that cultural differences are impor-
tant to consider when designing and implementing systems to manage employee performance.
Sources: F.F.T. Chiang and T.A. Birtch, “Appraising Performance across Borders: An Empirical Examination of the Pur-
poses and Practices of Performance Appraisal in a Multi-Country Context.” Journal of Management Studies 47 (2010),
pp. 1365–92; G.Hofstede, “Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind,” McGraw-Hill, New York, 1991; E.W. Morri-
son, “Role Definitions and Organizational Citizenship Behavior: The Importance of the Employee’s Perspective.” Academy
of Management Journal 37 (1994), pp. 1543–67; and M.Rotundo and J.L. Xie, “Understanding the Domain of Counterpro-
ductive Work Behavior in China.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 86 (2008), pp. 856–77.
dust or debris could cause the image on the television to freeze, repeat, skip, or drop out. When
MCA merged with IBM in 1979, the morale of the employees fell, and counterproductive behaviors
began to occur. Employees sabotaged the devices that measured the cleanliness of the rooms. They
also began eating in the rooms—even popping potato chip bags to send food particles into the air.
This sabotage eventually created a 90 percent disc failure rate that completely alienated customers.
As a result, despite its much lower production costs and higher-quality picture, the laser disc disap-
peared, and the organizations that supported the technology suffered incredible losses.49
Even if you’ve never heard of the laser disc, you’ve certainly eaten in a restaurant. The cost
of counterproductive behaviors in the restaurant industry is estimated to be 2–3 percent of rev-
enues per year, but what may be more disturbing is the nature of those counterproductive behav-
iors.50 Thirty-one percent of employees who responded to a survey knowingly served improperly
prepared food, 13 percent intentionally sabotaged the work of other employees, and 12 percent
admitted to intentionally contaminating food they prepared or served to a customer (yuck!). At
a minimum, such sabotage of the restaurant’s product can lead to a bad meal and a customer’s
Final PDF to printer

41C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 41 10/17/17 11:34 AM
promise to never return to that establishment. Of course, such behaviors can also lead to food poi-
soning, health code violations, and a damaging lawsuit. Employees who sabotage customers may
do so, under certain circumstances, as a response to perceived mistreatment by customers. It’s
important to note, however, that retaliation in this manner is not justified, so it’s still considered a
form of counterproductive behavior.51
Theft represents another form of property deviance and can be just as expensive as sabotage (if
not more). Research has shown that up to three-quarters of all employees have engaged in coun-
terproductive behaviors such as theft, and the cost of these behaviors is staggering.52 For example,
one study estimated that 47 percent of store inventory shrinkage was due to employee theft and
that this type of theft costs organizations approximately $14.6 billion per year.53 Maybe you’ve had
friends who worked at a restaurant or bar and been lucky enough to get discounted (or even free)
food and drinks whenever you wanted. Clearly that circumstance is productive for you, but it’s
quite counterproductive from the perspective of the organization.
Production deviance is also directed against the organization but focuses specifically on reduc-
ing the efficiency of work output. Wasting resources, when employees use too many materials or
too much time to do too little work, is the most common form of production deviance. Manufac-
turing employees who use too much wood or metal are wasting resources as are restaurant employ-
ees who use too many ingredients when preparing the food. Workers who work too slowly or take
too many breaks are also wasting resources because “time is money” (see Chapter 3 on organiza-
tional commitment for more discussion of such issues). Substance abuse represents another form
of production deviance. If employees abuse drugs or alcohol while on the job or shortly before
coming to work, then the efficiency of their production will be compromised because their work
will be done more slowly and less accurately.
In contrast to property and production deviance, political deviance refers to behaviors that inten-
tionally disadvantage other individuals rather than the larger organization. Gossiping—casual con-
versations about other people in which the facts are not confirmed as true—is one form of political
deviance. Everyone has experienced gossip at some point in time and knows the emotions people
feel when they discover that other people have been talking about them. Such behaviors under-
mine the morale of both friendship groups and work groups. Incivility represents communication
Source: Adapted from S.L. Robinson and R.J. Bennett, “A Typology of Deviant Workplace Behaviors: A Multidimensional
Scaling Study,” Academy of Management Journal 38 (1995), pp. 555–72.
FIGURE 2-3 Types of Counterproductive Behaviors
Production Deviance
– Wasting resources
– Substance abuse
Property Deviance
– Sabotage
– Theft
Political Deviance
– Gossiping
– Incivility
Personal Aggression
– Harassment
– Abuse
Minor Serious
Final PDF to printer

42 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 42 10/17/17 11:34 AM
that’s rude, impolite, discourte-
ous, and lacking in good man-
ners.54 The erosion of manners
seems like a society-wide phe-
nomenon, and the workplace
is no exception. Taken one
by one, these political forms
of counterproductive behav-
ior may not seem particularly
serious to most organizations.
However, in the aggregate,
acts of political deviance can
create an organizational cli-
mate characterized by distrust
and unhealthy competitive-
ness. Beyond the productivity
losses that result from a lack of
cooperation among employees, organizations with this type of climate likely cannot retain good
employees. Moreover, there’s some evidence that gossip and incivility can “spiral”—meaning that
they gradually get worse and worse until some tipping point, after which more serious forms of
interpersonal actions can occur.55
Those more serious interpersonal actions may involve personal aggression, defined as hostile
verbal and physical actions directed toward other employees. Harassment falls under this heading
and occurs when employees are subjected to unwanted physical contact or verbal remarks from a
colleague. Abuse also falls under this heading; it occurs when an employee is assaulted or endan-
gered in such a way that physical and psychological injuries may occur. You might be surprised
to know that even the most extreme forms of personal aggression are actually quite prevalent in
organizations. For example, on average in the United States about one employee each week is mur-
dered by a current or previous coworker.56 As another example, about 54 million Americans are
bullied at work each year.57 Bullying involves psychological harassment and abuse directed toward
an individual or group of individuals.58 Examples of bullying include humiliation, social isolation,
and systematic maltreatment, all of which results in the target of these behaviors feeling helpless.59
It might surprise you to learn that the source of the bullying is often a boss. We don’t believe that
bosses are inherently evil, but some undoubtedly lose sight of the line between being tough and
being a bully, and that what matters isn’t the intent of the behavior, but rather the perception of
the person to whom the behavior is targeted.60 Acts of personal aggression can also be quite costly
to organizations. For example, Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America settled a class action
sexual harassment lawsuit for $34 million after women at a plant in Normal, Illinois, complained of
widespread and routine groping, fondling, lewd jokes, lewd behavior, and pornographic graffiti.61
Four points should be noted about counterproductive behavior. First, there’s evidence that peo-
ple who engage in one form of counterproductive behavior also engage in others.62 In other words,
such behaviors tend to represent a pattern of behavior rather than isolated incidents. Second, like
citizenship behavior, counterproductive behavior is relevant to any job. It doesn’t matter what
the job entails; there are going to be things to steal, resources to waste, and people to be uncivil
toward. Third, counterproductive behavior may be contagious and its negative consequences may
ripple throughout an organization.63 For example, researchers have found evidence that abusive
behavior on the part of supervisors may result in counterproductive behavior among subordinates
and vice versa.64 Researchers have also shown that supervisors who engage in incivility toward
subordinates create a negative climate in their work groups, which reduces voice, and in turn,
group effectiveness.65 Fourth, it’s often surprising which employees engage in counterproductive
behavior. You might be tempted to guess that poor performers would be the ones who engage in
high levels of counterproductive behavior, and that highly effective task performers do not engage
in counterproductive behavior. In fact, however, there’s only a weak negative correlation between
task performance and counterproductive behavior,66 and if you think about it for a moment, you
can probably come up with a few examples of people who are very effective in their jobs but who
Counterproductive behav-
ior by employees can be
destructive to the organiza-
tion’s goals. In some set-
tings, such as a restaurant,
it can even be a problem
for customers.
©Frank Wartenberg/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

43C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 43 10/17/17 11:34 AM
by Christine Porath (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016).
I’m disappointed to report that the incivility
problem still hasn’t been solved. In fact, it has
gotten much worse. All of us desperately need
to change this reality for the sake of people and
With those words, author Christine Porath out-
lines the book’s main thesis, which is that incivil-
ity is a problem in society and the workplace, and
that we all need to be kinder to each other and
to take concerted action to contribute to greater
civility. On the one hand, this message may seem
quite familiar. Does Aesop’s fable of the Lion and
the Mouse come to mind? On the other hand,
the book is filled with workplace examples and
research findings which vividly underscore the rel-
evance of incivility to managers and organizations.
In the first part of her book, Porath overviews
surveys that indicate incivility has reached “crisis
proportions” and is getting worse. She then pro-
vides examples of incivility such as publicly mock-
ing and belittling people, pointing our mistakes
in an overly harsh and insulting way, and talking
calls or texting in the middle of a conversation or
meeting. Although it might seem obvious that behaviors such as these are inappropriate, Porath
identifies costs to these behaviors that may not be so obvious. As examples, people who are
subject to or witness incivility experience impairment to their ability to process information and
they also experience significant stress. To make matters worse, people who witness incivility are
more likely to engage in incivility themselves. So it turns out that acts of incivility are not merely
isolated incidents, they’re also contagious!
The book also provides a terrific balance of perspectives. First, it offers much to those who are
interested in self-improvement. As an example, there’s a 32-item test that readers can use to
gauge their level of incivility. There are also specific suggestions that interested readers can use to
increase their own civility, such as seeking feedback from colleagues. Second, the book offers sug-
gestions to managers who might be interested in promoting greater civility among employees. As
an example, the author describes how interviews could be used to screen potential employees for
incivility and how existing employees could be coached to enhance their civility.
©Roberts Publishing Services
also engage in high levels of counterproductive behavior. Sometimes the best task performers are
the ones who can best get away with counterproductive actions, because they’re less likely to be
suspected or blamed. Moreover, counterproductive behaviors might even be tolerated for a while
where the individual is able to effectively accomplish very challenging tasks. Fortunately, as our
OB at the Bookstore feature suggests, there may be ways of effectively managing certain types of
counterproductive behaviors.
Final PDF to printer

44 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 44 10/17/17 11:34 AM
“G O O D P E R F O R M E R” ?
So what does it mean to be a “good performer”? As shown in Figure 2-4, being a good per-
former means a lot of different things. It means employees are good at the particular job tasks
that fall within their job description, whether those tasks are routine or require adaptability or
FIGURE 2-4 What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Performer”?
– Helping
– Courtesy
– Sportsmanship
– Voice
– Civic virtue
– Boosterism
Property Deviance
– Sabotage
– Theft
Production Deviance
– Wasting resources
– Substance abuse
Political Deviance
– Gossiping
– Incivility
Personal Aggression
– Harassment
– Abuse
Final PDF to printer

45C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 45 10/17/17 11:34 AM
creativity. But it also means that employees engage in citizenship behaviors directed at both
coworkers and the larger organization. It also means that employees refrain from engaging in
the counterproductive behaviors that can badly damage the climate of an organization. The
goal for any manager is, therefore, to have employees who fulfill all three pieces of this good
performer description.
As you move forward in this book, you’ll notice that almost every chapter includes a descrip-
tion of how that chapter’s topic relates to job performance. For example, Chapter 4 on job
satisfaction will describe how employees’ feelings about their jobs affect their job performance.
You’ll find that some chapter topics seem more strongly correlated with task performance,
whereas other topics are more strongly correlated with citizenship behavior or counterproduc-
tive behavior. Such differences will help you understand exactly how and why a given topic, be
it satisfaction, stress, motivation, or something else, influences job performance. By the end of
the book, you’ll have developed a good sense of the most powerful drivers of job performance.
Now that we’ve described exactly what job performance is, it’s time to describe some of the trends
that affect job performance in the contemporary workplace. Put simply, the kinds of jobs employ-
ees do are changing, as is the way workers get organized within companies. These trends put pres-
sure on some elements of job performance while altering the form and function of others.
Historically speaking, research on organizational behavior has focused on the physical aspects
of job performance. This focus was understandable, given that the U.S. economy was indus-
trial in nature and the productivity of the employees who labored in plants and factories was
of great concern. However, by the early 1990s, the majority of new jobs required employees to
engage in cognitive work, applying theoretical and analytical knowledge acquired through edu-
cation and continuous learning.67 Statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor confirm that
this type of work, also called knowledge work, is becoming more prevalent than jobs involving
physical activity.68
In addition to being more cognitive, knowledge work tends to be more fluid and dynamic in
nature. Facts, data, and information are always changing. Moreover, as time goes by, it becomes
easier to access more and more of these facts and data, using Google on an iPhone for example.
In addition, the tools used to do knowledge work change quickly, with software, databases, and
computer systems updated more frequently than ever. As those tools become more powerful, the
expectations for completing knowledge work become more ambitious. After all, shouldn’t reports
and presentations be more comprehensive and finished more quickly when every book used to
create them is available online 24/7 rather than at some library? In fact, as many have recently
noted, expectations regarding knowledge work can become overwhelming for employees, and as a
consequence, new and innovative ways of performing this type of work may be necessary.69
One of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the economy is not in industries that produce
goods but rather in industries that provide services. Service work, or work that provides non-
tangible goods to customers through direct electronic, verbal, or physical interaction, accounts
for approximately 55 percent of the economic activity in the United States,70 and about
20 percent of the new jobs created are service jobs, trailing only professional services in terms
of growth.71 Retail salespersons, customer service representatives, and food service workers
represent the bulk of that service job growth. By comparison, maintenance, repair, construc-
tion, and production jobs are projected to account for only 4–7 percent of new jobs over the
next several years.
What workplace trends are
affecting job performance
in today’s organizations?
Final PDF to printer

46 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 46 10/17/17 11:34 AM
The increase in service jobs has a num-
ber of implications for job performance. For
example, the costs of bad task performance
are more immediate and more obvious. When
customer service representatives do their job
duties poorly, the customer is right there to
notice. That failure can’t be hidden behind
the scenes or corrected by other employees
chipping in before it’s too late. In addition,
service work contexts place a greater pre-
mium on high levels of citizenship behavior
and low levels of counterproductive behav-
ior. If service employees refuse to help one
another or maintain good sportsmanship, or
if they gossip and insult one another, those negative emotions get transmitted to the customer during
the service encounter. Maintaining a positive work environment therefore becomes even more vital.
In fact, some very notable organizations compete successfully by placing special emphasis on
the performance of people who do service work. Amazon, for example, believes that the best way
to ensure that customers keep using its website to purchase merchandise is to ensure custom-
ers are satisfied with their experience, especially when a transaction goes wrong, such as if mer-
chandise arrives broken or an order doesn’t ship because the product is back ordered.72 Amazon
customer service employees receive a great deal of training so that they can provide timely and
consistent responses to customers who have questions or problems. In fact, customer service is so
important to Amazon that each and every employee, including CEO Jeff Bezos, spends two days
a year answering customer service calls.73 Apparently all this training has paid off: Amazon now
ranks number one in customer service quality, scoring above companies such as The Ritz-Carlton
and Lexus, which are famous for providing world-class customer service.74
Now that we’ve described what job performance is, along with some of the workplace trends that
affect it, it’s time to discuss how organizations use job performance information. Good companies
understand the linkage between employee job performance and organizational performance, and
as a consequence they invest resources collecting information about employee performance so that
it can be managed in a way that helps the organization achieve its mission.75 In this section, we
describe general ways in which job performance information is used to manage employee perfor-
mance. We spotlight four of the most representative practices: management by objectives, behav-
iorally anchored rating scales, 360-degree feedback, and forced ranking. We’ll also discuss how
social networking software is being used for performance management purposes in organizations.
Management by objectives (MBO) is a management philosophy that bases an employee’s evalu-
ations on whether the employee achieves specific performance goals.76 How does MBO work?
Typically, an employee meets with his or her manager to develop a set of mutually agreed-upon
objectives that are measurable and specific (see Chapter 6 on motivation for more discussion of
such issues). In addition, the employee and the manager agree on the time period for achieving
those objectives and the methods used to do so. An example of a performance objective for a line
manager in a factory might be something like, “Reducing production waste by 35 percent within
three months by developing and implementing new production procedures.” Employee perfor-
mance then can be gauged by referring to the degree to which the employee achieves results that
are consistent with the objectives. If the line manager cuts production waste by 37 percent within
How can organizations use
job performance informa-
tion to manage employee
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
stresses the importance of
customer service.
©Marcus R. Donner/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

47C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 47 10/17/17 11:34 AM
three months, the manager’s performance would be deemed effective, whereas if the manager only
cuts production waste by 2 percent, his or her performance would be deemed ineffective. MBO is
best suited for managing the performance of employees who work in contexts in which objective
measures of performance can be quantified.
You might have noticed that MBO emphasizes the results of job performance as much as it does
the performance behaviors themselves. In contrast, behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS)
measure performance by directly assessing job performance behaviors. The BARS approach uses
“critical incidents”—short descriptions of effective and ineffective behaviors—to create a measure
that can be used to evaluate employee performance. As an example of a BARS approach, consider
the measure of task performance shown in Table 2-2, which focuses on the “planning, organizing,
and scheduling” dimension of task performance for a manager.77 The rater reads the behaviors on
the right column of the measure, and then selects a rating, in the left column, that corresponds to
the behavior that best matches actual observations of the manager’s behavior.78
Source: Adapted from D.G. Shaw, C.E. Schneier, and R.W. Beatty, “Managing Performance with a Behaviorally Based
Appraisal System,” Applying Psychology in Business: The Handbook for Managers and Human Resource Professionals, ed.
J.W. Jones, B.D. Steffy, and D.W. Bray (Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 2001), pp. 314–25.
TABLE 2-2 BARS Example for “Planning, Organizing, and Scheduling”
[ 7 ] Excellent • Develops a comprehensive project plan, documents it well,
obtains required approval, and distributes the plan to all
[ 6 ] Very Good • Plans, communicates, and observes milestones; states week
by week where the project stands relative to plans. Maintains
up-to-date charts of project accomplishment and backlogs and
uses these to optimize any schedule modifications required.
• Experiences occasional minor operational problems but
communicates effectively.
[ 5 ] Good • Lays out all the parts of a job and schedules each part to
beat schedule; will allow for slack.
• Satisfies customer’s time constraints; time and cost overruns
occur infrequently.
[ 4 ] Average • Makes a list of due dates and revises them as the project
progresses, usually adding unforeseen events; investigates
frequent customer complaints.
• May have a sound plan but does not keep track of mile-
stones; does not report slippages in schedule or other prob-
lems as they occur.
[ 3 ] Below Average • Plans are poorly defined; unrealistic time schedules are common.
• Cannot plan more than a day or two ahead; has no concept
of a realistic project due date.
[ 2 ] Very Poor • Has no plan or schedule of work segments to be performed.
• Does little or no planning for project assignments.
[ 1 ] Unacceptable • Seldom, if ever, completes project because of lack of plan-
ning and does not seem to care.
• Fails consistently due to lack of planning and does not
inquire about how to improve.
Final PDF to printer

48 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 48 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Typically, supervisors rate several performance dimensions using BARS and score an employ-
ee’s overall job performance by taking the average value across all the dimensions. Because the
critical incidents convey the precise kinds of behaviors that are effective and ineffective, feedback
from BARS can help an employee develop and improve over time. That is, employees can develop
an appreciation of the types of behaviors that would make them effective. Such information pro-
vides a nice complement to MBO, which is less capable of providing specific feedback about why
an objective might have been missed.
3 6 0 – D E G R E E F E E D B AC K
The 360-degree feedback approach involves collecting performance information not just from
the supervisor but from anyone else who might have firsthand knowledge about the employ-
ee’s performance behaviors. These other sources of performance information typically include
the employee’s subordinates, peers, and customers. With the exception of the supervisor’s rat-
ings, the ratings are combined so that the raters can remain anonymous to the employee. Most
360-degree feedback systems also ask the employee to provide ratings of his or her own perfor-
mance. The hope is that this 360-degree perspective will provide a more balanced and comprehen-
sive examination of performance. By explicitly comparing self-provided ratings with the ratings
obtained from others, employees can develop a better sense of how their performance may be
deficient in the eyes of others and exactly where they need to focus their energies to improve.
Although the information from a 360-degree feedback system can be used to evaluate employ-
ees for administrative purposes such as raises or promotions, there are problems with that sort
of application. First, because ratings vary across sources, there is the question of which source is
most “correct.” Even if multiple sources are taken into account in generating an overall perfor-
mance score, it’s often unclear how the information from the various sources should be weighted.
Second, raters may give biased evaluations if they believe that the information will be used for
compensation, as opposed to just skill development. Peers in particular may be unwilling to pro-
vide negative information if they believe it will harm the person being rated. As a result, 360-degree
feedback is best suited to improving or developing employee talent, especially if the feedback is
accompanied by coaching about how to improve the areas identified as points of concern.
One of the most notable practices that Jack Welch, Fortune’s Manager of the 20th Century,79
used to manage his workforce at General Electric involved evaluations that make clear distinc-
tions among employees in terms of their job performance. Specifically, Welch employed a system
that differentiated employees using the “vitality curve,” depicted in Figure 2-5. Managers were
required to rank all of their subordinates, and the rankings were used to place employees in one
of three categories: the top 20 percent (A players), the vital middle 70 percent (B players), or
the bottom 10 percent (C players). The A players were thought to possess “the four Es of GE
leadership: very high energy levels, the ability to energize others around common goals, the edge
to make tough yes-and-no decisions, and finally the ability to consistently execute and deliver on
their promises.”80 The B players were the focus of development. According to Welch, B players
are the backbone of the company but lack the passion of As. The C players refer to those employ-
ees who could not get the job done and were let go. The system was taken so seriously at GE that
managers who couldn’t differentiate their people tended to find themselves in the C category.81
Estimates are that about 20 percent of Fortune 500 companies adopted some variant of Welch’s
forced ranking system, also known as “rank and yank” or the “dead man’s curve.”82 However,
there are some important limitations to this system of performance management. For example,
some believe the system is inherently unfair because it forces managers to give bad evaluations
to employees who may be good performers, just to reach a pre-established percentage. As other
examples, employees may become competitive with one another to avoid finding themselves in a
lower category, or they may avoid stepping outside the bounds of routine task behaviors for fear of
standing out or making a mistake. Unfortunately, these behaviors are the exact opposite of what
may be needed in today’s team-based organizations that requite cooperativeness and creativity.
Final PDF to printer

49C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 49 10/17/17 11:34 AM
For these reasons, organizations today (including GE) have moved away from performance man-
agement systems that rely upon forced ranking of employees.83
Most of you reading this book are familiar with social networking services such as Facebook and
Twitter. Well, this technology has recently been applied in organizational contexts to develop
and evaluate employee job performance.84 As an example, Accenture uses a Facebook-styled pro-
gram called “Performance Multiplier,” which requires that employees post and update weekly
and quarterly goals. Managers then monitor the information and provide feedback.85 As another
example, a Toronto-based software company called Rypple uses a Twitter-like program to enable
employees to post questions about their own performance so that other employees can give them
anonymous feedback.86 Although the effectiveness of social networking applications for perfor-
mance evaluation and employee development purposes has not been studied scientifically, there
are some advantages that make us believe that they will grow in popularity. For example, these
types of systems provide performance information that is much more timely, relative to tradi-
tional practices that measure performance quarterly or even yearly. Although it might be unpleas-
ant to learn from your peers that a presentation you gave was boring, it’s much better than giving
50 boring presentations over the course of the year and then getting the news from your boss.
FIGURE 2-5 Jack Welch’s Vitality Curve
“Top 20” “The Vital 70” “Bottom 10”
Source: Adapted from “Jack” by Jack Welch with John A. Byrne, John F. Welch Jr. Foundation, 2001.
2.1 Job performance is the set of employee behaviors that contribute to organizational goal
accomplishment. Job performance has three dimensions: task performance, citizenship
behavior, and counterproductive behavior.
2.2 Task performance includes employee behaviors that are directly involved in the transforma-
tion of organizational resources into the goods or services that the organization produces.
Examples of task performance include routine task performance, adaptive task performance,
and creative task performance.
Final PDF to printer

50 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 50 10/17/17 11:34 AM
2.1 Describe your “job” as a student in terms of the job performance dimensions discussed
in this chapter. What would be the benefit of approaching student performance from a
behavior perspective rather than from an outcome (grades) perspective? What would the
downsides of this approach be? How would grading policies in your classes have to change
to accommodate a behavior approach to student performance?
2.2 Describe the job that you currently hold or hope to hold after graduation. Now look up that
job in the O*NET database. Does the profile of the job fit your expectations? Are any task
behaviors missing from O*NET’s profile?
2.3 Describe a job in which citizenship behaviors would be especially critical to an organiza-
tion’s functioning, and one in which citizenship behaviors would be less critical. What is it
about a job that makes citizenship more important?
• Job performance p. 31
• Task performance p. 31
• Routine task performance p. 32
• Adaptive task performance p. 32
• Creative task performance p. 32
• Job analysis p. 33
• Occupational Information
Network (O*NET) p. 34
• Citizenship behavior p. 35
• Interpersonal citizenship
behavior p. 36
• Helping p. 37
• Courtesy p. 37
• Sportsmanship p. 37
• Organizational citizenship
behavior p. 37
• Voice p. 37
• Civic virtue p. 38
• Boosterism p. 38
• Counterproductive behavior p. 39
• Property deviance p. 39
• Sabotage p. 39
• Theft p. 41
• Production deviance p. 41
• Wasting resources p. 41
• Substance abuse p. 41
• Political deviance p. 41
• Gossiping p. 41
• Incivility p. 41
• Personal aggression p. 42
• Harassment p. 42
• Abuse p. 42
• Knowledge work p. 45
• Service work p. 45
• Management by objectives
(MBO) p. 46
• Behaviorally anchored rating
scales (BARS) p. 47
• 360-degree feedback p. 48
• Forced ranking p. 48
2.3 Organizations gather information about relevant task behaviors using job analysis and O*NET.
2.4 Citizenship behaviors are voluntary employee activities that may or may not be rewarded but
that contribute to the organization by improving the overall quality of the setting in which
work takes place. Examples of citizenship behavior include helping, courtesy, sportsman-
ship, voice, civic virtue, and boosterism.
2.5 Counterproductive behaviors are employee behaviors that intentionally hinder organiza-
tional goal accomplishment. Examples of counterproductive behavior include sabotage,
theft, wasting resources, substance abuse, gossiping, incivility, harassment, and abuse.
2.6 A number of trends have affected job performance in today’s organizations. These trends
include the rise of knowledge work and the increase in service jobs.
2.7 MBO, BARS, 360-degree feedback, and forced ranking practices are four ways that organiza-
tions can use job performance information to manage employee performance.
Final PDF to printer

51C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 51 10/17/17 11:34 AM
GE has played an influential role in managerial practice, in part, because of a highly charismatic
CEO named Jack Welch, who ran the company from 1981 to 2001. In light of intense competi-
tive pressures and the commoditization of many of GE products, Welch focused on goals related
to costs, efficiency, and operational excellence, and he instituted practices that reinforced
employee behaviors to ensure that his goals could be met. As an example, Welch advocated an
annual job performance review process that drew sharp distinctions between effective and inef-
fective employees. He felt that the best way to do this was to have managers rank employees rela-
tive to their peers and to fire the bottom 10 percent. Welch’s hard-nosed approach to managing
the performance of his employees led GE to great success during his tenure.
Welch’s successor at GE, Jeff Immelt, recognized that a new set of employee behaviors was
necessary to compete in a changing competitive environment where technology and innovation are
making product life cycles shorter. Rather than focusing on doing things in the most cost-effective
and efficient way, and without error, employees need to take risks and test new ideas, and incor-
porate learning from errors into deliverables. With this shift in thinking, Immelt moved GE away
from many of the rigid practices that Welch implemented, including the “rank and yank” annual
performance review system. Immelt and others at the company came to believe that the system
promoted competitiveness rather than cooperation, and that it had become a time-consuming ritual
that hindered the type of risk taking necessary for the company to succeed in the 21st century.
In fact, GE has moved away from formalized annual reviews of employee job performance
altogether. Rather than rating employees each year on a scale that results in labels such as “role
model,” “strong contributor,” or “unsatisfactory,” the company has adopted a smartphone app
called PD@GE, which facilitates ongoing performance feedback throughout the year. Manag-
ers are expected to have frequent discussions, or “touchpoints,” with employees on short-term
priorities so that discrepancies can be fixed quickly. Employees can also use the app to request
feedback from others in the organization so that they have a better understanding of whether
they should continue to do something or to change what they are doing. Although there are still
open questions regarding how the system can be used to support compensation decisions, the
company is convinced that it will provide feedback to employees that is more relevant and timely.
2.1 How well do you think that Jack Welch’s performance review system evaluated employee
job performance (as we have defined it in this chapter)? Which specific dimensions of job
performance do you think his system emphasized?
2.2 Describe advantages of the PD@GE app as a means of evaluating employee job performance.
2.3 Describe disadvantages of the PD@GE app. Explain why managers with longer tenure at
GE may have doubts about the effectiveness of the PD@GE app. What could be done to
alleviate potential concerns?
Sources: M. LaMagna, “Why Major Companies Are Getting Rid of Traditional Performance Reviews,” Marketwatch, July 12,
06-06; M. Nisen, “How Millennials Forced GE to Scrap Performance Reviews,” The Atlantic (from the archive of partner
QUARTZ), August 18, 2015,
performance-reviews/432585/; R. Silverman, “GE Re-Engineers Performance Reviews, Pay Practices.” The Wall Street
Journal, June 8, 2016,; and
R. Silverman, “GE Does Away with Employee Ratings,” The Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2016,
C A S E : G E
2.4 Figure 2-3 classifies production deviance and political deviance as more minor in nature
than property deviance and personal aggression. When might those “minor” types of coun-
terproductive behavior prove especially costly?
2.5 Consider how you would react to 360-degree feedback. If you were the one receiving the feed-
back, whose views would you value most: your manager’s or your peer’s? If you were asked to
assess a peer, would you want your opinion to affect that peer’s raises or promotions?
Final PDF to printer

52 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 52 10/17/17 11:34 AM
The purpose of this exercise is to explore what job performance means for a server in a restau-
rant. This exercise uses groups of participants, so your instructor will either assign you to a group
or ask you to create your own group. The exercise has the following steps:
2.1 Conduct a job analysis for a restaurant server. Begin by drawing a circle like the one below.
Use that circle to summarize the major job dimensions of a restaurant server. For example,
one job dimension might be “Taking Orders.” Divide the circle up with four additional job
dimensions. Now get more specific by listing two behaviors per job dimension. For example,
two behaviors within the “Taking Orders” dimension might be “Describing the Menu” and
“Making Recommendations.” At the end of step 1, you should have a list of eight specific
behaviors that summarize the tasks involved in being a restaurant server. Write your
group’s behaviors down on the board or on a transparency, leaving some space for some
additional behaviors down the line.
2.2 Take a look at the resulting list. Did you come up with any behaviors that would be described
as “citizenship behaviors”? If you didn’t include any in your list, does that mean that citizen-
ship behavior isn’t important in a restaurant setting? If your group includes someone who
has worked as a server, ask him or her to describe the importance of citizenship behavior.
Come up with two especially important citizenship behaviors and add those to your list.
2.3 Take another look at your list. Did you come up with any behaviors that would be described
as “counterproductive behaviors”? If you didn’t include any, does that mean that counterpro-
ductive behavior isn’t an important concern in a restaurant setting? If your group includes
someone who has worked as a server, ask him or her to describe the potential costs of coun-
terproductive behavior. Come up with two costly counterproductive behaviors and add (the
avoidance of) them to your list.
2.4 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on how a restaurant owner
or manager might use the resulting list to evaluate the performance of restaurant servers.
How could this list be used to assess server performance? Would such an approach be valu-
able? Why or why not?
Taking Orders
2.1 Duffy, M.K.; K.L. Scott;
J.D. Shaw; B.J. Tepper;
and K. Aquino. “A
Social Context Model of
Envy and Social Under-
mining.” Academy of
Management Journal 55
(2012), pp. 643–66; and
Greenbaum, R.L.; M.B.
Mawritz; and G. Eissa.
“Bottom-Line Mentality
as an Antecedent of
Social Undermining and
the Moderating Roles of
Core Self-Evalutions and
Conscientiousness.” Jour-
nal of Applied Psychology
97 (2012), pp. 343–59.
2.2 Corkery, M. “Wells
Fargo Struggling in
Aftermath of Fraud
Final PDF to printer

53C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 53 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Scandal.” The New
York Times, January 13,
2017. https://www
2.3 Shawel, T. “Home-
grown Career Develop-
ment.” HR Magazine,
April 2011, pp. 36–38.
2.4 Campbell, J.P. “Model-
ing the Performance
Prediction Problem in
Industrial and Organi-
zational Psychology.”
In Handbook of Indus-
trial and Organizational
Psychology, Vol. 1, 2nd
ed., ed. M.D. Dunnette
and L.M. Hough. Palo
Alto, CA: Consulting
Psychologists Press,
1990, pp. 687–732;
and Motowidlo, S.J.;
W.C. Borman; and M.J.
Schmit. “A Theory of
Individual Differences
in Task and Contextual
Performance.” Human
Performance 10 (1997),
pp. 71–83.
2.5 Borman, W.C., and S.J.
Motowidlo. “Expanding
the Criterion Domain
to Include Elements
of Contextual Perfor-
mance.” In Personnel
Selection in Organiza-
tions, ed. N. Schmitt
and W.C. Borman. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
1993, pp. 71–98.
2.6 Ibid.
2.7 Occupational Informa-
tion Network (O*NET)
OnLine (n.d.), http://
2.8 Weiss, H.M., and D.R.
Ilgen. “Routinized
Behavior in Organiza-
tions.” Journal of
Behavioral Economics
24 (1985), pp. 57–67.
2.9 LePine, J.A.; J.A.
Colquitt; and A.
Erez. “Adaptability
to Changing Task
Contexts: Effects of
General Cognitive
Ability, Conscientious-
ness, and Openness to
Experience.” Personnel
Psychology 53 (2000),
pp. 563–93.
2.10 CBC News. “Plane Fire
at Pearson Airport:
Flight 358.” Indepth
website, August 8,
2005, http://www.cbc
2.11 Ilgen, D.R., and E.D.
Pulakos. “Employee
Performance in Today’s
Organizations.” In
The Changing Nature
of Work Performance:
Implications for
Staffing, Motivation,
and Development, ed.
D.R. Ilgen and E.D.
Pulakos. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 1999,
pp. 1–20.
2.12 Haneberg, L. “Training
for Agility: Building the
Skills Employees Need
to Zig and Zag.” Train-
ing and Development,
September 2011, pp.
2.13 Associated Press.
“Unemployed Find
Old Jobs Now Require
More Skills.” Gaines-
ville Sun, October 11,
2010, p. 7A.
2.14 Pulakos, E.D.; S. Arad;
M.A. Donovan; and
K.E. Plamondon.
“Adaptability in the
Workplace: Develop-
ment of a Taxonomy of
Adaptive Performance.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 85 (2000),
pp. 612–24.
2.15 Amabile, T.M. “How to
Kill Creativity.”
Harvard Business
Review 76 (1998),
pp. 76–88.
2.16 “Bikini Trivia: His-
tory of the Bikini”
(n.d.), http://www
2.17 Florida, R. “America’s
Looming Creativity
Crisis.” Harvard Busi-
ness Review 82 (2004),
pp. 122–36.
2.18 Grant, A.M., and J.W.
Berry. “The Necessity
of Others Is the Mother
of Invention: Intrinsic
and Prosocial Motiva-
tions, Perspective
Taking, and Creativity.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 54
(2011), pp. 73–96; and
George, J.M. “Creativ-
ity in Organizations.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Annals, Vol. 1,
ed. J.P. Walsh and
A.P. Brief. New York:
Erlbaum, 2007, pp.
2.19 Baer, M. “Putting
Creativity to Work:
The Implementation of
Creative Ideas in Orga-
nizations.” Academy of
Management Journal 55
(2012), pp. 1102–19.
2.20 Liker, J.K., and D. P.
Meier. Toyota Talent:
Developing Your People
the Toyota Way. New
York: McGraw-Hill,
2.21 Ibid.
2.22 O’Reilly III, C.A.,
and J. Pfeffer. Hidden
Final PDF to printer

54 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 54 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Value: How Great
Companies Achieve
Extraordinary Results
with Ordinary People.
Boston: Harvard Busi-
ness School Press,
2.23 Freidberg, K., and J.
Freidberg. Nuts! South-
west Airlines’ Crazy
Recipe for Business
and Personal Success.
Austin, TX: Bard Press,
2.24 Kaplan, M.D.G. “What
are you, a comedian?”
USA, July
13, 2003.
2.25 Krell, E. “All for Incen-
tives, Incentives for
All.” HR Magazine,
January 2011, pp.
2.26 Ibid.
2.27 Aguinis, H.; E. O’Boyle,
Jr.; E. Gonzalez-Mule;
and H. Joo. “Cumula-
tive Advantage: Con-
ductors and Insulators
of Heavy-Tailed Pro-
ductivity Distributions
and Productivity Stars.”
Personnel Psychology
69 (2016), pp. 3–66;
and Call, M.L.; A.J.
Nyberg; and S.M.B.
Thatcher. “Stargazing:
An Integrative Concep-
tual Review, Theoretical
Reconciliation, and
Extension for Star
Employee Research.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 100 (2015),
pp. 623–40.
2.28 Borman and Motow-
idlo, “Expanding the
Criterion Domain.”
2.29 Organ, D.W. Organi-
zational Citizenship
Behavior: The Good
Soldier Syndrome. Lex-
ington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1988.
2.30 Coleman, V.I., and W.C.
Borman. “Investigating
the Underlying Struc-
ture of the Citizenship
Performance Domain.”
Human Resource
Management Review 10
(2000), pp. 25–44.
2.31 Ibid.
2.32 Lanaj, K.; R.E. John-
son; and M. Wang.
“When Lending a Hand
Depletes the Will:
The Daily Costs and
Benefits of Helping.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 100 (2016),
pp. 1097–110.
2.33 MacMillan, P. The
Performance Factor:
Unlocking the Secrets of
Teamwork. Nashville,
TN: Broadman & Hol-
man, 2001.
2.34 LePine, J.A.; R.F.
Piccolo; C.L. Jackson;
J.E. Mathieu; and J.R.
Saul. “A Meta-Analysis
of Teamwork Process:
Towards a Better
Understanding of the
Dimensional Structure
and Relationships with
Team Effectiveness
Criteria.” Personnel
Psychology 61 (2008),
pp. 273–307.
2.35 Coleman and Borman,
“Investigating the
Underlying Structure.”
2.36 Liang, J.; C.I. Farh;
and J.L. Farh. “Psycho-
logical Antecedents
of Promotive and Pro-
hibitive Voice: A Two-
Wave Examination.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 55 (2012),
pp. 71–92; Morrison,
E.W. “Employee Voice
Behavior: Integration
and Directions for
Future Research.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Annals (5) 2011,
pp. 373–412; Morrison,
E.W. “Employee Voice
and Silence.” Annual
Review of Organizational
Psychology and Orga-
nizational Behavior (1)
2014, pp. 173–97; and
Van Dyne, L., and J.A.
LePine. “Helping and
Voice Extra-Role Behav-
iors: Evidence of Con-
struct and Predictive
Validity.” Academy of
Management Journal 41
(1998), pp. 108–19.
2.37 Bashshur, M.R., and O.
Burak. “When Voice
Matters: A Multilevel
Review of the Impact
of Voice in Organiza-
tions.” Journal of Man-
agement (41) 2015, pp.
1530–54; and Chamber-
lin, M.; D.W. Newton;
and J.A. LePine. “A
Meta-Analysis of Voice
and Its Promotive and
Prohibitive Forms:
Identification of Key
Associations, Distinc-
tions, and Future
Research Directions.”
Personnel Psychology 70
(2017), pp. 11–71.
2.38 Burris, E.R. “The Risks
and Rewards of Speak-
ing Up: Managerial
Responses to Employee
Voice.” Academy of
Management Journal
55 (2012), pp. 851–75;
Liu, W.; S. Tangirala;
W. Lam; Z. Chen; R.T.
Jia; and X. Huang.
Final PDF to printer

55C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 55 10/17/17 11:34 AM
“How and When
Peers’ Positive Mood
Influence Employees’
Voice.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 100
(2015), pp. 976–89;
and Van Dyne, L., and
J.A. LePine. “Helping
and Voice Extra-Role
Behavior: Evidence of
Construct and Predic-
tive Validity.” Academy
of Management Journal
41 (1998), pp. 108–19.
2.39 Motowidlo, S.J.
“Some Basic Issues
Related to Contex-
tual Performance
and Organizational
Citizenship Behavior
in Human Resource
Management.” Human
Resource Management
Review 10 (2000),
pp. 115–26.
2.40 Podsakoff, N.P;
S.W. Whiting; P.M.
Podsakoff; and B.D.
Blume. “Individual- and
Consequences of
Organizational Citizen-
ship Behaviors: A
Meta-Analysis.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
94 (2009), pp. 122–41;
and Podsakoff, P.M.;
S.B. MacKenzie;
J.B. Paine; and D.G.
Bachrach. “Organi-
zational Citizenship
Behaviors: A Critical
Review of the Theoreti-
cal and Empirical Lit-
erature and Suggestions
for Future Research.”
Journal of Management
26 (2000), pp. 513–63.
2.41 Podsakoff, P.M.; M.
Ahearne; and S.B.
MacKenzie. “Organi-
zational Citizenship
Behavior and the
Quantity and Quality
of Work Group Per-
formance.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 82
(1997), pp. 262–70.
2.42 Walz, S.M., and B.P.
Neihoff. “Organiza-
tional Citizenship
Behaviors and Their
Effect on Organiza-
tional Effectiveness
in Limited-Menu Res-
taurants.” In Academy
of Management Best
Papers Proceedings,
ed. J.B. Keys and L.N.
Dosier. Statesboro,
GA: College of Busi-
ness Administration
at Georgia Southern
University, 1996,
pp. 307–11.
2.43 Dalal, R.S.; H. Lam;
H.M. Weiss; E.R.
Welch; and C.L. Hulin.
“A Within-Person
Approach to Work
Behavior and Perfor-
mance: Concurrent and
Lagged Citizenship-
Associations, and
Dynamic Relationships
with Affect and Overall
Job Performance.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 52
(2009), pp. 1051–66;
and Koopman, J.; K.
Lanaj; and B.A. Scott.
“Integrating the Bright
and Dark Sides of
OCB: A Daily Investi-
gation of the Benefits
and Costs of Helping
Others.” Academy of
Management Journal 59
(2016), pp. 414–35.
2.44 Bolino, M.C.; H.H.
Hsiung; Harvey, J.;
and J.A. LePine. “‘Well,
I’m Tired of Tryin’!’
Organizational Citizen-
ship Behavior and
Citizenship Fatigue.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 100 (2015),
pp. 56–74.
2.45 Allen, T.D., and M.C.
Rush. “The Effects
of Organizational
Citizenship Behavior
on Performance Judg-
ments: A Field Study
and a Laboratory
Experiment.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
83 (1998), pp. 247–60;
Avila, R.A.; E.F. Fern;
and O.K. Mann.
“Unraveling Criteria for
Assessing the Perfor-
mance of Sales People:
A Causal Analysis.”
Journal of Personal
Selling and Sales Man-
agement 8 (1988), pp.
45–54; Lowery, C.M.,
and T.J. Krilowicz.
“Relationships among
Nontask Behaviors,
Rated Performance,
and Objective Perfor-
mance Measures.”
Psychological Reports
74 (1994), pp. 571–78;
MacKenzie, S.B.; P.M.
Podsakoff; and R. Fet-
ter. “Organizational Cit-
izenship Behavior and
Objective Productivity
as Determinants of
Managerial Evaluations
of Salespersons’ Perfor-
mance.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Decision Processes 50
(1991), pp. 123–50;
MacKenzie, S.B.; P.M.
Podsakoff; and R.
Fetter. “The Impact
of Organizational
Citizenship Behavior
on Evaluation of Sales
Final PDF to printer

56 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 56 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Performance.” Journal
of Marketing 57 (1993),
pp. 70–80; MacKenzie,
S.B.; P.M. Podsakoff;
and J.B. Paine. “Effects
of Organizational
Citizenship Behaviors
and Productivity on
Evaluation of Perfor-
mance at Different
Hierarchical Levels in
Sales Organizations.”
Journal of the Academy
of Marketing Science 27
(1999), pp. 396–410;
Motowidlo, S.J., and
J.R. Van Scotter.
“Evidence That Task
Performance Should
Be Distinguished
from Contextual
Performance.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
79 (1994), pp. 475–80;
Podsakoff, P.M., and
S.B. MacKenzie. “Orga-
nizational Citizenship
Behaviors and Sales
Unit Effectiveness.”
Journal of Marketing
Research 3 (February
1994), pp. 351–63; and
Van Scotter, J.R., and
S.J. Motowidlo. “Inter-
personal Facilitation
and Job Dedication as
Separate Facets of Con-
textual Performance.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 81 (1996),
pp. 525–31.
2.46 Rotundo, M., and
P.R. Sackett. “The
Relative Importance
of Task, Citizenship,
and Counterproductive
Performance to Global
Ratings of Job Perfor-
mance: A Policy Captur-
ing Approach.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 87
(2002), pp. 66–80.
2.47 Allen and Rush, “The
Effects of Organiza-
tional Citizenship
Behavior on Perfor-
mance Judgments”;
Kiker, D.S., and S.J.
Motowidlo. “Main and
Interaction Effects of
Task and Contextual
Performance on
Supervisory Reward
Decisions.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 84
(1999), pp. 602–9; and
Park, O.S., and H.P
Sims Jr. “Beyond Cog-
nition in Leadership:
Prosocial Behavior and
Affect in Managerial
Judgment.” Working
Paper, Seoul National
University and Pennsyl-
vania State University,
2.48 Marcus, B.; O.A.
Taylor; S. E. Hastings;
A. Strum; and O.
Weigelt. “The Structure
of Counterproductive
Work Behavior: A
Review, a Structural
Meta-Analysis, and
a Primary Study.”
Journal of Manage-
ment (42), pp. 203–33;
and Robinson, S.L.,
and R.J. Bennett. “A
Typology of Deviant
Workplace Behaviors:
A Multidimensional
Scaling Study.” Acad-
emy of Management
Journal 38 (1995),
pp. 555–72.
2.49 Cellitti, D.R. “MCA
DiscoVision: The
Record That Plays Pic-
tures,” June 25, 2002,
2.50 Hollweg, L. “Inside
the Four Walls of the
Restaurant: The Reality
and Risk of Counter-
Productive Behaviors,”
2003, http://www
.Reprint_9 .
2.51 Wang, M.; H. Liao; Y.
Zhan; and J. Shi. “Daily
Customer Mistreatment
and Employee Sabotage
Against Customers:
Examining Emotion
and Resource Perspec-
tives.” Academy of
Management Journal 54
(2011), p. 31.
2.52 Harper, D. “Spotlight
Abuse—Save Profits.”
Industrial Distribution
79 (1990), pp. 47–51.
2.53 Hollinger, R.C., and
L. Langton. 2004
National Retail Security
Survey. Gainesville:
University of Florida,
Security Research
Project, Department of
Criminology, Law and
Society, 2005.
2.54 Andersson, L.M., and
C.M. Pearson. “Tit
for Tat? The Spiraling
Effect of Incivility in
the Workplace.” Acad-
emy of Management
Review 24 (1999), pp.
2.55 Ibid.
2.56 Armour, S. “Managers
Not Prepared for
Workplace Violence.”
USA Today, July 19,
2004, http://www
Final PDF to printer

57C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 57 10/17/17 11:34 AM
2.57 Daniel, T.A. “Tough
Boss or Workplace
Bully?” HR Magazine,
June 2009, pp. 83–86.
2.58 Baillien, E.; N. De
Cuyper; and H. De
Witte. “Job Autonomy
and Workload as Ante-
cedents of Workplace
Bullying: A Two-Wave
Test of Karasek’s Job
Demand Control
Model for Targets and
Perpetrators.” Journal of
Occupational and Orga-
nizational Psychology 84
(2010), pp. 191–208.
2.59 Cowie, H.; P. Naylor; I.
Rivers; P.K. Smith; and
B. Pereira. “Measuring
Workplace Bullying.”
Aggression and Violent
Behavior 7 (2002), pp.
35–51; Baillien et al.
“Job Autonomy and
Workload as Anteced-
ents of Workplace Bul-
lying”; and Einarsen,
S.S.; B. Matthisen; and
L.J. Hauge. “Bullying
and Harassment at
Work. In The Oxford
Handbook of Person-
nel Psychology, ed. S.
Cartwright and C.L.
Cooper. London: Sage,
2009, pp. 464–95.
2.60 Ibid.
2.61 PBS. “Isolated
Incidents?” Online
Newshour, April 26,
1996, http://www
2.62 Sackett, P.R. “The
Structure of Coun-
terproductive Work
Behaviors: Dimension-
ality and Performance
with Facets of Job
Performance.” Interna-
tional Journal of Selec-
tion and Assessment 10
(2002), pp. 5–11.
2.63 Foulk, T.; A. Woolum;
and A. Erez. “Catch-
ing Rudeness Is Like
Catching a Cold: The
Contagion Effects of
Low-Intensity Negative
Behaviors.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
100 (2016), pp. 50–67;
Lee, K.Y.; E. Kim;
D.P. Bhave; and M.K.
Duffy. “Why Victims of
Undermining at Work
Become Perpetrators of
Undermining: An Inte-
grated Model.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
100 (2016), pp. 915–24;
Rosen, C.C.; J. Koop-
man; A.S. Gabriel; and
R.E. Johnson. “Why
Strikes Back? A Daily
Investigation of When
and Why Incivility
Begets Incivility.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 101 (2016), pp.
2.64 Ferris, D.L.; M. Yan;
V.K.G. Lim; Y. Chen;
and S. Fatimah. “An
Framework of Work-
place Aggression.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 59 (2016),
pp. 1777–800; Lian,
H.; D.L. Ferris; R.
Morrison; and D.J.
Brown. “Blame it on
the Supervisor or the
Subordinate? Recipro-
cal Relations Between
Abusive Supervision
and Organizational
Deviance.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 99
(2014), pp. 651–64;
and Liang, L.H.; H.
Lian; D.J. Brown; D.L.
Ferris; S. Hanig; and
L.M. Keeping. “Why
Are Abusive Supervi-
sors Abusive? A Dual-
System Self-Control
Model.” Academy of
Management Journal 59
(2016), pp. 13–85.
2.65 Frazier, M.L., and
W.M. Bowler. “Voice
Climate, Supervisor
Undermining, and
Work Outcomes: A
Group-Level Exami-
nation.” Journal of
Management (41) 2015,
pp. 841–63.
2.66 Sackett, P.R., and
C.J. DeVore. “Counter-
productive Behaviors at
Work.” In Handbook
of Industrial, Work,
and Organizational
Psychology, Vol. 1, ed.
N. Anderson; D.S.
Ones; H.K. Sinangil;
and C. Viswesvaran.
Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage, 2001, pp. 145–51.
2.67 Drucker, P.F. “The Age
of Social Transforma-
tion.” The Atlantic
Monthly 274 (1994),
pp. 53–80.
2.68 U.S. Department of
Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics. “Tomorrow’s
Jobs” (n.d.), http://
2.69 Allen, D. Getting Things
Done. New York:
Penguin Books, 2001.
2.70 U.S. Census Bureau.
“Welcome to the
Final PDF to printer

58 C H A P T E R 2 Job Performance
coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 58 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Service Annual Sur-
vey,” March 30, 2009,
2.71 Hecker, D. “Occupa-
tional Employment
Projections to 2012.”
Monthly Labor Review
127 (2004), pp.
80–105, http://www
2.72 Green, H. “How
Amazon Aims to Keep
You Clicking.” Business-
Week, March 2, 2009,
pp. 34–40.
2.73 Ibid.
2.74 McGregor, J. “Behind
the List.” BusinessWeek,
March 2, 2009, p. 32.
2.75 DeNisi, A.S., and
K.R. Murphy.
“Performance Appraisal
and Performance
Management: 100 Years
of Progress?” Journal
of Applied Psychology
(2017), pp. 1–13.
2.76 Drucker, P.F. The
Practice of Management.
New York: Harper and
Brothers, 1954.
2.77 Shaw, D.G.; C.E.
Schneier; and R.W.
Beatty. “Managing
Performance with a
Behaviourally Based
Appraisal System.” In
Applying Psychology
in Business: The
Handbook for Managers
and Human Resource
Professionals, ed.
J.W Jones; B.D.
Steffy; and D.W.
Bray. Lexington, MA:
Lexington Books, 2001,
pp. 314–25.
2.78 Pulakos, E.D. “Behav-
ioral Performance
Measures.” In Applying
Psychology in Business:
The Handbook for
Managers and Human
Resource Professionals,
ed. J.W. Jones; B.D.
Steffy; and D.W. Bray.
Lexington, MA:
Lexington Books, 2001,
pp. 307–13.
2.79 “Fortune Selects Henry
Ford Businessman of
the Century,” Novem-
ber 1, 1999, http://
2.80 Welch, J.F. Jr. Jack,
“Straight from the
Gut,” Warner Books,
New York, 2001, p. 158.
2.81 Ibid.
2.82 Johnson, G. “Forced
Ranking: The Good,
the Bad, and the
Alternative.” Training
Magazine, May 2004,
pp. 24–34.
2.83 M. Nisen. “How Mil-
lennials Forced GE
to Scrap Performance
Reviews.” The Atlantic,
August 18, 2015,
2.84 McGregor, J. “Job
Review in 140 Keystrokes:
Social Networking-Style
Systems Lighten up the
Dreaded Performance
Evaluation.” Business-
Week, March 29, 2009,
p. 58.
2.85 Ibid.
2.86 Ibid.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch02_028-059.indd 59 10/17/17 11:34 AM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 60 10/11/17 08:40 AM
3.1 What is organizational commitment? What is withdrawal behavior? How are the two connected?
3.2 What are the three types of organizational commitment, and how do they differ?
3.3 What are the four primary responses to negative events at work?
3.4 What are some examples of psychological withdrawal? Of physical withdrawal? How do the different
forms of withdrawal relate to each other?
3.5 What workplace trends are affecting organizational commitment in today’s organizations?
3.6 How can organizations foster a sense of commitment among employees?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Styles &
Power &
Processes &
Characteristics &
Personality &
Cultural Values
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Learning &
Decision Making
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 61 10/11/17 08:40 AM
hat’s your sense of the typical career path at a Big
Four accounting firm? Put in five or so good years,
then step away from the grind of travel and hours
for something more slow-paced? PwC, the New York–based
firm with 41,531 U.S. employees (and 157,955 employees
worldwide) is fighting to make that career path a bit less typ-
ical. The firm, which was recently named one of Fortune’s
100 Best Companies to Work For, is taking a number of
steps to build a sense of loyalty among the rank and file.
Some of those steps are focused on making PwC a fun
place to work. For example, interns who receive offers of
full-time employment get to compete in games and chal-
lenges at Disney World. PwC also uses sporting events and
leagues to promote camaraderie. Nearly 400 employees—
including interns and partners—participated in its softball
tournament in Denver. Other steps are focused on making
PwC a convenient place to work. For example, the com-
pany offers a number of desirable perks, including tele-
commuting, job sharing, compressed work weeks, paid
parental leave, and paid time off for volunteering. Indeed,
PwC recently announced that it would begin contributing
$1,200 a year to employees’ student loans. The founder of
a startup helping PwC administer this new perk views it as
a “tremendous differentiator” when PwC recruits on college
Helping hires pay off their student loans should be par-
ticularly valued by Millennials, who typically carry a signifi-
cant amount of debt from college. PwC hopes that’s the
case, as it’s struggled to build loyalty on the part of Millen-
nials in recent years. Whereas new hires typically stayed for
multiple years to take advantage of training and develop-
ment opportunities, more and more Millennials have been
quitting after a year or two. “Our first reaction was to ques-
tion ourselves,” says Anne Donovan, a manager in PwC’s
human capital group. “We thought we must be hiring the
wrong people.” That sense changed when PwC commis-
sioned a large-scale study of Millennial attitudes, to find out
what drove loyalty for that age group. What did that study
show? Summarizes Donovan, “Millennials are driven by how
well their team works together, how supported and appreci-
ated they feel, and how much possibility they have. They’re
all about how it feels.”
©Chris Batson/Alamy
Final PDF to printer

62 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 62 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Organizational commitment sits side-by-side with job performance in our integrative model of
organizational behavior, reflecting one of the starting points for our journey through the concepts
covered in this course. Why begin with a discussion of organizational commitment? Because it’s
not enough to have talented employees who perform their jobs well. You also need to be able to
hang on to those employees for long periods of time so that the organization can benefit from
their efforts. Put yourself in the shoes of a business owner. Let’s say you spent a great deal of time
recruiting a graduate from the local university, selling her on your business, and making sure that
she was as qualified as you initially believed her to be. Now assume that, once hired, you took a
personal interest in that employee, showing her the ropes and acting as mentor and instructor.
Then, just as the company was set to improve as a result of that employee’s presence, she leaves to
go to work for a competitor. As an employer, can you think of many things more depressing than
that scenario?
Unfortunately, that scenario is not far-fetched. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates
that the average American will have 10.8 jobs between the ages of 18 and 42.1 That projection is
based in part on an overall turnover (or “attrition”) rate of around 16 percent across all industries.
Such statistics are nerve-wracking to employers because turnover can be quite expensive. Esti-
mates suggest that turnover costs between 90 percent and 200 percent of an employee’s annual
salary.2 Why so expensive? Those estimates include various costs, including the administrative
costs involved in the separation, recruitment expenses, screening costs, and training and orienta-
tion expenses for the new hire. They also include “hidden costs” due to decreased morale, lost
organizational knowledge, and lost productivity.
Organizational commitment is defined as the desire on the part of an employee to remain a mem-
ber of the organization.3 Organizational commitment influences whether an employee stays a mem-
ber of the organization (is retained) or leaves to pursue another job (turns over). Our attention in
this chapter is focused primarily on reducing voluntary turnover by keeping the employees whom
the organization wants to keep, though we will touch on involuntary turnover in a discussion of lay-
offs and downsizing. Employees who are not committed to their organizations engage in withdrawal
behavior, defined as a set of actions that employees perform to avoid the work situation—behaviors
that may eventually culminate in quitting the organization.4 The relationship between commitment
and withdrawal is illustrated in Figure 3-1. Some employees may exhibit much more commitment
than withdrawal, finding themselves on the green end of the continuum. Other employees exhibit
much more withdrawal than commitment, finding themselves on the red end of the continuum.
The sections that follow review both commitment and withdrawal in more detail.
What is organizational
commitment? What is with-
drawal behavior? How are
the two connected?
FIGURE 3-1 Organizational Commitment and Employee Withdrawal
Withdrawal Behavior
Low High
Organizational Commitment
High Low
Final PDF to printer

63C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 63 10/11/17 08:40 AM
W H AT D O E S I T M E A N TO B E “ C O M M I T T E D ” ?
One key to understanding organizational commitment is to understand where it comes from. In
other words, what creates a desire to remain a member of an organization? To explore this ques-
tion, consider the following scenario: You’ve been working full-time for your employer for around
five years. The company gave you your start in the business, and you’ve enjoyed your time there.
Your salary is competitive enough that you were able to purchase a home in a good school system,
which is important because you have one young child and another on the way. Now assume that
a competing firm contacted you while you were attending a conference and offered you a similar
position in its company. What kinds of things might you think about? If you created a list to orga-
nize your thoughts, what might that list look like?
One potential list is shown in Table 3-1. The left-hand column reflects some emotional reasons for
staying with the current organization, including feelings about friendships, the atmosphere or culture
of the company, and a sense of enjoyment when completing job duties. These sorts of emotional rea-
sons create affective commitment, defined as a desire to remain a member of an organization due to
an emotional attachment to, and involvement with, that organization.5 Put simply, you stay because
you want to. The middle column reflects some cost-based reasons for staying, including issues of sal-
ary, benefits, and promotions, as well as concerns about uprooting a family. These sorts of reasons
create continuance commitment, defined as a desire to remain a member of an organization because
of an awareness of the costs associated with leaving it.6 In other words, you stay because you need to.
The right-hand column reflects some obligation-based reasons for staying with the current organiza-
tion, including a sense that a debt is owed to a boss, a colleague, or the larger company. These sorts
of reasons create normative commitment, defined as a desire to remain a member of an organization
due to a feeling of obligation.7 In this case, you stay because you ought to.
What are the three types
of organizational commit-
ment, and how do they
TABLE 3-1 The Three Types of Organizational Commitment
What Makes Someone Stay with His/Her Current Organization?
Some of my best friends
work in my office . . . I’d
miss them if I left.
I’m due for a promotion
soon . . . will I advance as
quickly at the new company?
My boss has invested so much
time in me, mentoring me,
training me, showing me the
I really like the atmosphere
at my current job . . . it’s
fun and relaxed.
My salary and benefits get us a
nice house in our town . . . the
cost of living is higher in this
new area.
My organization gave me
my start . . . they hired me
when others thought I wasn’t
My current job duties are
very rewarding . . . I enjoy
coming to work each
The school system is good
here, my spouse has a good
job . . . we’ve really put down
roots where we are.
My employer has helped me
out of a jam on a number of
occasions . . . how could I
leave now?
Staying because you
want to.
Staying because you
need to.
Staying because you
ought to.
Final PDF to printer

64 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 64 10/11/17 08:40 AM
FIGURE 3-2 Drivers of Overall Organizational Commitment
Felt in Reference
to One’s:
Top Management
Work Team
Specific Coworkers
As shown in Figure 3-2, the three
types of organizational commitment
combine to create an overall sense
of psychological attachment to the
company. Of course, different people
may weigh the three types differently.
Some employees may be very ratio-
nal and cautious by nature, focusing
primarily on continuance commit-
ment when evaluating their overall
desire to stay. Other employees may
be more emotional and intuitive by
nature, going more on “feel” than a
calculated assessment of costs and
benefits. The importance of the three
commitment types also may vary over
the course of a career. For example, you might prioritize affective reasons early in your work
life before shifting your attention to continuance reasons as you start a family or become more
established in a community. Regardless of how the three types are prioritized, however, they offer
an important insight into why someone might be committed and what an organization can do to
make employees feel more committed.
Figure 3-2 also shows that organizational commitment depends on more than just “the orga-
nization.” That is, people aren’t always committed to companies; they’re also committed to the
Committed employees
often have strong positive
feelings about one particu-
lar aspect of their job, such
as their colleagues, their
manager, or the particular
work they do.
©Liquidlibrary/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

65C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 65 10/11/17 08:40 AM
top management that leads the firm at a given time, the department in which they work, the man-
ager who directly supervises them, or the specific team or coworkers with whom they work most
closely.8 We use the term focus of commitment to refer to the various people, places, and things
that can inspire a desire to remain a member of an organization. For example, you might choose
to stay with your current employer because you’re emotionally attached to your work team, worry
about the costs associated with losing your company’s salary and benefits package, and feel a
sense of obligation to your current manager. If so, your desire to remain cuts across multiple types
of commitment (affective, continuance, and normative) and multiple foci (or focuses) of commit-
ment (work team, company, manager). Now that you’re familiar with the drivers of commitment
in a general sense, let’s go into more depth about each type.
AFFECTIVE COMMITMENT One way to understand the differences among the three types of
commitment is to ask yourself what you would feel if you left the organization. Consider the rea-
sons listed in the left-hand column of Table 3-1. What would you feel if, even after taking all those
reasons into account, you decided to leave your organization to join another one? Answer: You’d
feel a sense of sadness. Employees who feel a sense of affective commitment identify with the orga-
nization, accept that organization’s goals and values, and are more willing to exert extra effort on
behalf of the organization.9 By identifying with the organization, they come to view organizational
membership as important to their sense of self.10 Is affective commitment something that you feel
for your current employer or have felt for a past employer? Check the OB Assessments feature to
find out.
It’s safe to say that if managers could choose which type of commitment they’d like to instill
in their employees, they’d choose affective commitment. Moreover, when a manager looks at an
employee and says “She’s committed” or “He’s loyal,” that manager usually is referring to a behav-
ioral expression of affective commitment.11 For example, employees who are affectively committed
to their employer tend to engage in more interpersonal and organizational citizenship behaviors,
such as helping, sportsmanship, and boosterism. One meta-analysis of 22 studies with more than
6,000 participants revealed a moderately strong correlation between affective commitment and
citizenship behavior.12 (Recall that a meta-analysis averages together results from multiple studies
investigating the same relationship.) Such results suggest that emotionally committed employees
express that commitment by “going the extra mile” whenever they can.
Because affective commitment reflects an emotional bond to the organization, it’s only natu-
ral that the emotional bonds among coworkers influence it.13 We can, therefore, gain a better
understanding of affective commitment if we take a closer look at the bonds that tie employees
together. Assume you were given a sheet with the names of all the employees in your department
or members of your class. Then assume you were asked to rate the frequency with which you com-
municated with each of those people, as well as the emotional depth of those communications.
Those ratings could be used to create a “social network” diagram that summarizes the bonds
among employees. Figure 3-3 provides a sample of such a diagram. The lines connecting the
10 members of the work unit represent the communication bonds that tie each of them together,
with thicker lines representing more frequent communication with more emotional depth. The
diagram illustrates that some employees are “nodes,” with several direct connections to other
employees, whereas others remain at the fringe of the network.
The erosion model suggests that employees with fewer bonds will be most likely to quit the orga-
nization.14 If you look at Figure 3-3, who’s most at risk for turning over? That’s right—the employee
who has only one bond with someone else (and a relatively weak bond at that). From an affective
commitment perspective, that employee is likely to feel less emotional attachment to work col-
leagues, which makes it easier to decide to leave the organization. Social network diagrams can
also help us understand another explanation for turnover. The social influence model suggests
that employees who have direct linkages with “leavers” will themselves become more likely to
leave.15 In this way, reductions in affective commitment become contagious, spreading like a dis-
ease across the work unit. Think about the damage that would be caused if the central figure in the
network (the one who has linkages to five other people) became unhappy with the organization.
More and more companies are beginning to understand the value in helping employees con-
nect. SAS, the Cary, North Carolina–based software company, provides a number of perks that
Final PDF to printer

66 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 66 10/11/17 08:40 AM
bring employees together.16 Those include a billiard hall; intramural tennis, baseball, and volley-
ball; pool and fitness facilities; and even a hair salon. Sabre Holdings, the Southlake, Texas–
based owner of Travelocity, created an internal social network system called Sabre Town.17 More
company-focused than Facebook, Sabre Town includes profiles of employee skills, experience,
and customer contacts, along with groups built around common personal interests. One such
group is Mom2Mom, which allows employees to connect and converse about day care centers,
pediatricians, and work–family balance issues.
CONTINUANCE COMMITMENT  Now consider the reasons for staying listed in the middle
column of Table 3-1. What would you feel if, even after taking all those reasons into account, you
How emotionally attached are you to your employer? This assessment is designed to measure
affective commitment—the feeling that you want to stay with your current organization. Think
about your current job or the last job that you held (even if it was a part-time or summer job).
Answer each question using the response scale provided. Then subtract your answers to the bold-
faced questions from 6, with the difference being your new answers for those questions. For exam-
ple, if your original answer for question 3 was “4,” your new answer is “2” (6 − 4). Then sum your
answers for the six questions. (Instructors: Assessments on continuance commitment, norma-
tive commitment, and embeddedness can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s
Instructor Resources and in the Connect assignments for this chapter).
If your scores sum up to 20 or above, you feel a strong sense of affective commitment to your cur-
rent or past employer, which means that you feel an emotional attachment to the company or the
people within it. This means that you would leave voluntarily. If your scores sum up to less than
20, you have a weaker sense of affective commitment to your current or past employer. This result
is especially likely if you responded to the questions in reference to a part-time or summer job, as
there might not have been enough time to develop an emotional bond.
Source: Adapted from N.J. Allen and J.P. Meyer, “The Measurement and Antecedents of Affective, Continuance, and
Normative Commitment to the Organization,” Journal of Occupational Psychology 63 (1990), pp. 1–18.
1. I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career in this organization.
2. I really feel as if this organization’s problems are my own.
3. I do not feel like “part of the family” at my organization.
4. I do not feel “emotionally attached” to this organization.
5. This organization has a great deal of personal meaning for me.
6. I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to my organization.
Final PDF to printer

67C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 67 10/11/17 08:40 AM
decided to leave your organization to join another one? Answer: You’d feel a sense of anxiety. Con-
tinuance commitment exists when there’s a profit associated with staying and a cost associated
with leaving,18 with high continuance commitment making it difficult to change organizations
because of the steep penalties associated with the switch.19 One factor that increases continuance
commitment is the total amount of investment (in terms of time, effort, energy, etc.) employees
have made in mastering their work roles or fulfilling their organizational duties.20 Picture a sce-
nario in which you’ve worked extremely hard for a number of years to finally master the “ins and
outs” of working at a particular organization, and now you’re beginning to enjoy the fruits of that
labor in terms of financial rewards and better work assignments. That effort might be wasted if
you moved to another organization (and had to start over on the learning curve).
Another factor that increases continuance commitment is a lack of employment alternatives.21
If an employee has nowhere else to go, the need to stay will be higher. Employment alternatives
themselves depend on several factors, including economic conditions, the unemployment rate, and
the marketability of a person’s
skills and abilities.22 Of course,
no one likes to feel “stuck” in
a situation, so it may not be
surprising that the behavioral
benefits associated with affec-
tive commitment don’t really
occur with continuance com-
mitment. There’s no statistical
relationship between continu-
ance commitment and citizen-
ship behavior, for example, or
any other aspects of job per-
formance.23 Continuance com-
mitment, therefore, tends to
create more of a passive form
of loyalty.
FIGURE 3-3 A Social Network Diagram
SAS, the Cary, North
Carolina–based software
company, offers a number
of recreational perks to
help employees stay con-
nected to one another.©Charly Kurz/laif/New York Times/Redux Pictures
Final PDF to printer

68 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 68 10/11/17 08:40 AM
It’s important to note that some of the reasons in the middle column of Table 3-1 center on
personal or family issues. Continuance commitment focuses on personal and family issues more
than the other two commitment types, because employees often need to stay for both work and
nonwork reasons. One concept that demonstrates the work and nonwork forces that can bind
us to our current employer is embeddedness, which summarizes employees’ links to their orga-
nization and community, their sense of fit with their organization and community, and what
they would have to sacrifice for a job change.24 As demonstrated in Table 3-2, embeddedness
strengthens continuance commitment by providing more reasons employees need to stay in
their current positions (and more sources of anxiety if they were to leave).25 Research suggests
that embeddedness helps employees weather negative events that occur,26 and that it matters
across cultures.27
Think about your current situation. If you’re a college student who is working part-time, you
likely don’t feel very embedded. Your links to your job are probably only short term, and you may
feel that the job is more routine than you’d like from a fit perspective. You probably also wouldn’t
feel you were sacrificing much if you left the job. From a community perspective, you may be
going to school in a different city or state than where you grew up, again resulting in few links, low
perceived fit, or a lack of felt sacrifice. However, if you’re a full-time employee who is relatively
established in your job and community, you may feel quite embedded in your current situation.28
Alcon Labs seems to understand the value of continuance commitment. The Fort Worth,
Texas–based leader in eye care products enjoys a voluntary turnover rate of less than 2 percent.29
One likely reason for that low rate is the benefits package Alcon offers its employees. For example,
Alcon offers a 401(k) retirement plan in which it matches 240 percent of what employees con-
tribute, up to a total of 5 percent of total compensation. So, for example, if an employee invests
$500 toward retirement in a given month, Alcon contributes $1,200. That policy more than dou-
bles the most generous rates of other companies, allowing employees to build a comfortable “nest
egg” for retirement more quickly. Clearly, employees would feel a bit anxious about giving up that
benefit if a competitor came calling.
NORMATIVE COMMITMENT  Now consider the reasons for staying listed in the right-hand
column of Table 3-1. What would you feel if, even after taking all those reasons into account,
you decided to leave your organization to join another one? Answer: You’d feel a sense of guilt.
TABLE 3-2 Embeddedness and Continuance Commitment
“Embedded” People Feel: 
Links • I’ve worked here for such a long time.
• I’m serving on so many teams and
• Several close friends and family live
• My family’s roots are in this
Fit • My job utilizes my skills and talents
• I like the authority and responsibility I
have at this company.
• The weather where I live is suitable
for me.
• I think of the community where I live
as home.
Sacrifice • The retirement benefits provided by
the organization are excellent.
• I would sacrifice a lot if I left this job.
• People respect me a lot in my
• Leaving this community would be
very hard.
Source: Adapted from T.R. Mitchell, B.C. Holtom, T.W. Lee, C.J. Sablynski, and M. Erez, “Why People Stay: Using Job
Embeddedness to Predict Voluntary Turnover,” Academy of Management Journal 44 (2001), pp. 1102–21.
Final PDF to printer

69C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 69 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Normative commitment exists when there is a sense that staying is the “right” or “moral” thing
to do.30 The sense that people should stay with their current employers may result from personal
work philosophies or more general codes of right and wrong developed over the course of their
lives. They may also be dictated by early experiences within the company, if employees are social-
ized to believe that long-term loyalty is the norm rather than the exception.31
Aside from personal work philosophies or organizational socialization, there seem to be two
ways to build a sense of obligation-based commitment among employees. One way is to create a
feeling that employees are in the organization’s debt—that they owe something to the organiza-
tion. For example, an organization may spend a great deal of money training and developing an
employee. In recognition of that investment, the employee may feel obligated to “repay” the orga-
nization with several more years of loyal service.32 Think about how you’d feel if your employer
paid your tuition, allowing you to further your education, while also providing you with training
and developmental job assignments that increased your skills. Wouldn’t you feel a bit guilty if you
took the first job opportunity that came your way?
Another possible way to build an obligation-based sense of commitment is by becoming a par-
ticularly charitable organization. For example, many companies encourage employees to engage
in volunteering—the giving of time or skills during a planned activity for a nonprofit or chari-
table group.33 Such companies may encourage volunteering on employees’ own personal time,
or may create “corporate volunteering” programs where employees can give time or skills during
the workday. Are such efforts a distraction for employees that interferes with their jobs? Quite
the contrary, as research suggests that employees who volunteer are actually more engaged in
their work than employees who don’t. Moreover, employees who volunteer are given “credit” for
those activities by their colleagues.34 For the organization, charitable activities can provide good
public relations, potentially generating goodwill for its products and services and helping attract
new recruits.35 They can also help existing employees feel better about the organization, creating a
deeper sense of normative commitment. Those benefits may be particularly relevant with younger
employees, as evidence indicates that recent generations are somewhat more charitably minded
than previous ones. In support of that view, a growing number of MBA graduates are joining
socially conscious online networks, such as (see Chapter 7 on trust, justice, and
ethics for more discussion of such issues).36
Comcast recognizes the value of normative commitment. For around a decade, the Philadelphia–
based media company has organized Comcast Cares Day.37 Originally, the day consisted of 50
employees working at a local charity event. One recent year, 60,500 employees, their family mem-
bers, and volunteers worked with local and national nonprofits on a variety of activities, from
planting gardens to cleaning up riverbanks. The head of Comcast’s community involvement pro-
gram contends that Comcast Cares Day was not created to help attract and maintain employ-
ees. Still, she admits that it’s been a positive unintended consequence, especially for younger
As noted earlier, one study suggested that 60 percent of employees plan to look for another job
once the economy improves.38 Organizational commitment is, therefore, a vital concern, given
that organizations will need to be fully staffed when business picks back up and industries become
even more competitive. Indeed, organizational commitment is at its most important when employ-
ees are at their most needed. To paraphrase the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the
organization doesn’t want you to get going.” In tough times, organizations need their employees to
demonstrate loyalty, not “get going” right out the door. Of course, it’s those same tough times that
put an employee’s loyalty and allegiance to the test.
Consider the following scenario: You’ve been working at your company for three years and
served on a key product development team for the past several months. Unfortunately, the team
has been struggling of late. In an effort to enhance the team’s performance, the organization has
added a new member to the group. This member has a solid history of product development but
is, by all accounts, a horrible person to work with. You can easily see the employee’s talent
Final PDF to printer

70 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 70 10/11/17 08:40 AM
but find yourself hating every moment spent in the employee’s presence. This situation is particu-
larly distressing because the team won’t finish its work for another nine months, at the earliest.
What would you do in this situation?
Research on reactions to negative work events suggests that you might respond in one of four
general ways.39 First, you might attempt to remove yourself from the situation, either by being
absent from work more frequently or by voluntarily leaving the organization. This removal is
termed exit, defined as an active, destructive response by which an individual either ends or
restricts organizational membership.40 Second, you might attempt to change the circumstances
by meeting with the new team member to attempt to work out the situation. This action is termed
voice, defined as an active, constructive response in which individuals attempt to improve the situ-
ation (see Chapter 2 on job performance for more discussion of such issues).41 Third, you might
just “grin and bear it,” maintaining your effort level despite your unhappiness. This response
is termed loyalty, defined as a passive, constructive response that maintains public support for
the situation while the individual privately hopes for improvement.42 Fourth, you might just go
through the motions, allowing your performance to deteriorate slowly as you mentally “check
out.” This reaction is termed neglect, defined as a passive, destructive response in which interest
and effort in the job decline.43 Sometimes neglect can be even more costly than exit because it’s
not as readily noticed. Employees may neglect their duties for months (or even years) before their
bosses catch on to their poor behaviors.
Taken together, the exit–voice–loyalty–neglect framework captures most of the possible
responses to a negative work event. Where does organizational commitment fit in? Organizational
commitment should decrease the likelihood that an individual will respond to a negative work
event with exit or neglect (the two destructive responses). At the same time, organizational com-
mitment should increase the likelihood that the negative work event will prompt voice or loyalty
(the two constructive responses). Consistent with that logic, research indeed suggests that orga-
nizational commitment increases the likelihood of voice and loyalty while decreasing the likeli-
hood of exit and neglect.44 To see two of the exit–voice–loyalty–neglect options in action, see our
OB on Screen feature.
If we consider employees’ task performance levels together with their organizational commit-
ment levels, we can gain an even clearer picture of how people might respond to negative work
events. Consider Table 3-3, which depicts combinations of high and low levels of organizational
commitment and task performance. Stars possess high commitment and high performance and
are held up as role models for other employees. Stars likely respond to negative events with voice
because they have the desire to improve the status quo and the credibility needed to inspire
change.45 It’s pretty easy to spot the stars in a given unit, and you can probably think about your
current or past job experiences and identify the employees who would fit that description. Citizens
possess high commitment and low task performance but perform many of the voluntary “extra-
role” activities that are needed to make the organization function smoothly.46 Citizens are likely
to respond to negative events with loyalty because they may lack the credibility needed to inspire
change but do possess the desire to remain a member of the organization. You can spot citizens
by looking for the people who do the little things—showing around new employees, picking up
birthday cakes, ordering new supplies when needed, and so forth.
Lone wolves possess low levels of organizational commitment but high levels of task perfor-
mance and are motivated to achieve work goals for themselves, not necessarily for their com-
pany.47 They are likely to respond to negative events with exit. Although their performance would
give them the credibility needed to inspire change, their lack of attachment prevents them from
using that credibility constructively. Instead, they rely on their performance levels to make them
marketable to their next employer. To spot lone wolves, look for the talented employees who never
seem to want to get involved in important decisions about the future of the company. Finally,
apathetics possess low levels of both organizational commitment and task performance and
merely exert the minimum level of effort needed to keep their jobs.48 Apathetics should respond to
negative events with neglect because they lack the performance needed to be marketable and the
commitment needed to engage in acts of citizenship.
It’s clear from this discussion that exit and neglect represent the f lip side of organizational
commitment: withdrawal behavior. How common is withdrawal behavior within organizations?
What are the four primary
responses to negative
events at work?
Final PDF to printer

71C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 71 10/11/17 08:40 AM
©Open Road Films (II)/Photofest
Well why don’t you cook the menu without a chef and we see how it goes tonight?
With those words, Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) quits his job in Chef (Dir. Jon Favreau,
Aldamisa Entertainment, 2014). Carl is just a few days removed from receiving a scathing review
from Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt), the most respected food critic in Los Angeles. And now he’s
taken to Twitter, challenging Michel to give him a second try, this time with an all new menu. As
Carl explains to the hostess, Molly (Scarlett Johansson), “We’re not pushing specials today—the
whole menu is special.” When Molly sees the excitement in Carl’s eyes, he goes on, “I’m excited.
I’m finally happy . . . I’m happy, OK? Am I allowed to be happy, at work?”
Unfortunately for Carl, the restaurant’s owner—Riva (Dustin Hoffman)—doesn’t want that spe-
cial menu. Instead, he wants the unusually large crowd to experience the kind of entrées they can
expect week in and week out. Riva walks back into the kitchen to protest, noting, “So now sud-
denly you’re gonna be an artist. Well, be an artist on your own time.” Carl argues that the crowd is
there to see him face off against the critic and to eat his food. Corrects Riva, “It’s my food because
it’s my restaurant. I pay for the glasses, I pay for the napkins, I pay for the spoons . . . ”
Given an ultimatum, Carl chooses to walk out of the kitchen, and out of Riva’s employ. He was
deeply committed to his craft—to being a chef. Put differently, he had high occupational commit-
ment. But he was no longer committed to Riva. Moreover, given his talent, Carl assumed he had
other options—other restaurants that would hire him. Thus, his exit. The same was not true for
Carl’s sous-chef, Tony. Carl assumes Tony will follow him out of the kitchen and on to whatever
comes next. But Tony is less established in his career—he needs to remain loyal for reasons that
Carl doesn’t. Where does Carl go next? Here’s a hint: His next kitchen is smaller.
Quite common, it turns out. One study clocked employees’ on-the-job behaviors over a two-
year period and found that only about 51 percent of their time was actually spent working! The
other 49 percent was lost to late starts, early departures, long coffee breaks, personal matters,
and other forms of withdrawal.49 As a manager, wouldn’t you like to feel like there was more
than a coin-f lip’s chance that your employees were actually working during the course of a
given day?
Final PDF to printer

72 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 72 10/11/17 08:40 AM
TABLE 3-3 Four Types of Employees
HIGH Stars Citizens
LOW Lone wolves Apathetics
Source: Adapted from R.W. Griffeth, S. Gaertner, and J.K. Sager, “Taxonomic Model of Withdrawal Behaviors: The Adap-
tive Response Model,” Human Resource Management Review 9 (1999), pp. 577–90.
As shown in Figure 3-4, withdrawal comes in two forms: psychological (or neglect) and physical
(or exit). Psychological withdrawal consists of actions that provide a mental escape from the work
environment.50 Some business articles refer to psychological withdrawal as “warm-chair attrition,”
meaning that employees have essentially been lost even though their chairs remain occupied.51
This withdrawal form comes in a number of shapes and sizes.52 The least serious is daydreaming,
when employees appear to be working but are actually distracted by random thoughts or concerns.
Socializing refers to the verbal chatting about nonwork topics that goes on in cubicles and offices
or at the mailbox or vending machines. Looking busy indicates an intentional desire on the part
of employees to look like they’re working, even when not performing work tasks. Sometimes,
employees decide to reorganize their desks or go for a stroll around the building, even though
they have nowhere to go. (Those who are very good at managing impressions do such things very
briskly and with a focused look on their faces!) When employees engage in moonlighting, they use
work time and resources to complete something other than their job duties, such as assignments
for another job.
Perhaps the most widespread form of psychological withdrawal among white-collar employees
is cyberloafing—using Internet, e-mail, and instant messaging access for their personal enjoyment
rather than work duties.53 Some estimates suggest that typical cubicle dwellers stop what they’re
doing about once every three minutes to send e-mail, check Facebook or Twitter, surf over to You-
Tube, and so forth.54 Such distractions consume as much as 28 percent of employees’ workdays
and cost some $650 billion a year in lost productivity. Sports fans seem particularly vulnerable.
Estimates suggest that Fantasy Football league transactions consume as much as $1.5 billion in
productivity during a typical season.55 The spring isn’t much better, as estimates suggest that
employers lose $1.2 billion as employees watch NCAA tournament games online.56 Some employ-
ees view cyberloafing as a way of “balancing the scales” when it comes to personal versus work
time. For example, one participant in a cyberloafing study noted, “It is alright for me to use the
Internet for personal reasons at work. After all, I do work overtime without receiving extra pay
from my employer.”57 Although such views may seem quite reasonable, other employees view
cyberloafing as a means to retaliate for negative work events. One participant in the same study
noted, “My boss is not the appreciative kind; I take what I can whenever I can. Surfing the net is
my way of hitting back.”
Physical withdrawal consists of actions that provide a physical escape, whether short term or
long term, from the work environment.58 Physical withdrawal also comes in a number of shapes
and sizes. Tardiness reflects the tendency to arrive at work late (or leave work early).59 Of course,
tardiness can sometimes be unavoidable, as when employees have car trouble or must fight
through bad weather, but it often represents a calculated desire to spend less time at work.60 Long
breaks involve longer-than-normal lunches, soda breaks, coffee breaks, and so forth that provide
a physical escape from work. Sometimes, long breaks stretch into missing meetings, which means
employees neglect important work functions while away from the office. As a manager, you’d like
to be sure that employees who leave for lunch are actually going to come back, but sometimes
that’s not a safe bet!
Absenteeism occurs when employees miss an entire day of work.61 Of course, people stay home
from work for a variety of reasons, including illness and family emergencies. There’s also a rhythm
What are some examples
of psychological with-
drawal? Of physical
withdrawal? How do the
different forms of with-
drawal relate to
each other?
Final PDF to printer

73C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 73 10/11/17 08:40 AM
to absenteeism. For example, employees are more likely to be absent on Mondays or Fridays.
Moreover, streaks of good attendance create a sort of pressure to be absent, as personal respon-
sibilities build until a day at home becomes irresistible.62 That type of absence can sometimes
be functional because people may return to work with their “batteries recharged.”63 Group and
departmental norms also affect absenteeism by signaling whether an employee can get away with
missing a day here or there without being noticed.64
One survey suggests that 57 percent of U.S. employees take sick days when they’re not actu-
ally sick, a trend that has some companies going to extreme measures.65 IKEA, the Sweden-based
furniture maker, recently made headlines for spying on its French employees for various reasons—
including checking on their sick leave use.66 In the
United States, private investigation firms charge
around $75 per hour to send investigators in search
of employees who may be playing hooky. Rick Ray-
mond, an investigator in Florida, once followed a
supposedly sick employee to Universal Studios.67
The employee rode three roller coasters that take
automatic pictures at the sharpest turns. Raymond
bought all three, which conveniently included time
and date stamps. When the employee later claimed
that the photos weren’t her, Raymond responded by
playing back video of her volunteering at an animal
FIGURE 3-4 Psychological and Physical Withdrawal
Daydreaming Quitting
In an effort to curb absen-
teeism, some companies
have turned to private
investigators to try to catch
“sick” employees who are
playing hooky.
©Colin Anderson/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

74 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 74 10/11/17 08:40 AM
show in the park! The news isn’t all bad for would-be work-skippers. Some of the same firms that
track employees provide training on how to elude the boss’s surveillance attempts.
Finally, the most serious form of physical withdrawal is quitting—voluntarily leaving the organi-
zation. As with the other forms of withdrawal, employees can choose to “turn over” for a variety
of reasons. The most frequent reasons include leaving for more money or a better career oppor-
tunity; dissatisfaction with supervision, working conditions, or working schedule; family factors;
and health.68 Note that many of those reasons reflect avoidable turnover, meaning that the orga-
nization could have done something to keep the employee, perhaps by offering more money,
more frequent promotions, or a better work situation. Family factors and health, in contrast,
usually reflect unavoidable turnover that doesn’t necessarily signal a lack of commitment on the
part of employees.
Regardless of their reasons, some employees choose to quit after engaging in a very thorough,
careful, and reasoned analysis. Typically some sort of “shock,” whether it be a critical job change,
a negative work experience, or an unsolicited job offer, jars employees enough that it triggers
the thought of quitting in them.69 Once the idea of quitting has occurred to them, employees
begin searching for other places to work, compare those alternatives to their current job, and—if
the comparisons seem favorable—quit.70 This process may take days, weeks, or even months as
employees grapple with the decision. In other cases, though, a shock may result in an impulsive,
knee-jerk decision to quit, with little or no thought given to alternative jobs (or how those jobs
compare to the current one).71 Of course, sometimes a shock never occurs. Instead, an employee
decides to quit as a result of a slow but steady decrease in happiness until a “straw breaks the
camel’s back” and voluntary turnover results.
Figure 3-4 shows 10 different behaviors that employees can perform to psychologically or phys-
ically escape from a negative work environment. A key question remains though: “How do all
those behaviors relate to one another?” Consider the following testimonials from uncommitted
(and admittedly fictional) employees:
• “I can’t stand my job, so I do what I can to get by. Sometimes I’m absent, sometimes I socialize,
sometimes I come in late. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it; I just do whatever seems practi-
cal at the time.”
• “I can’t handle being around my boss. I hate to miss work, so I do what’s needed to avoid being
absent. I figure if I socialize a bit and spend some time surfing the Web, I don’t need to ever be
absent. But if I couldn’t do those things, I’d definitely have to stay home . . . a lot.”
• “I just don’t have any respect for my employer anymore. In the beginning, I’d daydream a bit
during work or socialize with my colleagues. As time went on, I began coming in late or taking a
long lunch. Lately I’ve been staying home altogether, and I’m starting to think I should just quit
my job and go somewhere else.”
Each of these statements sounds like something that an uncommitted employee might say.
However, each statement makes a different prediction about the relationships among the with-
drawal behaviors in Figure 3-4. The first statement summarizes the independent forms model
of withdrawal, which argues that the various withdrawal behaviors are uncorrelated with one
another, occur for different reasons, and fulfill different needs on the part of employees.72
From this perspective, knowing that an employee cyberloafs tells you nothing about whether
that employee is likely to be absent. The second statement summarizes the compensatory forms
model of withdrawal, which argues that the various withdrawal behaviors negatively correlate
with one another—that doing one means you’re less likely to do another. The idea is that any
form of withdrawal can compensate for, or neutralize, a sense of dissatisfaction, which makes the
other forms unnecessary. From this perspective, knowing that an employee cyberloafs tells you
that the same employee probably isn’t going to be absent. The third statement summarizes the
progression model of withdrawal, which argues that the various withdrawal behaviors are posi-
tively correlated: The tendency to daydream or socialize leads to the tendency to come in late or
take long breaks, which leads to the tendency to be absent or quit. From this perspective, know-
ing that an employee cyberloafs tells you that the same employee is probably going to be absent
in the near future.
Final PDF to printer

75C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 75 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Which of the three models seems most logical to you? Although all three make some sense,
the progression model has received the most scientific support.73 Studies tend to show that the
withdrawal behaviors in Figure 3-4 are positively correlated with one another.74 Moreover, if you
view the behaviors as a causal sequence moving from left (daydreaming) to right (quitting), the
behaviors that are closest to each other in the sequence tend to be more highly correlated.75 For
example, quitting is more closely related to absenteeism than to tardiness, because absenteeism
is right next to it in the withdrawal progression. These results illustrate that withdrawal behaviors
may begin with very minor actions but eventually can escalate to more serious actions that may
harm the organization.
S U M M A RY: W H AT D O E S I T M E A N TO B E “C O M M I T T E D” ?
So what does it mean to be a “committed” employee? As shown in Figure 3-5, it means a lot of
different things. It means that employees have a strong desire to remain a member of the organiza-
tion, maybe because they want to stay, need to stay, or feel they ought to stay. Regardless of the
reasons for their attachment though, retaining these employees means stopping the progression of
withdrawal that begins with psychological forms and then escalates to behavioral forms. Note that
the negative sign (−) in Figure 3-5 illustrates that high levels of overall organizational commit-
ment reduce the frequency of psychological and physical withdrawal. Note also that psychological
withdrawal goes on to affect physical withdrawal, which represents the progressive nature of such
As you move forward in this book, you’ll notice that every chapter includes a description of
how that chapter’s topic relates to organizational commitment. For example, Chapter 4 on job sat-
isfaction describes how employees’ satisfaction levels influence their organizational commitment.
Chapter 7 on trust, justice, and ethics explains how employees’ trust in management influences
their organizational commitment. Sometimes you’ll notice that a given chapter’s topic relates
more strongly to organizational commitment than to job performance. Other times, however,
the topic may relate similarly to commitment and performance, or even relate more strongly to
performance. Regardless, such differences will help you see exactly why the various topics in this
book are so important to managers.
Now that we’ve described exactly what organizational commitment represents, it’s time to describe
some of the trends that affect it in the contemporary workplace. Put simply, the composition of
the workforce is changing, as is the traditional relationship between employees and employers.
These trends put pressure on some types of commitment and alter the kinds of withdrawal seen
in the workplace.
One of the most visible trends affecting the workplace is the increased diversity of the U.S. labor
force. Demographically speaking, the percentage of the workforce that is white has dropped to
64 percent.76 Meanwhile, the percentage of minorities in the workforce has reached the follow-
ing levels: African Americans (12 percent), Hispanics (16 percent), and Asians (5 percent).
Thus, minority groups now make up one-third of the workforce. Meanwhile, women have virtu-
ally matched men in terms of workforce percentages, with 53 percent of jobs filled by men and
47 percent by women. These statistics show that the “white, male-dominated” workforce is becom-
ing a thing of the past.
The workforce is becoming diverse in other ways as well. The percentage of members of the
workforce who are 60 years or older stands at around 10 percent.77 As the 78 million Baby Boomers
near retirement, they’re continuing to remain in the workforce significantly longer than previous
What workplace trends are
affecting organizational
commitment in today’s
Final PDF to printer

76 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 76 10/11/17 08:40 AM




Final PDF to printer

77C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 77 10/11/17 08:40 AM
generations.78 Research suggests that remaining a member of the workforce is actually benefi-
cial to older people’s health, keeping them more mentally and physically fit. Moreover, medical
advances are helping older employees stay vital longer, just as the physical labor component of
most jobs keeps shrinking. The Baby Boomers are also one of the most educated generations,
and research suggests that their continued participation in the workforce could add $3 trillion a
year to the country’s economic output. That, combined with the uncertainty surrounding Social
Security and stock market–based retirement plans, makes staying in the workforce a logical call.
As the economy continues to become more global, U.S. businesses face another important
form of diversity: More and more employees are foreign-born. Although stereotypes view immi-
grants as staffing blue-collar or service jobs, many of the most educated employees come from
abroad. Consider that half of the PhDs working in the United States are foreign-born, as are
45 percent of the physicists, computer scientists, and mathematicians.79 At the same time, more
and more American employees are working as expatriates who staff offices in foreign countries
for long periods of time. Serving as an expatriate can be a very stressful assignment for employees
as they adjust to a new country, a new style of working, and increased distance from family and
friends. See our OB Internationally feature for more discussion of organizational commitment in
multinational corporations.
These forms of diversity make it more challenging to retain valued employees. Consider the
social network diagram in Figure 3-3. As work groups become more diverse with respect to race,
gender, age, and national origin, there’s a danger that minorities or older employees will find
themselves on the fringe of such networks, which potentially reduces their affective commitment.
At the same time, foreign-born employees are likely to feel less embedded in their current jobs and
perceive fewer links to their community and less fit with their geographic area. This feeling may
reduce their sense of continuance commitment. Recent trends suggest that the most educated and
skilled immigrants are leaving the U.S. workforce at a rate of about 1,000 a day, particularly when
their home country’s economy begins to boom.80
A few generations ago, many employees assumed that they would work for a single organization
for their entire career. The assumption was that they would exchange a lifetime of loyalty and good
work for a lifetime of job security. That perception changed in the 1980s and 1990s as downsizing
became a more common part of working life. In 1992, downsizing statistics peaked as 3.4 million
jobs were lost, and annual job losses have remained that high ever since.81 Downsizing represents
a form of involuntary turnover, when employees are forced to leave the organization regardless
of their previous levels of commitment. The increase in downsizing has gone hand-in-hand with
increases in temporary workers and outsourcing, fundamentally altering the way employees view
their relationships with their employers.
Companies usually downsize to cut costs, particularly during a recession or economic downturn.
Does downsizing work? Does it make the company more profitable? One study suggests that the
answer is “not usually.” This study examined 3,628 companies over a 15-year time period, of which
59 percent downsized 5 percent or more of their workforce at least once and 33 percent fired
15 percent or more of their workforce at least once.82 The most important result was that downsizing
actually harmed company profitability and stock price. In fact, it typically took firms two years to
return to the performance levels that prompted the downsizing in the first place. The exception to
this rule was companies that downsized in the context of some larger change in assets (e.g., the sale
of a line of business, a merger, an acquisition). However, such firms were relatively rare; only one-
eighth of the downsizers were involved in some sort of asset change at the time the layoffs occurred.
Why doesn’t downsizing tend to work? One reason revolves around the organizational com-
mitment levels of the so-called survivors. The employees who remain in the organization after
a downsizing are often stricken with “survivor syndrome,” characterized by anger, depression,
fear, distrust, and guilt.83 One study found that downsizing survivors actually experienced more
work-related stress than did the downsizing victims who went on to find new employment.84
Survivor syndrome tends to reduce organizational commitment levels at the worst possible time,
as downsizing survivors are often asked to work extra hard to compensate for their lost colleagues.
Final PDF to printer

78 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 78 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Fostering organizational commitment can be more complex in multinational corporations, for
two primary reasons. First, multinational corporations provide two distinct foci of commitment:
Employees can be committed to the local subsidiary in which they work, or they can be commit-
ted to the global organization. Research on commitment in multinational corporations suggests
that employees draw a distinction between those two foci when judging their commitment. Spe-
cifically, employees distinguish between the prestige of their local subsidiary and the reputation of
the larger organization. They also distinguish between the support provided by their local supervi-
sor and the support provided by the global organization’s top management. Such results reveal
that it’s possible to be committed to the local office but not the overall organization, or vice versa.
Second, multinational corporations require many employees to serve as expatriates for sig-
nificant periods of time. Research suggests that the organizational commitment of expatriates
depends, in part, on how well they adjust to their foreign assignments. Research further suggests
that expatriates’ adjustment comes in three distinct forms:
• Work adjustment. The degree of comfort with specific job responsibilities and performance
• Cultural adjustment. The degree of comfort with the general living conditions, climate, cost of
living, transportation, and housing offered by the host culture.
• Interaction adjustment. The degree of comfort when socializing and interacting with members
of the host culture.
A study of American multinational corporations in the transportation, service, manufactur-
ing, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries showed that all three forms of adjustment relate
significantly to affective commitment. If expatriates cannot feel comfortable in their assignment,
it’s difficult for them to develop an emotional bond to their organization. Instead, they’re likely to
withdraw from the assignment, both psychologically and physically.
What factors contribute to an expatriate’s adjustment levels? It turns out that work adjustment
depends on many of the same things that drive domestic employees’ job satisfaction and motiva-
tion. Cultural and interaction adjustment, in contrast, are very dependent on spousal and family
comfort. If an expatriate’s spouse or children are unhappy in their new environment, it becomes
very difficult for the expatriate to remain committed. Fortunately, research suggests that cultural
and interaction adjustment can increase with time, as experiences in the host nation gradually
increase expatriates’ sense of comfort and, ultimately, their commitment to the work assignment.
Sources: J.S. Black, M. Mendenhall, and G. Oddou, “Toward a Comprehensive Model of International Adjustment: An
Integration of Multiple Theoretical Perspectives,” Academy of Management Review 16 (1991), pp. 291–317; R. Hechanova,
T.A. Beehr, and N.D. Christiansen, “Antecedents and Consequences of Employees’ Adjustment to Overseas Assignment:
A Meta-Analytic Review,” Applied Psychology: An International Review 52 (2003), pp. 213–36; C. Reade, “Antecedents of
Organizational Identification in Multinational Corporations: Fostering Psychological Attachment to the Local Subsidiary
and the Global Organization,” International Journal of Human Resource Management 12 (2001), pp. 1269–91; and M. A.
Shaffer, and D.A. Harrison, “Expatriates’ Psychological Withdrawal from International Assignments: Work, Nonwork,
and Family Influences,” Personnel Psychology 51 (1998), pp. 87–118.
Indeed, a study of 3,500 Boeing employees revealed some particularly stark examples of survivor
syndrome.85 Specifically, the study showed that employees who survived a 33 percent downsizing
had depression scores that were nearly twice as high as those who left. They were also more likely
to binge drink and experience chronic sleeping and health problems.
The change in employee–employer relationships brought about by a generation of downsiz-
ing makes it more challenging to retain valued employees. The most obvious challenge is finding
a way to maintain affective commitment. The negative emotions aroused by survivor syndrome
Final PDF to printer

79C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 79 10/11/17 08:40 AM
likely reduce emotional attachment to the organization. Moreover, if the downsizing has caused
the loss of key figures in employees’ social networks, then their desire to stay will be harmed.
However, a second challenge is to find some way to maintain normative commitment. The sense
that people should stay with their employer may have been eroded by downsizing, with personal
work philosophies now focusing on maximizing marketability for the next opportunity that comes
along. Even if employees felt obligated to remain at a firm in the past, seeing colleagues get dis-
missed in a downsizing effort could change that belief rather quickly.
One way of quantifying the change in employee–employer relationships is to assess how employ-
ees view those relationships psychologically. Research suggests that employees tend to view their
employment relationships in quasi-contractual terms. Specifically, psychological contracts reflect
employees’ beliefs about what they owe the organization and what the organization owes them.86
These contracts are shaped by the recruitment and socialization activities that employees experi-
ence, which often convey promises and expectations that shape beliefs about reciprocal obliga-
tions. Some employees develop transactional contracts that are based on a narrow set of specific
monetary obligations (e.g., the employee owes attendance and protection of proprietary infor-
mation; the organization owes pay and advancement opportunities).87 Other employees develop
relational contracts that are based on a broader set of open-ended and subjective obligations (e.g.,
the employee owes loyalty and the willingness to go above and beyond; the organization owes
job security, development, and support).88 Seeing one’s coworkers downsized can constitute a
“breach” of an employee’s psychological contract, and research suggests that psychological con-
tract breach leads to psychological and physical withdrawal.89 However, trends such as downsiz-
ing, use of temporary workers, and outsourcing may also cause employees to define their contracts
in more transactional (as opposed to relational) terms.
Now that you’ve gained a good understanding of organizational commitment, as well as some
of the workforce trends that affect it, we close with a discussion of strategies and initiatives that
can be used to maximize commitment. What exactly can companies do to increase loyalty? At
a general level, they can be supportive. Perceived organizational support reflects the degree to
which employees believe that the organization values their contributions and cares about their
well-being.90 Organizations can do a number of things to be supportive, including providing ade-
quate rewards, protecting job security, improving work conditions, and minimizing the impact of
politics.91 In a sense, such support represents the organization’s commitment to its employees.
A meta-analysis of 42 research studies with almost 12,000 participants revealed that perceptions
of support are strongly related to organizational commitment.92 That same review showed that
perceptions of support are associated with lower levels of psychological and physical withdrawal.
For more wisdom on fostering commitment, see our OB at the Bookstore feature.
Beyond being supportive, organizations can engage in specific practices that target the three
forms of commitment. For example, organizations could foster affective commitment by increas-
ing the bonds that link employees together. Ben & Jerry’s holds monthly “joy events” during
which all production stops for a few hours to be replaced by Cajun-themed parties, table ten-
nis contests, and employee appreciation celebrations.93 Monsanto, the St. Louis, Missouri–based
provider of agricultural products, groups staffers into “people teams” charged with designing
employee-bonding activities like “snowshoe softball.”94 Such tight bonding among employees may
explain why Monsanto’s voluntary turnover rate is only 3 percent. Companies like PepsiCo and
Procter & Gamble pay particular attention to mentoring and team-building programs for female
and minority employees to create a sense of solidarity among employees who might otherwise
remain on the fringe of social networks.95
From a continuance commitment perspective, the priority should be to create a salary and
benefits package that creates a financial need to stay. One study compared the impact of a variety
of human resource management practices on voluntary turnover and found that two of the most
How can organizations
foster a sense of commit-
ment among employees?
Final PDF to printer

80 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 80 10/11/17 08:40 AM
by Rodd Wagner (New York: McGraw Hill, 2015).
YOUR PEOPLE ARE NOT YOUR GREATEST ASSET. They’re not yours, and they’re not
assets . . . You don’t own your people. Many of them don’t trust you. Some don’t like you. Too
many won’t stick it out with you. And the ones you need most have the credentials to walk out
fastest if you treat them poorly.
With those words, Rodd Wagner summarizes the importance (and
challenge) that surrounds organizational commitment in today’s
workplace. Commitment is important, but many companies do a
really bad job fostering it. Wagner and his research team conducted
interviews and surveys at hundreds of companies to pursue two goals:
(1) to get a sense of where most employees fall on the commitment
spectrum and (2) to identify “new rules” for increasing loyalty.
Their results on the first goal suggest that 19 percent of employees
are “demoralized”—feeling that their employer treats them like “wid-
gets.” Another 23 percent are “frustrated”—with moments of positiv-
ity surrounded by the sense that the company is poorly run. Another
29 percent are “encouraged”—neither invigorated to give their best
nor upset enough to leave. That leaves only 30 percent in the “ener-
gized” camp—feeling like employers do a great job of treating them
like human beings, not “assets.”
What should companies do to help more employees find their way
into that 30 percent? What are the so-called new rules for fostering commitment? Wagner dis-
cusses 12 rules. Although some are more relevant to other topics in our integrative model of
OB, many are directly relevant to the three types of commitment. For example, Rule #1, “Get
Inside Their Heads,” is relevant to affective commitment. It urges managers to truly understand
their employees—what they want from their work and how managers can help give it to them. As
another example, Rule #3, “Make Money a Non-Issue,” affects continuance commitment. Pay
employees fairly so that concerns about pay don’t short-circuit loyalty.
Are you curious whether your current or previous employer is following these rules, and
whether you’re “energized,” “demoralized,” or somewhere in between? If so, just Google
“New Rules Index” to find out!
©Roberts Publishing Services
significant predictors were average pay level and quality of the benefits package.96 Of course,
one factor that goes hand-in-hand with salaries and benefits is advancement/promotion because
salaries cannot remain competitive if employees get stuck in neutral when climbing the career lad-
der.97 Perhaps that’s why companies that are well known for their commitment to promotion-from-
within policies, like A.G. Edwards and the Principal Financial Group, also enjoy especially low
voluntary turnover rates.98 Paying attention to career paths is especially important for star employ-
ees and foreign-born employees, both of whom have many options for employment elsewhere.99
From a normative commitment perspective, the employer can provide various training and
development opportunities for employees, which means investing in them to create the sense that
they owe further service to the organization. As the nature of the employee–employer relation-
ship has changed, opportunities for development have overtaken secure employment on the list
of employee priorities.100 IBM is one company with a reputation for prioritizing development. Its
“workforce management initiative” keeps a database of 33,000 résumés to develop a snapshot of
Final PDF to printer

81C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 81 10/11/17 08:40 AM
3.1 Organizational commitment is the desire on the part of an employee to remain a member
of the organization. Withdrawal behavior is a set of actions that employees perform to avoid
the work situation. Commitment and withdrawal are negatively related to each other—the
more committed employees are, the less likely they are to engage in withdrawal.
3.2 There are three types of organizational commitment. Affective commitment occurs when
employees want to stay and is influenced by the emotional bonds between employees.
Continuance commitment occurs when employees need to stay and is influenced by salary
and benefits and the degree to which they are embedded in the community. Normative
commitment occurs when employees feel that they ought to stay and is influenced by an
organization investing in its employees or engaging in charitable efforts.
3.3 Employees can respond to negative work events in four ways: exit, voice, loyalty, and neglect.
Exit is a form of physical withdrawal in which the employee either ends or restricts orga-
nizational membership. Voice is an active and constructive response by which employees
Ben & Jerry’s, founded
by Ben Cohen and Jerry
Greenfield, goes to great
lengths to encourage
employees to hang out
together and have fun
during their workweek.
Such bonding activities
lower turnover and encour-
age valued employees to
©Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images
employee skills.101 IBM uses that snapshot to plan its future training and development activities,
with $400 million of the company’s $750 million training budget devoted to giving employees
the skills they may need in the future. If employees find developmental activities beneficial and
rewarding, they may be tempted to repay those efforts with additional years of service.
A final practical suggestion centers on what to do if withdrawal begins to occur. Managers are
usually tempted to look the other way when employees engage in minor forms of withdrawal. After
all, sometimes such behaviors simply represent a break in an otherwise busy day. However, the
progression model of withdrawal shows that even minor forms of psychological withdrawal often
escalate, eventually to the point of absenteeism and turnover. The implication is, therefore, to stop
the progression in its early stages by trying to root out the source of the reduced commitment.
Many of the most effective companies make great efforts to investigate the causes of low commit-
ment, whether at the psychological withdrawal stage or during exit interviews. As one senior oil
executive acknowledged, the loss of a talented employee warrants the same sort of investigation as
a technical malfunction that causes significant downtime on an oil rig.102
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 82 10/11/17 08:40 AM
82 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
3.1 Which type of organizational commitment (affective, continuance, or normative) do you
think is most important to the majority of employees? Which do you think is most impor-
tant to you?
3.2 Describe other ways that organizations can improve affective, continuance, and normative com-
mitment, other than the strategies suggested in this chapter. How expensive are those strategies?
3.3 Consider times when you’ve reacted to a negative event with exit, voice, loyalty, or neglect.
What was it about the situation that caused you to respond the way you did? Do you usually
respond to negative events in the same way, or does your response vary across the four options?
3.4 Can organizations use a combination of monitoring and punishment procedures to reduce
psychological and physical withdrawal? How might such programs work from a practical
perspective? Do you think they would be effective?
attempt to improve the situation. Loyalty is passive and constructive; employees remain sup-
portive while hoping the situation improves on its own. Neglect is a form of psychological
withdrawal in which interest and effort in the job decrease.
3.4 Examples of psychological withdrawal include daydreaming, socializing, looking busy,
moonlighting, and cyberloafing. Examples of physical withdrawal include tardiness, long
breaks, missing meetings, absenteeism, and quitting. Consistent with the progression model,
withdrawal behaviors tend to start with minor psychological forms before escalating to more
major physical varieties.
3.5 The increased diversity of the workforce can reduce commitment if employees feel lower
levels of affective commitment or become less embedded in their current jobs. The
employee–employer relationship, which has changed due to decades of downsizing, can
reduce affective and normative commitment, making it more of a challenge to retain tal-
ented employees.
3.6 Organizations can foster commitment among employees by fostering perceived organiza-
tional support, which reflects the degree to which the organization cares about employees’
well-being. Commitment can also be fostered by specific initiatives directed at the three
commitment types.
• Organizational commitment p. 62
• Withdrawal behavior p. 62
• Affective commitment p. 63
• Continuance commitment p. 63
• Normative commitment p. 63
• Focus of commitment p. 65
• Erosion model p. 65
• Social influence model p. 65
• Embeddedness p. 68
• Volunteering p. 69
• Exit p. 70
• Voice p. 70
• Loyalty p. 70
• Neglect p. 70
• Stars p. 70
• Citizens p. 70
• Lone wolves p. 70
• Apathetics p. 70
• Psychological withdrawal p. 72
• Physical withdrawal p. 72
• Independent forms model p. 74
• Compensatory forms model p. 74
• Progression model p. 74
• Psychological contracts p. 79
• Transactional contracts p. 79
• Relational contracts p. 79
• Perceived organizational
support p. 79
Final PDF to printer

83C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 83 10/11/17 08:40 AM
PwC is certainly not the first group to attempt a large-scale study of Millennial attitudes. Such
studies face an inherent challenge, however. Researchers have to be able to separate the effects
of generation membership—Millennial, Gen-X, or Baby Boomer—from the effect of stage of
life—being twenty-something, thirty-something, or forty/fifty-something. Suppose a given study
showed that 25-year olds were especially attracted to firms that offered paid time off for volun-
teering. Is the explanation for that finding that Millennials value volunteering more than previ-
ous generations, or that twenty-somethings value it more than older employees? That’s a critical
distinction because Millennials will remain members of their generation for their lifespan,
whereas twenty-somethings will eventually turn into thirty-somethings.
One study, published in Journal of Management, did an especially good job of teasing apart gen-
eration membership and stage of life. The study drew from an annual survey of 15,000 high school
seniors—thereby holding stage of life constant. Respondents were classified as Baby Boomers if
they were born between 1946 and 1964, as Gen-X if they were born between 1965 and 1981, and
as Millennials if they were born between 1982 and 1999. What did the study uncover? One finding
was that Millennials valued leisure time more than either Gen-X or Baby Boomers, being more
likely to value “A job that leaves a lot of time for other things in your life.” Somewhat surprisingly
given existing stereotypes, there were few differences across generations in valuing intrinsic rewards
(“A job that is interesting to do”), altruistic rewards (“A job that gives you an opportunity to be
directly helpful to others”), or social rewards (“A job that gives you a chance to make friends”).
Millennials were less focused on extrinsic rewards (“A job that provides you with a chance to earn a
good deal of money”) than Gen-X, but more focused on such things than Baby Boomers.
The finding that Millennials value leisure time dovetails nicely with PwC’s own results. Their study
showed that 95 percent of Millennials believed that work-life balance was important to them. More-
over, 25 percent of Millennials were disappointed in the work-life balance that PwC was affording
them. From a loyalty perspective, those 25 percent can be viewed as “retention risks”—employees who
may decide to turn over because they no longer want to stay with PwC. In response, PwC organized
a top-down initiative where managers were encouraged to work with their employees to chart out a
work schedule that suited them. The good news is that PwC now understands what drives loyalty
among Millennials. The bad news is that future interns will soon be members of the next generation!
3.1 Compare the findings described above for Millennials to your own views on Millennial char-
acteristics. What surprises you about the findings? What doesn’t surprise you?
3.2 If you think about the three types of commitment—affective, continuance, and normative—
which do you think is most changed among Millennials (or twenty-somethings)? In what way?
3.3 Consider all the initiatives and programs PwC uses to inspire employee loyalty. Do most
of those seek to “move the needle” on affective commitment, continuance commitment, or
normative commitment?
Sources: C. Groden, “Five Things You Can Do to Attract Millennial Talent,” Fortune, March 15, 2016; R. Levering, “The
100 Best Companies to Work For,” Fortune, March 15, 2016; M. Moskowitz, and R. Levering, “The 100 Best Companies to
Work For,” Fortune, March 15, 2015; P. Thallner, “Where Hours Aren’t Everything,” Great Place to Work, March 29, 2016,; J.M.
Twenge, S.M. Campbell, B.J. Hoffman, and C.E. Lance, “Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic
Values Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing,” Journal of Management 36, pp. 1117–42; and C. Zillman, “Hot
New Perk: Paying Down Student Loans,” Fortune, March 15, 2016.
C A S E : P W C
3.5 Can you think of reasons the increased diversity of the workforce might actually increase
organizational commitment? Why? Which of the three types of commitment might explain
that sort of result?
3.6 Studies suggest that decades of downsizing have lowered organizational commitment levels.
Can you think of a way that an organization can conduct layoffs without harming the com-
mitment of the survivors? How?
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 84 10/11/17 08:40 AM
The purpose of this exercise is to explore how individuals react to three all-too-common
scenarios that represent negative workplace events. This exercise uses groups, so your instructor
will either assign you to a group or ask you to create your own group. The exercise has the
following steps:
3.1 Individually read the following three scenarios: the annoying boss, the boring job, and pay
and seniority. For each scenario, write down two specific behaviors in which you would
likely engage in response to that scenario. Write down what you would actually do, as
opposed to what you wish you would do. For example, you may wish that you would march
into your boss’s office and demand a change, but if you would actually do nothing, write
down “nothing.”
3.2 In groups, compare and contrast your likely responses to the three scenarios. Come to a
consensus on the two most likely responses for the group as a whole. Elect one group mem-
ber to write the two likely responses to each of the three scenarios on the board or on a
3.3 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on where the likely responses
fit into the exit–voice–loyalty–neglect framework. What personal and situational factors
would lead someone to one category of responses over another? Are there any responses
that do not fit into the exit–voice–loyalty–neglect framework?
Annoying Boss You’ve been working at your current company for
about a year. Over time, your boss has become more
and more annoying to you. It’s not that your boss is
a bad person, or even necessarily a bad boss. It’s
more a personality conflict—the way your boss talks,
the way your boss manages every little thing, even
the facial expressions your boss uses. The more time
passes, the more you just can’t stand to be around
your boss.
Two likely
Boring Job You’ve been working at your current company for
about a year. You’ve come to realize that your job
is pretty boring. It’s the first real job you’ve ever
had, and at first it was nice to have some money
and something to do every day. But the “new job”
excitement has worn off, and things are actually quite
monotonous. Same thing every day. It’s to the point
that you check your watch every hour, and Wednes-
days feel like they should be Fridays.
Two likely
Pay and Seniority You’ve been working at your current company for
about a year. The consensus is that you’re doing
a great job—you’ve gotten excellent performance
evaluations and have emerged as a leader on many
projects. As you’ve achieved this high status, however,
you’ve come to feel that you’re underpaid. Your com-
pany’s pay procedures emphasize seniority much more
than job performance. As a result, you look at other
members of your project teams and see poor perform-
ers making much more than you, just because they’ve
been with the company longer.
Two likely
84 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 85 10/11/17 08:40 AM
3.1 Shepherd, L. “Focusing
Knowledge Reten-
tion on Millennials.”
Workforce Management,
August 2010, p. 6.
3.2 Allen, D.G.; P.C.
Bryant; and J.M.
Vardaman. “Retaining
Talent: Replacing
Misconceptions with
Evidence-Based Strate-
gies.” Academy of Man-
agement Perspectives 24
(2010), pp. 48–64.
3.3 Meyer, J.P., and N.J.
Allen. Commitment in
the Workplace. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 1997;
and Mowday, R.T.; R.M.
Steers; and L.W. Porter.
“The Measurement of
Organizational Com-
mitment.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 14
(1979), pp. 224–47.
3.4 Hulin, C.L. “Adapta-
tion, Persistence, and
Commitment in Organi-
zations.” In Handbook
of Industrial and Organi-
zational Psychology, Vol.
2, ed. M.D. Dunnette
and L.M. Hough. Palo
Alto, CA: Consulting
Psychologists Press,
1991, pp. 445–506.
3.5 Allen, N.J., and
J.P. Meyer. “The
Measurement and Ante-
cedents of Affective,
Continuance and Nor-
mative Commitment
to the Organization.”
Journal of Occupational
Psychology 63 (1990),
pp. 1–18; Meyer, J.P.,
and N.J. Allen. “A
Conceptualization of
Organizational Commit-
ment.” Human Resource
Management Review
1 (1991), pp. 61–89;
and Meyer and Allen,
Commitment in the
3.6 Ibid.
3.7 Ibid.
3.8 Meyer and Allen,
Commitment in the
3.9 Mowday et al.,
“The Measurement
of Organizational
3.10 Ashforth, B.E.; S.H.
Harrison; and K.G.
Corley. “Identification
in Organizations:
An Examination of
Four Fundamental
Questions.” Journal of
Management 34 (2008),
pp. 325–74.
3.11 Ibid.
3.12 Meyer, J.P.; D.J. Stan-
ley; L. Herscovitch;
and L. Topolnytsky.
“Affective, Continu-
ance, and Normative
Commitment to the
Organization: A Meta-
Analysis of Anteced-
ents, Correlates, and
Consequences.” Journal
of Vocational Behavior
61 (2002), pp. 20–52.
3.13 Mathieu, J.E., and
D.M. Zajac. “A Review
and Meta-Analysis
of the Antecedents,
Correlates, and Conse-
quences of Organiza-
tional Commitment.”
Psychological Bulletin
108 (1990), pp. 171–94.
3.14 Johns, G. “The Psy-
chology of Lateness,
Absenteeism, and
Turnover.” In Handbook
of Industrial, Work,
and Organizational
Psychology, ed. N.
Anderson; D.S. Ones;
H.K. Sinangil; and C.
Viswesvaran. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001,
pp. 232–52.
3.15 Ibid.
3.16 Flint, J. “Analyze This.”
Bloomberg Business-
week, February 21–27,
2011, pp. 82–83.
3.17 Ladika, S. “Socially
Evolved.” Workforce
September 2010,
pp. 18–22.
3.18 Kanter, R.M.
“Commitment and
Social Organization:
A Study of Commit-
ment Mechanisms in
Utopian Communities.”
American Sociological
Review 33 (1968), pp.
3.19 Stebbins, R.A. Commit-
ment to Deviance: The
Nonprofessional Crimi-
nal in the Community.
Westport, CT: Green-
wood Press, 1970.
3.20 Becker, H.S. “Notes on
the Concept of Com-
mitment.” American
Journal of Sociology 66
(1960), pp. 32–42.
3.21 Rusbult, C.E., and D.
Farrell. “A Longitudinal
Test of the Investment
Model: The Impact of
Job Satisfaction, Job
Commitment, and
85C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
Final PDF to printer

86 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 86 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Turnover of Variations
in Rewards, Costs,
Alternatives, and
Investments.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 68
(1983), pp. 429–38.
3.22 Meyer and Allen,
Commitment in the
3.23 Meyer et al., “Affective,
Continuance, and Nor-
mative Commitment.”
3.24 Mitchell, T.R.; B.C.
Holtom; T.W. Lee;
C.J. Sablynski; and
M. Erez. “Why People
Stay: Using Job Embed-
dedness to Predict
Voluntary Turnover.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 44 (2001),
pp. 1102–21.
3.25 Felps, W.; T.R. Mitchell;
D.R. Hekman; T.W.
Lee; B.C. Holtom; and
W.S. Harman. “Turn-
over Contagion: How
Coworkers’ Job Embed-
dedness and Job Search
Behaviors Influence
Quitting.” Academy of
Management Journal 52
(2009), pp. 545–61; and
Hom, P.W.; A.S. Tsui;
J.B. Wu; T.W. Lee; A.Y.
Zhang; P.P. Fu; and L.
Li. “Explaining Employ-
ment Relationships
with Social Exchange
and Job Embedded-
ness.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 94 (2009),
pp. 277–97.
3.26 Burton, J.P.; B.C.
Holtom; C.J. Sablynski;
T.R. Mitchell; and T.W.
Lee. “The Buffering
Effects of Job Embed-
dedness on Negative
Shocks.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 76
(2010), pp. 42–51.
3.27 Ramesh, A., and M.J.
Gelfand. “Will They
Stay or Will They Go?
The Role of Job Embed-
dedness in Predicting
Turnover in Individual-
istic and Collectivistic
Cultures.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 95
(2010), pp. 807–23.
3.28 Ng, T.W.H., and D.C.
Feldman. “Organiza-
tional Embeddedness
and Occupational
Embeddedness across
Career Stages.” Journal
of Vocational Behavior
70 (2007), pp. 336–51.
3.29 Levering, R., and M.
Moskowitz. “The 100
Best Companies to
Work For.” Fortune,
January 24, 2005,
pp. 64–94.
3.30 Allen and Meyer, “The
Measurement and
Antecedents of Affec-
tive, Continuance and
Normative Commit-
ment to the Organiza-
tion”; Meyer and Allen,
“A Three-Component
and Meyer and Allen,
Commitment in the
3.31 Wiener, Y. “Commit-
ment in Organizations:
A Normative View.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 7 (1982),
pp. 418–28.
3.32 Meyer and Allen, “A
3.33 Rodell, J.B. “Finding
Meaning through
Volunteering: Why Do
Employees Volunteer
and What Does It
Mean for Their Jobs?”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 56 (2013),
pp. 1274–94.
3.34 Rodell, J.B., and J.W.
Lynch. “Perceptions of
Employee Volunteer-
ing: Is It ‘Credited’ or
‘Stigmatized’ by Col-
leagues?” Academy of
Management Journal 56
(2016), pp. 611–35.
3.35 Grow, B. “The Debate
over Doing Good.”
BusinessWeek, August
15, 2005, pp. 76–78.
3.36 Ibid.
3.37 Rafter, M.V. “Appealing
to Workers’ Civic Side.”
Workforce Management,
August 2010, p. 3.
3.38 Frauenheim, E. “The
Manager Question.”
Workforce Management,
April 2010, pp. 19–24.
3.39 Hirschman, A.O. Exit,
Voice, and Loyalty:
Responses to Decline in
Firms, Organizations,
and States. Cambridge,
MA: Harvard Univer-
sity Press, 1970; and
Farrell, D. “Exit, Voice,
Loyalty, and Neglect
as Responses to Job
Dissatisfaction: A
Multidimensional Scal-
ing Study.” Academy of
Management Journal 26
(1983), pp. 596–607.
3.40 Hirschman, Exit, Voice,
and Loyalty; Farrell,
“Exit, Voice, Loyalty,
and Neglect”; and
Rusbult, C.E.; D. Farrell;
C. Rogers; and A.G.
Mainous III. “Impact of
Exchange Variables on
Exit, Voice, Loyalty, and
Neglect: An Integrating
Model of Responses
to Declining Job
Final PDF to printer

87C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 87 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 31 (1988),
pp. 599–627.
3.41 Ibid.
3.42 Ibid.
3.43 Farrell, “Exit, Voice,
Loyalty, and Neglect”;
and Rusbult et al.,
“Impact of Exchange
3.44 Withey, M.J., and W.H.
Cooper. “Predicting
Exit, Voice, Loyalty,
and Neglect.” Adminis-
trative Science Quarterly
34 (1989), pp. 521–39;
and Burris, E.R.;
J.R. Detert; and D.S.
Chiaburu. “Quitting
Before Leaving: The
Mediating Effects of
Psychological Attach-
ment and Detachment
on Voice.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 93
(2008), pp. 912–22.
3.45 Griffeth, R.W.; S.
Gaertner; and J.K.
Sager. “Taxonomic
Model of Withdrawal
Behaviors: The Adap-
tive Response Model.”
Human Resource
Management Review 9
(1999), pp. 577–90.
3.46 Ibid.
3.47 Ibid.
3.48 Ibid.
3.49 Cherrington, D. The
Work Ethic. New York:
AMACOM, 1980.
3.50 Hulin, C.L.; M.
Roznowski; and D.
Hachiya. “Alternative
Opportunities and
Withdrawal Decisions:
Empirical and Theo-
retical Discrepancies
and an Integration.”
Psychological Bulletin
97 (1985), pp. 233–50.
3.51 Fisher, A. “Turning
Clock-Watchers into
Stars.” Fortune, March
22, 2004, p. 60.
3.52 Hulin et al., “Alterna-
tive Opportunities and
Withdrawal Decisions.”
3.53 Lim, V.K.G. “The IT
Way of Loafing on the
Job: Cyberloafing, Neu-
tralizing, and Organiza-
tional Justice.” Journal
of Organizational
Behavior 23 (2002),
pp. 675–94.
3.54 Jackson, M. “May We
Have Your Attention,
Please?” BusinessWeek,
June 23, 2008, p. 55.
3.55 Spitznagel, E. “Any
Given Monday.” Bloom-
berg Businessweek,
September 13–19, 2010,
pp. 81–83.
3.56 Gerdes, L. “Nothin’ But
Net.” BusinessWeek,
March 26, 2007, p. 16.
3.57 Source: Lim, Vivien
KG. “The IT way of
loafing on the job:
cyberloafing, neutraliz-
ing and organizational
justice.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
23.5 (2002): 675-694.
3.58 Hulin et al., “Alterna-
tive Opportunities and
Withdrawal Decisions.”
3.59 Koslowsky, M.; A.
Sagie; M. Krausz; and
A.D. Singer. “Cor-
relates of Employee
Lateness: Some Theo-
retical Considerations.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 82 (1997),
pp. 79–88.
3.60 Blau, G. “Develop-
ing and Testing a
Taxonomy of Lateness
Behavior.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 79
(1994), pp. 959–70.
3.61 Muchinsky, P.M.
“Employee Absentee-
ism: A Review of the
Literature.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 10
(1977), pp. 316–40;
and Harrison, D.A.
“Time for Absenteeism:
A 20-Year Review of
Origins, Offshoots, and
Outcomes.” Journal of
Management 24 (1998),
pp. 305–50.
3.62 Fichman, M. “Motiva-
tional Consequences
of Absence and Atten-
dance: Proportional
Hazard Estimation of
a Dynamic Motivation
Model.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 73
(1988), pp. 119–34.
3.63 Martocchio, J.J., and
D.I. Jimeno. “Employee
Absenteeism as an
Affective Event.”
Human Resource
Management Review 13
(2003), pp. 227–41.
3.64 Nicholson, N., and G.
Johns. “The Absence
Climate and the Psy-
chological Contract:
Who’s in Control of
Absence?” Academy of
Management Review 10
(1985), pp. 397–407.
3.65 Spitznagel, E. “The
Sick-Day Bounty
Hunters.” Bloomberg
December 6–12, 2010,
pp. 93–95.
3.66 Lucas, S. “The Shock
and Awe of IKEA’s
Final PDF to printer

88 C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 88 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Employee Spying Pro-
gram.” Inc., December,
3.67 Ibid.
3.68 Campion, M.A.
“Meaning and Measure-
ment of Turnover:
Comparison of Alter-
native Measures and
Recommendations for
Research.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 76
(1991), pp. 199–212.
3.69 Lee, T.W., and T.R.
Mitchell. “An Alterna-
tive Approach: The
Unfolding Model of
Voluntary Employee
Turnover.” Academy
of Management
Review 19 (1994),
pp. 51–89; Lee, T.W.,
and T.R. Mitchell. “An
Unfolding Model of
Voluntary Employee
Turnover.” Academy of
Management Journal 39
(1996), pp. 5–36; Lee,
T.W.; T.R. Mitchell;
B.C. Holtom; L.S.
McDaniel; and J.W.
Hill. “The Unfolding
Model of Voluntary
Turnover: A Replica-
tion and Extension.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 42
(1999), pp. 450–62;
and Lee, T.H.; B.
Gerhart; I. Weller; and
C.O. Trevor. “Under-
standing Voluntary
Turnover: Path-Specific
Job Satisfaction Effects
and the Importance
of Unsolicited Job
Offers.” Academy of
Management Journal 51
(2008), pp. 651–71.
3.70 Mobley, W. “Intermedi-
ate Linkages in the
Relationship Between
Job Satisfaction and
Employee Turnover.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 62 (1977),
pp. 237–40; and Hom,
P.W.; R. Griffeth; and
C.L. Sellaro. “The
Validity of Mobley’s
(1977) Model of
Employee Turnover.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Perfor-
mance 34 (1984),
pp. 141–74.
3.71 Lee and Mitchell, “An
Alternative Approach”;
Lee and Mitchell, “An
Unfolding Model of
Voluntary Employee
Turnover”; Lee and
Mitchell, “The Unfold-
ing Model of Voluntary
Turnover”; and Porter,
L.W., and R.M. Steers.
“Organizational, Work,
and Personal Factors
in Employee Turnover
and Absenteeism.”
Psychological Bulletin
80 (1973), pp. 151–76.
3.72 Johns, “The Psychology
of Lateness, Absentee-
ism, and Turnover.”
3.73 Rosse, J.G. “Relations
among Lateness,
Absence, and Turnover:
Is There a Progres-
sion of Withdrawal?”
Human Relations 41
(1988), pp. 517–31.
3.74 Mitra, A.; G.D. Jenkins
Jr.; and N. Gupta. “A
Meta-Analytic Review
of the Relationship
Between Absence and
Turnover.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 77
(1992), p. 879–89;
Koslowsky et al., “Cor-
relates of Employee
Lateness”; and Grif-
feth, R.W.; P.W. Hom;
and S. Gaertner. “A
Meta-Analysis of Ante-
cedents and Correlates
of Employee Turnover:
Update, Moderator
Tests, and Research
Implications for the
Next Millennium.”
Journal of Management
26 (2000),
pp. 463–88.
3.75 Koslowsky et al., “Cor-
relates of Employee
3.76 Burns, C.; K. Barton;
and S. Kerby. “The
State of Diversity in
Today’s Workforce.”
Center for American
Progress, July 2012.
3.77 Ibid.
3.78 Coy, P. “Old. Smart.
Productive.” Business-
Week, June 27, 2005,
pp. 78–86.
3.79 Fisher, A. “Holding
on to Global Talent.”
BusinessWeek, October
31, 2005, p. 202.
3.80 Fisher, “Holding on to
Global Talent.”
3.81 Morris, J.R.; W.F.
Cascio; and C.E.
Young. “Downsizing
after All These Years:
Questions and Answers
about Who Did It,
How Many Did It, and
Who Benefited from
It.” Organizational
Dynamics 27 (1999),
pp. 78–87.
3.82 Ibid.
3.83 Devine, K.; T. Reay;
L. Stainton; and R.
Collins-Nakai. “Down-
sizing Outcomes: Better
a Victim Than a Survi-
vor?” Human Resource
Final PDF to printer

89C H A P T E R 3 Organizational Commitment
coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 89 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Management 42 (2003),
pp. 109–24.
3.84 Ibid.
3.85 Conlin, M. “When the
Laid-Off Are Better
Off.” BusinessWeek,
November 2, 2009,
p. 65.
3.86 Rousseau, D.M. “Psy-
chological and Implied
Contracts in Organi-
zations.” Employee
Responsibilities and
Rights Journal 2 (1989),
pp. 121–39.
3.87 Rousseau, D.M. “New
Hire Perceptions of
Their Own and Their
Employer’s Obligations:
A Study of Psychologi-
cal Contracts.” Journal
of Organizational
Behavior 11 (1990),
pp. 389–400; Robin-
son, S.L.; M.S. Kraatz;
and D.M. Rousseau.
“Changing Obligations
and the Psychological
Contract: A Longitu-
dinal Study.” Academy
of Management Journal
37 (1994), pp. 137–52;
and Robinson, S.L.,
and E.W. Morrison.
“Psychological Con-
tracts and OCB: The
Effect of Unfulfilled
Obligations on Civic
Virtue Behavior.” Jour-
nal of Organizational
Behavior 16 (1995),
pp. 289–98.
3.88 Ibid.
3.89 Robinson, S.L. “Violat-
ing the Psychological
Contract: Not the
Exception but the
Norm.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
15 (1994), pp. 245–59;
Robinson, S.L. “Trust
and Breach of the Psy-
chological Contract.”
Administrative Science
Quarterly 41 (1996),
pp. 574–99; Zhao,
H.; S.J. Wayne; B.C.
Glibkowski; and J.
Bravo. “The Impact of
Psychological Contract
Breach on Work-
Related Outcomes:
A Meta-Analysis.”
Personnel Psychology
60 (2007), pp. 647–80;
and Bal, P.M.; A.H. De
Lange; P.G.W. Jansen;
and M.E.G. Van der
Velde. “Psychological
Contract Breach and
Job Attitudes: A Meta-
Analysis of Age as a
Moderator.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 72
(2008), pp. 143–58.
3.90 Eisenberger, R.; R.
Huntington; S. Hutchi-
son; and D. Sowa. “Per-
ceived Organizational
Support.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 71
(1986), pp. 500–507.
3.91 Rhoades, L., and R.
Eisenberger. “Perceived
Organizational Sup-
port.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 87 (2002),
pp. 698–714; and Allen,
D.G.; L.M. Shore; and
R.W. Griffeth. “The
Role of Perceived
Organizational Support
and Supportive Human
Resources Practices in
the Turnover Process.”
Journal of Management
29 (2003), pp. 99–118.
3.92 Rhoades and Eisen-
berger, “Perceived Orga-
nizational Support.”
3.93 Dessler, G. “How to
Earn Your Employees’
Academy of Manage-
ment Executive 13
(1999), pp. 58–67.
3.94 Levering and Mos-
kowitz, “In Good
3.95 Fisher, A. “How You
Can Do Better on
Diversity.” Business-
Week, November
15, 2005, p. 60; and
Fisher, “Holding on to
Global Talent.”
3.96 Shaw, J.D.; J.E.
Delery; G.D. Jenkins
Jr.; and N. Gupta. “An
Analysis of Voluntary
and Involuntary
Turnover.” Academy of
Management Journal
41 (1998), pp. 511–25.
3.97 Dessler, “How to
Earn Your Employees’
3.98 Levering and Mos-
kowitz, “In Good
3.99 Fisher, “Holding on
to Global Talent”; and
Fisher, A. “How to
Keep your Stars from
Leaving.” Business-
Week, July 26, 2005,
p. 44.
3.100 Cappelli, P. “Managing
without Commit-
ment.” Organizational
Dynamics 28 (2000),
pp. 11–24.
3.101 Byrnes, N. “Star
Search.” Business-
Week, October 10,
2005, pp. 68–78.
3.102 Ibid.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch03_060-090.indd 90 10/11/17 08:40 AM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 91 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Job Satisfaction
Trust, Justice, and Ethics
Learning and Decision Making
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 92 10/11/17 08:41 AM
4.1 What is job satisfaction?
4.2 What are values, and how do they affect job satisfaction?
4.3 What specific facets do employees consider when evaluating their job satisfaction?
4.4 Which job characteristics can create a sense of satisfaction with the work itself?
4.5 How is job satisfaction affected by day-to-day events?
4.6 What are mood and emotions, and what specific forms do they take?
4.7 How does job satisfaction affect job performance and organizational commitment? How does it affect
life satisfaction?
4.8 What steps can organizations take to assess and manage job satisfaction?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Job Satisfaction
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 93 10/11/17 08:41 AM
an you guess the two best supermarkets in the
United States, in terms of customer service ratings
provided by the American Customer Satisfaction
Index? One is Trader Joe’s, the Monrovia, California-based
chain. But who’s the other? The answer is Publix—founded
in 1930 by George Jenkins in Winter Garden, Florida. How
does Publix provide such good customer service? One way
is by having happy employees. Jenkins had two goals in
founding the company: (1) to create the world’s best shop-
ping experience, and (2) to create the world’s best work-
place. Notes one store manager, “The reason Publix is
such a great place to work is that nothing has changed in
86 years.” Other employees obviously agree, as the com-
pany’s been named one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies
to Work For every year since its inception.
What exactly makes Publix such a great place to work?
For one, the company promotes from within. There’s a for-
mal process for part-timers to go to full-time and for full-
timers to pursue a long-term career. Indeed, virtually all of
Publix’s management team started out in entry-level positions.
Of the 60,000 openings at the chain last year, over 26,000
were filled internally. And 30 percent of the rest were filled
using employee referrals. Says incoming CEO Todd Jones,
“You can do whatever you want in this company, including
becoming CEO.” Jones should know, given that he started
out bagging groceries at Publix 36 years ago.
The company also pays well, with above-market start-
ing salaries. Employees are eligible for raises after their first
six months and can gain stock in the company six months
later. Managers provide new hires with generous amounts
of feedback, including 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day “check-
in meetings.” The company also offers a tuition reimburse-
ment program to employees who work at least 10 hours
per week, paying up to $12,800 per employee. All these
reasons explain why so many employees “bleed green”—a
term used to capture the extreme satisfaction and loyalty
felt by the rank and file. It’s that satisfaction that employ-
ees are asked to channel into better customer service. In
fact, new hires are asked to memorize a slogan coined by
the founder: “Make every customer’s day a little bit better
because they met you.”
©Peter Titmuss/Alamy
Final PDF to printer

94 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 94 10/11/17 08:41 AM
This chapter takes us to a new portion of our integrative model of organizational behavior. Job
satisfaction is one of several individual mechanisms that directly affects job performance and
organizational commitment. If employees are very satisfied with their jobs and experience posi-
tive emotions while working, they may perform their jobs better and choose to remain with the
company for a longer period of time. Think about the worst job that you’ve held in your life, even
if it was just a summer job or a short-term work assignment. What did you feel during the course
of the day? How did those feelings influence the way you behaved, in terms of your time spent on
task and citizenship behaviors rather than counterproductive or withdrawal behaviors?
Job satisfaction is a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or
job experiences.1 In other words, it represents how you feel about your job and what you think
about your job. Employees with high job satisfaction experience positive feelings when they think
about their duties or take part in task activities. Employees with low job satisfaction experience
negative feelings when they think about their duties or take part in their task activities. Unfortu-
nately, workplace surveys suggest that satisfied employees are becoming more and more rare. For
example, one recent survey showed that just 45 percent of Americans were satisfied with their
jobs, down from 61 percent two decades ago.2 What explains the drop? The same survey revealed
declines in the percentage of employees who find their work interesting (51 percent), who are
satisfied with their boss (51 percent), and who like their coworkers (57 percent). Reversing such
trends requires a deeper understanding of exactly what drives job satisfaction levels.
So what explains why some employees are more satisfied than others? At a general level, employees
are satisfied when their job provides the things that they value. Values are those things that people
consciously or subconsciously want to seek or attain.3 Think about this question for a few moments:
What do you want to attain from your job, that is, what things do you want your job to give you?
A good wage? A sense of achievement? Colleagues who are fun to be around? If you had to make
a list of the things you value with respect to your job, most or all of them would likely be shown in
Table 4-1. This table summarizes the content of popular surveys of work values, broken down into
more general categories.4 Many of those values deal with the things that your work can give you,
such as good pay or the chance for frequent promotions. Other values pertain to the context that sur-
rounds your work, including whether you have a good boss or good coworkers. Still other values deal
with the work itself, like whether your job tasks provide you with freedom or a sense of achievement.
Consider the list of values in Table 4-1. Which would make your “top five” in terms of impor-
tance right now, at this stage of your life? Maybe you have a part-time job during college and
you value enjoyable coworkers or a comfortable work environment above everything else. Or
maybe you’re getting established in your career and starting a family, which makes a high salary
and frequent promotions especially critical. Or perhaps you’re at a point in your career that you
feel a need to help others or find an outlet for your creative expression. (In our case, we value
fame, which is what led us to write this textbook. We’re still waiting for Fallon’s call—or at least
Kimmel’s). Regardless of your “top five,” you can see that different people value different things
and that your values may change during the course of your working life.
Values play a key role in explaining job satisfaction. Value-percept theory argues that job satisfac-
tion depends on whether you perceive that your job supplies the things that you value.5 This theory
can be summarized with the following equation:
What is job performance?
What are values, and
how do they affect job
Final PDF to printer

95C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 95 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Dissatisfaction = (Vwant – Vhave) × (Vimportance)
In this equation, Vwant reflects how much of a value an employee wants, Vhave indicates how
much of that value the job supplies, and Vimportance reflects how important the value is to the
employee. Big differences between wants and haves create a sense of dissatisfaction, especially
when the value in question is important. Note that the difference between Vwant and Vhave gets mul-
tiplied by importance, so existing discrepancies get magnified for important values and minimized
for trivial values. As an example, say that you were evaluating your pay satisfaction. You want to
be earning around $70,000 a year but are currently earning $50,000 a year, so there’s a $20,000
discrepancy. Does that mean you feel a great deal of pay dissatisfaction? Only if pay is one of the
most important values to you from Table 4-1. If pay isn’t that important, you probably don’t feel
much dissatisfaction.
Value-percept theory also suggests that people evaluate job satisfaction according to specific
“facets” of the job.6 After all, a “job” isn’t one thing—it’s a collection of tasks, relationships, and
rewards.7 The most common facets that employees consider in judging their job satisfaction appear
in Figure 4-1. The figure includes the “want vs. have” calculations that drive satisfaction with pay,
promotions, supervision, coworkers, and the work itself. The figure also shows how satisfaction with
What specific facets do
employees consider
when evaluating their job
TABLE 4-1 Commonly Assessed Work Values
Pay • High salary
• Secure salary
Promotions • Frequent promotions
• Promotions based on ability
Supervision • Good supervisory relations
• Praise for good work
Coworkers • Enjoyable coworkers
• Responsible coworkers
Work Itself • Utilization of ability
• Freedom and independence
• Intellectual stimulation
• Creative expression
• Sense of achievement
Altruism • Helping others
• Moral causes
Status • Prestige
• Power over others
• Fame
Environment • Comfort
• Safety
Key Question:
Which of these things are most important to you?
Sources: Adapted from R.V. Dawis, “Vocational Interests, Values, and Preferences,” in Handbook of Industrial and Orga-
nizational Psychology, Vol. 2, Ed. M.D. Dunnette and L.M. Hough (Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press, 1991),
pp. 834–71; and D.M. Cable and J.R. Edwards, “Complementary and Supplementary Fit: A Theoretical and Empirical
Investigation,” Journal of Applied Psychology 89 (2004), pp. 822–34.
Final PDF to printer

96 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 96 10/11/17 08:41 AM
those five facets adds together to create “overall job satisfaction.” Figure 4-1 shows that employees
might be satisfied for all kinds of reasons. One person may be satisfied because she’s in a high-
paying job and working for a good boss. Another person may be satisfied because he has good
coworkers and enjoyable work tasks. You may have noticed that a few of the values in Table 4-1, such
as working for moral causes and gaining fame and prestige, are not represented in Figure 4-1. Those
values are missing because they’re not as relevant in all jobs, unlike pay, promotions, and so forth.
The first facet in Figure 4-1, pay satisfaction, refers to employees’ feelings about their pay,
including whether it’s as much as they deserve, secure, and adequate for both normal expenses
and luxury items.8 Similar to the other facets, pay satisfaction is based on a comparison of the
pay that employees want and the pay they receive.9 Although more money is almost always better,
most employees base their desired pay on a careful examination of their job duties and the pay
given to comparable colleagues.10 As a result, even nonmillionaires can be quite satisfied with
their pay (thankfully for most of us!). Take the employees at NuStar Energy, the San Antonio–
based asphalt refiner and operator of oil pipelines storage.11 The company pays more than the
industry average, with merit pay and equity grants for nonexecutives. And either everyone gets
a bonus or no one does. Those sorts of pay policies make it more bearable to stand next to hot
asphalt in a flame-retardant suit, hard hat, shatterproof glasses, and steel-toed boots!
The next facet in Figure 4-1, promotion satisfaction, refers to employees’ feelings about the com-
pany’s promotion policies and their execution, including whether promotions are frequent, fair, and
FIGURE 4-1 The Value-Percept Theory of Job Satisfaction
with the
Work Itself
(Promotionwant − Promotionhave)
× Promotionimportance
(Supervisionwant − Supervisionhave)
× Supervisionimportance
(Coworkerwant − Coworkerhave)
× Coworkerimportance
(Workwant − Workhave)
× Workimportance
(Paywant − Payhave)
× Payimportance
Final PDF to printer

97C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 97 10/11/17 08:41 AM
based on ability.12 Unlike pay, some employees may not want frequent promotions because promo-
tions bring more responsibility and increased work hours.13 However, many employees value promo-
tions because they provide opportunities for more personal growth, a better wage, and more prestige.
Nordstrom, the Seattle-based high-end retailer, does a good job fostering promotion satisfaction on
the part of its employees. New sales clerks are often promoted within a year, with potential lead-
ers put on the fast track with a six-month training program.14 Indeed, five of the nine members of
Nordstrom’s executive committee started off on the sales floor. “Leadership is grounded in experi-
ence,” notes one executive. “We want to make sure people get enough experiences to grow their career.”
Supervision satisfaction reflects employees’ feelings about their boss, including whether the
boss is competent, polite, and a good communicator (rather than lazy, annoying, and too dis-
tant).15 Most employees ask two questions about their supervisors: (1) “Can they help me attain
the things that I value?” and (2) “Are they generally likable?”16 The first question depends on
whether supervisors provide rewards for good performance, help employees obtain necessary
resources, and protect employees from unnecessary distractions. The second question depends on
whether supervisors have good personalities, as well as values and beliefs similar to the employ-
ees’ philosophies. General Mills, the Minneapolis–based manufacturer of food products, works
hard to foster a sense of supervision satisfaction. The company stresses leadership development
courses at its General Mills Institute and rotates employees across jobs to broaden the experi-
ences they bring to leadership roles.17 One manager describes the company’s culture this way,
“I’ve noticed a manager three roles ago is still putting in good words for me, and still checking up
on me. It’s something that’s common at General Mills, and something I’ve started to do as well.”
Coworker satisfaction refers to employees’ feelings about their fellow employees, including
whether coworkers are smart, responsible, helpful, fun, and interesting as opposed to lazy, gossipy,
unpleasant, and boring.18 Employees ask the same kinds of questions about their coworkers that they
do about their supervisors: (1) “Can they help me do my job?” and (2) “Do I enjoy being around
them?” The first question is critical because most of us rely, to some extent, on our coworkers when
performing job tasks. The second question also is important because we spend just as much time
with coworkers as we do with members of our own family. Coworkers who are pleasant and fun can
make the workweek go much faster, whereas coworkers who are disrespectful and annoying can
make even one day seem like an eternity. Perkins COIE, the Seattle–based law firm that represents
Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, and Intel, fosters coworker satisfaction in an unusual—and downright
sneaky—way. The firm encourages the creation of “happiness committees,” small groups within
each department that perform random acts of kindness, like leaving gifts at an employee’s work
station.19 The twist? The rosters of the happiness committees are kept secret from the rank-and-file.
The last facet in Figure 4-1, satisfaction with the work itself, reflects employees’ feelings about
their actual work tasks, including whether those tasks are challenging, interesting, respected, and
make use of key skills rather than being dull, repetitive, and uncomfortable.20 Whereas the previ-
ous four facets described the outcomes that result from work (pay, promotions) and the people
who surround work (supervisors, coworkers), this facet focuses on what employees actually do.
After all, even the best boss or most interesting coworkers can’t compensate for 40 or 50 hours
of complete boredom each week! How can employers instill a sense of satisfaction with the work
itself? One way is to emphasize the most challenging and interesting parts of the job. At Dream-
Works Animation, the Glendale, California–based studio, employees are encouraged to attend
“Life’s a Pitch” workshops that allow them to hone their presentation skills.21 The company also
helps employees flex their creative muscles by offering free drawing, sculpting, and improv classes.
The CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg, notes, “Our philosophy is that if you love your work, and you love
coming to work, then the work will be exceptional.”
In summary, value-percept theory suggests that employees will be satisfied when they perceive
that their job offers the pay, promotions, supervision, coworkers, and work tasks that they value. Of
course, this theory begs the question: Which of those ingredients is most important? In other words,
which of the five facets in Figure 4-1 has the strongest influence on overall job satisfaction? Several
research studies have examined these issues and come up with the results shown in Figure 4-2. The
figure depicts the correlation between each of the five satisfaction facets and an overall index of
job satisfaction. (Recall that correlations of .10, .30, and .50 indicate weak, moderate, and strong
relationships, respectively.)
Final PDF to printer

98 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 98 10/11/17 08:41 AM
FIGURE 4-2 Correlations between Satisfaction Facets and Overall Job Satisfaction
Sources: G.H. Ironson, P.C. Smith, M.T. Brannick, W.M. Gibson, and K.B. Paul, “Construction of a Job in General Scale:
A Comparison of Global, Composite, and Specific Measures,” Journal of Applied Psychology 74 (1989), pp. 193–200; and
S.S. Russell, C. Spitzmuller, L.F. Lin, J.M. Stanton, P.C. Smith, and G.H. Ironson, “Shorter Can Also Be Better: The
Abridged Job in General Scale,” Educational and Psychological Measurement 64 (2004), pp. 878–93.
Correlation with
Overall Job
Pay Promotion Supervision Coworker Work Itself
Specific Facets of Job Satisfaction
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
Figure 4-2 suggests that satisfaction with the work itself is the single strongest driver of overall
job satisfaction.22 Supervision and coworker satisfaction are also strong drivers, and promotion
and pay satisfaction have moderately strong effects. Why is satisfaction with the work itself so
critical? Well, consider that a typical workweek contains around 2,400 minutes. How much of
that time is spent thinking about how much money you make? 10 minutes? Maybe 20? The same
is true for promotions—we may want them, but we don’t necessarily spend hours a day thinking
about them. We do spend a significant chunk of that time with other people though. Between
lunches, meetings, hallway chats, and other conversations, we might easily spend 600 minutes a
week with supervisors and coworkers. That leaves almost 1,800 minutes for just us and our work.
As a result, it’s hard to be satisfied with your job if you don’t like what you actually do. For a pic-
ture of one bus driver’s job satisfaction, see our OB on Screen feature.
Given how critical enjoyable work tasks are to overall job satisfaction, it’s worth spending more
time describing the kinds of tasks that most people find enjoyable. Researchers began focusing
on this question in the 1950s and 1960s, partly in reaction to practices based in the “scientific
management” perspective. Scientific management focuses on increasing the efficiency of job tasks
by making them more simplified and specialized and using time and motion studies to plan task
Final PDF to printer

99C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 99 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Awesome . . . a bus driver that likes Emily Dickinson.
With those words, a little girl summarizes the titular figure in Paterson (Dir. Jim Jarmusch,
Amazon Studios). You see, Paterson (Adam Driver) works as a city bus driver in Paterson, New Jer-
sey (yes, he has the same name as the town). Every day, Paterson follows the same routine. He wakes
up next to his wife, Laura, goes to work, drives his route, comes home, has dinner, takes his bulldog
Marvin for a walk, and has a beer at the local watering hole. When Laura (Golshifteh Farahani)
asks how his day was one afternoon, Paterson politely responds, “Oh . . . the usual.”
We might expect Paterson to have low job satisfaction. He’s not paid all that well, as saving
up for Laura’s guitar stretches their budget. His job doesn’t afford that much status, except to
children in the town who view bus drivers with reverence. And his most oft-encountered coworker
mostly just complains about whatever’s going on in his life. And yet, Paterson seems quite
content—both during and after work. The nature of his job—and his work environment—gives him
ample opportunities to pursue poetry. He can draw inspiration from those around him, ruminate
on verses, and record them in his notebook during breaks by the waterfall.
Paterson’s contentment illustrates two things about job satisfaction (and happiness, in gen-
eral). First, as value-percept theory illustrates, lacking things is only dissatisfying when those
things are valued by the employee. Second, employees can compensate for any limitations of their
jobs by deriving satisfaction from hobbies and side pursuits. Paterson clearly derives satisfaction
from the fact that his poetry provides him with intellectual stimulation, utilization of ability, and
creative expression. As a friendly stranger tells Paterson, “Sometimes an empty page presents
more possibilities.”
©Moviestore collection Ltd/Alamy
movements and sequences carefully.23 The hope was that such steps would increase worker pro-
ductivity and reduce the breadth of skills required to complete a job, ultimately improving orga-
nizational profitability. Instead, the simplified and routine jobs tended to lower job satisfaction
while increasing absenteeism and turnover.24 Put simply: Boring jobs may be easier, but they’re
not necessarily better.
Final PDF to printer

100 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 100 10/11/17 08:41 AM
So what kinds of work tasks are especially satisfying? Research suggests that three “critical
psychological states” make work satisfying. The first psychological state is believing in the mean-
ingfulness of work, which reflects the degree to which work tasks are viewed as something that
“counts” in the employee’s system of philosophies and beliefs (see Chapter 6 on motivation for
more discussion of such issues).25 Trivial tasks tend to be less satisfying than tasks that make
employees feel like they’re aiding the organization or society in some meaningful way. For more
on meaningfulness, see our OB at the Bookstore feature. The second psychological state is perceiv-
ing responsibility for outcomes, which captures the degree to which employees feel that they’re
key drivers of the quality of the unit’s work.26 Sometimes employees feel like their efforts don’t
really matter because work outcomes are dictated by effective procedures, efficient technologies,
or more influential colleagues. Finally, the third psychological state is knowledge of results, which
reflects the extent to which employees know how well (or how poorly) they’re doing.27 Many
employees work in jobs in which they never find out about their mistakes or notice times when
they did particularly well.
Think about times when you felt especially proud of a job well done. At that moment, you
were probably experiencing all three psychological states. You were aware of the result (after
all, some job had been done well). You felt you were somehow responsible for that result (oth-
erwise, why would you feel proud?). Finally, you felt that the result of the work was somehow
meaningful (otherwise, why would you have remembered it just now?). The next obvious question
then becomes, “What kinds of tasks create these psychological states?” Job characteristics theory,
which describes the central characteristics of intrinsically satisfying jobs, attempts to answer this
question. As shown in Figure 4-3, job characteristics theory argues that five core job character-
istics (variety, identity, significance, autonomy, and feedback, which you can remember with the
acronym “VISAF”) result in high levels of the three psychological states, making work tasks more
The first core job characteristic in Figure 4-3, variety, is the degree to which the job requires
a number of different activities that involve a number of different skills and talents.29 When vari-
ety is high, almost every workday is different in some way, and job holders rarely feel a sense of
monotony or repetition.30 Of course, we could picture jobs that have a variety of boring tasks, such
as screwing different sized nuts onto different colored bolts, but such jobs do not involve a number
of different skills and talents.31
Evidence indicates that our preference for variety is hardwired into our brains. Research in
psychiatry and neuroscience shows that the brain releases a chemical called dopamine whenever a
novel stimulus (a new painting, a new meal, a new work challenge) is experienced, and we tend to
find this dopamine release quite pleasurable. Unfortunately, the amount of dopamine present in
our brains declines over our life spans. One neuroscientist therefore suggests that the best way to
protect our dopamine system is through novel, challenging experiences, writing, “The sense of sat-
isfaction after you’ve successfully handled unexpected tasks or sought out unfamiliar, physically
and emotionally demanding activities is your brain’s signal that you’re doing what nature designed
you to do.”32 Something to think about the next time you plan to order the same old thing at your
favorite restaurant!
Which job characteristics
can create a sense of satis-
faction with the work itself?
Employees at DreamWorks
Animation can express
their creativity at work in a
number of ways, including
free drawing, sculpting,
and improv classes, and
courses on honing
their pitching and
presentation skills.
©Paul Sakuma/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

101C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 101 10/11/17 08:41 AM
The second core job characteristic in Figure 4-3, identity, is the degree to which the job requires
completing a whole, identifiable, piece of work from beginning to end with a visible outcome.33
When a job has high identity, employees can point to something and say, “There, I did that.” The
transformation from inputs to finished product is very visible, and the employee feels a distinct
sense of beginning and closure.34 Think about how you feel when you work for a while on some
project but don’t quite get it finished—does that lack of closure bug you? If so, identity is an impor-
tant concern for you.
Significance is the degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives of other people,
particularly people in the world at large.35 Virtually any job can be important if it helps put food
on the table for a family, send kids to college, or make employees feel like they’re doing their part
for the working world. That said, significance as a core job characteristic captures something
beyond that—the belief that this job really matters. When employees feel that their jobs are signifi-
cant, they can see that others value what they do and they’re aware that their job has a positive
impact on the people around them.36 There’s the sense that, if their job was taken away, society
would be the worse for it.
by Emily Esfahani Smith (New York, NY: Crown, 2017).
And yet, there is a major problem with the happiness frenzy: it has failed to deliver on its promise.
Though the happiness industry continues to grow, as a society, we’re more miserable than ever. Indeed,
social scientists have uncovered a sad irony—chasing happiness actually makes people unhappy.
With those words, Smith contrasts her book with the bevy of
titles focused on living a satisfying life. Rather than focusing on hap-
piness as an end in itself, Smith focuses on happiness as a byproduct
of something else: meaning. Her background makes her uniquely
qualified to write a book like this, with a bachelors in philosophy
and a masters in positive psychology—the area of psychology dedi-
cated to understanding human flourishing.
It turns out that the debate between happiness and meaning goes
all the way back to classic literature and philosophy. For example,
Aristotle distinguished between hedonia (feeling good) and eudai-
monia (being and doing good). Today, psychologists study how the
pursuit of happiness differs from the pursuit of meaning. For exam-
ple, Smith reviews one study that instructed college students to
either do things that made them happy (e.g., playing games, going
shopping, eating sweets) or that added meaning (e.g., forgiving a
friend, helping others, reflecting on core values). Although the happiness activities boosted mood
in the short term, the positive effects of the meaning activities lasted for months.
How can we add more meaning to our lives? Smith reviews four “pillars of meaning.” Under-
scoring the importance of significance, the work itself, and altruism, one of those pillars is pur-
pose. Pointing in part to the value of coworkers, another pillar is belongingness. As Smith notes,
both pillars echo writings by the philosopher John Stuart Mill. “Those only are happy,” Mill
wrote, “who have their minds fixed on some object other than their own happiness; on the hap-
piness of others, on the improvement of mankind, even on some art or pursuit, followed not as a
means, but as itself an ideal end. Aiming thus at something else, they find happiness by the way.”
©Roberts Publishing Services
Final PDF to printer

102 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 102 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Autonomy is the degree to which the job provides freedom, independence, and discretion to the
individual performing the work.37 When your job provides autonomy, you view the outcomes of
it as the product of your efforts rather than the result of careful instructions from your boss or a
well-written manual of procedures.38 Autonomy comes in multiple forms, including the freedom
to control the timing, scheduling, and sequencing of work activities, as well as the procedures and
methods used to complete work tasks.39 To many of us, high levels of autonomy are the difference
between “having a long leash” and being “micromanaged.”
The last core job characteristic in Figure 4-3, feedback, is the degree to which carrying out the
activities required by the job provides employees with clear information about how well they’re
performing.40 A critical distinction must be noted: This core characteristic reflects feedback
obtained directly from the job as opposed to feedback from coworkers or supervisors. Most employ-
ees receive formal performance appraisals from their bosses, but that feedback occurs once or
maybe twice a year. When the job provides its own feedback, that feedback can be experienced
almost every day.
The passages in this section illustrate the potential importance of each of the five core charac-
teristics. But how important are the core characteristics to satisfaction with the work itself? Meta-
analyses of around 200 different research studies employing around 90,000 total participants
FIGURE 4-3 Job Characteristics Theory
with the
Work Itself
and Skill
Growth Need
of Work
for Outcomes
of Results
Final PDF to printer

103C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 103 10/11/17 08:41 AM
showed that the five core job characteristics are moderately to strongly related to work satisfac-
tion.41 However, those results don’t mean that every employee wants more variety, more autonomy,
and so forth. The bottom of Figure 4-3 includes two other variables: knowledge and skill and
growth need strength (which captures whether employees have strong needs for personal accom-
plishment or developing themselves beyond where they currently are).42 In the jargon of theory
diagrams, these variables are called “moderators.” Rather than directly affecting other variables in
the diagram, moderators influence the strength of the relationships between variables. If employ-
ees lack the required knowledge and skill or lack a desire for growth and development, more vari-
ety and autonomy should not increase their satisfaction very much.43 However, when employees
are very talented and feel a strong need for growth, the core job characteristics become even more
powerful. A graphical depiction of this moderator effect appears in Figure 4-4, where you can see
that the relationship between the core job characteristics and satisfaction becomes stronger when
growth need strength increases.
Given how critical the five core job characteristics are to job satisfaction, many organiza-
tions have employed job characteristics theory to help improve satisfaction among their employ-
ees. The first step in this process is assessing the current level of the characteristics to arrive
at a “satisfaction potential score.” See our OB Assessments feature for more about that step.
The organization, together with job design consultants, then attempts to redesign aspects of
the job to increase the core job characteristic levels. Often this step results in job enrichment,
such that the duties and responsibilities associated with a job are expanded to provide more
variety, identity, autonomy, and so forth. Research suggests that such enrichment efforts can
indeed boost job satisfaction levels.44 Moreover, enrichment efforts can heighten work accu-
racy and customer satisfaction, though training and labor costs tend to rise as a result of such
changes.45 However, employees needn’t necessarily wait for enrichment efforts to improve levels
of the core job characteristics. Many employees can engage in job crafting, where they shape,
mold, and redefine their jobs in a proactive way.46 For example, they might alter the boundaries
of their jobs by switching certain tasks, they might change specific collaborative relationships,
or they might reenvison how they view their work, relative to the broader context of the organi-
zation’s mission.
How is job satisfaction
affected by day-to-day
Despite the need for
discipline and practice, the
job of a jazz musician is
one with a high degree of
©Nick White/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

104 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 104 10/11/17 08:41 AM
FIGURE 4-4 Growth Need Strength as a Moderator of Job Characteristic Effects
Source: Adapted from B.T. Loher, R.A. Noe, N.L. Moeller, and M.P. Fitzgerald, “A Meta-Analysis of the Relation of Job
Characteristics to Job Satisfaction,” Journal of Applied Psychology 70 (1985), pp. 280–89.
with the
Work Itself
Levels of the Five Core Job Characteristics
Low High
High Growth Need Strength
Low Growth Need Strength
Let’s say you’re a satisfied employee, maybe because you get paid well and work for a good boss
or because your work tasks provide you with variety and autonomy. Does this mean you’ll defi-
nitely be satisfied at 11:00 a.m. next Tuesday? Or 2:30 p.m. the following Thursday? Obviously it
doesn’t. Each employee’s satisfaction levels fluctuate over time, rising and falling like some sort of
emotional stock market. This fluctuation might seem strange, given that people’s pay, supervisors,
coworkers, and work tasks don’t change from one hour to the next. The key lies in remembering
that job satisfaction reflects what you think and feel about your job. So part of it is rational, based
on a careful appraisal of the job and the things it supplies. But another part of it is emotional,
based on what you feel “in your gut” while you’re at work or thinking about work. So satisfied
employees feel good about their job on average, but things happen during the course of the day to
make them feel better at some times (and worse at others).
Figure 4-5 illustrates the satisfaction levels for one employee during the course of a workday,
from around 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can see that this employee did a number of different
things during the day, from answering e-mails to eating lunch with friends to participating in a
brainstorming meeting regarding a new project. You can also see that the employee came into the
day feeling relatively satisfied, though satisfaction levels had several ebbs and flows during the
next eight hours. What’s responsible for those ebbs and flows in satisfaction levels? Two related
concepts: mood and emotions.
What kind of mood are you in right now? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between? Why are you in
that kind of mood? Do you really even know? (If it’s a bad mood, we hope it has nothing to do with
this book!) Moods are states of feeling that are often mild in intensity, last for an extended period
of time, and are not explicitly directed at or caused by anything.47 When people are in a good or
bad mood, they don’t always know who (or what) deserves the credit or blame; they just happen
to be feeling that way for a stretch of their day. Of course, it would be oversimplifying things to call
all moods either good or bad. Sometimes we’re in a serene mood; sometimes we’re in an enthusias-
tic mood. Both are “good” but obviously feel quite different. Similarly, sometimes we’re in a bored
mood; sometimes we’re in a hostile mood. Both are “bad” but, again, feel quite different.
What are mood and emo-
tions, and what specific
forms do they take?
Final PDF to printer

105C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 105 10/11/17 08:41 AM
How satisfying are your work tasks? This assessment is designed to measure the five core job
characteristics. Think of your current job or the last job that you held (even if it was a part-time or
summer job). Answer each question using the response scale provided. Then use the formula to
compute a satisfaction potential score (SPS). (Instructors: Assessments on growth need strength,
emotional labor, flow, and positive emotionality can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect
Library’s Instructor Resources and in the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
V1. The job causes me to draw on a number of different skills. _______
V2. The job has a diverse set of tasks associated with it. _______
I1. The job allows me to both start and finish something. _______
I2. I can see the end product of my work in this job. _______
S1. The job affects a lot of people, even beyond my organization. _______
S2. The job itself is significant in a societal sense. _______
A1. I can use my own judgment in how I carry out the job. _______
A2. The job gives me a lot of freedom and discretion. _______
F1. The mere act of doing the job shows me how well I’m doing. _______
F2. It’s easy to know how well I’m doing, just from performing the job. _______
A1+A2 F1+F2
= × ×
SPS = ××
6 2 2
SPS = × =×
Sources: J.R. Hackman and G.R. Oldham, The Job Diagnostic Survey: An Instrument for the Diagnosis of Jobs and
the Evaluation of Job Redesign Projects (New Haven, CT: Yale University, 1974); and J.R. Idaszak and F. Drasgow,
“A Revision of the Job Diagnostic Survey: Elimination of a Measurement Artifact,” Journal of Applied Psychology 72
(1987), pp. 69–74.
If your score is 150 or above, your work tasks tend to be satisfying and enjoyable. If your score
is less than 150, you might benefit from trying to “craft” your job by taking on more challenging
assignments and collaborations, or reenvisioning the way your job fits into the organization’s
Final PDF to printer

106 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 106 10/11/17 08:41 AM
It turns out that there are a number of different moods that we might experience during the
workday. Figure 4-6 summarizes the different moods in which people sometimes find themselves.
The figure illustrates that moods can be categorized in two ways: pleasantness and activation. First,
the horizontal axis of the figure reflects whether you feel pleasant (in a “good mood”) or unpleas-
ant (in a “bad mood”).48 The figure uses green colors to illustrate pleasant moods and red colors to
illustrate unpleasant moods. Second, the vertical axis of the figure reflects whether you feel activated
and aroused or deactivated and unaroused.49 The figure uses darker colors to convey higher levels
of activation and lighter colors to convey lower levels. Note that some moods are neither good nor
bad. For example, being surprised or astonished (high activation) and quiet or still (low activation)
are neither pleasant nor unpleasant. As a result, those latter moods are left colorless in Figure 4-6.
Figure 4-6 illustrates that the most intense positive mood is characterized by feeling enthusi-
astic, excited, and elated. When employees feel this way, coworkers are likely to remark, “Wow,
you’re sure in a good mood!” In contrast, the most intense negative mood is characterized by feel-
ing hostile, nervous, and annoyed. This kind of mood often triggers the question, “Wow, what’s
gotten you in such a bad mood?” If we return to our chart of hour-by-hour job satisfaction in
Figure 4-5, what kind of mood do you think the employee was in while answering e-mails? Prob-
ably a happy, cheerful, and pleased mood. What kind of mood was the employee in during the
informal meeting on the long-running project? Probably a grouchy, sad, and blue mood. Finally,
what kind of mood do you think the employee was in during the brainstorming meeting for the
FIGURE 4-5 Hour-by-Hour Fluctuations in Job Satisfaction during the Workday
with friend
e-mail from
boss Left lunch
to return
to work
how interesting
and challenging
new project
will be
Phone call
is overdue
Informal meeting
on long-running
and research
for new
meeting for new
Eating lunch
with three
and filing
10:00 11:00 12:00 1:00 2:00 3:00 4:00 5:009:00
Final PDF to printer

107C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 107 10/11/17 08:41 AM
new project? Clearly, an enthusiastic, excited, and elated mood. This employee would report espe-
cially high levels of job satisfaction at this point in time.
Some organizations take creative steps to foster positive moods among their employees. For
example, Quicken Loans, the Detroit–based online lender, provides Razor scooters to help team
members go from place to place inside their headquarters.50 Many of those places are adorned
with scratch-and-sniff wallpaper and graffiti created by local artists. Or consider these offerings by
Booz Allen Hamilton, the McLean, Virginia–based consulting firm. Employees can participate in
ice cream socials, pet photo contests, and hula lessons.51 Such perks may not rival the importance
of pay, promotions, supervision, coworkers, and the work itself as far as job satisfaction is con-
cerned, but they can help boost employees’ moods during a particular workday.
Although novel and unusual perks can be valuable, the most intense forms of positive mood
often come directly from work activities, like the brainstorming project in Figure 4-5. Research
suggests that two conditions are critical to triggering intense positive mood. First, the activity
in question has to be challenging. Second, the employee must possess the unique skills needed
to meet that challenge. That high challenge–high skill combination can result in flow—a state
in which employees feel a total immersion in the task at hand, sometimes losing track of how
much time has passed.52 People often describe flow as being “in the zone” and report heightened
states of clarity, control, and concentration, along with a sense of enjoyment, interest, and loss of
self-consciousness.53 Although you may have experienced flow during leisure activities, such as
FIGURE 4-6 Different Kinds of Mood
Sources: Adapted from D. Watson and A. Tellegen, “Toward a Consensual Structure of Mood,” Psychological Bulletin 98
(1985), pp. 219–35; J.A. Russell, “A Circumplex Model of Affect,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 39 (1980),
pp. 1161–78; and R.J. Larsen and E. Diener, “Promises and Problems with the Circumplex Model of Emotion,” in Review
of Personality and Social Psychology: Emotion, Vol. 13, ed. M.S. Clark (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1992), pp. 25–59.
Pleasant Unpleasant
Final PDF to printer

108 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 108 10/11/17 08:41 AM
playing sports or making music, research suggests that we experience flow more often in our work-
ing lives. Much of our leisure time is spent in passive recreation, such as watching TV or chatting
with friends, that lacks the challenge needed to trigger flow states. Work tasks, in contrast, may
supply the sorts of challenges that require concentration and immersion—particularly when those
tasks contain high levels of variety, significance, autonomy, and so forth (see Chapter 6 on motiva-
tion for more discussion of such issues).
Returning to Figure 4-5, it’s clear that specific events triggered variations in satisfaction levels.
According to affective events theory, workplace events can generate affective reactions—reactions that
then can go on to influence work attitudes and behaviors.54 Workplace events include happenings,
like an annoying e-mail from a boss or a funny conversation with a friend, that are relevant to an
employee’s general desires and concerns. These events can trigger emotions, which are states of feel-
ing that are often intense, last for only a few minutes, and are clearly directed at (and caused by)
someone or some circumstance. The difference between moods and emotions becomes clear in the
way we describe them to others. We describe moods by saying, “I’m feeling grouchy,” but we describe
emotions by saying, “I’m feeling angry at my boss.”55 According to affective events theory, these emo-
tions can create the ebb and flow in satisfaction levels in Figure 4-5 and can also trigger spontaneous
behaviors.56 For example, positive emotions may trigger spontaneous instances of citizenship behav-
ior, whereas negative emotions may trigger spontaneous instances of counterproductive behavior.
As with mood, it’s possible to differentiate between specific examples of positive and nega-
tive emotions. Table 4-2 provides a summary of many of the most important.57 Positive emotions
include joy, pride, relief, hope, love, and compassion. Negative emotions include anger, anxiety,
fear, guilt, shame, sadness, envy, and disgust. What emotion do you think the employee experi-
enced in Figure 4-5 when reading a disrespectful e-mail from the boss? Probably anger. What
emotion do you think that same employee enjoyed during a funny conversation with a friend?
Possibly joy, or maybe relief that lunch had arrived and a somewhat bad day was halfway over.
Leaving lunch to return to work might have triggered either anxiety (because the bad day might
resume) or sadness (because the fun time with friends had ended). Luckily, the employee’s sense
of joy at taking on a new project that was interesting and challenging was right around the
TABLE 4-2 Different Kinds of Emotions
Joy A feeling of great pleasure
Pride Enhancement of identity by taking credit for achievement
Relief A distressing condition has changed for the better
Hope Fearing the worst but wanting better
Love Desiring or participating in affection
Compassion Being moved by another’s situation
Anger A demeaning offense against me and mine
Anxiety Facing an uncertain or vague threat
Fear Facing an immediate and concrete danger
Guilt Having broken a moral code
Shame Failing to live up to your ideal self
Sadness Having experienced an irreversible loss
Envy Wanting what someone else has
Disgust Revulsion aroused by something offensive
Source: Adapted from R.S. Lazarus, Emotion and Adaptation (New York: Oxford University, 1991).
Final PDF to printer

109C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 109 10/11/17 08:41 AM
corner. The day did end on a down note, however, as the phone call signaling overdue paperwork
was likely met with some mix of anger, fear, guilt, or even disgust (no one likes paperwork!).
Of course, just because employees feel many of the emotions in Table 4-2 during the workday
doesn’t mean they’re supposed to show those emotions. Some jobs demand that employees live
up to the adage “never let ’em see you sweat.” In particular, service jobs in which employees make
direct contact with customers often require those employees to hide any anger, anxiety, sadness,
or disgust that they may feel, suppressing the urge to spontaneously engage in some negative
behavior. Such jobs are high in what’s called emotional labor, or the need to manage emotions to
complete job duties successfully.58 Flight attendants are trained to “put on a happy face” in front
of passengers, retail salespeople are trained to suppress any annoyance with customers, and res-
taurant servers are trained to act like they’re having fun on their job even when they’re not.
Is it a good idea to require emotional labor on the part of employees? Research on emotional
contagion shows that one person can “catch” or “be infected by” the emotions of another per-
son.59 If a customer service representative is angry or sad, those negative emotions can be trans-
ferred to a customer (like a cold or disease). If that transfer occurs, it becomes less likely that
customers will view the experience favorably and spend money, which potentially harms the bot-
tom line. From this perspective, emotional labor seems like a vital part of good customer service.
Unfortunately, other evidence suggests that emotional labor places great strain on employees and
that their “bottled up” emotions may end up bubbling over, sometimes resulting in angry outbursts
against customers or emotional exhaustion and burnout on the part of employees (see Chapter 5
on stress for more discussion of such issues).60
T H A N OT H E R S ?
So what explains why some employees are more satisfied than others? As we show in Figure 4-7,
answering that question requires paying attention to the more rational appraisals people make about
their job and the things it supplies for them, such as pay, promotions, supervision, coworkers, and the
work itself. Satisfaction with the work itself, in turn, is affected by the five core job characteristics:
variety, identity, significance, autonomy, and feedback. However, answering that question also requires
paying attention to daily fluctuations in how people feel, in terms of their positive and negative moods
and positive and negative emotions. In this way, a generally satisfied employee may act unhappy at
a given moment, just as a generally dissatisfied employee may act happy at a given moment. Under-
standing those sorts of fluctuations can help managers separate long-term problems (boring tasks,
incompetent coworkers) from more short-lived issues (a bad meeting, an annoying interaction).
Several factors influence an employee’s job satisfaction, from pay to coworkers to job tasks to
day-to-day moods and emotions. Of course, the most obvious remaining question is, “Does job sat-
isfaction really matter?” More precisely, does job satisfaction have a significant impact on job per-
formance and organizational commitment—the two primary outcomes in our integrative model
of OB? Figure 4-8 summarizes the research evidence linking job satisfaction to job performance
and organizational commitment. This same sort of figure will appear in each of the remaining
chapters of this book, so that you can get a better feel for which of the concepts in our integrative
model has the strongest impact on performance and commitment.
Figure 4-8 reveals that job satisfaction does predict job performance. Why? One reason is that job
satisfaction is moderately correlated with task performance. Satisfied employees do a better job of
fulfilling the duties described in their job descriptions,61 and evidence suggests that positive feelings
foster creativity,62 improve problem solving and decision making,63 and enhance memory and recall
of certain kinds of information.64 Positive feelings also improve task persistence and attract more
help and support from colleagues.65 Apart from these sorts of findings, the benefits of job satisfac-
tion for task performance might best be explained on an hour-by-hour basis. At any given moment,
Final PDF to printer

110 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 110 10/11/17 08:41 AM
employees wage a war between paying attention to a given work task and attending to “off-task”
things, such as stray thoughts, distractions, interruptions, and so forth. Positive feelings when work-
ing on job tasks can pull attention away from those distractions and channel people’s attention to
task accomplishment.66 When such concentration occurs, an employee is more focused on work at a
given point in time. Of course, the relationship between satisfaction and task performance can work
in reverse to some extent, such that people tend to enjoy jobs that they can perform more success-
fully.67 Meta-analyses tend to be less supportive of this causal direction, however.68
Job satisfaction also is correlated moderately with citizenship behavior. Satisfied employees
engage in more frequent “extra mile” behaviors to help their coworkers and their organization.69
Positive feelings increase their desire to interact with others and often result in spontaneous acts
of helping and other instances of good citizenship.70 In addition, job satisfaction has a moderate
negative correlation with counterproductive behavior. Satisfied employees engage in fewer inten-
tionally destructive actions that could harm their workplace.71 Events that trigger negative emo-
tions can prompt employees to “lash out” against the organization by engaging in rule breaking,
FIGURE 4-7 Why Are Some Employees More Satisfied Than Others?
with the
Work Itself
Final PDF to printer

111C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 111 10/11/17 08:41 AM
theft, sabotage, or other retaliatory behaviors.72 The more satisfied employees are, the less likely
they’ll feel those sorts of temptations.
Figure 4-8 also reveals that job satisfaction influences organizational commitment. Why? Job
satisfaction is strongly correlated with affective commitment, so satisfied employees are more
likely to want to stay with the organization.73 After all, why would employees want to leave a place
where they’re happy? Another reason is that job satisfaction is strongly correlated with normative
commitment. Satisfied employees are more likely to feel an obligation to remain with their firm74
and a need to “repay” the organization for whatever it is that makes them so satisfied, whether
good pay, interesting job tasks, or effective supervision. However, job satisfaction is uncorrelated
with continuance commitment, because satisfaction does not create a cost-based need to remain
with the organization. Taken together, these commitment effects become more apparent when
you consider the kinds of employees who withdraw from the organization. In many cases, dis-
satisfied employees are the ones who sit daydreaming at their desks, come in late, are frequently
absent, and eventually decide to quit their jobs.
Of course, job satisfaction is important for other reasons as well—reasons that have little to do
with job performance or organizational commitment. For example, job satisfaction is strongly
related to life satisfaction, or the degree to which employees feel a sense of happiness with their
lives. Research shows that job satisfaction is one of the strongest predictors of life satisfaction.
How does job satisfaction
affect job performance and
organizational commit-
ment? How does it affect
life satisfaction?
FIGURE 4-8 Effects of Job Satisfaction on Performance and Commitment
Sources: A. Cooper-Hakim and C. Viswesvaran, “The Construct of Work Commitment: Testing an Integrative Framework,”
Psychological Bulletin 131 (2005), pp. 241–59; R.S. Dalal, “A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship between Organizational Citizen-
ship Behavior and Counterproductive Work Behavior,” Journal of Applied Psychology 90 (2005), pp. 1241–55; D.A. Harrison,
D.A. Newman, and P.L. Roth, “How Important Are Job Attitudes? Meta-Analytic Comparisons of Integrative Behavioral Out-
comes and Time Sequences,” Academy of Management Journal 49 (2006), pp. 305–25; T.A. Judge, C.J. Thoreson, J.E. Bono,
and G.K. Patton, “The Job Satisfaction–Job Performance Relationship: A Qualitative and Quantitative Review,” Psychological
Bulletin 127 (2001), pp. 376–407; J.A. LePine, A. Erez, and D.E. Johnson, “The Nature and Dimensionality of Organizational
Citizenship Behavior: A Critical Review and Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 87 (2002), pp. 52–65; and J.P.
Meyer, D.J. Stanley, L. Herscovitch, and L. Topolnytsky, “Affective, Continuance, and Normative Commitment to the Organi-
zation: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences,” Journal of Vocational Behavior 61 (2002), pp. 20–52.
Job Satisfaction has a moderate positive e�ect on Job Performance. People who experience
higher levels of job satisfaction tend to have higher levels of Task Performance, higher levels of
Citizenship Behavior, and lower levels of Counterproductive Behavior.
Job Satisfaction has a strong positive e�ect on Organizational Commitment. People who
experience higher levels of job satisfaction tend to feel higher levels of A�ective Commitment
and higher levels of Normative Commitment. E�ects on Continuance Commitment are weaker.
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
Final PDF to printer

112 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 112 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Put simply, people feel better about their lives when they feel better about their jobs.75 This link
makes sense when you realize how much of our identity is wrapped up in our jobs. What’s the first
question that people ask one another after being introduced? That’s right—“What do you do?” If
you feel bad about your answer to that question, it’s hard to feel good about your life.
The connection between job satisfaction and life satisfaction also makes sense given how much
of our lives are spent at work. Table 4-3 presents the results of one study that examines time spent
on daily activities, along with reported levels of positive and negative feelings during the course of
those activities.76 The participants in the study spent most of their day at work. Unfortunately, that
time resulted in the highest levels of negative feelings and the second-lowest levels of positive feel-
ings (behind only commuting). Home and leisure activities (e.g., socializing, relaxing, exercising,
intimate relations) were deemed much more satisfying but took up a much smaller portion of the
day. The implication is clear: If we want to feel better about our days, we need to find a way to be
more satisfied with our jobs.
Indeed, increases in job satisfaction have a stronger impact on life satisfaction than do increases
in salary or income. It turns out that the adage “money can’t buy happiness” is partially true.
Research suggests that life satisfaction increases with one’s salary up to a level of around $75,000
per year. After that, more money doesn’t seem to bring more happiness.77 Such findings may
seem surprising, given that pay satisfaction is one facet of overall job satisfaction (see Figure 4-1).
However, you might recall that pay satisfaction is a weaker driver of overall job satisfaction than
other facets, such as the work itself, supervision, or coworkers (see Figure 4-2). For more on the
relationship between money and happiness, see our OB Internationally feature.
TABLE 4-3 How We Spend Our Days
Working 6.9 3.62 0.97
On the phone 2.5 3.92 0.85
Socializing 2.3 4.59 0.57
Eating 2.2 4.34 0.59
Relaxing 2.2 4.42 0.51
Watching TV 2.2 4.19 0.58
Computer/e-mail/Internet 1.9 3.81 0.80
Commuting 1.6 3.45 0.89
Housework 1.1 3.73 0.77
Interacting with kids 1.1 3.86 0.91
Napping 0.9 3.87 0.60
Praying/meditating 0.4 4.35 0.59
Exercising 0.2 4.31 0.50
Intimate relations 0.2 5.10 0.36
Source: Positive and negative feelings measured using a scale of 0 (not at all) to 6 (very much). From D. Kahneman,
A.B. Krueger, D .A. Schkade, N. Schwarz, and A.A. Stone, “A Survey Method for Characterizing Daily Life Experience:
The Day Reconstruction Method,” Science 306 (2004), pp. 1776–80.
Final PDF to printer

113C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 113 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Because job satisfaction seems to be a key driver of job performance, organizational commitment,
and life satisfaction, it’s important for managers to understand just how satisfied their employees
are. Several methods assess the job satisfaction of rank-and-file employees, including focus groups,
What steps can organiza-
tions take to assess and
manage job satisfaction?
The “money can’t buy happiness” adage can even be supported using nation-level data. For exam-
ple, survey data in the United States, Britain, and Japan show that people are no happier today than
they were 50 years ago, even though average incomes have more than doubled during that span.
Comparing countries reveals that nations above the poverty line are indeed happier than
nations below the poverty line. However, once that poverty threshold gets crossed, additional
income is not associated with higher levels of life satisfaction. For example, the United States is
the richest country on earth, but it trails nations like the Netherlands and Ireland in life satisfac-
tion. Understanding differences in life satisfaction across nations is important to organizations
for two reasons. First, such differences may influence how receptive a given nation is to the com-
pany’s products. Second, such differences may affect the kinds of policies and practices an organi-
zation needs to use when employing individuals in that nation.
Source: R. Layard, qtd. in Diener, E., and E. Suh. “National Differences in Subjective Well-Being.” In Well-Being: The
Foundations of Hedonic Psychology, ed. D. Kahneman, E. Diener, and N. Schwarz. New York: Russell Sage Foundation,
1999, pp. 434–50.

Average Yearly Salary per Citizen
0 5,000 10,000 15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 35,000
Italy JapanIsrael
S. Korea
India Iran
S. Africa
Final PDF to printer

114 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 114 10/11/17 08:41 AM
TABLE 4-4 Excerpts from the Job Descriptive Index and the Job
in General Scale
Think of the work you do at present. How well does each of the following words or phrases
describe your work? In the blank beside each word or phrase below, write
 Y  for “Yes” if it describes your work
 N  for “No” if it does NOT describe it
 ?  for “?” if you cannot decide
Pay Satisfactiona
_____ Well-paid
_____ Bad
_____ Barely live on income
Coworker Satisfactiona
_____ Stimulating
_____ Smart
_____ Unpleasant
Promotion Satisfactiona
_____ Regular promotions
_____ Promotion on ability
_____ Opportunities somewhat limited
Satisfaction with Work Itselfa
_____ Fascinating
_____ Pleasant
_____ Can see my results
Supervision Satisfactiona
_____ Knows job well
_____ Around when needed
_____ Doesn’t supervise enough
_____ Better than most
_____ Worthwhile
_____ Worse than most
a The Job Descriptive Index, © Bowling Green State University (1975, 1985, 1997).
b The Job in General Scale, © Bowling Green State University (1982, 1985).
Source: W.K. Balzer, J.A. Kihn, P.C. Smith, J.L. Irwin, P.D. Bachiochi, C. Robie, E.F. Sinar, amp; L.F. Parra, 2000, “Users
Manual for the Job Descriptive Index (JDI; 1997 version) and the Job in General Scales.” In J.N. Stanton amp; C.D.
Crossley (ed.), Electronic Resources for the JDI and JIG. Bowling Green, OH, Bowling Green State University.
interviews, and attitude surveys. Of those three choices, attitude surveys are often the most accu-
rate and most effective.78 Attitude surveys can provide a “snapshot” of how satisfied the workforce
is and, if repeated over time, reveal trends in satisfaction levels. They also can explore the effective-
ness of major job changes by comparing attitude survey results before and after a change.
Although organizations are often tempted to design their own attitude surveys, there are ben-
efits to using existing surveys that are already in wide use. One of the most widely administered
job satisfaction surveys is the Job Descriptive Index (JDI). The JDI assesses all five satisfaction
facets in Figure 4-1: pay satisfaction, promotion satisfaction, supervisor satisfaction, coworker
satisfaction, and satisfaction with the work itself. The JDI also has been subjected to a great deal
of research attention that, by and large, supports its accuracy.79 Furthermore, the JDI includes
a companion survey—the Job in General (JIG) scale—that assesses overall job satisfaction.80
Excerpts from the JDI and JIG appear in Table 4-4.81 One strength of the JDI is that the questions
are written in a very simple and straightforward fashion so that they can be easily understood by
most employees.
The developers of the JDI offer several suggestions regarding its administration.82 For example,
they recommend surveying as much of the company as possible because any unsurveyed employ-
ees might feel that their feelings are less important. They also recommend that surveys be anony-
mous so that employees can be as honest as possible without worrying about being punished for
any critical comments about the organization. Therefore, companies must be careful in collecting
demographic information on the surveys. Some demographic information is vital for comparing
satisfaction levels across relevant groups, but too much information will make employees feel like
they could be identified. Finally, the developers suggest that the survey should be administered
by the firm’s human resources group or an outside consulting agency. This structure will help
employees feel that their anonymity is more protected.
Final PDF to printer

115C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 115 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Once JDI data have been collected, a number of interesting questions can be explored.83 First,
the data can indicate whether the organization is satisfied or dissatisfied by comparing average
scores for each facet with the JDI’s “neutral levels” for those facets (the “neutral levels” are avail-
able in the JDI manual). Second, it becomes possible to compare the organization’s scores with
national norms to provide some context for the firm’s satisfaction levels. The JDI manual also
provides national norms for all facets and breaks down those norms according to relevant demo-
graphic groups (e.g., managers vs. nonmanagers, new vs. senior employees, gender, education).
Third, the JDI allows for within-organization comparisons to determine which departments have
the highest satisfaction levels and which have the lowest.
The results of attitude survey efforts should then be fed back to employees so that they feel
involved in the process. Of course, attitude surveys ideally should be a catalyst for some kind of
improvement effort.84 Surveys that never lead to any kind of on-the-job change eventually may
be viewed as a waste of time. As a result, the organization should be prepared to react to the
survey results with specific goals and action steps. For example, an organization with low pay
satisfaction may react by conducting additional benchmarking to see whether compensation
levels are trailing those of competitors. An organization with low promotion satisfaction might
react by revising its system for assessing performance. Finally, an organization that struggles
with satisfaction with the work itself could attempt to redesign key job tasks or, if that proves
too costly, train supervisors in strategies for increasing the five core job characteristics on a
more informal basis.
4.1 Job satisfaction is a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or
job experiences. It represents how you feel about your job and what you think about your
4.2 Values are things that people consciously or subconsciously want to seek or attain. Accord-
ing to value-percept theory, job satisfaction depends on whether you perceive that your job
supplies those things that you value.
4.3 Employees consider a number of specific facets when evaluating their job satisfaction. These
facets include pay satisfaction, promotion satisfaction, supervision satisfaction, coworker
satisfaction, and satisfaction with the work itself.
4.4 Job characteristics theory suggests that five “core characteristics”—variety, identity, signifi-
cance, autonomy, and feedback—combine to result in particularly high levels of satisfaction
with the work itself.
4.5 Apart from the influence of supervision, coworkers, pay, and the work itself, job satisfaction
levels fluctuate during the course of the day. Rises and falls in job satisfaction are triggered
by positive and negative events that are experienced. Those events trigger changes in emo-
tions that eventually give way to changes in mood.
4.6 Moods are states of feeling that are often mild in intensity, last for an extended period
of time, and are not explicitly directed at anything. Intense positive moods include being
enthusiastic, excited, and elated. Intense negative moods include being hostile, nervous, and
annoyed. Emotions are states of feeling that are often intense, last only for a few minutes,
and are clearly directed at someone or some circumstance. Positive emotions include joy,
pride, relief, hope, love, and compassion. Negative emotions include anger, anxiety, fear,
guilt, shame, sadness, envy, and disgust.
Final PDF to printer

116 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 116 10/11/17 08:41 AM
• Job satisfaction p. 94
• Values p. 94
• Value-percept theory p. 94
• Pay satisfaction p. 96
• Promotion satisfaction p. 96
• Supervision satisfaction p. 97
• Coworker satisfaction p. 97
• Satisfaction with the work itself p. 97
• Meaningfulness of work p. 100
• Responsibility for outcomes p. 100
• Knowledge of results p. 100
• Job characteristics theory p. 100
• Variety p. 100
• Identity p. 101
• Significance p. 101
• Autonomy p. 102
• Feedback p. 102
• Knowledge and skill p. 103
• Growth need strength p. 103
• Job enrichment p. 103
• Job crafting p. 103
• Moods p. 104
• Pleasantness p. 106
• Activation p. 106
• Flow p. 107
• Affective events theory p. 108
• Emotions p. 108
• Positive emotions p. 108
• Negative emotions p. 108
• Emotional labor p. 109
• Emotional contagion p. 109
• Life satisfaction p. 111
4.1 Which of the values in Table 4-1 do you think are the most important to employees in
general? Are there times when the values in the last three categories (altruism, status, and
environment) become more important than the values in the first five categories (pay, pro-
motions, supervision, coworkers, and the work itself)?
4.2 What steps can organizations take to improve promotion satisfaction, supervision satisfac-
tion, and coworker satisfaction?
4.3 Consider the five core job characteristics (variety, identity, significance, autonomy, and feed-
back). Do you think that any one of those characteristics is more important than the other
four? Is it possible to have too much of some job characteristics?
4.4 We sometimes describe colleagues or friends as “moody.” What do you think it means to be
“moody” from the perspective of Figure 4-6?
4.5 Consider the list of positive and negative emotions in Table 4-2. Which of these emotions
are most frequently experienced at work? What causes them?
4.7 Job satisfaction has a moderate positive relationship with job performance and a strong
positive relationship with organizational commitment. It also has a strong positive relation-
ship with life satisfaction.
4.8 Organizations can assess and manage job satisfaction using attitude surveys such as the Job
Descriptive Index (JDI), which assesses pay satisfaction, promotion satisfaction, supervision
satisfaction, coworker satisfaction, and satisfaction with the work itself. It can be used to
assess the levels of job satisfaction experienced by employees, and its specific facet scores
can identify interventions that could be helpful.
Final PDF to printer

117C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 117 10/11/17 08:41 AM
George Jenkins started Publix’s employee stock ownership plan in 1974. Employees who work
more than 1,000 hours and have one year of tenure are granted shares that have an initial value
around 10 percent of annual compensation. Employees then receive additional grants each year
for as long as they stay, while having the option to purchase additional stock with an automatic
deduction from their paychecks. Since 1974, Publix’s stock has delivered an average annual
return of almost 17 percent. To get a sense of what that means during a career, a veteran store
manager with 20,000 shares would have over $900,000 in stock.
Publix’s stock ownership plan has helped it become the largest employee-owned company in
the world (it sits at 101 in the Fortune 500). That level of ownership is one reason that employ-
ees are termed “associates”—to signify that they are co-owners of the firm. Even the company’s
promotion-from-within policy is referred to as “succession planning,” a term typically only used
with top executives. One manager notes that jargon is used to show that “no associate is better
or more important than the others.” The ownership structure also gives the company a bit more
freedom to chart its own course. “I’m amazed that more companies don’t offer ownership in
the company in order to get better performance,” argues Publix’s outgoing CEO, Ed Crenshaw.
“Being a privately held company gives us the freedom to take a longer view of the business, and
it makes a huge difference in how you can allocate and spend capital. We’re very fortunate to be
able to do that.”
Scientific studies of stock ownership suggest that employees feel higher satisfaction levels
because of the mindset that comes with owning. There certainly seems to be some evidence of
that at Publix. Its annual voluntary turnover rate sits at just 5 percent in an industry that averages
65 percent! In part, that loyalty can be seen as repaying a company that has never downsized in
its 90-year history. All of this has created admirers outside the company, not just inside it. As
billionaire investor Warren Buffett summarizes, “It’s the kind of company I’d like to buy. It has a
terrific record in a very, very, very tough industry. There’s a certain amount of magic down there
in terms of running the place.”
4.1 If you reflect on all the things Publix does to build and maintain satisfaction levels, which
would “move the needle” for you the most? Why?
4.2 If you had the opportunity to allocate a portion of your paycheck to stock ownership in your
company, would you? Why or why not? How do you think owning stock would shape your
attitudes toward your employer?
4.3 Businesses like Publix employ a lot of part-time employees, and employees who are just
getting started in their work careers. Do you think it’s easier to build job satisfaction levels
among such employees, or harder?
Sources: C. Tkaczyk, “My Five Days of ‘Bleeding Green,’” Fortune, March 15, 2016; and A.A. Buchko, “The Effects of
Employee Ownership on Employee Attitudes: An Integrated Causal Model and Path Analysis.” Journal of Management
Studies 30, no. 4 (July 1993), pp. 633–57.
C A S E : P U B L I X
The purpose of this exercise is to examine satisfaction with the work itself across jobs. This
exercise uses groups, so your instructor will either assign you to a group or ask you to create your
own group. The exercise has the following steps:
4.1 Use the OB Assessments for Chapter 4 to calculate the Satisfaction Potential Score (SPS)
for the following four jobs:
a. A third-grade public school teacher.
b. A standup comedian.
Final PDF to printer

118 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 118 10/11/17 08:41 AM
4.1 Locke, E.A. “The
Nature and Causes of
Job Satisfaction.” In
Handbook of Industrial
and Organizational
Psychology, ed.
M. Dunnette. Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1976,
pp. 1297–1350.
4.2 “Americans’ Job Satis-
faction Falls to Record
Low.” Associated Press,
January 5, 2010, http://
4.3 Locke, “The Nature and
Causes of Job Satisfac-
tion”; Rokeach, M.
The Nature of Human
Values. New York: Free
Press, 1973; Schwartz,
S.H. “Universals
in the Content and
Structure of Values:
Theoretical Advances
and Empirical Tests
in 20 Countries.” In
Advances in Experimen-
tal Social Psychology,
Vol. 25, ed. M. Zanna.
New York: Academic
Press, 1992, pp. 1–65;
and Edwards, J.R.,
and D.M. Cable.
“The Value of Value
Congruence.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
94 (2009), pp. 654–77.
4.4 Dawis, R.V. “Voca-
tional Interests, Values,
and Preferences.” In
Handbook of Industrial
and Organizational
Psychology, Vol. 2, ed.
M.D. Dunnette and
L.M. Hough. Palo
Alto, CA: Consulting
Psychologists Press,
1991, pp. 834–71; and
Cable, D.M., and J.R.
Edwards. “Complemen-
tary and Supplemen-
tary Fit: A Theoretical
and Empirical Integra-
tion.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 89 (2004),
pp. 822–34.
4.5 Locke, “The Nature
and Causes of Job
4.6 Judge, T.A., and A.H.
Church. “Job Satisfac-
tion: Research and
Practice.” In Industrial
and Organizational Psy-
chology: Linking Theory
with Practice, ed. C.L.
Cooper and E.A. Locke.
Oxford, UK: Blackwell,
2000, pp. 166–98.
4.7 Locke, “The Nature
and Causes of Job
4.8 Smith, P.C.; L.M.
Kendall; and C.L.
Hulin. The Measure-
ment of Satisfaction
in Work and Retire-
ment. Chicago: Rand
McNally, 1969.
4.9 Lawler, E.E. Pay
and Organizational
Effectiveness: A Psycho-
logical View. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1971.
4.10 Locke, “The Nature
and Causes of Job
4.11 Moskowitz, M.; R.
Levering; and C.
Tkaczyk. “100 Best
Companies to Work
For.” Fortune, February
7, 2011, pp. 91–101.
4.12 Smith et al., “The
Measurement of
4.13 Locke, “The Nature
and Causes of Job
4.14 Tkaczyk, C. “Nord-
strom.” Fortune,
October 18, 2010, p. 37.
c. A computer programmer whose job is to replace “15” with “2015” in thousands of lines
of computer code.
d. A president of the United States.
4.2 Which job has the highest SPS? Which core job characteristics best explain why some jobs
have high scores and other jobs have low scores? Write down the scores for the four jobs in
an Excel file on the classroom computer or on the board.
4.3 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on two questions. First, is
the job that scored the highest really the one that would be the most enjoyable on a day-in,
day-out basis? Second, does that mean it would be the job that you would pick if you could
snap your fingers and magically attain one of the jobs on the list? Why or why not? What
other job satisfaction theory is relevant to this issue?
Final PDF to printer

119C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 119 10/11/17 08:41 AM
4.15 Smith et al., “The
Measurement of
4.16 Source: Locke, “The
Nature and Causes of
Job Satisfaction.”
4.17 Burchell, M., and
J. Robin. The Great
Workplace: How to Build
It, How to Keep It, and
Why It Matters. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
4.18 Smith et al., “The
Measurement of
4.19 Burchell and Robin,
The Great Workplace.
4.20 Smith et al., “The
Measurement of
4.21 Murphy, R.M. “Happy
Campers.” Fortune,
April 25, 2011.
4.22 Ironson, G.H.; P.C.
Smith; M.T. Brannick;
W.M. Gibson; and K.B.
Paul. “Construction
of a Job in General
Scale: A Comparison
of Global, Composite,
and Specific Measures.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 74 (1989),
pp. 193–200; Russell,
S.S.; C. Spitzmuller;
L.F. Lin; J.M. Stanton;
P.C. Smith; and G.H.
Ironson. “Shorter Can
Also Be Better: The
Abridged Job in Gen-
eral Scale.” Educational
and Psychological Mea-
surement 64 (2004),
pp. 878–93; Bowling,
N.A., and Hammond,
G.D. “A Meta-Analytic
Examination of the
Construct Validity
of the Michigan
Organizational Assess-
ment Questionnaire Job
Satisfaction Subscale.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 73 (2008),
pp. 63–77; and Judge,
T.A.; R.F. Piccolo; N.P.
Podsakoff; J.C. Shaw;
and B.L. Rich. “The
Relationship between
Pay and Job Satisfac-
tion: A Meta-Analysis.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 77 (2010),
pp. 157–67.
4.23 Taylor, F.W. The
Principles of Scientific
Management. New York:
Wiley, 1911; and Gil-
breth, F.B. Motion Study:
A Method for Increasing
the Efficiency of the
Workman. New York:
Van Nostrand, 1911.
4.24 Hackman, J.R., and
E.E. Lawler III.
“Employee Reactions
to Job Characteristics.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 55 (1971),
pp. 259–86.
4.25 Hackman, J.R., and
G.R. Oldham. Work
Redesign. Reading, MA:
Addison-Wesley, 1980.
4.26 Ibid.
4.27 Ibid.
4.28 Hackman, J.R., and
G.R. Oldham.
“Motivation through
the Design of Work:
Test of a Theory.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 16 (1976),
pp. 250–79.
4.29 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.30 Turner, A.N., and P.R.
Lawrence. Industrial
Jobs and the Worker.
Boston: Harvard
University Graduate
School of Business
Administration, 1965.
4.31 Hackman and Lawler,
“Employee Reactions
to Job Characteristics.”
4.32 Source: Berns, G.
Satisfaction: The Science
of Finding True Fulfill-
ment. New York: Henry
Holt, 2005, p.xiv.
4.33 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.34 Turner and Lawrence,
Industrial Jobs and the
4.35 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.36 Grant, A.M. “The
Significance of Task
Significance: Job Per-
formance Effects, Rela-
tional Mechanisms, and
Boundary Conditions.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 93 (2008),
pp. 108–24.
4.37 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.38 Turner and Lawrence,
Industrial Jobs and the
4.39 Breaugh, J.A. “The
Measurement of Work
Autonomy.” Human
Relations 38 (1985),
pp. 551–70.
4.40 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.41 Humphrey, S.E.; J.D.
Nahrgang; and F.P.
Morgeson. “Integrating
Motivational, Social,
and Contextual Work
Design Features:
A Meta-Analytic
Final PDF to printer

120 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 120 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Summary and Theo-
retical Extension of the
Work Design Litera-
ture.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 92 (2007),
pp. 1332–56; and Fried,
Y., and G.R. Ferris.
“The Validity of the Job
Characteristics Model:
A Review and Meta-
Analysis.” Personnel
Psychology 40 (1987),
pp. 287–322.
4.42 Hackman and Oldham,
Work Redesign.
4.43 Loher, B.T.; R.A. Noe;
N.L. Moeller; and M.P.
Fitzgerald. “A Meta-
Analysis of the Relation
of Job Characteristics
to Job Satisfaction.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 70 (1985),
pp. 280–89.
4.44 Campion, M.A., and
C.L. McClelland.
Examination of the
Costs and Benefits
of Enlarged Jobs: A
Job Design Quasi-
Experiment.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 76
(1991), pp. 186–98.
4.45 Ibid.
4.46 Wrzesniewski, A., and
J.E. Dutton. “Crafting
a Job: Revisioning
Employees as Active
Crafters of Their
Work.” Academy of
Management Review 26
(2001), pp. 179–201;
and Tims, M.; A.B.
Bakker; and D. Derks.
“Development and
Validation of the Job
Crafting Scale.” Journal
of Vocational Behavior
80 (2012), pp. 173–86.
4.47 Morris, W.N. Mood:
The Frame of Mind.
New York: Springer-
Verlag, 1989.
4.48 Watson, D., and A.
Tellegen. “Toward a
Consensual Structure
of Mood.” Psychological
Bulletin 98 (1985),
pp. 219–35; Russell,
J.A. “A Circumplex
Model of Affect.”
Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology
39 (1980), pp. 1161–78;
and Larsen, R.J., and
E. Diener. “Promises
and Problems with the
Circumplex Model of
Emotion.” In Review of
Personality and Social
Psychology: Emotion,
Vol. 13, ed. M.S. Clark.
Newbury Park, CA:
Sage, 1992, pp. 25–59.
4.49 Ibid.
4.50 Moskowitz et al., “100
Best Companies to
Work For.”
4.51 Ibid.
4.52 Csikszentmihalyi, M.
Finding Flow: The Psy-
chology of Engagement
with Everyday Life.
New York: Basic
Books, 1997;
Csikszentmihalyi, M.
Flow: The Psychology
of Optimal Experience.
New York: Harper-
Perennial, 1990; and
Csikszentmihalyi, M.
Beyond Boredom and
Anxiety. San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 1975.
4.53 Quinn, R.W. “Flow
in Knowledge Work:
High Performance
Experience in the
Design of National
Security Technology.”
Administrative Science
Quarterly 50 (2005),
pp. 610–41; Jackson,
S.A., and H.W. Marsh.
“Development and
Validation of a Scale to
Measure Optimal Expe-
rience: The Flow State
Scale.” Journal of Sport
and Exercise Psychology
18 (1996), pp. 17–35;
and Bakker, A.B. “The
Work-Related Flow
Inventory: Construc-
tion and Initial Valida-
tion of the WOLF.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 72 (2008),
pp. 400–14.
4.54 Weiss, H.M., and R.
Cropanzano. “Affective
Events Theory: A Theo-
retical Discussion of
the Structure, Causes,
and Consequences of
Affective Experiences
at Work.” In Research in
Organizational Behavior,
Vol. 18, ed. B.M. Staw
and L.L. Cummings.
Greenwich, CT: JAI
Press, 1996, pp. 1–74.
4.55 Source: Weiss, H.M.,
and K.E. Kurek,
“Dispositional Influ-
ences on Affective
Experiences at Work.”
In Personality and
Work: Reconsidering the
Role of Personality in
Organizations, ed. M.R.
Barrick and A.M. Ryan.
San Francisco: Jossey-
Bass, 2003, pp. 121–49.
4.56 Weiss and Cropanzano,
“Affective Events
4.57 Lazarus, R.S. Emotion
and Adaptation. New
York: Oxford University
Press, 1991.
4.58 Hochschild, A.R.
The Managed Heart:
Final PDF to printer

121C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 121 10/11/17 08:41 AM
of Human Feeling.
Berkeley: University
of California Press,
1983; and Rafaeli, A.,
and R.I. Sutton. “The
Expression of Emotion
in Organizational Life.”
Research in Organi-
zational Behavior 11
(1989), pp. 1–42.
4.59 Hatfield, E.; J.T.
Cacioppo; and R.L.
Rapson. Emotional
Contagion. New York:
Cambridge University
Press, 1994.
4.60 Ashkanasy, N.M.;
C.E.J. Hartel; and C.S.
Daus. “Diversity and
Emotion: The New
Frontiers in Orga-
nizational Behavior
Research.” Journal of
Management 28 (2002),
pp. 307–38.
4.61 Judge, T.A.; C.J.
Thoreson; J.E. Bono;
and G.K Patton. “The
Job Satisfaction–Job
Performance Relation-
ship: A Qualitative and
Quantitative Review.”
Psychological Bulletin
127 (2001),
pp. 376–407.
4.62 Baas, M.; C.K.W. De
Dreu; and B.A. Nijstad.
“A Meta-Analysis of
25 Years of Mood—
Creativity Research:
Hedonic Tone, Activa-
tion, or Regulatory
Focus.” Psychological
Bulletin 134 (2008),
pp. 779–806; and Lyu-
bomirsky, S.; L. King;
and E. Diener. “The
Benefits of Frequent
Positive Affect: Does
Happiness Lead to
Success?” Psychological
Bulletin 131 (2005), pp.
4.63 Brief, A.P., and H.M.
Weiss. “Organizational
Behavior: Affect in the
Workplace.” Annual
Review of Psychology 53
(2002), pp. 279–307.
4.64 Isen, A.M., and R.A.
Baron. “Positive Affect
as a Factor in Orga-
nizational Behavior.”
Research in
Behavior 13 (1991),
pp. 1–53.
4.65 Tsai, W.C.; C.C. Chen;
and H.L. Liu. “Test
of a Model Linking
Employee Positive
Moods and Task Per-
formance.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 92
(2007), pp. 1570–83.
4.66 Beal, D.J.; H.M. Weiss;
E. Barros; and S.M.
MacDermid. “An Epi-
sodic Process Model of
Affective Influences on
Performance.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 90
(2005), pp. 1054–68;
and Miner, A.G., and
T.M. Glomb. “State
Mood, Task Perfor-
mance, and Behavior
at Work: A Within-
Persons Approach.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 112 (2010),
pp. 43–57.
4.67 Locke, “The Nature
and Causes of Job
4.68 Riketta, M. “The
Causal Relation
between Job Attitudes
and Job Performance:
A Meta-Analysis
of Panel Studies.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 93 (2008),
pp. 472–81.
4.69 LePine, J.A.; A. Erez;
and D.E. Johnson.
“The Nature and
of Organizational
Citizenship Behavior:
A Critical Review and
Meta-Analysis.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 87
(2002), pp. 52–65.
4.70 Lyubomirsky et al.,
“The Benefits of Fre-
quent Positive Affect”;
and Dalal, R.S.; H.
Lam; H.M. Weiss; E.R.
Welch; and C.L. Hulin.
“A Within-Person
Approach to Work
Behavior and Perfor-
mance: Concurrent and
Lagged Citizenship-
Associations, and
Dynamic Relationships
with Affect and Overall
Job Performance.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 52
(2009), pp. 1051–66.
4.71 Dalal, R.S. “A
Meta-Analysis of the
Relationship between
Organizational Citizen-
ship Behavior and
Work Behavior.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 90 (2005),
pp. 1241–55.
4.72 Yang, J., and J.M.
Diefendorff. “The
Relations of Daily
Workplace Behavior
with Emotions, Situa-
tional Antecedents, and
Personality Modera-
tors: A Diary Study in
Hong Kong.” Personnel
Psychology 62 (2009),
pp. 259–95; and Dalal
et al., “A Within-
Person Approach to
Final PDF to printer

122 C H A P T E R 4 Job Satisfaction
coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 122 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Work Behavior and
4.73 Cooper-Hakim, A., and
C. Viswesvaran. “The
Construct of Work
Commitment: Testing
an Integrative Frame-
work.” Psychological
Bulletin 131 (2005),
pp. 241–59; Harrison,
D.A.; D. Newman;
and P.L. Roth. “How
Important Are Job Atti-
tudes? Meta-Analytic
Comparisons of
Integrative Behavioral
Outcomes and Time
Sequences.” Academy
of Management
Journal 49 (2006),
pp. 305–25; and Meyer,
J.P.; D.J. Stanley; L.
Herscovitch; and L.
Topolnytsky. “Affective,
Continuance, and Nor-
mative Commitment
to the Organization: A
Meta-Analysis of Ante-
cedents, Correlates,
and Consequences.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 61 (2002),
pp. 20–52.
4.74 Ibid.
4.75 Tait, M.; M.Y. Padgett;
and T.T. Baldwin. “Job
and Life Satisfaction: A
Reexamination of the
Strength of the Rela-
tionship and Gender
Effects as a Function of
the Date of the Study.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 74 (1989), pp.
502–507; Judge, T.A.,
S. Watanabe. “Another
Look at the Job
Satisfaction–Life Satis-
faction Relationship.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 78 (1993), pp.
939–48; and Erdogan,
B.; T.N. Bauer; D.M.
Truxillo; and L.R. Man-
sfield. “Whistle While
You Work: A Review
of the Life Satisfaction
Literature.” Journal of
Management 38 (2012),
pp. 1038–83.
4.76 Kahneman, D.;
A.B. Krueger; D.A.
Schkade; N. Schwarz;
and A.A. Stone. “A
Survey Method for
Characterizing Daily
Life Experience: The
Day Reconstruction
Method.” Science 306
(2004), pp. 1776–80.
4.77 Kahneman, D., and A.
Deaton. “High Income
Improves Evaluation
of Life but Not Emo-
tional Well-Being.”
Proceedings of the
National Academy of
Sciences 107 (2010),
pp. 16489–93.
4.78 Saari, L.M., and T.A.
Judge. “Employee Atti-
tudes and Job Satisfac-
tion.” Human Resource
Management 43 (2004),
pp. 395–407.
4.79 Kinicki, A.J.; F.M.
McKee-Ryan; C.A.
Schriesheim; and K.P.
Carson. “Assessing
the Construct Validity
of the Job Descrip-
tive Index: A Review
and Meta-Analysis.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 87 (2002), pp.
14–32; Hanisch, K.A.
“The Job Descriptive
Index Revisited: Ques-
tions about the Ques-
tion Mark.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 77
(1992), pp. 377–82;
and Jung, K.G.; A.
Dalessio; and S.M.
Johnson. “Stability of
the Factor Structure
of the Job Descriptive
Index.” Academy of
Management Journal
29 (1986), pp. 609–16.
4.80 Ironson et al., “Con-
struction”; and Russell
et al., “Shorter Can
Also Be Better.”
4.81 Balzer, W.K.; J.A.
Kihn; P.C. Smith; J.L.
Irwin; P.D. Bachiochi;
C. Robie; E.F. Sinar;
and L.F. Parra. “Users’
Manual for the Job
Descriptive Index (JDI;
1997 version) and the
Job in General Scales.”
In Electronic Resources
for the JDI and JIG,
ed. J.M. Stanton and
C.D. Crossley. Bowling
Green, OH: Bowling
Green State University,
4.82 Ibid.
4.83 Ibid.
4.84 Saari and Judge,
“Employee Attitudes.”
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch04_091-123.indd 123 10/11/17 08:41 AM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 124 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.1 What is stress, and how is it related to stressors and strains?
5.2 What are the four main types of stressors?
5.3 How do individuals cope with stress?
5.4 How does the Type A Behavior Pattern influence the stress process?
5.5 How does stress affect job performance and organizational commitment?
5.6 What steps can organizations take to manage employee stress?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 125 10/11/17 08:42 AM
hen asked to think of a Honeywell product, the
company’s “round” thermostat might come to mind.
In continuous production since 1953, the T-86
thermostat is used in more homes and commercial build-
ings than any other, and is part of the Smithsonian Design
Museum’s collection of iconic everyday items. If asked what
other products Honeywell manufactures, you might have a
vague sense that they manufacture equipment for the mili-
tary and space industries, but you might have difficulty nam-
ing anything specific. In fact, Honeywell manufactures tens
of thousands of products, albeit most are used in the pro-
duction of other products and services. Examples of busi-
nesses in which Honeywell operates include commercial and
defense aviation, satellite communications, home comfort
and security, remote health monitoring, industrial automation,
petroleum and petrochemical equipment, and products and
materials used in electronics, fertilizers, films, and adhesives.
Over the last century, Honeywell has evolved into a
$40 billion company through a constant stream of acquisi-
tions and divestitures. To Honeywell’s employees, this evo-
lution has been a double-edged sword. On the one hand,
continual change in the company’s mix of businesses cre-
ates opportunities for employees to develop in their knowl-
edge and skills. For example, company managers may be
tasked with the challenge of integrating an acquisition into
the larger company and identifying potential synergies with
existing businesses. On the other hand, constant change
creates a great deal of uncertainty and stress among the
company’s employees. For instance, an acquisition of a
related business can create redundancies in functional
roles, and so employees may feel threatened about losing
their jobs or being forced to relocate.
Honeywell recognizes that there are costs associated
with employee stress and has taken steps to mitigate its
effects. For example, the company offers a multifaceted
health benefits package that includes things like medical
and preventative care, mental health services, and sub-
stance abuse counseling. Although most large companies
offer similar types of benefits, Honeywell’s HealthResource
program is more innovative. It consists of a set of tools that
help employees connect with health care resources any
time they might need them. For example, registered nurses
are available to answer health care questions and direct
employees to other resources. The program also provides
employees with access to information from the Mayo Clinic
regarding issues such as weight management, diet, and
stress reduction. Honeywell believes that when employees
are given information to make informed decisions about
health and well-being, the employees, their families, and the
company all benefit.
Final PDF to printer

126 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 126 10/11/17 08:42 AM
Stress is an OB topic that’s probably quite familiar to you. Even if you don’t have a lot of work
experience, consider how you feel toward the end of a semester when you have to cram for several
final exams and finish a term paper and other projects. At the same time, you might have also
been looking for a job or planning a trip with friends or family. Although some people might be
able to deal with all of these demands without becoming too frazzled, most people would say this
type of scenario causes them to feel “stressed out.” This stressed out feeling might even be accom-
panied by headaches, stomach upsets, backaches, or sleeping difficulties. Although you might
believe your stress will diminish once you graduate and settle down, high stress on the job is more
prevalent than it’s ever been before.1 The federal government’s National Institute for Occupa-
tional Safety and Health (NIOSH) summarized findings from several sources that indicated up to
40 percent of U.S. workers feel their jobs are “very stressful” or “extremely stressful.”2 Unfortu-
nately, high stress is even more prevalent in the types of jobs that most of you are likely to have
after you graduate. In fact, managers are approximately 21 percent more likely than the average
What is stress, and how is
it related to stressors and
TABLE 5-1 Jobs Rated from Least Stressful (1) to Most Stressful (200)
1. Tenured University Professor  5.03 143. Elementary School Teacher  27.37
2. Audiologist  6.33 148. Management Consultant  28.24
3. Medical Records Technician   7.48 150. Air Traffic Controller  28.58
4. Jeweler  8.10 154. Surgeon 28.90
8. Librarian 10.61 163. Construction Foreman 30.92
14. Software Engineer  12.13 166. Lumberjack 32.00
18. Computer Service Technician  12.64 172. Attorney 36.40
24. Occupational Therapist  13.14 175. Sales Representative  36.95
29. Chiropractor 13.55 179. Real Estate Agent 38.57
30. Actuary  14.09 180. Social Media Manager 38.60
35. Multimedia Artist 14.40 183. Stockbroker  39.97
39. Hair Stylist 14.59 185. Advertising Account Executive  43.24
40. Meteorologist  14.65 189. Taxi Driver 46.18
42. Loan Officer 14.73 191. Senior Corporate Executive  47.55
47. Biologist 15.10 194. Event Coordinator 49.73
50. Optician  15.57 195. Police Officer  50.81
53. Veterinarian 15.83 196. Airline Pilot 59.12
63. Chemist  17.00 198. Newspaper Reporter  69.67
74. Sustainability Manager  18.50 199. Firefighter 71.64
84. Accountant 19.85 200. Enlisted Military Personnel 74.83
Source: Adapted from L. Krantz and T. Lee, “The Jobs Rated Almanac” (Lake Geneva, WI: iFocus Books, 2015). The stress
level score is calculated by summing points in 10 categories: deadlines, working in the public eye, competitiveness, physical
demands, environmental conditions, hazards, own life at risk, another’s life at risk, public encounters, and employment change.
Final PDF to printer

127C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 127 10/11/17 08:42 AM
worker to describe their jobs as stressful.3 Moreover, as we described in the chapter opening, your
level of stress may be even greater if you take a job in an organization, such Honeywell, where
employees have to cope with change and uncertainty. Table 5-1 provides a list of jobs and their
rank in terms of how stressful they are.
Stress is defined as a psychological response to demands that possess certain stakes for the
person and that tax or exceed the person’s capacity or resources.4 The demands that cause people
to experience stress are called stressors. The negative consequences that occur when demands
tax or exceed a person’s capacity or resources are called strains. These definitions illustrate that
stress depends on both the nature of the demand and the person who confronts it. People differ
in terms of how they perceive and evaluate stressors and the way they cope with them. As a result,
different people may experience different levels of stress even when confronted with the exact
same situation.
“ S T R E S S E D ” T H A N OT H E R S ?
Stress in the workplace has been widely studied by scholars for over a century and there are many
different theories that outline causes and consequences of stress.5 However, to understand what
it means to feel “stressed,” it’s helpful to consider the transactional theory of stress. This theory
explains how stressors are perceived and appraised, as well as how people respond to those per-
ceptions and appraisals.6 When people first encounter stressors, the process of primary appraisal
is triggered.7 As shown in Figure 5-1, primary appraisal occurs as people evaluate the significance
and the meaning of the stressor they’re confronting. Here, people first consider whether a demand
causes them to feel stressed, and if it does, they consider the implications of the stressor in terms
of their personal goals and overall well-being.8
As an example of a primary appraisal, consider the job of a cashier at a well-run convenience
store. In this store, cashiers engage in routine sales transactions with customers. Customers walk
in the store and select merchandise, and the cashiers on duty ring up the sale and collect the
money. Under normal day-to-day circumstances at this store, well-trained cashiers would not likely
FIGURE 5-1 Transactional Theory of Stress
Hindrance Challenge
Role conflict
Role ambiguity
Role overload
Daily hassles

Negative life

Time pressure
Work complexity
Work responsibility

Family time
Positive life events

Primary Appraisal
Is this stressful?
Secondary Appraisal
How can I cope?

Final PDF to printer

128 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 128 10/11/17 08:42 AM
feel that these transactions are overly taxing or exceed their capacity, so those cashiers would not
likely appraise these job demands as stressful. Job demands that tend not to be appraised as stress-
ful are called benign job demands.
However, consider how convenience store cashiers would react in a different store in which the
cash register and credit card machine break down often and without warning. The cashiers who
work at this store would likely view their job as being more stressful. This is because they would
have to diagnose and fix problems with equipment while dealing with customers who are grow-
ing more and more impatient. Furthermore, the cashiers in this store might appraise the stressful
situation as one that unnecessarily prevents them from achieving their goal of being viewed as an
effective employee in the eyes of the customers and the store manager.
Finally, consider a third convenience store in which the cashiers’ workload is higher due to
additional responsibilities that include receiving merchandise from vendors, taking physical inven-
tory, and training new employees. In this store, the cashiers may appraise their jobs as stressful
because of the higher workload and the need to balance different priorities. However, in contrast
to the cashiers in the previous example, cashiers in this store might appraise these demands as
providing an opportunity to learn and demonstrate the type of competence that often is rewarded
with satisfying promotions and pay raises.
In the previous two examples, the cashiers were confronted with demands that a primary appraisal
would label as “stressful.” However, the specific demands in the two examples have an important
difference. Having to deal with equipment breakdowns or unhappy customers is not likely to be
perceived by most employees as having implications that are personally beneficial; in fact, the
opposite is likely to be true. These kinds of stressors are called hindrance stressors, or stressful
demands that people tend to perceive as hindering their progress toward personal accomplish-
ments or goal attainment.9 Hindrance stressors most often trigger negative emotions such as anxi-
ety and anger.10
In contrast, having to deal with additional responsibilities is likely to be perceived by most
employees as having long-term benefits. These kinds of stressors are called challenge stressors, or
stressful demands that people tend to perceive as opportunities for learning, growth, and achieve-
ment.11 Although challenge stressors can be exhausting, they often trigger positive emotions such
as pride and enthusiasm. Figure 5-1 lists a number of hindrance and challenge stressors, some of
which are experienced at work and some of which are experienced outside of work.12
WORK HINDRANCE STRESSORS  The various roles we fill at work are the source of differ-
ent types of work-related hindrance stressors.13 One type of work-related hindrance stressor is
role conflict, which refers to conflicting expectations that other people may have of us.14 As an
example of role conflict that occurs from incompatible demands within a single role that a person
may hold, consider the job of a call center operator. People holding these jobs are expected to
communicate with as many people as possible over a given time period. The expectation is that
the call center operator will spend as little time as possible with the people on the other end of the
line. At the same time, however, operators are also expected to be responsive to the questions and
concerns raised by the people they talk with. Because effectiveness in this aspect of the job may
require a great deal of time, call center operators are put in a position in which they simply cannot
meet both types of expectations. For an interesting example of role conflict and its consequences,
see our OB on Screen feature.
Role ambiguity refers to a lack of information about what needs to be done in a role, as well
as unpredictability regarding the consequences of performance in that role.15 Employees are
sometimes asked to work on projects for which they’re given very few instructions or guidelines
about how things are supposed to be done. In these cases, employees may not know how much
money they can spend on the project, how long it’s supposed to take, or what exactly the finished
product is supposed to look like. Role ambiguity is often experienced among new employees
who haven’t been around long enough to receive instructions from supervisors or observe and
model the role behaviors of more senior colleagues. Students sometimes experience role ambigu-
ity when professors remain vague about particular course requirements or how grading is going to
What are the four main
types of stressors? 
Final PDF to printer

129C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 129 10/11/17 08:42 AM
We a big company . . . millions of moving parts . . . thousands upon thousands of people. We all
work very hard to ensure that all those people and all those moving parts are functioning prop-
erly as a means to an end, a very profitable end for all of us.
With those words, BP executive Donald Vidrine (John Malkovich) provides not so subtle pres-
sure on an offshore oil rig worker to skirt safety procedures, in the reality-based movie Deepwater
Horizon (Dir. Peter Berg, Summit Entertainment and Participant Media, 2016). Located in the
Gulf of Mexico, 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, a Deepwater Horizon crew had just sealed off
an exploratory well with a concrete cap so that the well could be exploited later by BP. There was
a crew changeover, and the new crew expressed concerns regarding the previous crew’s failure to
complete some tests on the concrete. Soon afterwards, there was an eruption of mud and methane
gas through the concrete cap and drilling equipment. Explosions and fire ensued, destroying the
rig, killing 11 crew members, and creating the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history.
©Moviestore collection Ltd/Alamy
Although the incident was likely caused by a constellation of factors and poor decisions on the
part of several parties, the film portrays role conflict as a primary culprit. Jimmy Harrell (Kurt
Russell) was the ranking manager aboard Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon, which was being
leased by BP for oil exploration. On the one hand, Harrell understood that he was responsible for
the safety of the crew and his employer’s rig. He was unsure about the integrity of the concrete
cap, and he wanted to conduct some testing before granting permission to the crew to move
onto the next phase of operations. On the other hand, Vidrine reminded Harrell that he and his
company were working for BP and should have BP’s best interest in mind. Vidrine emphasized to
Harrell that the well was behind schedule due to problems on Deepwater Horizon, and that fur-
ther testing would create even more delays and would cost both companies more money. Although
a compromise was reached, inconsistencies in the test results were not scrutinized sufficiently,
and the rest is history.
be performed. In such cases, the class becomes stressful because it’s not quite clear what it takes
to get a good grade.
Role overload occurs when the number of demanding roles a person holds is so high that the
person simply cannot perform some or all of the roles effectively.16 Role overload as a source of
stress is becoming very prevalent for employees in many different industries, and in fact, studies
have shown that this source of stress is more prevalent than both role conflict and role ambiguity.17
For example, the workload for executives and managers who work in investment banking, consult-
ing, and law is so high that 80-hour workweeks are becoming the norm.18 Although this trend may
Final PDF to printer

130 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 130 10/11/17 08:42 AM
not be surprising to some of
you, people holding these jobs
also indicate that they would
not be able to effectively com-
plete most of the work that’s
required of them, even if they
worked twice as many hours.
One final type of work-
related hindrance stressor,
daily hassles, refers to the
relatively minor day-to-day
demands that get in the way of
accomplishing the things that
we really want to accomplish.19
Examples of hassles include
having to deal with unneces-
sary paperwork, office equip-
ment malfunctions, annoying interactions with abrasive coworkers, and useless communications.
Although these examples of daily hassles may seem relatively minor, taken together, they can be
extremely time-consuming and stressful. Indeed, according to one survey, 40 percent of executives
spend somewhere between a half-day and a full day each week on communications that are not
useful or necessary.20
WORK CHALLENGE STRESSORS One type of work-related challenge stressor is time pressure—
a strong sense that the amount of time you have to do a task is not quite enough.21 Although most
people appraise situations with high time pressure as rather stressful, they also tend to appraise
these situations as more challenging than hindering. Time pressure demands tend to be viewed
as something worth striving for because success in meeting such demands can be intrinsically
satisfying. As an example of this positive effect of high time pressure, consider Michael Jones, an
architect at a top New York firm. His job involves overseeing multiple projects with tight dead-
lines, and as a result, he has to work at a hectic pace. Although Jones readily acknowledges that
his job is stressful, he also believes that the outcome of having all the stress is satisfying. Jones is
able to see the product of his labor over the Manhattan skyline, which makes him feel like he’s a
part of something.22
Work complexity refers to the degree to which the requirements of the work—in terms of
knowledge, skills, and abilities—tax or exceed the capabilities of the person who is responsible
for performing the work.23 As an example of work complexity, consider the nature of employee
development practices that organizations use to train future executives and organizational lead-
ers. In many cases, these practices involve giving people jobs that require skills and knowledge
that the people do not yet possess. A successful marketing manager who is being groomed for an
executive-level position may, for example, be asked to manage a poorly performing production
facility with poor labor relations in a country halfway around the world. Although these types of
developmental experiences tend to be quite stressful, managers report that being stretched beyond
their capacity is well worth the associated discomfort.24
Work responsibility refers to the nature of the obligations that a person has toward others.25
Generally speaking, the level of responsibility in a job is higher when the number, scope, and
importance of the obligations in that job are higher. As an example, the level of work responsi-
bility for an air traffic controller, who may be accountable for the lives of tens of thousands of
people every day, is very high.26 Controllers understand that if they make an error while directing
an aircraft—for example, saying “turn left” instead of “turn right”—hundreds of people can die in
an instant. Although controller errors that result in midair collisions and crashes are extremely
rare, the possibility weighs heavily on the minds of controllers, especially after they lose “the pic-
ture” (controller jargon for the mental representation of an assigned airspace and all the aircraft
within it) due to extreme workloads, a loss of concentration, or equipment malfunctions. As with
In addition to the role
conflict created in trying to
balance responsiveness
to customers with high call
volume, call center opera-
tors also experience daily
hassles. They have to deal
with poor connections,
language difficulties, rude-
ness, and questions for
which they are ill prepared
to answer.  
©Terry Vine/Blend Images LLC
Final PDF to printer

131C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 131 10/11/17 08:42 AM
people’s reactions to time pressure and work complexity, people tend to evaluate demands associ-
ated with high responsibility as both stressful and potentially positive.
NONWORK HINDRANCE STRESSORS Although the majority of people in the United States
spend more time at the office than anywhere else,27 there are a number of stressful demands out-
side of work that have implications for managing behavior in organizations.28 In essence, stressors
experienced outside of work may have effects that “spill over” to affect the employee at work.29 One
example of nonwork hindrance stressors is work–family conflict, a special form of role conflict in
which the demands of a work role hinder the fulfillment of the demands of a family role (or vice
versa).30 More generally, work–family conflict can be thought of as something that upsets the bal-
ance or our work and nonwork lives.31 We most often think of cases in which work demands hinder
effectiveness in the family context, termed “work to family conflict.” For example, a store manager
who has to deal with lots of hindrances at work may have trouble switching off the frustration after
arriving home, and as a consequence, become irritable and impatient with family and friends. How-
ever, work–family conflict can occur in the other direction as well. For example, “family to work
conflict” would occur if a salesperson experiencing the stress of marital conflict comes to work
harboring emotional pain and negative feelings, which makes it difficult to interact with customers
effectively. Although these examples illustrate how work–family conflict can have negative conse-
quences, it is also important to recognize that these negative consequences can, in turn, create even
more work–family conflict.32 For example, the store manager who becomes impatient with family
and friends due to hindrances at work may get into stressful conflicts at home, which in turn, may
makes it even more difficult to deal with hindrances at work the next day. We should also note that
although there are many benefits to having an active and well-rounded life, it’s important to recog-
nize that both work to family conflict and family to work conflict tend to be higher for employees
who are strongly embedded in their work organizations and their communities.33
Nonwork hindrance stressors also come in the form of negative life events.34 Research has
revealed that a number of life events are perceived as quite stressful, particularly when they result
in significant changes to a person’s life.35 Table 5-2 provides a listing of some commonly experi-
enced life events, along with a score that estimates how stressful each event is perceived to be. As
the table reveals, many of the most stressful life events do not occur at work. Rather, they include
family events such as the death of a spouse or close family member, a divorce or marital separa-
tion, a jail term, or a personal illness. These events would be classified as hindrance stressors
because they hinder the ability to achieve life goals and are associated with negative emotions.
A third type of nonwork hindrance stressor is financial uncertainty. This type of stressor refers
to conditions that create uncertainties with regard to the loss of livelihood, savings, or the ability to
pay expenses. This type of stressor is highly relevant during recessions or economic downturns.
The job of an air traffic
controller is stressful
because of the challenging
demands. In particular, air
traffic controllers know
that during each shift they
work, they’ll be responsible
for ensuring that thousands
of people arrive at their
destinations safely and on
©Monty Rakusen/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

132 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 132 10/11/17 08:42 AM
TABLE 5-2 Stressful Life Events
Death of a spouse 100 Trouble with in-laws 29
Divorce 73 Outstanding achievement 28
Marital separation 65 Begin or end school 26
Jail term 63 Change in living conditions 25
Death of close family member 63 Trouble with boss 23
Personal illness 53 Change in work hours 20
Marriage 50 Change in residence 20
Fired at work 47 Change in schools 20
Marital reconciliation 45 Change in social activities 18
Retirement 45 Change in sleeping habits 16
Pregnancy 40 Change in family get-togethers 15
Gain of new family member 39 Change in eating habits 15
Death of close friend 37 Vacations 13
Change in occupation 36 The holiday season 12
Child leaving home 29 Minor violations of the law 11
Source: Adapted from T.H. Holmes and R.H. Rahe, “The Social Re-Adjustment Rating Scale,” Journal of Psychosomatic
Research 11 (1967), pp. 213–18.
When people have concerns about losing their jobs, homes, and life savings because of economic
factors that are beyond their control, it’s understandable why nearly half of the respondents to a
recent survey indicated that stress was making it hard for them to do their jobs.36
NONWORK CHALLENGE STRESSORS  Of course, the nonwork domain can be a source of
challenge stressors as well.37 Family time demands refer to the time that a person commits to
participate in an array of family activities and responsibilities. Specific examples of family time
demands include time spent involved in family pursuits such as traveling, attending social events
and organized activities, hosting parties, and planning and making home improvements. Exam-
ples of personal development activities include participation in formal education programs, music
lessons, sports-related training, hobby-related self-education, participation in local government, or
volunteer work. Finally, Table 5-2 includes some positive life events that are sources of nonwork
challenge stressors. For example, marriage, the addition of a new family member, and graduating
from school are stressful in their own way. However, each is associated with more positive, rather
than negative, emotions.
According to the transactional theory of stress, after people appraise a stressful demand, they ask
themselves, “What should I do?” and “What can I do?” to deal with this situation. These questions,
which refer to the secondary appraisal shown in Figure 5-1, center on the issue of how people cope
with the various stressors they face.38 Coping refers to the behaviors and thoughts that people use
to manage both the stressful demands they face and the emotions associated with those stressful
demands.39 As Table 5-3 illustrates, coping can involve many different types of activities, and these
activities can be grouped into four broad categories based on two dimensions.40 The first dimen-
sion refers to the method of coping (behavioral versus cognitive), and the second dimension refers
to the focus of coping (problem solving versus regulation of emotions).
How do individuals cope
with stress?
Final PDF to printer

133C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 133 10/11/17 08:42 AM
The first part of our coping definition highlights the idea that methods of coping can be catego-
rized on the basis of whether they involve behaviors or thoughts. Behavioral coping involves the set
of physical activities that are used to deal with a stressful situation.41 In one example of behavioral
coping, a person who is confronted with a lot of time pressure at work might choose to cope by
working faster. In another example, an employee who has several daily hassles might cope by
avoiding work—coming in late, leaving early, or even staying home. As a final example, employees
often cope with the stress of an international assignment by returning home from the assignment
prematurely. As our OB Internationally feature illustrates, international assignments are becom-
ing increasingly prevalent, and the costs of these early returns to organizations can be significant.
In contrast to behavioral coping, cognitive coping refers to the thoughts that are involved in try-
ing to deal with a stressful situation.42 For example, the person who is confronted with an increase
in time pressure might cope by thinking about different ways of accomplishing the work more effi-
ciently. As another example of cognitive coping, employees who are confronted with daily hassles
might try to convince themselves that the hassles are not that bad after all, perhaps by dwelling on
less annoying aspects of the daily events.
Whereas the first part of our coping definition refers to the method of coping, the second part
refers to the focus of coping—that is, does the coping attempt to address the stressful demand
or the emotions triggered by the demand?43 Problem-focused coping refers to behaviors and
cognitions intended to manage the stressful situation itself.44 To understand problem-focused
coping, consider how the people in the previous paragraphs coped with time pressure. In the
first example, the person attempted to address the time pressure by working harder, whereas
in the second example, the person thought about a strategy for accomplishing the work more
efficiently. Although the specific coping methods differed, both of these people reacted to the
time pressure similarly, in that they focused their effort on meeting the demand rather than try-
ing to avoid it.
In contrast to problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping refers to the various ways in which
people manage their own emotional reactions to
stressful demands.45 The reactions to the daily
hassles that we described previously illustrate two
types of emotion-focused coping. In the first exam-
ple, the employee used avoidance and distancing
behaviors to reduce the emotional distress caused
by the stressful situation. In the second example,
the employee reappraised the demand to make
it seem less stressful and threatening. Although
people may be successful at changing the way
different situations are construed to avoid feeling
unpleasant emotions, the demand or problem that
initially triggered the appraisal process remains.
TABLE 5-3 Examples of Coping Strategies
• Working harder
• Seeking assistance
• Acquiring additional resources
• Engaging in alternative activities
• Seeking support
• Venting anger
• Strategizing
• Self-motivating
• Changing priorities
• Avoiding, distancing, and ignoring
• Looking for the positive in the negative
• Reappraising
Source: Adapted from J.C. Latack and S.J. Havlovic, “Coping with Job Stress: A Conceptual Evaluation Framework for
Coping Measures,” Journal of Organizational Behavior 13 (1992), pp. 479–508.
Although avoidance and
distancing behaviors may
reduce the emotional
distress one feels, these
strategies do not help
manage the demand that’s
causing the stress.
©Manchan/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

134 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 134 10/11/17 08:42 AM
The number of expatriates, or employees who are sent abroad to work for their organization, has
increased recently. In one survey, for example, 47 percent of the companies reported an increase
in the number of expatriate assignments over the previous year, and 54 percent projected increases
in these assignments in the following year. This survey also indicated that more than half of all
employees sent abroad expected their assignment to last between one and three years. Unfor-
tunately, a significant number of expatriate assignments do not succeed because the employee
returns home earlier than planned. In fact, up to 40 percent of all American expatriates return
home early, and it has been estimated that each early return costs the host organization approxi-
mately $100,000. Of course, a second way that international assignments fail is when the expatri-
ate performs at an unsatisfactory level.
One key factor that influences the commitment and effectiveness of expatriates is how they
handle the stress of being abroad. Expatriates who experience more stress as a result of cultural,
interpersonal, or job factors tend to be less satisfied with their assignment, more likely to think
about leaving their assignment early, and more likely to perform at subpar levels. One practice that
could prove useful in managing expatriate stress is cross-cultural training, which focuses on help-
ing people appreciate cultural differences and interacting more comfortably with the host-country
nationals. Unfortunately, this type of training isn’t offered as frequently as you might think.
Surveys suggest that many U.S. companies offer no formal cross-cultural training at all. Even when
training is offered, it tends to focus more on language skills than on cultural understanding and
interaction skills. Given that the number of expatriate assignments is on the rise, organizations
might be well served if they increased emphasis on training in these types of skills so that their
expatriates are better able to cope with the stress from being abroad.
Sources: P. Bhaskar-Shrinivas, D.A. Harrison, M.A. Shaffer, and D.M. Luk, “Input-Based and Time-Based Models of
International Adjustment: Meta-Analytic Evidence and Theoretical Extensions,” Academy of Management Journal 48
(2005), pp. 257–81; J.S. Black, M. Mendenhall, and G Oddou, “Toward a Comprehensive Model of International Adjust-
ment: An Integration of Multiple Theoretical Perspectives,” Academy of Management Review 16 (1991), pp. 291–317; M.E.
Mendenhall, T.M. Kulmann, G.K. Stahl, and J.S. Osland, “Employee Development and Expatriate Assignments,” Black-
well Handbook of Cross-Cultural Management, ed. M.J. Gannon and K.L. Newman (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002),
pp. 155–84; and Global Relocation Trends, 2005 Survey Report, GMAC Global Relocation Services, Woodridge, IL,
Of course, the coping strategy that’s ultimately used has important implications for how effec-
tively people can meet or adapt to the different stressors that they face. In the work context,
for example, a manager would most likely want subordinates to cope with the stress of a heavy
workload by using a problem-focused strategy—working harder—rather than an emotion-focused
strategy—leaving work several hours early to create distance from the stressor. Of course, there are
some situations in which emotion-focused coping may be functional for the person. As an exam-
ple, consider someone who repeatedly fails to make it through the auditions for the TV show The
Voice, despite years of voice lessons and countless hours of practice. At some point, if he did not
have the capability to cope emotionally—perhaps by lowering his aspirations—his self-esteem could
be damaged, which could translate into reduced effectiveness in other roles that he fill.
How do people choose a particular coping strategy? One factor that influences this choice is
the set of beliefs that people have about how well different coping strategies can address different
demands. In essence, people are likely to choose the coping strategy they believe has the highest
likelihood of meeting the demand they face. For example, successful students may come to under-
stand that the likelihood of effectively coping with demanding final exams is higher if they study
Final PDF to printer

135C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 135 10/11/17 08:42 AM
hard rather than trying to escape from the situation by going out until 3:00 a.m. The choice also
depends on the degree to which people believe that they have what it takes to execute the coping
strategy effectively. Returning to the previous example, if students have already failed the first two
exams in the course, despite trying hard, they may come to believe that a problem-focused coping
strategy won’t work. In this situation, because students may feel helpless to address the demand
directly, an emotion-focused coping strategy would be more likely.
Another critical factor that determines coping strategy choice is the degree to which people
believe that a particular strategy gives them some degree of control over the stressor. If people
believe that a demand can be addressed with a problem-focused coping strategy and have confi-
dence that they can use that problem-focused strategy effectively, then they will feel some control
over the situation and will likely use a problem-focused strategy. If people believe that a demand
cannot be addressed with a problem-focused strategy or do not believe they can effectively execute
that strategy, then they’ll feel a lack of control over the situation and will tend to use an emotion-
focused coping strategy.
So what determines how people develop a sense of control? It appears that one important fac-
tor is the nature of the stressful demand itself. In particular, people are likely to feel less control
over a stressor when they appraise it as a hindrance rather than a challenge. Consider one of
the life events in Table 5-2: “Trouble with boss.” This event would most likely be appraised as a
hindrance stressor because it serves to thwart goal achievement and triggers negative emotions. If
you’re like most people, you would want to change the behavior of your boss so that the trouble
would stop and you could get on with your work. However, it’s also likely that you would feel like
you have little control over this situation because bosses are in a position of power, and complain-
ing to your boss’s boss might not be an option for you. The anxiety and hopelessness triggered by
the situation would further erode any sense of control over the situation, likely leading to emotion-
focused coping.46
Earlier in this chapter, we defined strain as the negative consequences associated with stress. But
how exactly does stress cause strain? Consider the case of Naomi Henderson, the CEO of RIVA,
a Rockville, Maryland–based market research firm. The job of CEO is quite demanding, and
Henderson found herself working 120 hours a week to cope with the heavy workload. One night
she woke up to go to the bathroom and found that she literally could not move—she was paralyzed.
After she was rushed to the emergency room, the doctor told Henderson and her husband that
her diagnosis was stress. The doctor recommended rest in bed for 14 hours a day for six weeks.47
Although this example may seem extreme to you, the demands of many managerial and executive-
level jobs are often excessive,48 and the negative health consequences that result are fairly predict-
able. In fact, if you’ve ever been in a situation in which you’ve experienced heavy stress for more
than a couple of days, you can probably appreciate the toll that stress can take on you. Although
people react to stress differently, you may have felt unusually exhausted, irritable, and achy. What
might be surprising to you is that the mechanism within your body that gives you the ability to
function effectively in the face of stressful demands is the same mechanism that ends up causing
you these problems. So what is this mechanism?
Essentially, the body has a set of responses that allow it to adapt and function effectively in
the face of stressful demands, but if the stressful demands do not ramp down or the demands
occur too frequently, the body’s adaptive responses become toxic.49 More specifically, when
people are confronted with a stressor, their bodies secrete chemical compounds that increase
their heart rate and blood pressure, as blood is redirected away from vital organs, such as the
spleen, to the brain and skeletal muscles.50 Unfortunately, if the chemicals in the blood remain
elevated because of prolonged or repeated exposure to the stressor, the body begins to break
down, and several negative consequences are set into motion. As shown in Figure 5-2, those
negative consequences come in three varieties: physiological strains, psychological strains, and
behavioral strains.51
Physiological strains that result from stressors occur in at least four systems of the human body.
First, stressors can reduce the effectiveness of the body’s immune system, which makes it more
Final PDF to printer

136 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 136 10/11/17 08:42 AM
FIGURE 5-2 Examples of Strain
Source: Adapted from R.L. Kahn and P. Byosiere. “Stress in Organizations.” Handbook of Industrial and Organizational
Psychology, Vol. 4, ed. M.D. Dunnette; J.M.R. Hourgh, and H.C. Triandis. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press,
1992, pp. 517–650.
(illness, high blood pressure,
coronary artery disease,
headaches, back pain,
(depression, anxiety,
irritability, forgetfulness,
inability to think clearly,
reduced confidence,
(alcohol and drug use,
teeth grinding, compulsive
behaviors, overeating)
difficult for the body to ward off illness and infection. Have you ever noticed that you’re more
likely to catch a cold during or immediately after final exam week? Second, stressors can harm the
body’s cardiovascular system, cause the heart to race, increase blood pressure, and create coro-
nary artery disease. Third, stressors can cause problems in the body’s musculoskeletal system.
Tension headaches, tight shoulders, and back pain have all been linked to a variety of stressors.
Fourth, stressors cause gastrointestinal system problems. Symptoms of this type of strain include
stomachaches, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.52
Although you might be tempted to dismiss the importance of physiological strains because the
likelihood of serious illness and disease is low for people in their 20s and 30s, research shows that
dismissal may be a mistake. For example, high-pressure work deadlines increase the chance of
heart attack within the next 24 hours by a factor of six.53 So even though your likelihood of suffer-
ing a heart attack may be low, who would want to increase their risk by 600 percent? Furthermore,
the negative physiological effects of stress persist over time and may not show up until far into the
future. One study showed that eye problems, allergic complaints, and chronic diseases could be
attributed to stress measured eight years earlier.54 Finally, researchers have found higher mortality
Final PDF to printer

137C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 137 10/11/17 08:42 AM
rates (yes, the odds of dying)
for employees in stressful jobs
where the demands are high
and where there is very little
discretion or control.55
Psychological strains that
result from stressors include
depression, anxiety, anger, hos-
tility, reduced self-confidence,
irritability, inability to think
clearly, forgetfulness, lack of
creativity, memory loss, and
(not surprising, given the rest
of this list) a loss of sense of
humor.56 You might be tempted
to think of these problems as
isolated incidents; however,
they may reflect a more general psychological condition known as burnout, which can be defined
as the emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion that results from having to cope with stressful
demands on an ongoing basis.57 There are many familiar examples of people who have experi-
enced burnout, and the majority of them illustrate how burnout can lead to a decision to quit a
job or even change careers. As an example, after playing for 17 seasons for the Green Bay Packers,
Brett Favre decided to retire from professional football after leading his team to the NFC champi-
onship game in 2008.58 Favre explained to reporters that he was just tired of all the stress.59 The
pressure of the challenge of winning compelled him to spend an ever-increasing amount of time
preparing for the next game, and over time, this pressure built up and resulted in exhaustion and
reduced commitment. Of course, Favre would un-retire to play for the New York Jets in 2008, only
to re-retire after the season. Favre again un-retired in 2009 and joined the Minnesota Vikings. He
re-retired, for the final time, after the 2010 season. Such changes of heart are not unusual after
someone retires from an exciting job due to burnout. A break from stressors associated with the
work not only gives the person a chance to rest and recharge, but it also provides a lot of free time
to think about the excitement and challenge of performing again.
Finally, in addition to physiological and psychological strains, the stress process can result in
behavioral strains. Behavioral strains are unhealthy behaviors such as grinding one’s teeth at night,
being overly critical and bossy, excessive smoking, compulsive gum chewing, overuse of alcohol,
and compulsive eating.60 Although it’s unknown why exposure to stressors results in these specific
behaviors, it’s easy to see why these behaviors are undesirable both from personal and organiza-
tional standpoints.
So far in this chapter, we’ve discussed how the typical or average person reacts to different sorts of
stressors. However, we’ve yet to discuss how people differ in terms of how they react to demands.
One way that people differ in their reactions to stress depends on whether they exhibit the Type A
Behavior Pattern. “Type A” people have a strong sense of time urgency and tend to be impatient,
hard-driving, competitive, controlling, aggressive, and even hostile.61 If you walk, talk, and eat at
a quick pace, and if you find yourself constantly annoyed with people who do things too slowly,
chances are that you’re a Type A person. With that said, one way to tell for sure is to fill out the
Type A questionnaire in our OB Assessments feature.
In the context of this chapter, the Type A Behavior Pattern is important because it can influ-
ence stressors, stress, and strains. First, the Type A Behavior Pattern may have a direct influence
on the level of stressors that a person confronts. To understand why this might be true, consider
that Type A persons tend to be hard-driving and have a strong desire to achieve. Because the
behaviors that reflect these tendencies are valued by the organization, Type A individuals receive
“rewards” in the form of increases in the amount and level of work required. In addition, because
How does the Type A
Behavior Pattern influence
the stress process?
Having started more than
300 games straight, Brett
Favre is well known among
sports fans for his durabil-
ity as a NFL quarterback.
However, his durability
did not mean that he was
immune to the effects of
stress. He retired from foot-
ball three times in the span
of three years, and burnout
played an important role in
these decisions.
©G. Newman Lowrance/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

138 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 138 10/11/17 08:42 AM
Source: Adapted from R.H. Friedman & R. H. Rosenman, “Association of Specific Overt Behavior Pattern with Blood and
Cardiovascular Findings,” Journal of the American Medical Association 169 (1959), pp. 1286–69.
Sum your answers for the 12 items. If your scores sum up to 60 or above, you might be a Type A
person, which means that you may perceive higher stress levels in your life and be more sensitive
to that stress. If your scores sum up to 36 or below, chances are that you would be considered a
Type B person. This means that you sense less stress in your life and are less sensitive to the stress
that’s experienced.
Do you think that you’re especially sensitive to stress? This assessment is designed to measure the
extent to which you’re a Type A person—someone who typically engages in hard-driving, competi-
tive, and aggressive behavior. The items below refer to how you feel, think, and behave in differ-
ent situations. Indicate your level of agreement with each item as honestly as possible using the
response scale provided. (Instructors: Assessments on challenge stressors, hindrance stressors,
and strain can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s Instructor Resources and in
the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
1. I hate to be late for appointments. _______
2. I’m a very competitive person. _______
3. I anticipate what others are going to say by nodding, and I sometimes inter-
rupt and finish for them.
4. I’m always rushed. _______
5. I’m impatient when waiting. _______
6. I go “all out” when trying to accomplish something. _______
7. I multitask, and am always thinking about what I have to do next. _______
8. I’m expressive and often gesture when speaking. _______
9. I do most things, even eating and walking, in a hurry. _______
10. I’m a driven person—I work hard and I’m serious about accomplishing my goals. _______
11. I often express feelings like frustration, irritation, and anger. _______
12. I’m very ambitious. _______
Type A people tend to be aggressive and competitive, they may be more prone to interpersonal
conflict. Most of you would agree that conflict with peers and coworkers is an important stressor.
Second, in addition to the effect on stressors, the Type A Behavior Pattern is important because
it influences the stress process itself.62 This effect of the Type A Behavior Pattern is easy to under-
stand if you consider that hard-driving competitiveness makes people hypersensitive to demands
Final PDF to printer

139C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 139 10/11/17 08:42 AM
that could potentially affect
their progress toward their
goal attainment. In essence,
Type A individuals are simply
more likely to appraise demands
as being stressful rather than
being benign.
Third, and perhaps most
important, the Type A Behavior
Pattern has been directly linked
to coronary heart disease63 and
other physiological, psychologi-
cal, and behavioral strains.64
The size of the relationship
between the Type A Behavior
Pattern and these strains is not
so strong as to suggest that if
you’re a Type A person, you should immediately call 911. However, the linkage is strong enough
to suggest that the risk of these problems is significantly higher for people who typically engage in
Type A behaviors.
Another individual factor that affects the way people manage stress is the degree of social
support that they receive. Social support refers to the help that people receive when they’re con-
fronted with stressful demands, and there are at least two major types.65 One type of social support
is called instrumental support, which refers to the help people receive that can be used to address
the stressful demand directly. For example, if a person is overloaded with work, a coworker could
provide instrumental support by taking over some of the work or offering suggestions about how
to do the work more efficiently. A second type of social support is called emotional support. This
type of support refers to the help people receive in addressing the emotional distress that accom-
panies stressful demands. As an example, the supervisor of the individual who is overloaded
with work might provide emotional support by showing interest in the employee’s situation and
appearing to be understanding and sympathetic. As alluded to in these examples, social support
may come from coworkers as well as from supervisors. However, social support also may be pro-
vided by family members and friends outside the context of the stressful demand.66
Similar to the Type A Behavior Pattern, social support has the potential to influence the stress
process in several different ways. However, most research on social support focuses on the ways
that social support buffers the relationship between stressors and strains.67 For example, a supervi-
sor who engages in supportive behaviors may make the same level of stressful demands seem more
fair and less threatening.68 Subordinates of this supervisor, therefore, would tend to experience
less strain than subordinates of another supervisor who does not engage in supportive behaviors.
Moreover, high levels of social support provide a person with instrumental or emotional resources
that are useful for coping with the stressor, which tends to reduce the harmful consequences of the
stressor to that individual. With low levels of social support, the person does not have extra coping
resources available, so the stressor tends to have effects that are more harmful. In essence, this
perspective casts social support as a “moderator” of the relationship between stressors and strains
(recall that moderators are variables that affect the strength of the relationship between two other
variables). In this particular case, the relationship between stressors and strain tends to be weaker
at higher levels of social support and stronger at lower levels of social support. Although not
every research study has found support for the buffering effect of social support,69 the majority of
research evidence has been supportive.70
“ ST R E S S E D” T H A N OT H E R S ?
So what explains why some employees are more stressed than others? As shown in Figure 5-3,
answering that question requires paying attention to the particular stressors the employee is
Social support from friends,
coworkers, and family can
be a big help in managing
stress, even though it often
occurs outside the stress-
causing environment.
Final PDF to printer

140 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 140 10/11/17 08:42 AM
experiencing, including hindrance and challenge stressors originating in both the work and non-
work domains. However, feeling stressed also depends on how those stressors are appraised and
coped with, and the degree to which physiological, psychological, and behavioral strains are
experienced. Finally, answering the question depends on whether the employee is Type A or Type
B and whether the employee has a high or low amount of social support. Understanding all of
these factors can help explain why some people can shoulder stressful circumstances for weeks
at a time, whereas others seem to be “at the end of their rope” when faced with even relatively
minor job demands.
H O W I M P O R TA N T I S S T R E S S ?
In the previous sections, we described how stressors and the stress process influence strains and,
ultimately, people’s health and well-being. Although these relationships are important to under-
stand, you’re probably more curious about the impact that stressors have on job performance
and organizational commitment, the two outcomes in our integrative model of OB. Figure 5-4
summarizes the research evidence linking hindrance stressors to performance and commitment,
and Figure 5-5 summarizes the research evidence linking challenge stressors to performance and
commitment. It is certainly true that there are important associations between nonwork stressors,
strains, and other important outcomes.71 However, we limit our discussion here to relationships
How does stress affect job
performance and organiza-
tional commitment?
FIGURE 5-3 Why Are Some Employees More “Stressed” Than Others?
Type A
Behavior Pattern
Hindrance Challenge
STRESS Psychological
Final PDF to printer

141C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 141 10/11/17 08:42 AM
FIGURE 5-4 Effects of Hindrance Stressors on Performance and Commitment
Hindrance stressors have a weak negative relationship with job performance. People
who experience higher levels of hindrance stressors tend to have lower levels of task
performance. Not much is known about the impact of hindrance stressors on Citizenship
Behavior and Counterproductive Behavior.
Hindrance stressors have a strong negative relationship with Organizational
Commitment. People who experience higher levels of hindrance stressors tend to have
lower levels of A�ective Commitment and Normative Commitment. Relationships with
Continuance Commitment are weaker.
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
Sources: J.A. LePine, N.P. Podsakoff, and M.A. LePine, “A Meta-Analytic Test of the Challenge Stressor–Hindrance
Stressor Framework: An Explanation for Inconsistent Relationships Among Stressors and Performance,” Academy of
Management Journal 48 (2005), pp. 764–75; and N.P. Podsakoff, J.A. LePine, and M.A. LePine, “Differential Challenge
Stressor–Hindrance Stressor Relationships with Job Attitudes, Turnover Intentions, Turnover, and Withdrawal Behavior:
A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 92 (2007), pp. 438–54.
with work stressors rather than nonwork stressors, because this is where researchers have focused
the most attention.
Figure 5-4 reveals that hindrance stressors have a weak negative relationship with job perfor-
mance.72 A general explanation for this negative relationship is that hindrance stressors result
in strains and negative emotions that reduce the overall level of physical, cognitive, and emo-
tional energy that people could otherwise bring to their job duties.73 The detrimental effect that
strains have on job performance becomes quite easy to understand when you consider the nature
of the individual strains that we mentioned in the previous section. Certainly, you would agree
that physiological, psychological, and behavioral strains in the form of illnesses, exhaustion, and
drunkenness would detract from employee effectiveness in almost any job context. Additionally,
these strains may be associated with negative emotions and thoughts that trigger counterproduc-
tive work behavior.74
Figure 5-4 also reveals that hindrance stressors have a strong negative relationship with orga-
nizational commitment.75 Why might this be? Well, hindrance stressors evoke strains, which are
generally dissatisfying to people, and as we discussed in the previous chapter, satisfaction has a
strong impact on the degree to which people feel committed to their organization.76 People who
work at jobs that they know are causing them to feel constantly sick and exhausted will likely be
dissatisfied with their jobs and feel less desire to stay with the organization and more desire to
consider alternatives.
Turning now to challenge stressors, the story becomes somewhat different. As shown in
Figure 5-5, challenge stressors have a weak relationship with job performance and a moderate
Final PDF to printer

142 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 142 10/11/17 08:42 AM
FIGURE 5-5 Effects of Challenge Stressors on Performance and Commitment
Sources: J.A. LePine, N.P. Podsakoff, and M.A. LePine, “A Meta-Analytic Test of the Challenge Stressor–Hindrance
Stressor Framework: An Explanation for Inconsistent Relationships Among Stressors and Performance,” Academy of
Management Journal 48 (2005), pp. 764–75; and N.P. Podsakoff, J.A. LePine, and M.A. LePine, “Differential Challenge
Stressor–Hindrance Stressor Relationships with Job Attitudes, Turnover Intentions, Turnover, and Withdrawal Behavior:
A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 92 (2007), pp. 438–54.
Challenge stressors have a weak positive relationship with job performance. People
who experience higher levels of challenge stressors tend to have higher levels of task
performance. Not much is known about the impact of challenge stressors on Citizenship
Behavior and Counterproductive Behavior.
Challenge stressors have a moderate positive relationship with Organizational
Commitment. People who experience higher levels of challenge stressors tend to have
higher levels of A�ective Commitment and Normative Commitment. Relationships with
Continuance Commitment are weaker.
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
relationship with organizational commitment. However, in contrast to the results for hindrance
stressors, the relationships are positive rather than negative.77 In other words, employees who
experience higher levels of challenge stressors also tend to have higher levels of job performance
and organizational commitment. These relationships stand in sharp contrast with the lower levels
of job performance and organizational commitment that result when employees confront higher
levels of hindrance stressors. So what explains this difference? Although challenge stressors result
in strains, which detract from performance and commitment, they also tend to trigger the type of
positive emotions and problem-focused coping strategies that are characteristic of employees who
are highly engaged in their jobs.78 The net benefits of these positive emotions, problem-focused
coping strategies, and engagement outweigh the costs of the added strain, meaning that chal-
lenge stressors tend to be beneficial to employee performance and commitment when both the
positives and negatives are considered.79 These positive effects of challenge stressors have been
demonstrated for executives,80 employees in lower-level jobs,81 and even students.82 It’s important
to point out, however, that high levels of challenge stressors may have negative consequences that
only become apparent over the long term. People whose jobs are filled with challenge stressors
experience strains that can result in illness, but because they tend to be more satisfied, committed,
and engaged with their jobs, they come to work anyway. This phenomenon, which is referred to as
presenteeism, can result in prolonged illness, as well as the spread of illness, and ultimately a down-
ward spiral of impaired performance and employee health.83 In fact, it may surprise you to learn
that the reductions in productivity that result from presenteeism are even larger than reductions in
productivity that result from employee absenteeism.84
Final PDF to printer

143C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 143 10/11/17 08:42 AM
Previously, we described how employee stress results in strains that cost organizations in terms
of reduced employee performance and commitment. However, there are other important costs
to consider that relate to employee health. Most organizations provide some sort of health care
benefits for their employees,85 and all but the smallest organizations pay worker’s compensation
insurance, the rates for which are determined, in part, by the nature of the job and the organiza-
tion’s history of work-related injuries and illnesses. So what role does stress play in these costs?
Well, it turns out that these health-related costs are driven to a great extent by employee stress.
Estimates are that between 60 and 90 percent of all doctor visits can be attributed to stress-related
causes,86 and the cost of providing health care to people who experience high levels of stress
appears to be approximately 50 percent higher than for those who experience lower levels of
stress.87 Statistics from jobs in different industries indicate that the frequency of worker’s compen-
sation claims is dramatically higher when the level of stress on the job is high. As one example,
the frequency of claims was more than 800 percent higher for a copy machine distributor when
the level of stress at the job site was high.88 So what do all these costs mean to you as a student of
organizational behavior or as a manager?
For one thing, the relationship between stress and health care costs means that there may be
huge dividends for organizations that learn how to manage their employees’ stress more effectively.
In fact, surveys indicate that the vast majority of companies in the United States provide benefits, in
one form or another, that are intended to help employees cope with stressful demands and reduce
the associated strains.89 As an example of the lengths some companies go to manage their employ-
ees’ stress and strains, Google provides access to massage, yoga, meditation, and even napping
pods—reclining chairs with egg-shaped caps that fold down to cover the occupant’s head and torso.90
Next, we describe some more general approaches that organizations use to manage employee stress.
The first step in managing stress is to assess the level and sources of stress in the workplace.
Although there are many ways to accomplish this type of evaluation, often referred to as a stress
audit, managers can begin by asking themselves questions about the nature of the jobs in their
organization to estimate whether high stress levels may be a problem.91 The first category of ques-
tions might involve the degree to which the organization is going through changes that would likely
increase uncertainty among employees. As an example, a merger between two companies might
increase employees’ uncertainty about their job security and possible career paths. As another
example, employees in an organization that has transitioned to team-based work might be con-
cerned about how their individual performance contributions will be recognized and rewarded.
A second category of questions might center on the work itself. These questions typically focus
on the level and types of stressors experienced by the employees. The third category of questions
could involve the quality of relationships between not only employees but also employees and the
organization. Here, an important question to consider is whether organizational politics play a
large role in administrative decisions.
Once a stress audit reveals that stress may be a problem, the next step is to consider alternative
courses of action. One general course of action involves managing stressors, which may be accom-
plished in one of two ways. First, organizations could try to eliminate or significantly reduce stress-
ful demands. As an example, companies sometimes institute policies that try to limit the demands
faced by their employees. Xonex Relocation, a relocation services company located in New Castle,
Delaware, prohibits employees from working during lunch and eating at their desks, and they struc-
tured workflow so that employees don’t leave the office in the evening with unfinished work hang-
ing over their heads.92 This practice is consistent with research showing that health care workers
What steps can organiza-
tions take to manage
employee stress?
Final PDF to printer

144 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 144 10/11/17 08:42 AM
become much less likely to comply with rules regarding hand hygiene (washing their hands before
interacting with a new patient) as demands build up over the course of a long shift and that compli-
ance rates with the same hand hygiene rules increase significantly when longer breaks are given
between shifts.93 As another example of this approach, 19 percent of organizations in one recent sur-
vey used job sharing to reduce role overload and work–family conflict.94 Job sharing doesn’t mean
splitting one job into two but rather indicates that two people share the responsibilities of a single
job, as if the two people were a single performing unit. The assumption underlying the practice is
that “although businesses are becoming 24–7, people don’t.”95 You might be tempted to believe that
job sharing would be most appropriate in lower-level jobs, where responsibilities and tasks are lim-
ited in number and relatively easy to divide. In actuality, job sharing is being used even at the highest
levels in organizations. At Boston–based Fleet Bank, for example, two women shared the position
of vice president for global markets and foreign exchange for six years until their department was
dissolved when Fleet was acquired by Bank of America. During this time, they had one desk, one
chair, one computer, one telephone, one voicemail account, one set of goals, and one performance
review. They each worked 20–25 hours a week and performed the role effectively and seamlessly.96
Another example of how companies reduce stressors is employee sabbaticals. A sabbatical
gives employees the opportunity to take time off from work to engage in an alternative activity.
Estimates indicate that approximately 11 percent of large companies offer paid sabbaticals, and
almost one-third offer unpaid sabbaticals.97 American Express, for example, allows employees
who have 10 years’ tenure to apply for a paid sabbatical of up to six months. These employees
are encouraged to work for a nonprofit organization or school, but the institution cannot have
religious or political affiliations.98 PricewaterhouseCoopers also offers paid sabbaticals for up to
six months for personal growth reasons or for work in social services; this program is available to
employees with as little as two years’ experience.99 Relative to job sharing, sabbaticals allow for
a cleaner break from the stressful routine for a fairly lengthy period of time, so for the period of
the sabbatical, the employee’s stress may be quite low. In fact, some companies are experimenting
with discretionary vacations policies that allow employees to take time off whenever they feel they
need it (and for however long they feel they need it).100 However, because the level of stressors
never changes in the job itself, the employee is likely to experience the same level of stress upon
returning from the sabbatical or vacation.
The use of napping pods
is just one example of how
far companies go to help
manage employee stress
and strains.
©National Geographic Creative/Alamy
Final PDF to printer

145C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 145 10/11/17 08:42 AM
Although reducing stressors may reduce the overall level of stress that a person experiences,
this approach is likely to be most beneficial when the focus of the effort is on hindrance stress-
ors rather than challenge stressors.101 Hindrance stressors such as role ambiguity, conflict, and
overload not only cause strain, but also decrease commitment and job performance. In contrast,
though challenge stressors such as time pressure and responsibility cause strain, they also tend to
be motivating and satisfying, and as a consequence, they generally are positively related to com-
mitment and performance.
So as a supplement to reducing stressors, organizations can provide resources that help employ-
ees cope with stressful demands.102 One way that organizations provide resources to employees is
through training interventions aimed at increasing job-related competencies and skills. Employees
who possess more competencies and skills can handle more demands before they begin to appraise
these demands as overly taxing or exceeding their capacity. Training that increases employee com-
petencies and skills is also beneficial to the extent that it promotes a sense that the demands are
more controllable, and as we discussed in a previous section, a sense of control promotes problem-
focused coping strategies. As an example of the effectiveness of this type of practice, consider the
results of a study that examined the benefits of a 20-hour training program in which employees
developed skills in stress management, developing a supportive social network, conflict resolu-
tion, communication, and assertiveness. Seven months later, employees in 17 organizations who
went through the training program felt they possessed more resources to cope with stress and had
fewer symptoms of strain than employees who didn’t go through the training program.103
A second way that organizations provide resources to employees so that they can cope more
effectively is through supportive practices that help employees manage and balance the demands
that exist in the different roles they have.104 As an example, most organizations allow employees
to take occasional breaks so that they can rest and recharge their physical, cognitive, and emo-
tional energies. In fact, researchers have found that breaks are better at restoring these energies if
employees are allowed to engage in an activity they prefer and if the break is given earlier in the
shift.105 Although we only have room in this chapter to describe a few more supportive practices,
Table 5-4 lists many examples, as well as the percentage of organizations that were found to use
them in a survey of almost 400 organizations.106
The first supportive practice example in this list is f lextime, which was used by 56 percent
of the organizations in the survey. Organizations that use f lextime give employees some degree
TABLE 5-4 Supportive Practices Used by Organizations
Flextime 57 56 56
Part-time telecommuting 36 33 43
Compressed workweek 27 30 41
Bring child to work if needed 43 25 18
Full-time telecommuting 14 18 24
Lactation program 8 20 28
Onsite child care 1 3 13
Company-supported child
care center
0 1 11
Source: Adapted from M.E. Burke, “2005 Benefits Survey Report,” Society of Human Resource Management, 2005
Final PDF to printer

146 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 146 10/11/17 08:42 AM
of latitude in terms of which hours they need to be present at the workplace. Flexible working
hours give employees the ability to cope with demands away from work, so they don’t have to
worry about these demands while they’re at work. Researchers have found that while occa-
sional use of f lextime by employees is quite beneficial, chronic reliance on it may interfere
with the completion of work tasks, and perhaps increase stressful demands.107 As another
example, 37 percent of the organizations in the survey allowed telecommuting on a part-time
basis. By providing the opportunity to work at home or some other location with computer
access, employees are put in a better position to cope with demands that might be impossible
to cope with otherwise. Compressed workweeks, which is used by approximately one-third of
all companies in the survey, allows full-time employees to work additional hours on some days
and have shorter days or time off on others. As with f lextime and telecommuting, compressed
workweeks give employees the ability to manage both work and nonwork role demands. We
should also note that practices such as f lextime, telecommuting, and compressed workweeks
not only facilitate stress management but also appear to have other benefits. At companies
such as Xerox, Corning, and UPS, implementing these types of practices resulted in improve-
ments in productivity, innovation, absenteeism, and turnover.108 Moreover, although these
practices have a range of benefits to employees who actually use them, there is also evidence
that their availability alone may be beneficial with regard to enhancing employee job attitudes
and commitment.109
Despite their benefits, companies occasionally decide to end supportive practices during tough
times or transitions when the value of employee interaction is amplified. As an example, when
she was the newly appointed Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer banned the practice of telecommuting
to increase employee productivity and encourage richer face-to-face collaboration among employ-
ees.110 Finally, it’s important to note that managers sometimes attribute employees’ use of these
types of practices to low organizational commitment, and when this happens, employees are less
likely to receive pay raises and promotions.111 Perhaps this is why supportive practices are fre-
quently underutilized by employees.112
As an alternative to managing stressors, many organizations use practices that reduce
strains.113 One type of strain-reducing practice involves training in relaxation techniques, such
as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, and miscellaneous calming activities like taking
walks, writing in a journal, and deep breathing.114 Although these relaxation techniques differ,
the basic idea is the same—they teach people how to counteract the effects of stressors by engag-
ing in activities that slow the heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure.115 As an example of a
relatively simple relaxation technique, consider the recommendation of Herbert Benson, a physi-
cian and president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute in Boston. He suggests that people under
stress should repeat a word, sound, prayer, phrase, or motion for 10–20 minutes once or twice
a day and, during that time, try to completely ignore other thoughts that may come to mind.116
As another example, recall the case of Naomi Henderson, the market research firm CEO who
literally became paralyzed by all the stress in her job. Well, we’re happy to say that Henderson
got better, but she was able to do so only after being treated by a physician who helped her
learn how to reduce her own strains by doing “mental aerobics.” Those exercises involved tak-
ing breaks every hour to stretch and do deep breathing, taking short naps to replenish energy,
and learning how to say no politely to unreasonable demands.117 As a final example, BlueCross
BlueShield of Tennessee has trained approximately one-fifth of its 4,500 employees in the use
of biofeedback technology to reduce the stress associated with financial uncertainties stemming
from the economic downturn.118 The training uses a heart monitor and software to help people
learn how to change their heart rhythms from an irregular pattern to a regular pattern by shift-
ing from an anxious emotional state to a more positive one. Apparently, the training worked: A
preliminary evaluation of the program revealed that those employees who received biofeedback
training reported being less exhausted and anxious than they were before the training.
A second general category of strain-reducing practices involves cognitive–behavioral techniques.
In general, these techniques attempt to help people appraise and cope with stressors in a more
Final PDF to printer

147C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 147 10/11/17 08:42 AM
rational manner.119 To under-
stand what these techniques
involve, think of someone you
know who not only exagger-
ates the level and importance
of stressful demands but also
predicts doom and disaster
after quickly concluding that
the demands simply cannot be
met. If you know someone like
this, you might recommend
cognitive–behavioral training
that involves “self-talk,” a tech-
nique in which people learn
to say things about stressful
demands that reflect rational-
ity and optimism. So, when
confronted with a stressful
demand, this person might be
trained to say, “This demand
isn’t so tough; if I work hard I
can accomplish it.” Cognitive–
behavioral training also typi-
cally involves instruction
about tools that foster effec-
tive coping. So, in addition to
the self-talk, the person might
be trained on how to priori-
tize demands, manage time,
communicate needs, and seek
support.120 As an example
of this type of training, Aus-
tin, Texas–based Freescale
Semiconductor Inc. trains its
6,000 employees how to be “resilient” to stressful situations, such as those that occur when
employees have to interact with team members from other departments in the organization
that do not share the same goals.121 The training teaches employees strategies, such as plan-
ning for the stressful encounter and using social support, which give them the ability to use a
problem-focused approach to coping with their stress. See our OB at the Bookstore feature for
an example of how a cognitive–behavioral approach can be used to train people to become
more resilient to stress.
A third category of strain-reducing practices involves health and wellness programs. For exam-
ple, almost three-quarters of the organizations in one survey reported having employee assistance
programs intended to help people with personal problems such as alcoholism and other addictions.
More than 60 percent of organizations in this survey provided employees with wellness programs
and resources. The nature of these programs and resources varies a great deal from organization
to organization, but in general, they’re comprehensive efforts that include health screening (blood
pressure, cholesterol levels, pulmonary functioning) and health-related courses and information.
Other examples of health and wellness programs intended to reduce strain include smoking ces-
sation programs, onsite fitness centers or fitness center memberships, and weight loss and nutri-
tion programs.122 Today, health and wellness programs that encourage and support exercise are
a growing trend. As an example, Humana, a Fortune 100 health care administration company,
implemented a program that allows the 8,500 employees who work at their corporate headquar-
ters in Louisville, Kentucky, to borrow bikes for free from kiosks located throughout the city.123 As
another example, consider how Grant Thornton, the Chicago–based tax, audit, and advisory firm,
People can learn how to
reduce strain using bio-
feedback technology.
©minemero/Getty Images RF
Final PDF to printer

148 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 148 10/11/17 08:42 AM
by Derek Roger and Nick Petrie (Chicago: McGraw-Hill, 2017).
Defining stress properly as rumination shifts the source of stress to learned and hence change-
able behavior, and change may well be urgently needed.
With those words, authors Roger and Petrie provide their per-
spective on stress and how it might be managed. Their starting
point is the premise that stress equals pressure plus rumination.
When we confront a demand, we experience pressure that signals
the need to increase the level of energy that’s allocated to the
demand. But this pressure only becomes stress when we allow our-
selves to ruminate about it. Rumination simply refers to the contin-
uous rehashing of emotionally laden thoughts while trying to meet
the demand or after the demand has passed. The authors argue
that there is nothing wrong with pressure. It triggers the release
of adrenaline that helps us deal with the demand, but this quickly
dissipates after the demand is removed. When we add rumination
to the pressure, however, the elevation of adrenaline and other
hormones is prolonged, and following from this, harmful strains,
including reduced effectiveness in our work and nonwork roles, are
more likely to occur
Given the idea that stress = pressure + rumination, it’s easy
to appreciate the author’s claim that the key to becoming resilient
to stress is to stop ruminating. Easier said than done, right? Fortunately, the book is full of sug-
gestions that could help us learn how to let things go. For example, the authors suggest that we
should keep things in perspective and not imagine events to be bigger than they really are. As
other examples, the authors argue that we should stay in the present in a way that’s emotionally
detached, and not think about “what ifs,” what it would be like if things turned out differently, and
what other people might think of us. The authors also suggest things that managers can do to help
their employees ruminate less. For example, the use of humor by managers could help employees
keep things in perspective. Managers could also depersonalize their communication and avoid
saying things that give employees something about which to ruminate.
©Roberts Publishing Services
encourages exercise: It spent more than $200,000 helping 230 of its employees train and compete
in a marathon. It also reimburses employees for participation in up to three races or walks per
year, and it even set up running clubs in each of its 50 offices.124 Investments in exercise make
sense because the effects of strains, such as burnout and depression, can be reduced with physical
activity. In particular, exercise can prevent a downward spiral where an employee feels burned out,
and this feeds into depression, which increases burnout, and so on. But, how well do these efforts
actually pay off?125 L.L.Bean initiated a comprehensive wellness program for roughly 5,000 of its
employees that included health assessments, health coaching, and onsite fitness and nutrition
programs, and found that the program had a positive return on investment after the first year and
reduced health care costs by almost $400 per employee.126
Final PDF to printer

149C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 149 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.1 Stress refers to the psychological response to demands when there’s something at stake for
the individual and coping with these demands would tax or exceed the individual’s capacity
or resources. Stressors are the demands that cause the stress response, and strains are the
negative consequences of the stress response.
5.2 Stressors come in two general forms: challenge stressors, which are perceived as
opportunities for growth and achievement, and hindrance stressors, which are perceived
as hurdles to goal achievement. These two stressors can be found in both work and
nonwork domains.
5.3 Coping with stress involves thoughts and behaviors that address one of two goals:
addressing the stressful demand or decreasing the emotional discomfort associated with
the demand.
5.4 Individual differences in the Type A Behavior Pattern affect how people experience stress
in three ways. Type A people tend to experience more stressors, appraise more demands as
stressful, and are prone to experiencing more strains.
5.5 The effects of stress depend on the type of stressor. Hindrance stressors have a weak
negative relationship with job performance and a strong negative relationship with
organizational commitment. In contrast, challenge stressors have a weak positive
relationship with job performance and a moderate positive relationship with organizational
5.6 Because of the high costs associated with employee stress, organizations assess and manage
stress using a number of different practices. In general, these practices focus on reducing or
eliminating stressors, providing resources that employees can use to cope with stressors, or
trying to reduce the strains.
• Stress p. 127
• Stressors p. 127
• Strains p. 127
• Transactional theory of stress p. 127
• Primary appraisal p. 127
• Benign job demands p. 128
• Hindrance stressors p. 128
• Challenge stressors p. 128
• Role conflict p. 128
• Role ambiguity p. 128
• Role overload p. 129
• Daily hassles p. 130
• Time pressure p. 130
• Work complexity p. 130
• Work responsibility p. 130
• Work–family conflict p. 131
• Negative life events p. 131
• Financial uncertainty p. 131
• Family time demands p. 132
• Personal development p. 132
• Positive life events p. 132
• Secondary appraisal p. 132
• Coping p. 132
• Behavioral coping p. 133
• Cognitive coping p. 133
• Problem-focused coping p. 133
• Emotion-focused coping p. 133
• Burnout p. 137
• Type A Behavior Pattern p. 137
• Social support p. 139
• Instrumental support p. 139
• Emotional support p. 139
Final PDF to printer

150 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 150 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.1 Prior to reading this chapter, how did you define stress? Did your definition of stress reflect
stressors, the stress process, strains, or some combination?
5.2 Describe your dream job and then provide a list of the types of stressors that you would
expect to be present. How much of your salary, if any at all, would you give up to eliminate
the most important hindrance stressors? Why?
5.3 If you had several job offers after graduating, to what degree would the level of challenge
stressors in the different jobs influence your choice of which job to take? Why?
5.4 How would you assess your ability to handle stress? Given the information provided in this
chapter, what could you do to improve your effectiveness in this area?
5.5 If you managed people in an organization in which there were lots of hindrance stressors,
what actions would you take to help ensure that your employees coped with the stressors
using a problem-focused (as opposed to emotion-focused) strategy?
Honeywell has a history of evolving through acquisitions into high growth sectors of related
business, and there is no indication that this trend is slowing. In fact, the company has placed
increased emphasis on software and other businesses that address challenges related to energy,
security, safety, productivity, and urbanization. However, while Honeywell continues to grow
and evolve, the company also faces mounting pressure in some of its businesses and has reacted
with initiatives intended to control costs and increase company performance. As an example,
Honeywell’s Aerospace Division responded to an extended slowdown in the aerospace industry
by laying off employees in 2015 and 2016. The division also implemented weeklong furloughs
(unpaid time off) for employees not involved in manufacturing and sales.
Honeywell also believes that improvements in company performance require teamwork, idea
sharing, and faster decision making, and that this is best accomplished through face-to-face inter-
action among employees. To facilitate this, the company decided to end its telecommuting option
for employees not involved in sales or field service. Honeywell had permitted employees to work
remotely, at home if they wished, for several reasons. First, Honeywell employees are based in
more than a thousand sites in over 70 countries, and they often work on important projects with
other employees who may be located half-way across the world. The projects may be engaging,
but trying to coordinate across time zones can be quite difficult during normal working hours.
Second, telecommuting allows employees to work when and where they feel they are most
productive. Employees who work remotely can chose to avoid the daily commute, office politics
and distractions, and the hassle of accomplishing nonwork demands. Finally, telecommuting is
very popular with millennial engineers and scientists who are comfortable using technology to
collaborate and who have other employment options.
The change in Honeywell’s long-standing policy will be especially difficult for employees who
have built their lives around the flexibility of working remotely. As an example, choices regarding
where to live may haunt employees who now face the prospect of commuting back and forth
to distant Honeywell offices each day. To some Honeywell employees, however, there may be a
bright side to the change in policy. After putting in their 40 hours in the office and commuting
each day, employees may not feel as compelled to deal with work-related issues that come up in
the evenings or on weekends
5.1 Describe how the change in Honeywell’s telecommuting policy likely influenced the types of
work stressors experienced by the company’s employees. How has the change in policy likely
influenced nonwork stressors?
C A S E : H O N E Y W E L L
Final PDF to printer

151C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 151 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.2 Given the change in stressors resulting from the change in the telecommuting policy, what can
you predict about the commitment and job performance of Honeywell’s employees? Explain.
5.3 Identify steps that Honeywell could take to mitigate the potential for negative consequences
resulting from the change in the company’s telecommuting policy.
Sources: D. DePass, “Honeywell Ends Telecommuting Option,” Star Tribune, October 21, 2016,
honeywell-ends-telecommuting-option/397929641/; Honeywell, “HealthResource,”
healthresource/health_about.html (accessed March 10, 2017); Honeywell, “Our History,”
we-are/our-history (accessed March 10, 2017); R. Randazzo. “Honeywell Employees Told to Take Furloughs,” The Arizona
Republic, May 25, 2016,
take-furloughs/84927666/; and R. Randazzo, “Honeywell Announces More Layoffs,” The Arizona Republic, October 20,
E X E R C I S E : M A N AG I N G S T R E S S
The purpose of this exercise is to explore ways of managing stress to reduce strain. This exercise
uses groups, so your instructor will either assign you to a group or ask you to create your own
group. The exercise has the following steps:
5.1 One method of managing stress is finding a way to reduce the hindrance stressors encoun-
tered on the job. In your group, describe the hindrance stressors that you currently are expe-
riencing. Each student should describe the two to three most important hindrance stressors
using the accompanying chart. Other students should then offer strategies for reducing or
alleviating these stressors.
Time with Friends
Time with Family
Role conflict:
Role ambiguity:
Role overload:
Daily hassles:
Work Itself
5.2 Another method of managing stress is to improve work–life balance. The accompanying fig-
ure represents how “waking hours” are divided among five types of activities: school, work,
personal relaxation, time with friends, and time with family. Draw two versions of your own
circle: your waking hours as they currently are and your waking hours as you wish them to
be. Other students should then offer strategies for making the necessary life changes.
Final PDF to printer

152 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 152 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.4 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on two issues. First, many
of the stress-managing factors, especially in steps 2 and 3, take up precious time. Does this
make them an ineffective strategy for managing stress? Why or why not? Second, consider
your Type A score in the OB Assessments for this chapter. If you are high on Type A, does
that make these strategies more or less important?
Adapted from D. Marcic, J. Seltzer, and P. Vail. “Organizational Behavior: Experiences and Cases”. Cincinnati, OH: South-
Western, 2001.
5.3 A third method of managing stress is improving hardiness—a sort of mental and physical
health that can act as a buffer, preventing stress from resulting in strain. The following table
lists a number of questions that can help diagnose your hardiness. Discuss your answers for
each question; then, with the help of other students, brainstorm ways to increase that hardi-
ness factor.
5.1 Miller, J., and M.
Miller. “Get a Life!”
Fortune, November
28, 2005, pp. 109–24,
(March 27, 2007).
5.2 Sauter, S.; L. Murphy;
M. Colligan; N. Swan-
son; J. Hurrell Jr.; F.
Scharf Jr.; R. Sinclair;
P. Grubb; L. Goldenhar;
T. Alterman; J.
Johnston; A. Hamilton;
and J. Tisdale. Stress at
Publication No. 99-101.
Cincinnati, OH: U.S.
Department of Health
and Human Services,
Public Health Service,
Centers for Disease
Control and Preven-
tion, National Institute
for Occupational Safety
and Health, 1999.
5.3 Johnson, S.R., and L.D.
Eldridge. Employee-
Related Stress on the
Job: Sources, Conse-
quences, and What’s
Next, Technical Report
#003. Rochester, NY:
Genesee Survey Ser-
vices, Inc., 2004.
5.4 Lazarus, R.S., and
S. Folkman. Stress,
Appraisal, and Coping.
New York: Springer,
5.5 Bliese, P.D.; J.R.
Edwards; and S.
Sonnentag. “Stress and
Well-Being at Work: A
Century of Empirical
Trends Reflecting
Theoretical and Societal
Influences.” Journal
of Applied Psychol-
ogy (2017). Advance
online publication.
5.6 Lazarus and Folkman,
Stress, Appraisal, and
5.7 Ibid.
5.8 LePine, M.A.; Y.
Zhang; E.R. Crawford;
Relaxation: Do you spend enough time read-
ing, listening to music, meditating, or pursuing
your hobbies?
Exercise: Do you spend enough time doing
cardiovascular, strength, and flexibility sorts of
Diet: Do you manage your diet adequately by
eating healthily and avoiding foods high in fat?
Final PDF to printer

153C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 153 10/11/17 08:42 AM
and B.L. Rich. “Turn-
ing Their Pain to Gain:
Charismatic Leader
Influence on Follower
Stress Appraisal and
Job Performance.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 59 (2016),
pp. 1036–59.
5.9 LePine, J.A.; M.A.
LePine; and C.L.
Jackson. “Challenge
and Hindrance Stress:
Relationships with
Exhaustion, Motivation
to Learn, and Learn-
ing Performance.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 89 (2004),
pp. 883–91; LePine,
J.A.; N.P. Podsakoff;
and M.A. LePine. “A
Meta-Analytic Test of
the Challenge Stressor–
Hindrance Stressor
Framework: An
Explanation for Incon-
sistent Relationships
among Stressors and
Performance.” Academy
of Management Journal
48 (2005), pp. 764–75;
and Podsakoff, N.P.;
J.A. LePine; and M.A.
LePine. “Differential
Challenge Stressor–
Hindrance Stressor
Relationships with Job
Attitudes, Turnover
Intentions, Turnover,
and Withdrawal Behav-
ior: A Meta-Analysis.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 92 (2007),
pp. 438–54.
5.10 Rodell, J.B., and T.A.
Judge. “Can ‘Good’
Stressors Spark ‘Bad’
Behaviors? The Mediat-
ing Role of Emotions in
the Links of Challenge
and Hindrance Stress-
ors with Citizenship
and Counterproductive
Behaviors.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 94
(2009), pp. 1438–51.
5.11 Cavanaugh, M.A.; W.R.
Boswell; M.V. Roehling;
and J.W. Boudreau. “An
Empirical Examination
of Self-Reported Work
Stress among U.S.
Managers.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 85
(2000), pp. 65–74.
5.12 LePine, J.A.; M.A.
LePine; and J.R. Saul.
“Relationships among
Work and Non-Work
Challenge and Hin-
drance Stressors and
Non-Work and Work
Criteria: A Theory of
Cross-Domain Stressor
Effects.” In Research in
Occupational Stress and
Well Being, ed. P.L. Per-
rewé and D.C. Ganster.
San Diego: JAI Press/
Elsevier, 2006, pp.
5.13 Kahn, R.; D. Wolfe;
R. Quinn; J. Snoek;
and R.A. Rosenthal.
Organizational Stress:
Studies in Role Conflict
and Ambiguity. New
York: Wiley, 1964; and
Pearce, J. “Bringing
Some Clarity to Role
Ambiguity Research.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 6 (1981),
pp. 665–74.
5.14 Kahn et al., Organi-
zational Stress; Rizzo,
J.R.; R.J. House; and
S.I. Lirtzman. “Role
Conflict and Ambiguity
in Complex Organiza-
tions.” Administrative
Science Quarterly 15
(1970), pp. 150–63;
and Ritter, K.J.; R.A.
Matthews; M.T. Ford;
and A.A. Henderson.
“Understanding Role
Stressors and Job
Satisfaction Over Time
Using Adaptation
Theory.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 101
(2016), pp. 1655–69.
5.15 Ibid.
5.16 Kahn et al., Organiza-
tional Stress.
5.17 Narayanan, L.; S.
Menon; and P. Spector.
“Stress in the Work-
place: A Comparison
of Gender and Occu-
pations.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
20 (1999), pp. 63–74.
5.18 Miller and Miller, “Get
a Life!”
5.19 Chamerlain, K., and
S. Zika. “The Minor
Events Approach to
Stress: Support for the
Use of Daily Hassles.”
British Journal of Psy-
chology 18 (1990), pp.
5.20 Mandel, M. “The
Real Reasons You’re
Working So Hard . . .
and What You Can
Do about It.” Business-
Week, October 3, 2005,
pp. 60–67, http://www (accessed
March 27, 2007).
5.21 Kahn et al., Organiza-
tional Stress.
5.22 O’Connor, A. “Crack-
ing under Pressure? It’s
Just the Opposite for
Some; Sick of Work—
Last of Three Articles:
Thriving under Stress.”
The New York Times,
Section A, Column 5,
September 10, 2004,
Final PDF to printer

154 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 154 10/11/17 08:42 AM
p. 1, http://www (accessed
March 27, 2007).
5.23 Schaubroeck, J.; D.C.
Ganster; and B.E.
Kemmerer. “Job Com-
plexity, ‘Type A’ Behav-
ior, and Cardiovascular
Disorder: A Prospective
Study.” Academy of
Management Journal 37
(1994), pp. 426–39.
5.24 McCall, M.W.; M.M.
Lombardo; and A.M.
Morrison. The Lessons
of Experience: How
Successful Executives
Develop on the Job. Lex-
ington, MA: Lexington
Books, 1988.
5.25 Edwards, J.R., and
R.V. Harrison.
“Job Demands and
Worker Health:
Reexamination of the
Relationships between
Fit and Strain.” Journal
of Applied Psychology
78 (1993), pp. 628–48;
and French, J.R.P. Jr.;
R.D. Caplan; and R.V.
Harrison. The Mecha-
nisms of Job Stress
and Strain. New York:
Wiley, 1982.
5.26 Abrahm, S. “From
Wall Street to Control
Tower.” The New York
Times, March 20, 2010,
5.27 Neufeld, S. “Work-
Related Stress: What
You Need to Know”
(n.d.), http://healthy-
5.28 Hoobler, J.M.; S.J.
Wayne; and G. Lem-
mon. “Bosses’ Percep-
tions of Family–Work
Conflict and Women’s
Promotability: Glass
Ceiling Effects.” Acad-
emy of Management
Journal 52 (2009),
pp. 939–57.
5.29 Crouter, A. “Spillover
from Family to Work:
The Neglected Side
of the Work–Family
Interface.” Human
Relations 37 (1984),
pp. 425–42; and Rice,
R.W.; M.R. Frone; and
D.B. McFarlin. “Work
and Nonwork Conflict
and the Perceived Qual-
ity of Life.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
13 (1992), pp. 155–68.
5.30 Dahm, P.C.; T.M.
Glomb; C. Flaherty
Manchester; and S.
Leroy. “Work-Family
Conflict and Self-
Discrepant Time
Allocation at Work.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 100 (2015),
pp. 767–92; Netemeyer,
R.G.; J.S. Boles; and R.
McMurrian. “Develop-
ment and Validation of
Work–Family Conflict
and Family–Work
Conflict Scales.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 81 (1996), pp.
400–10; and Shockley,
K.M., and T.D. Allen.
“Deciding Between
Work and Family: An
Episodic Approach.”
Personnel Psychology 68
(2015), pp. 283–318.
5.31 Wayne, J.H.; M.M.
Butts; W.J. Casper;
and T.D. Allen. “In
Search of Balance: A
Conceptual and Empiri-
cal Integration of
Multiple Meanings of
Work–Family Balance.”
Personnel Psychology 70
(2017), pp. 167–210.
5.32 Nohe, C.; L.L. Meier;
K. Sonntag; and A.
Michel. “The Chicken
or the Egg? A Meta-
Analysis of Panel Stud-
ies of the Relationship
Between Work–Family
Conflict and Strain.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 100 (2015),
pp. 522–36.
5.33 Ng, T.W.H., and D.C.
Feldman. “The Effects
of Organizational
and Community
Embeddedness on
Work-to-Family and
Family-to-Work Con-
flict.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 97 (2012),
pp. 1233–51.
5.34 Cohen, S.; D.A.
Tyrrell; and A.P. Smith.
“Negative Life Events,
Perceived Stress,
Negative Affect, and
Susceptibility to the
Common Cold.” Jour-
nal of Personality and
Social Psychology 64
(1993), pp. 131–40.
5.35 Holmes, T.H., and
R.H. Rahe. “The Social
Readjustment Rating
Scale.” Journal of
Psychosomatic Research
11 (1967), pp. 213–18;
and U.S. Department
of Health and Human
Services, Office of
the Surgeon General.
“Mental Health: A
Report of the Surgeon
General” (n.d.), http://
Final PDF to printer

155C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 155 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.36 Frauenheim, E., and
J. Marquez. “Reduc-
ing the Fear Factor.”
Workforce Management,
November 18, 2008,
pp. 17–22.
5.37 LePine et al., “Relation-
ships among Work and
Non-Work Challenge
and Hindrance Stress-
ors and Non-Work and
Work Criteria.”
5.38 Lazarus and Folkman,
Stress, Appraisal, and
5.39 Folkman, S.; R.S.
Lazarus; C. Dunkel-
Schetter; A. Delongis;
and R.J. Gruen.
“Dynamics of a Stress-
ful Encounter: Cognitive
Appraisal, Coping, and
Encounter Outcomes.”
Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology 50
(1986), pp. 992–1003.
5.40 Latack, J.C., and S.J.
Havlovic. “Coping
with Job Stress: A
Conceptual Evaluation
Framework for Coping
Measures.” Journal
of Organizational
Behavior 13 (1992),
pp. 479–508.
5.41 Ibid.
5.42 Latack and Havlovic,
“Coping with Job
5.43 Kahn et al., Organi-
zational Stress; and
Lazarus and Folkman,
Stress, Appraisal, and
5.44 Latack and Havlovic,
“Coping with Job
5.45 Ibid.
5.46 Lazarus, R.S. “Progress
on a Cognitive–
Theory of Emotion.”
American Psychologist
46 (1991), pp. 819–34.
5.47 Daniels, C. “The Last
Taboo: It’s Not Sex.
It’s Not Drinking. It’s
Stress—and It’s Soar-
ing.” Fortune, October
28, 2002, pp. 136–44,
(accessed March 27,
5.48 Miller and Miller, “Get
a Life!”
5.49 Selye, H. The Stress
of Life. New York:
McGraw-Hill, 1976.
5.50 Cannon, W.B. “Stresses
and Strains of Homeo-
stasis.” American Jour-
nal of Medical Science
189 (1935), pp. 1–14;
and Goldstein, D.L.
Stress, Catecholamines,
& Cardiovascular Dis-
ease. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1995.
5.51 Kahn, R.L., and
P. Byosiere. “Stress
in Organizations.” In
Handbook of Industrial
and Organizational Psy-
chology, Vol. 4, ed. M.D.
Dunette; J.M.R. Hough;
and H.C. Triandis. Palo
Alto, CA: Consulting
Psychologists Press,
1992, pp. 517–650.
5.52 Defrank, R.S., and J.M.
Ivancevich. “Stress on
the Job: An Executive
Update.” Academy of
Management Executive
12 (1998), pp. 55–66;
and Haran, C. “Do
You Know Your
Early Warning Stress
Signals?” 2005, http://
5.53 Stöppler, M.C.
“High Pressure Work
Deadlines Raise Heart
Attack Risk,” http://
deadline.htm (accessed
October 1, 2005).
5.54 Leitner, K., and M.G.
Resch. “Do the Effects
of Job Stressors on
Health Persist over
Time? A Longitudinal
Study with Observa-
tional Stress Measures.”
Journal of Occupational
Health Psychology 10
(2005), pp. 18–30.
5.55 Gonzalez-Mule, E.; and
B. Cockburn. “Worked
to Death: The Relation-
ships of Job Demands
and Job Control with
Mortality.” Personnel
Psychology 70 (2017),
pp. 73–112.
5.56 Defrank and Ivancevich,
“Stress on the Job”; and
Haran, “Do You Know?”
5.57 Pines, A., and D. Kafry.
“Occupational Tedium
in the Social Services.”
Social Work 23 (1978),
pp. 499–507.
5.58 “Mentally
Tired Favre Tells Pack-
ers His Playing Career
Is Over,” March 4,
2008, http://sports
5.59 “Brett
Favre Retirement Press
Conference Transcript—
March 6,” March 6,
2008, http://packers
5.60 Defrank and Ivancev-
ich, “Stress on the Job.”
5.61 Friedman, M., and
R.H. Rosenman. Type
Final PDF to printer

156 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 156 10/11/17 08:42 AM
A Behavior and Your
Heart. New York:
Knopf, 1974.
5.62 Ganster, D.C. “Type
A Behavior and Occu-
pational Stress. Job
Stress: From Theory to
Suggestion.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
Management 8 (1987),
pp. 61–84.
5.63 Friedman and Rosen-
man, Type A Behavior;
and Yarnold, P.R., and
F.B. Bryant. “A Note
on Measurement Issues
in Type A Research:
Let’s Not Throw Out
the Baby with the Bath
Water.” Journal of Per-
sonality Assessment 52
(1988), pp. 410–19.
5.64 Abush, R., and E.J.
Burkhead. “Job Stress
in Midlife Working
Women: Relationships
among Personality
Type, Job Characteris-
tics, and Job Tension.”
Journal of Counseling
Psychology 31 (1984),
pp. 36–44; Dearborn,
M.J., and J.E. Hastings.
“Type A Personality as
a Mediator of Stress
and Strain in Employed
Women.” Journal
of Human Stress 13
(1987), pp. 53–60; and
Howard, J.H.; D.A.
Cunningham; and P.A.
Rechnitzer. “Role Ambi-
guity, Type A Behavior,
and Job Satisfaction:
Moderating Effects on
Cardiovascular and
Biochemical Responses
Associated with Coro-
nary Risk.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 71
(1986), pp. 95–101.
5.65 Cooper, C.L.; P.J.
Dewe; and M.P.
O’Driscoll. Organiza-
tional Stress. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 2001.
5.66 Fusilier, M.R.; D.C.
Ganster; and B.T.
Mayes. “Effects of
Social Support, Role
Stress, and Locus of
Control on Health.”
Journal of Management
13 (1987), pp. 517–28.
5.67 Nahum-Shani, I.,
and P.A. Bamberger.
“Explaining the Vari-
able Effects of Social
Support on Work-Based
Stressor-Strain Rela-
tions: The Role of
Perceived Pattern of
Support Exchange.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 114 (2011),
pp. 49–63.
5.68 Zhang, Y.; J.A. LePine;
B. R. Buckman; and F.
Wei. “It’s Not Fair . . .
Or Is It? The Role of
Justice and Leadership
in Explaining Work
Stressor–Job Perfor-
mance Relationships.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 57 (2014),
pp. 675–97.
5.69 Jayaratne, S.; T.
Tripodi; and W.A.
Chess. “Perceptions
of Emotional Support,
Stress, and Strain by
Male and Female Social
Workers.” Social Work
Research and Abstracts
19 (1983), pp. 19–27;
Kobasa, S. “Commit-
ment and Coping in
Stress among Lawyers.”
Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology
42 (1982), pp. 707–17;
and LaRocco, J.M., and
A.P. Jones. “Co-Worker
and Leader Support as
Moderators of Stress–
Strain Relationships in
Work Situations.” Jour-
nal of Applied Psychology
63 (1978), pp. 629–34.
5.70 Kahn and Byo-
siere, “Stress in
5.71 Nohe, C.; L.L. Meier;
K. Sonntag; and A.
Michel. “The Chicken
or the Egg? A Meta-
Analysis of Panel Stud-
ies of the Relationship
between Work-Family
Conflict and Strain.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 100 (2015), pp.
5.72 LePine et al., “A Meta-
Analytic Test.”
5.73 Cohen, S. “After
Effects of Stress on
Human Performance
and Social Behavior: A
Review of Research and
Theory.” Psychological
Bulletin 88 (1980), pp.
82–108; and Crawford,
E.R.; J.A. LePine; and
B.L. Rich. “Linking
Job Demands and
Resources to Employee
Engagement and
Burnout: A Theoretical
Extension and Meta-
Analytic Test.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 95
(2010), pp. 834–48.
5.74 Meier, L.L., and P.E.
Spector. “Reciprocal
Effects of Work Stress-
ors and Counterproduc-
tive Work Behavior: A
Five Wave Longitudinal
Study.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 98
(2013), pp. 529–39.
5.75 Podsakoff et al., “Dif-
ferential Challenge
Stressor Relationships.”
Final PDF to printer

157C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 157 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.76 Bedeian, A.G., and
A. Armenakis. “A
Path-Analytic Study
of the Consequences
of Role Conflict and
Ambiguity.” Academy
of Management Journal
24 (1981), pp. 417–24;
and Schaubroeck, J.;
J.L. Cotton; and K.R.
Jennings. “Antecedents
and Consequences
of Role Stress: A
Covariance Structure
Analysis.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
10 (1989), pp. 35–58.
5.77 LePine et al., “A
Meta-Analytic Test”;
and Podsakoff et al.,
“Differential Challenge
Stressor Relationships.”
5.78 Crawford, LePine, and
Rich, “Linking Job
Demands and Resources
to Employee Engage-
ment and Burnout.”
5.79 Ibid.
5.80 Cavanaugh, M.A.; W.R.
Boswell; M.V. Roehling;
and J.W. Boudreau. “An
Empirical Examination
of Self-Reported Work
Stress among U.S.
Managers.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 85
(2000), pp. 65–74.
5.81 Boswell, W.R.; J.B.
Olson-Buchanan; and
M.A. LePine. “The
Relationship between
Work-Related Stress and
Work Outcomes: The
Role of Felt-Challenge
and Psychological
Strain.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 64
(2004), pp. 165–81.
5.82 LePine et al., “Chal-
lenge and Hindrance
5.83 Myers, L. “Transform-
ing Presenteeism into
Productivity” Workspan,
July 2009, pp. 40–43.
5.84 Miller, S. “Most
Employees Underesti-
mate Health Impact on
Productivity.” HR Maga-
zine, June 2009, p. 20.
5.85 Burke, M.E. “2005 Ben-
efits Survey Report.”
Alexandria, VA: Society
of Human Resource
Management Research
Department, 2005.
5.86 Perkins, A. “Medical
Costs: Saving Money by
Reducing Stress.” Har-
vard Business Review 72
(1994), p. 12.
5.87 Sauter, S.; L. Murphy;
M. Colligan; N. Swan-
son; J. Hurrell Jr.; F.
Scharf Jr.; R. Sinclair; P.
Grubb; L. Goldenhar; T.
Alterman; J. Johnston;
A. Hamilton; and J. Tis-
dale. “Is Your Boss Mak-
ing You Sick?” (n.d.),
5.88 Defrank and Ivancev-
ich, “Stress on the Job.”
5.89 Noyce, J. “Help
Employees Manage
Stress to Prevent
Absenteeism, Errors.”
Minneapolis–St. Paul
Business Journal,
August 22, 2003, http://
.html; and Burke,
“2005 Benefits Survey
5.90 Hoffman, J. “Napping
Gets a Nod at the
Workplace.” Bloomberg
Businessweek, August
26, 2010, http://www
.htm; and Yarow, J.
“Googlers Take Naps in
Bizarre Contraption.”
Business Insider SAI,
June 17, 2010, http://
5.91 Defrank and Ivancev-
ich, “Stress on the
Job”; and Cooper, C.L.
“The Costs of Stress
at Work.” The Safety &
Health Practitioner 19
(2001), pp. 24–26.
5.92 Rafter, M. V. “The
Yawning of a New Era.”
Workforce Management,
December 2010, pp. 3–4.
5.93 Hengchen, D.; K.L.
Milkman; D. A. Hof-
mann; and B. R. Staats.
“The Impact of Time
at Work and Time off
from Work on Rule
Compliance: The Case
of Hand Hygiene in
Health Care.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 100
(2015), pp. 846–62.
5.94 Burke, “2005 Benefits
Survey Report.”
5.95 Miller and Miller, “Get
a Life!”
5.96 Ibid.; and Cunningham,
C.R., and S.S. Murray.
“Two Executives, One
Career.” Harvard Busi-
ness Review 83 (February
2005), pp. 125–31.
5.97 Sahadi, J. “The World’s
Best Perk.” CNNMoney
.com, June 13, 2006,
Final PDF to printer

158 C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 158 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.98 Ibid.
5.99 Ibid.
5.100 Milligan. S. “Greet-
ings from Unlimited
Vacationland.” HR
Magazine, March
(2015), pp. 28–36.
5.101 LePine et al., “A Meta-
Analytic Test”; and
Podsakoff et al.,
Challenge Stressor–
Hindrance Stress
5.102 Hakanen, J.J.; M.C.W.
Peeters; and R.
Perhoniemi. “Enrich-
ment Processes and
Gain Spirals at Work
and at Home: A
3-Year Cross-Lagged
Panel Study.” Journal
of Occupational
and Organizational
Psychology 84 (2011),
pp. 8–30; and Son-
nentag, S., and M.
Frese. “Stress in
Organizations.” In
Comprehensive Hand-
book of Psychology:
Vol. 12, Industrial and
Organizational Psychol-
ogy, ed. W.C. Borman;
D.R. Ilgen, and R.J.
Klimoski. New York:
Wiley, 2003,
pp. 453–91.
5.103 Vuori, J.; S. Toppinen-
Tanner; and P.
Mutanen. “Impacts
of Resource-Building
Group Intervention on
Career Management
and Mental Health in
Work Organizations:
Randomized Con-
trolled Field Trial.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 97 (2012),
pp. 273–86.
5.104 Allen, T.D.; R.C.
Johnson; K.M.
Kiburz; and K.M.
Shockley. “Work-
Family Conflict
and Flexible Work
Arrangements: Decon-
structing Flexibility.
Personnel Psychol-
ogy 66 (2013), pp.
5.105 Hunter, E.M., and
C. Wu. “Give Me a
Better Break: Choos-
ing Workday Break
Activities to Maximize
Resource Recovery.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 101 (2016),
pp. 302–11.
5.106 Burke, “2005 Benefits
Survey Report.”
5.107 Spieler, I.; S. Scheibe;
C. Stamov-Roßnagel;
and A. Kappas. “Help
or Hindrance? Day-
Level Relationships
Between Flextime
Use, Work–Nonwork
Boundaries, and
Affective Well-Being.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 102 (2017),
pp. 67–87.
5.108 Defrank and Ivancev-
ich, “Stress on the
Job”; and Austin, N.K.
“Work–Life Paradox.”
Incentive 178 (2004),
p. 18.
5.109 Butts, M.B.; W.J.
Casper; and T.S. Yang.
“How Important Are
Work-Family Support
Policies? A Meta-
Analytic Investigation
of Their Effects on
Employee Outcomes.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 98 (2013),
pp. 1–25.
5.110 Goudreau, J. “Back to
the Stone Age? New
Yahoo CEO Marissa
Mayer Bans Working
from Home.” Forbes,
home/ (accessed
February 25, 2013).
5.111 Leslie, L.M.; C.
Flaherty Manchester;
T.Y. Park; and S.A.
Mehng. “Flexible
Work Practices: A
Source of Career
Premiums or
Penalties?” Academy of
Management Journal
55 (2012),
pp. 1407–28.
5.112 Mandeville, A.;
J. Halbesleben;
and M. Whitman.
“Misalignment and
Misperception in
Preferences to Utilize
Benefits: Implications
for Benefit Utilization
and Work–Family
Conflict.” Personnel
Psychology 69 (2016),
pp. 859–929.
5.113 Murphy, L.R. “Stress
Management in Work
Settings: A Critical
Review of Health
Effects.” American
Journal of Health
Promotion 11 (1996),
pp. 112–35.
5.114 Neufeld, Work-Related
5.115 Haran, “ Do You Know?”
5.116 Ibid.
Final PDF to printer

159C H A P T E R 5 Stress
coL27660_ch05_124-159.indd 159 10/11/17 08:42 AM
5.117 Daniels, “The Last
5.118 Frauenheim and Mar-
quez, “Reducing the
Fear Factor.”
5.119 Sonnentag and
Frese, “Stress in
5.120 Neufeld, Work-Related
5.121 Atkinson. W. “Turning
Stress into Strength.”
HR Magazine, January
2011, pp. 49–52.
5.122 Ibid.; Burke, “2005 Ben-
efits Survey Report.”
5.123 Kvamme, N. “Huma-
na’s Freewheelin’
Program Proves to Be
Good for Business.”
Workspan, August
2008, pp. 75–78.
5.124 Doheny, K. “Going
the Extra Mile.” Work-
force Management,
January 19, 2009,
pp. 27–28.
5.125 Toker, S., and M.
Biron. “Job Burnout
and Depression:
Unraveling Their Tem-
poral Relationship
and Considering the
Role of Physical Activ-
ity.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 97 (2012),
pp. 699–770.
5.126 Sohre, K. “What
Are These Companies
Doing about
Health Care Man-
agement That You
Aren’t?” Workspan,
March 2010,
pp. 22–26.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 160 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.1 What is motivation?
6.2 What three beliefs help determine work effort, according to expectancy theory?
6.3 What two qualities make goals strong predictors of task performance, according to goal setting
6.4 What does it mean to be equitably treated according to equity theory, and how do employees
respond to inequity?
6.5 What is psychological empowerment, and what four beliefs determine empowerment levels?
6.6 How does motivation affect job performance and organizational commitment?
6.7 What steps can organizations take to increase employee motivation?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Diversity Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 161 10/11/17 08:43 AM
hat image pops into your head when you picture
a Google employee? Maybe someone stopping
for a snack and drink from a food kiosk between
rounds of Foosball? Or maybe someone huddled over a
computer, headphones on, late in the evening, writing code?
Judging from the sheer breadth of Google’s products, ser-
vices, and initiatives, it seems clear that the second image
is more prevalent. So, what is it that motivates “Googlers” to
put forth so much effort on the job? Certainly the work they
do is an important factor. Employees are given the freedom
to spend part of their week on projects that interest them.
Moreover, the company’s mission—to organize the world’s
information and make it accessible to all—provides a sense
of purpose for the rank-and-file.
That said, Google’s People Operations group does a
number of things to keep employees motivated. Employees
are given specific, measurable, and ambitious goals each
quarter—termed “OKR’s” (for Objectives and Key Results).
Those OKR’s are shown on the company’s internal website,
right next to an employee’s phone and office number.
Successfully meeting OKR’s then feeds into Google’s
performance evaluation process, which occurs twice a year.
Employees are rated by their managers on a five-point scale
where 1 = needs improvement, 2 = consistently meets
expectations, 3 = exceeds expectations, 4 = strongly
exceeds expectations, and 5 = superb. To ensure that
higher ratings really do go to higher performers, managers
engage in a process called “calibration.” In groups of five to
ten, managers project their employees on a wall and have
a group discussion to ensure that no “grade inflation” (or
“grade deflation”) occurs. The ratings then feed into two
separate conversations: one about skill development and
one about changes to compensation.
Motivational strategies go beyond evaluation and com-
pensation, however. Google’s awards program stresses
experiential rewards, like sending teams to Hawaii, provid-
ing trips to health resorts, or splurging for lavish dinners.
Studies within the company have shown that the memory
of such rewards lingers longer than cash, making them
more satisfying. And employees can even give each other
rewards themselves. The gThanks (“gee-thanks”) software
system allows employees to send public thank you’s to
reward good work. The system even allows employees
to give peers a $175 cash award—with no managerial
approval needed.
©Jacques Brinon/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

162 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 162 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Few OB topics matter more to employees and managers than motivation. How many times have
you wondered to yourself, “Why can’t I get myself going today?” Or how many times have you
looked at a friend or coworker and wondered, “Why are they working so slowly right now?” Both
of these questions are asking about “motivation,” which is a derivation of the Latin word for
movement, movere.1 Those Latin roots nicely capture the meaning of motivation, as motivated
employees simply move faster and longer than unmotivated employees. More formally, motivation
is defined as a set of energetic forces that originates both within and outside an employee, initiates
work-related effort, and determines its direction, intensity, and persistence.2 Motivation is a criti-
cal consideration because effective job performance often requires high levels of both ability and
motivation (see Chapter 10 on ability for more discussion of such issues).3
The first part of our motivation definition illustrates that motivation is not one thing but rather
a set of distinct forces. Some of those forces are internal to the employee, such as a sense of pur-
pose or confidence, whereas others are external to the employee, such as the goals or incentives
an employee is given. The next part of that definition illustrates that motivation determines a
number of facets of an employee’s work effort. These facets are summarized in Figure 6-1, which
depicts a scenario in which your boss has given you an assignment to work on. Motivation deter-
mines what employees do at a given moment—the direction in which their effort is channeled.
Every moment of the workday offers choices between task and citizenship sorts of actions or with-
drawal and counterproductive sorts of actions. When it’s 3:00 p.m. on a Thursday, do you keep
working on the assignment your boss gave you, or do you check social networks or surf the web for
a while? Once the direction of effort has been decided, motivation goes on to determine how hard
an employee works—the intensity of effort—and for how long—the persistence of effort. We all have
friends or coworkers who work extremely hard for . . . say . . . 5 minutes. We also have friends or
coworkers who work extremely long hours but always seem to be functioning at half-speed. Nei-
ther of those groups of people would be described as extremely motivated.
What is motivation?
Photos: Left: ©DutchScenery/Shutterstock; Right: ©Tetra Images/Getty Images
FIGURE 6-1 Motivation and Effort
What are you going to do
right now?
How hard are you going
to work on it?
As hard as you can, or only
at half-speed?
How long are you going
to work on it?
For five hours or five
Check social networks
Surf the web for a while
The assignment your boss
gave you yesterday
Final PDF to printer

163C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 163 10/11/17 08:43 AM
by Cal Newport (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016).
Deep work is so important that we might consider it, to use the phrasing of business writer Eric
Barker, “the superpower of the 21st century.”
With those words, Newport highlights the importance of “deep
work”—activities performed in a distraction-free state that truly
push your cognitive abilities. Deep work is practiced by the most
successful writers, coders, inventors, and decision makers. In moti-
vation parlance, it’s indicative of high intensity of effort—not merely
direction or persistence of effort. It’s not just choosing to do some
work, and keeping at it for a while. It’s closing off the outside world
to really “dig deep” into the activity.
Newport argues that deep work has taken on an increased impor-
tance because the contemporary economy demands the ability to
(1) quickly master difficult tasks and (2) produce at an elite level.
Deep work is vital to both. Unfortunately, deep work is also becom-
ing more rare. The constant connectivity created by technology and
the unmeasurable nature of some knowledge work has increased
“shallow work”—noncognitively demanding, logistical tasks often
performed while distracted. Responding to e-mails, doing Internet
searches, and filling out reports are examples of shallow work. A study by McKinsey suggested
that 60 percent of a knowledge worker’s week is spent on such tasks. Indeed, such examples of
“busyness” have become a proxy for true productivity.
The problem with shallow work is not just that it has little long-term payoff. It’s also that it
rewires our brains in such a way that we become less capable of doing deep work. Deep work
develops a substance called myelin around relevant neurons in the brain, whereas shallow work
degrades that substance. As a result, Newport cautions, “If you’re not comfortable going deep for
extended periods of time, it’ll be difficult to get your performance to the peak levels of quality and
quantity increasingly necessary to thrive professionally. Unless your talent and skills absolutely
dwarf those of your competition, the deep workers among them will outproduce you.” How can we
get better at deep work? Fortunately, Newport offers a number of specific suggestions.
©Roberts Publishing Services
As the opening example illustrates, organizations are always on the lookout for new and better
ways to motivate their employees. These days, however, those discussions are more likely to focus
on a concept called engagement. You can think of engagement as a contemporary synonym, more
or less, for high levels of intensity and persistence in work effort. Employees who are “engaged”
completely invest themselves and their energies into their jobs.4 Outwardly, engaged employees
devote a lot of energy to their jobs, striving as hard as they can to take initiative and get the job
done.5 Inwardly, engaged employees focus a great deal of attention and concentration on their work,
sometimes becoming so absorbed, involved, and interested in their tasks that they lose track of time
(see Chapter 4 on job satisfaction for more discussion of such issues).6 Many companies attempt
to measure engagement on their annual employee surveys, often by assessing factors that are
believed to foster intense and persistent work effort.7 One recent survey by Gallup suggests that only
30 percent of employees are engaged—a percentage that has held fairly steady for a decade.8 Given
those numbers, it’s not surprising that a recent survey of human resources executives indicated an
increased emphasis on improving engagement levels.9 That emphasis is critical, as research suggests
that low levels of engagement can be contagious, crossing over from one employee to another.10 For
more on the importance of such engagement, see our OB at the Bookstore feature.
Final PDF to printer

164 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 164 10/11/17 08:43 AM
T H A N OT H E R S ?
There are a number of theories and concepts that attempt to explain why some employees are
more motivated (or engaged) than others. The sections that follow review those theories and con-
cepts in some detail. Most of them are relevant to each of the effort facets described in Figure 6-1.
However, some of them are uniquely suited to explaining the direction of effort, whereas others do
a better job of explaining the intensity and persistence of effort.
What makes you decide to direct your effort to work assignments rather than taking a break
or wasting time? Or what makes you decide to be a “good citizen” by helping out a colleague
or attending some optional company function? Expectancy theory describes the cognitive pro-
cess that employees go through to make choices among different voluntary responses.11 Drawing
on earlier models from psychology, expectancy theory argues that employee behavior is directed
toward pleasure and away from pain or, more generally, toward certain outcomes and away from
others.12 How do employees make the choices that take them in the “right direction”? The theory
suggests that our choices depend on three specific beliefs that are based in our past learning
and experience: expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. These three beliefs are summarized in
Figure 6-2, and we review each of them in turn.
Expectancy represents the belief that exerting a high level of effort will result in the success-
ful performance of some task. More technically, expectancy is a subjective probability, ranging
What three beliefs help
determine work effort,
according to expectancy
FIGURE 6-2 Expectancy Theory
? ?
E�ort Performance
+ or – ?
Instrumentality: If I
perform well, will I
receive outcomes?
Valence: Will the
outcomes be
Expectancy: If I exert
a lot of e�ort, will I
perform well?
+ or – ?
+ or – ?
+ or – ?
Final PDF to printer

165C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 165 10/11/17 08:43 AM
from 0 (no chance!) to 1 (a mortal lock!) that a specific amount of effort will result in a spe-
cific level of performance (abbreviated E → P). Think of a task at which you’re not particularly
good, such as writing romantic poetry. You may not be very motivated to write romantic poetry
because you don’t believe that your effort, no matter how hard you try, will result in a poem that
“moves” your significant other. As another example, you’ll be more motivated to work on the
assignment described in Figure 6-1 if you’re confident that trying hard will allow you to complete
it successfully.
What factors shape our expectancy for a particular task? One of the most critical factors is
self-efficacy, defined as the belief that a person has the capabilities needed to execute the behav-
iors required for task success.13 Think of self-efficacy as a kind of self-confidence or a task-specific
version of self-esteem.14 Employees who feel more “efficacious” (i.e., self-confident) for a particu-
lar task will tend to perceive higher levels of expectancy—and therefore be more likely to choose to
exert high levels of effort. Why do some employees have higher self-efficacy for a given task than
other employees? Figure 6-3 can help explain such differences.
When employees consider efficacy levels for a given task, they first consider their past
accomplishments—the degree to which they have succeeded or failed in similar sorts of tasks
in the past.15 They also consider vicarious experiences by taking into account their observa-
tions and discussions with others who have performed such tasks.16 Self-efficacy is also dictated
by verbal persuasion because friends, coworkers, and leaders can persuade employees that they
can “get the job done.” Finally, efficacy is dictated by emotional cues, in that feelings of fear or
anxiety can create doubts about task accomplishment, whereas pride and enthusiasm can bol-
ster confidence levels.17 Taken together, these efficacy sources shape analyses of how difficult
the task requirements are and how adequate an employee’s personal and situational resources
will prove to be.18 They also explain the content of most pregame speeches offered by coaches
before the big game; such speeches commonly include references to past victories (past accom-
plishments), pep talks about how good the team can be (verbal persuasion), and cheers to rally
the troops (emotional cues).
FIGURE 6-3 Sources of Self-Efficacy
Sources: Adapted from A. Bandura, “Self-Efficacy: Toward a Unifying Theory of Behavioral Change,” Psychological Review
84 (1977), pp. 191–215; and M.E. Gist and T.R. Mitchell, “Self-Efficacy: A Theoretical Analysis of Its Determinants and
Malleability,” Academy of Management Review 17 (1992), pp. 183–211.
• Past Accomplishments
• Vicarious Experience
• Verbal Persuasion
• Emotional Cues
Analysis of
Assessment of
Personal and
Final PDF to printer

166 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 166 10/11/17 08:43 AM
INSTRUMENTALITY  Instrumentality represents the belief that successful performance will
result in some outcome(s).19 More technically, instrumentality is a set of subjective probabilities,
each ranging from 0 (no chance!) to 1 (a mortal lock!) that successful performance will bring a
set of outcomes (abbreviated P O). The term “instrumentality” makes sense when you consider
the meaning of the adjective “instrumental.” We say something is “instrumental” when it helps
attain something else—for example, reading this chapter is instrumental for getting a good grade
in an OB class (at least, we hope so!).20 Unfortunately, evidence indicates that many employees
don’t perceive high levels of instrumentality in their workplace. One survey of more than 10,000
employees revealed that only 35 percent viewed performance as the key driver of their pay.21 By
comparison, 60 percent viewed seniority as the key driver.
Although organizations often struggle to foster instrumentality in the best of times, linking
performance to outcomes is even more difficult during an economic downturn. One human
resources consulting firm estimated that 31 percent of organizations froze pay in 2009, with that
estimate falling to 13 percent in 2010 and 2 percent in 2011.22 3M, the St. Paul, Minnesota–based
maker of Post-it notes and Scotch tape, is one example of a firm that is only now unfreezing its
pay. Executives at 3M indicated that pay increases would return after being frozen since 2009.
Summarizes one human resources consultant, “There really is a mindset that you can only do that
for so long.”23 As the economy improves, good performers will begin to expect rewards and may
look elsewhere if their company does not provide them.
VALENCE  Valence reflects the anticipated value of the outcomes associated with performance
(abbreviated V).24 Valences can be positive (“I would prefer having outcome X to not having it”),
negative (“I would prefer not having outcome X to having it”), or zero (“I’m bored . . . are we still
talking about outcome X?”). Salary increases, bonuses, and more informal rewards are typical
examples of “positively valenced” outcomes, whereas disciplinary actions, demotions, and termi-
nations are typical examples of “negatively valenced” outcomes.25 In this way, employees are more
motivated when successful performance helps them attain attractive outcomes, such as bonuses,
while helping them avoid unattractive outcomes, such as disciplinary actions.
What exactly makes some outcomes more “positively valenced” than others? In general, out-
comes are deemed more attractive when they help satisfy needs. Needs can be defined as cognitive
groupings or clusters of outcomes that are viewed as having critical psychological or physiologi-
cal consequences.26 Although scholars once suggested that certain needs are “universal” across
Pregame speeches, like
this dramatization of Herb
Brooks’s in Miracle, are
often geared around
bolstering a team’s self-
efficacy. Said Brooks
before the USA took on the
Soviet Union in the 1980
Olympics, “Tonight, we
skate with ’em. Tonight, we
stay with ’em. . . . Tonight,
we are the greatest hockey
team in the world!”
©Buena Vista Pictures/Photofest
Final PDF to printer

167C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 167 10/11/17 08:43 AM
people,27 it’s likely that different people have different “need hierarchies” that they use to evaluate
potential outcomes. Table 6-1 describes many of the needs that are commonly studied in OB.28
The terms and labels assigned to those needs often vary, so the table includes our labels as well as
alternative labels that might sometimes be encountered.
Table 6-2 lists some of the most commonly considered outcomes in studies of motivation. Out-
comes that are deemed particularly attractive are likely to satisfy a number of different needs. For
example, praise can signal that interpersonal bonds are strong (satisfying relatedness needs) while
also signaling competence (satisfying esteem needs). Note also that some of the outcomes in
Table 6-2, such as bonuses, promotions, and praise, result from other people acknowledging suc-
cessful performance. These outcomes foster extrinsic motivation—motivation that is controlled
by some contingency that depends on task performance.29 Other outcomes in the table, such as
enjoyment, interestingness, and personal expression, are self-generated, originating in the mere act
of performing the task. These outcomes foster intrinsic motivation—motivation that is felt when
task performance serves as its own reward.30 Taken together, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
represent an employee’s “total motivation” level.
You might wonder which of the outcomes in the table are most attractive to employees. That’s
a difficult question to answer, given that different employees emphasize different needs. However,
two things are clear. First, the attractiveness of many rewards varies across cultures. One expert on
cross-cultural recognition programs notes, “Different cultures have different motivators. In fact,
giving a gift card could be extremely insulting because it could be saying that you are bribing them
to do what they already do.”31 Good performance on a project in an American company might
earn a trip to Las Vegas. However, trips to alcohol- and gambling-intensive areas are taboo in parts
of Asia or the Middle East.32 A better award in India would be tickets to a newly released movie or
a moped for navigating in congested areas.33
Second, research suggests that employees underestimate how powerful a motivator pay is to
them.34 When employees rank the importance of extrinsic and intrinsic outcomes, they often put
pay in fifth or sixth place. However, research studies show that financial incentives often have a
stronger impact on motivation than other sorts of outcomes.35 One reason is that money is rel-
evant to many of the needs in Table 6-1. For example, money can help satisfy existence needs by
TABLE 6-1 Commonly Studied Needs in OB
Existence Physiological, Safety The need for the food, shelter, safety, and pro-
tection required for human existence.
Relatedness Love, Belongingness The need to create and maintain lasting, posi-
tive, interpersonal relationships.
Control Autonomy, Responsibility The need to be able to predict and control
one’s future.
Esteem Self-Regard, Growth The need to hold a high evaluation of oneself
and to feel effective and respected by others.
Meaning Self-Actualization The need to perform tasks that one cares
about and that appeal to one’s ideals and
sense of purpose.
Sources: Adapted from E.L. Deci and R.M Ryan, “The ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-
Determination of Behavior,” Psychological Inquiry 11 (2000), pp. 227–68; R. Cropanzano, Z.S. Byrne, D.R. Bobocel, and
D.R. Rupp, “Moral Virtues, Fairness Heuristics, Social Entities, and Other Denizens of Organizational Justice,” Journal
of Vocational Behavior 58 (2001), pp. 164–209; A.H. Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Psychological Review 50
(1943), pp. 370–96; and C.P. Alderfer, “An Empirical Test of a New Theory of Human Needs,” Organizational Behavior
and Human Performance 4 (1969), pp. 142–75.
Final PDF to printer

168 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 168 10/11/17 08:43 AM
helping employees buy food, afford a house, and save for retirement. However, money also conveys
a sense of esteem because it signals that employees are competent and well regarded.36 In fact,
research suggests that people differ in how they view the meaning of money—the degree to which
they view money as having symbolic, not just economic, value.37 The symbolic value of money can
be summarized in at least three dimensions: achievement (i.e., money symbolizes success), respect
(i.e., money brings respect in one’s community), and freedom (i.e., money provides opportunity).38
Who’s more likely to view money from these more symbolic perspectives? Some research suggests
that men are more likely to view money as representing achievement, respect, and freedom than are
women.39 Research also suggests that employees with higher salaries are more likely to view money
in achievement-related terms.40 Younger employees are less likely to view money in a positive light,
relative to older employees.41 Differences in education do not appear to affect the meaning of money,
however.42 How do you view the meaning of money? See our OB Assessments feature to find out.
MOTIVATIONAL FORCE According to expectancy theory, the direction of effort is dictated by
three beliefs: expectancy (E → P), instrumentality (P → O), and valence (V). More specifically,
the theory suggests that the total “motivational force” to perform a given action can be described
using the following formula:43
Motivational Force = E P  × Ʃ[(P O) × V ]
The Σ symbol in the equation signifies that instrumentalities and valences are judged with
various outcomes in mind, and motivation increases as successful performance is linked to more
TABLE 6-2 Extrinsic and Intrinsic Outcomes
Pay Enjoyment
Bonuses Interestingness
Promotions Accomplishment
Benefits and perks Knowledge gain
Spot awards Skill development
Praise Personal expression
Job security (Lack of) Boredom
Support (Lack of) Anxiety
Free time (Lack of) Frustration
(Lack of) Disciplinary actions
(Lack of) Demotions
(Lack of) Terminations
Sources: Adapted from E.E. Lawler III and J.L. Suttle, “Expectancy Theory and Job Behavior,” Organizational Behavior
and Human Performance 9 (1973), pp. 482–503; J. Galbraith and L.L. Cummings, “An Empirical Investigation of the
Motivational Determinants of Task Performance: Interactive Effects between Instrumentality–Valence and Motivation–
Ability,” Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 2 (1967), pp. 237–57; E. McAuley, S. Wraith, and T.E. Duncan,
“Self-Efficacy, Perceptions of Success, and Intrinsic Motivation for Exercise,” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 21
(1991), pp. 139–55; and A.S. Waterman, S.J. Schwartz, E. Goldbacher, H. Green, C. Miller, and S. Philip, “Predicting the
Subjective Experience of Intrinsic Motivation: The Roles of Self-Determination, the Balance of Challenges and Skills, and
Self-Realization Values,” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 29 (2003), pp. 1447–58.
Final PDF to printer

169C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 169 10/11/17 08:43 AM
• Money as Achievement: Sum up items 1–4. _________
• Money as Respect: Sum up items 5–8. _________
• Money as Freedom: Sum up items 9–12. _________
• Money as Achievement: High = 13 or above. Low = 12 or below.
• Money as Respect: High = 15 or above. Low = 14 or below.
• Money as Freedom: High = 20 or above. Low = 19 or below.
If you scored high on all three dimensions, then you view money as having multiple, noneconomic
meanings. This result means that money is likely to be a powerful motivator for you.
Source: Original items. See T.L. Tang, “The Meaning of Money Revisited,” Journal of Organizational Behavior 13 (1992),
pp. 197–202, for an alternative measure of these concepts.
How do you view money—what meaning do you attach to it? This assessment will tell you where
you stand on the three facets of the meaning of money—money as achievement, money as respect,
and money as freedom. Answer each question using the response scale provided. Then follow
the instructions to score yourself. (Instructors: Assessments on intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy,
engagement, and equity sensitivity can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s
Instructor Resources and in the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
1. Having money means that I’ve achieved something. _______
2. Having money shows that I’ve succeeded. _______
3. Having money is a symbol of accomplishment. _______
4. Having money signifies that I’ve performed well. _______
5. Having money brings respect from others. _______
6. Having money can make others admire you. _______
7. Having money is worthy of others’ esteem. _______
8. Having money can make you more well-regarded. _______
9. Having money brings more freedom. _______
10. Having money can create opportunities. _______
11. Having money provides more autonomy. _______
12. Having money brings independence. _______
Final PDF to printer

170 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 170 10/11/17 08:43 AM
and more attractive outcomes. Note the significance of the multiplication signs in the formula:
Motivational force equals zero if any one of the three beliefs is zero. In other words, it doesn’t
matter how confident you are if performance doesn’t result in any outcomes. Similarly, it doesn’t
matter how well performance is evaluated and rewarded if you don’t believe you can perform well.
So, returning to the choice shown in Figure 6-1, let’s say that you feel confident you can perform
well on the assignment your boss gave you and that you also believe successful performance will
bring valued outcomes. Now that you’ve chosen to direct your effort to that assignment, two criti-
cal questions remain: How hard will you work, and for how long? To shed some more light on
these questions, you stop by your boss’s office and ask her, “So, when exactly do you need this
done?” After thinking about it for a while, she concludes, “Just do your best.” After returning to
your desk, you realize that you’re still not sure how much to focus on the assignment, or how long
you should work on it before turning to something else.
Goal setting theory views goals as the primary drivers of the intensity and persistence of effort.44
Goals are defined as the objective or aim of an action and typically refer to attaining a specific
standard of proficiency, often within a specified time limit.45 More specifically, the theory argues
that assigning employees specific and difficult goals will result in higher levels of performance than
assigning no goals, easy goals, or “do-your-best” goals.46 Why are specific and difficult goals more
effective than do-your-best ones? After all, doesn’t “your best” imply the highest possible levels of
effort? The reason is that few people know what their “best” is (and even fewer managers can tell
whether employees are truly doing their “best”). Assigning specific and difficult goals gives people
a number to shoot for—a “measuring stick” that can be used to tell them how hard they need to
work and for how long. So if your boss had said, “Have the assignment on my desk by 10:30 a.m.
on Tuesday, with no more than two mistakes,” you would have known exactly how hard to work
and for how long.
Of course, a key question then becomes, “What’s a difficult goal?” Figure 6-4 illustrates the
predicted relationship between goal difficulty and task performance. When goals are easy, there’s
no reason to work your hardest or your longest, so task effort is lower. As goals move from moder-
ate to difficult, the intensity and persistence of effort become maximized. At some point, however,
the limits of a person’s ability get reached, and self-efficacy begins to diminish. Also at that point,
goals move from difficult to impossible, and employees feel somewhat helpless when attempting
to achieve them. In turn, effort and performance inevitably decline. So a difficult goal is one that
stretches employees to perform at their maximum level while still staying within the boundaries
of their ability.
The effects of specific and difficult goals on task performance have been tested in several
hundred studies using many kinds of settings and tasks. A sampling of those settings and tasks is
shown in Table 6-3.47 Overall, around 90 percent of the goal setting studies support the beneficial
effects of specific and difficult goals on task performance.48 Although some of the settings and
tasks shown in the table are unlikely to be major parts of your career (archery, handball, LEGO
construction), others should be very relevant to the readers (and authors!) of this book (managing
and supervision, studying, faculty research). Then again, who wouldn’t want a career in LEGO
Why exactly do specific and difficult goals have such positive effects? Figure 6-5 presents goal
setting theory in more detail to understand that question better.49 First, the assignment of a spe-
cific and difficult goal shapes people’s own self-set goals—the internalized goals that people use
to monitor their own task progress.50 In the absence of an assigned goal, employees may not even
consider what their own goals are, or they may self-set relatively easy goals that they’re certain to
meet. As a self-set goal becomes more difficult, the intensity of effort increases, and the persis-
tence of effort gets extended. However, goals have another effect; they trigger the creation of task
strategies, defined as learning plans and problem-solving approaches used to achieve successful
performance.51 In the absence of a goal, it’s easy to rely on trial and error to figure out how best
to do a task. Under the pressure of a measuring stick, however, it becomes more effective to plan
out the next move. Put differently, goals can motivate employees to work both harder and smarter.
What two qualities make
goals strong predictors of
task performance, accord-
ing to goal setting theory?
Final PDF to printer

171C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 171 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Source: Adapted from E.A. Locke and G.P. Latham, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance (Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990).
FIGURE 6-4 Goal Difficulty and Task Performance
Goal Di�culty
Easy Moderate Di�cult Impossible
Intensity and
TABLE 6-3 Settings and Tasks Used in Goal Setting Research
Air traffic control Management training
Archery Marine recruit performance
Arithmetic Maze learning
Beverage consumption Mining
Chess Proofreading
Computer games Production and manufacturing
Course work Puzzles
Energy conservation Safety behaviors
Exercise Sales
Faculty research Scientific and R&D work
Juggling Sit-ups
LEGO construction Studying
Logging Weight lifting
Managing and supervision Weight loss
Source: Adapted from E.A. Locke and G.P. Latham, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance (Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990).
Final PDF to printer

172 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 172 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Figure 6-5 also includes three variables that specify when assigned goals will have stronger or
weaker effects on task performance. In the jargon of theory diagrams, these variables are called
“moderators.” Rather than directly affecting other variables in the diagram, moderators affect
the strength of the relationships between variables. One moderator is feedback, which consists
of updates on employee progress toward goal attainment.52 Imagine being challenged to beat a
friend’s score on a video game but having your own score hidden as you played. How would you
know how hard to try? Another moderator is task complexity, which reflects how complicated
the information and actions involved in a task are, as well as how much the task changes.53 In
general, the effects of specific and difficult goals are almost twice as strong on simple tasks as on
complex tasks, though the effects of goals remain beneficial even in complex cases.54 Goal setting
at Wyeth, the Madison, New Jersey–based pharmaceuticals company, illustrates the value of goals
for complex tasks (after all, what’s more complicated than chemistry?).55 When Robert Ruffolo
was appointed the new chief of R&D several
years ago, he was concerned about the low
number of new drug compounds being gener-
ated by Wyeth’s labs. His solution? He gave
scientists a goal of discovering 12 new drug
compounds every year, up from the 4 com-
pounds they were previously averaging, with
bonuses contingent on reaching the goals.
Wyeth’s scientists have reached the goal every
year since, and the goal was eventually upped
to 15 compounds per year.
The final moderator shown in Figure 6-5
is goal commitment, defined as the degree
to which a person accepts a goal and is
determined to try to reach it.56 When goal
FIGURE 6-5 Goal Setting Theory
Sources: Adapted from E.A. Locke and G.P. Latham, A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance (Englewood Cliffs,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 1990); E.A. Locke and G.P. Latham, “Building a Practically Useful Theory of Goal Setting and Task
Motivation: A 35-Year Odyssey,” American Psychologist 57 (2002), pp. 705–17; and G.P. Latham, “Motivate Employee Per-
formance through Goal-Setting,” in Blackwell Handbook of Principles of Organizational Behavior, ed. E.A. Locke (Malden,
MA: Blackwell, 2000), pp. 107–19.
and Di�cult
of E�ort
of E�ort
As the chief of research
and development at Wyeth,
Inc., a pharmaceutical
company, Robert Ruffolo
offered company scientists
a bonus for discovering
12 new drug compounds
every year. They’ve done
it every year and are now
reaching for a new goal
of 15.
©Kimimasa Mayama/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

173C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 173 10/11/17 08:43 AM
commitment is high, assigning specific and difficult goals will have significant benefits for task
performance. However, when goal commitment is low, those effects become much weaker.57 The
importance of goal commitment raises the question of how best to foster commitment when assign-
ing goals to employees. Table 6-4 summarizes some of the most powerful strategies for fostering
goal commitment, which range from rewards to supervisory support to employee participation.58
Microsoft recently revised its use of goal setting principles in an effort to boost goal commit-
ment and task performance.59 The company had become concerned that employees viewed their
goals as objectives they hoped to meet rather than objectives they were committed to meeting. More-
over, approximately 25–40 percent of employees were working under goals that were either not
specific enough or not measurable enough to offer feedback. To combat these trends, managers
are now trained to identify five to seven S.M.A.R.T. goals for each employee and to link rewards
directly to goal achievement. The S.M.A.R.T. acronym summarizes many beneficial goal character-
istics, standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-Based, and Time-Sensitive. (Although
that acronym is a useful reminder, note that it omits the all-important “Difficult” characteristic.)
Managers and employees at Microsoft participate jointly in the goal setting process, and managers
offer support by suggesting task strategies that employees can use to achieve the goals. In this way,
managers and employees come to understand the “how” of achievement, not just the “what.”60 For
insights into how goal setting operates across cultures, see our OB Internationally feature.
Returning to our running example in Figure 6-1, imagine that at this point, you’ve decided to work
on the assignment your boss gave you, and you’ve been told that it’s due by Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.
and can’t have more than two mistakes in it. That’s a specific and difficult goal, so your browser
hasn’t been launched in a while, and you haven’t even thought about checking Facebook. In short,
you’ve been working very hard for a few hours, until the guy from across the hall pops his head in.
You tell him what you’re working on, and he nods sympathetically, saying, “Yeah, the boss gave
me a similar assignment that sounds just as tough. I think she realized how tough it was though,
because she said I could use the company’s playoff tickets if I finish it on time.” Playoff tickets?
Playoff tickets?? Looks like it’s time to check Facebook after all. . . .
TABLE 6-4 Strategies for Fostering Goal Commitment
Rewards Tie goal achievement to the receipt of monetary or nonmonetary
Publicity Publicize the goal to significant others and coworkers to create some
social pressure to attain it.
Support Provide supportive supervision to aid employees if they struggle to attain
the goal.
Participation Collaborate on setting the specific proficiency level and due date for a
goal so that the employee feels a sense of ownership over the goal.
Resources Provide the resources needed to attain the goal and remove any con-
straints that could hold back task efforts.
Sources: Adapted from J.R. Hollenbeck and H.J. Klein, “Goal Commitment and the Goal-Setting Process: Problems, Pros-
pects, and Proposals for Future Research,” Journal of Applied Psychology 72 (1987), pp. 212–20; H.J. Klein, M.J. Wesson,
J.R. Hollenbeck, and B.J. Alge, “Goal Commitment and the Goal-Setting Process: Conceptual Clarification and Empirical
Synthesis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 84 (1999), pp. 885–96; E.A. Locke, G.P. Latham, and M. Erez, “The Determi-
nants of Goal Commitment,” Academy of Management Review 13 (1988), pp. 23–29; and G.P. Latham, “The Motivational
Benefits of Goal-Setting,” Academy of Management Executive 18 (2004), pp. 126–29.
Final PDF to printer

174 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 174 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Research in cross-cultural OB suggests that there are some “universals” when it comes to motiva-
tion. For example, interesting work, pay, achievement, and growth are billed as motivating forces
whose importance does not vary across cultures. Of course, some motivation principles do vary in
their effectiveness across cultures, including some of the strategies for fostering goal commitment.
• Types of goals. Should goals be given on an individual or a groupwide basis? Employees in the
United States usually prefer to be given individual goals. In contrast, employees in other coun-
tries, including China and Japan, prefer to receive team goals. This difference likely reflects the
stronger emphasis on collective responsibility and cooperation in those cultures.
• Rewards. Rewards tend to increase goal commitment across cultures, but cultures vary in the
types of rewards that they value. Employees in the United States prefer to have rewards allocated
according to merit. In contrast, employees in other countries—including China, Japan, and
Sweden—prefer that rewards be allocated equally across members of the work unit. Employees
in India prefer a third allocation strategy—doling out rewards according to need. These cultural
differences show that nations differ in how they prioritize individual achievement, collective
solidarity, and the welfare of others.
• Participation. National culture also affects the importance of participation in setting goals.
Research suggests that employees in the United States are likely to accept assigned goals
because the culture emphasizes hierarchical authority. In contrast, employees in Israel, which
lacks a cultural emphasis on hierarchy, do not respond as well to assigned goals. Instead,
employees in Israel place a premium on participation in goal setting.
• Feedback. Culture also influences how individuals respond when they receive feedback regard-
ing goal progress. As with participation, research suggests that employees in the United States
are more likely to accept feedback because they are comfortable with hierarchical authority
relationships and have a strong desire to reduce uncertainty. Other cultures, like England,
place less value on reducing uncertainty, making feedback less critical to them.
Sources: H. Aguinis and C.A. Henle, “The Search for Universals in Cross-Cultural Organizational Behavior,” in Organizational
Behavior: The State of the Science, ed. J. Greenberg (Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 2003), pp. 373–411; P.C. Earley and C.B Gibson,
“Taking Stock in Our Progress on Individualism–Collectivism: 100 Years of Solidarity and Community,” Journal of Manage-
ment 24 (1998), pp. 265–304; M. Erez, “A Culture-Based Model of Work Motivation,” in New Perspectives on International Indus-
trial/Organizational Psychology, ed. P.C. Earley and M. Erez (San Francisco: New Lexington Press, 1997), pp. 193–242; M. Erez
and P.C. Earley, “Comparative Analysis of Goal-Setting Strategies Across Cultures,” Journal of Applied Psychology 72 (1987),
pp. 658–65; and P.G. Audia and S. Tams, “Goal Setting, Performance Appraisal, and Feedback across Cultures,” in Blackwell
Handbook of Cross-Cultural Management, ed. M.J. Gannon and K.L. Newman (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 142–54.
Unlike the first two theories, equity theory acknowledges that motivation doesn’t just depend
on your own beliefs and circumstances but also on what happens to other people.61 More specifi-
cally, equity theory suggests that employees create a “mental ledger” of the outcomes (or rewards)
they get from their job duties.62 What outcomes might be part of your mental ledger? That’s
completely up to you and depends on what you find valuable, though Table 6-5 provides a listing
of some commonly considered outcomes. Equity theory further suggests that employees create
a mental ledger of the inputs (or contributions and investments) they put into their job duties.63
Again, the composition of your mental ledger is completely specific to you, but Table 6-5 provides
a listing of some inputs that seem to matter to most employees.
So what exactly do you do with these mental tallies of outcomes and inputs? Equity theory
argues that you compare your ratio of outcomes and inputs to the ratio of some comparison
other—some person who seems to provide an intuitive frame of reference for judging equity.64
There are three general possibilities that can result from this “cognitive calculus,” as shown in
What does it mean to be
equitably treated according
to equity theory, and how
do employees respond to
Final PDF to printer

175C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 175 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Figure 6-6. The first possibility is that the ratio of outcomes to inputs is balanced between you
and your comparison other. In this case, you feel a sense of equity, and you’re likely to maintain
the intensity and persistence of your effort. This situation would have occurred if you had been
offered playoff tickets, just like your colleague.
The second possibility is that your ratio of outcomes to inputs is less than your comparison
other’s ratio. According to equity theory, any imbalance in ratios triggers equity distress—an inter-
nal tension that can only be alleviated by restoring balance to the ratios.65 In an underreward case,
the equity distress likely takes the form of negative emotions such as anger or envy. One way to
stop feeling those emotions is to try to restore the balance in some way, and Figure 6-6 reveals
two methods for doing so. You could be constructive and proactive by talking to your boss and
explaining why you deserve better outcomes. Such actions would result in the growth of your out-
comes, restoring balance to the ratio. Of course, anger often results in actions that are destructive
rather than constructive, and research shows that feelings of underreward inequity are among the
strongest predictors of counterproductive behaviors, such as employee theft (see Chapter 7 on
trust, justice, and ethics for more on such issues).66 More relevant to this chapter, another means
of restoring balance is to shrink your inputs by lowering the intensity and persistence of effort.
Remember, it’s not the total outcomes or inputs that matter in equity theory—it’s only the ratio.
The third possibility is that your ratio of outcomes to inputs is greater than your comparison
other’s ratio. Equity distress again gets experienced, and the tension likely creates negative emotions
such as guilt or anxiety. Balance could be restored by shrinking your outcomes (taking less money,
giving something back to the comparison other), but the theory acknowledges that such actions are
unlikely in most cases.67 Instead, the more likely solution is to increase your inputs in some way. You
could increase the intensity and persistence of your task effort or decide to engage in more “extra
mile” citizenship behaviors. At some point though, there may not be enough hours in the day to
increase your inputs any further. An alternative (and less labor-intensive) means of increasing your
inputs is to simply rethink them—to reexamine your mental ledger to see if you may have “undersold”
your true contributions. On second thought, maybe your education or seniority is more critical than
you realized, or maybe your skills and abilities are more vital to the organization. This cognitive
distortion allows you to restore balance mentally, without altering your behavior in any way.
There is one other way of restoring balance, regardless of underreward or overreward circum-
stances, that’s not depicted in Figure 6-6: Change your comparison other. After all, we compare
our “lots in life” to a variety of other individuals. Table 6-6 summarizes the different kinds of com-
parison others that can be used.68 Some of those comparisons are internal comparisons, meaning
that they refer to someone in the same company.69 Others are external comparisons, meaning that
they refer to someone in a different company. If a given comparison results in high levels of anger
TABLE 6-5 Some Outcomes and Inputs Considered by Equity Theory
Pay Effort
Seniority benefits Performance
Fringe benefits Skills and abilities
Status symbols Education
Satisfying supervision Experience
Workplace perks Training
Intrinsic rewards Seniority
Source: Adapted from J.S. Adams, “Inequity in Social Exchange,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 2, ed.
L. Berkowitz (New York: Academic Press, 1965), pp. 267–99.
Final PDF to printer

176 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 176 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Source: Adapted from J.S. Adams, “Inequity in Social Exchange,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 2, ed.
L. Berkowitz (New York: Academic Press, 1965), pp. 267–99
FIGURE 6-6 Three Possible Outcomes of Equity Theory Comparisons
Shrink your inputs by lowering the
intensity or persistence of e�ort.
Grow your outcomes by talking to your
boss or by stealing from the company.
Grow your inputs through more high
quality work or through some “cognitive
Shrink your outcomes (yeah, right! . . .
let ’s see what we can do about those
inputs . . .).
No actions needed.
Underreward Inequity
< Overreward Inequity >
and envy or high levels of guilt and anxiety, the frame of reference may be shifted. In fact, research
suggests that employees don’t just compare themselves to one other person; instead, they make
multiple comparisons to a variety of different others.70 Although it may be possible to create a sort
of “overall equity” judgment, research shows that people draw distinctions between the various
equity comparisons shown in the table. For example, one study showed that job equity was the
most powerful driver of citizenship behaviors, whereas occupational equity was the most powerful
driver of employee withdrawal.71
These mechanisms make it clear that judging equity is a very subjective process. Recent data
from a report highlight that very subjectivity. A survey of 1,500 employees revealed
that 65 percent of the respondents planned to look for a new job in the next three months,
with 57 percent doing so because they felt underpaid. However, estimated that only
19 percent of those workers really were underpaid, taking into account their relevant inputs and
the current market conditions. In fact, it was estimated that 17 percent were actually being over-
paid by their companies! On the one hand, that subjectivity is likely to be frustrating to most man-
agers in charge of compensation. On the other hand, it’s important to realize that the intensity
and persistence of employees’ effort is driven by their own equity perceptions, not anyone else’s.
Perhaps many employees feel they’re underpaid because they compare their earnings with their
CEOs’. In 1980, the median compensation for CEOs was 33 times that of the average worker.
Three decades later, that ratio is more than 100 times the average worker’s compensation (and
1,000 times for the companies mentioned in the prior paragraph). Why do boards of directors
Final PDF to printer

177C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 177 10/11/17 08:43 AM
grant such large compensation packages to CEOs? Although there are many reasons, some have
speculated that the pay packages represent status symbols, with many CEOs viewing themselves
in celebrity terms, along the lines of professional athletes.72 Alternatively, CEO pay packages may
represent rewards for years of climbing the corporate ladder or insurance policies against the low
job security for most CEOs.
Can such high pay totals ever be viewed as equitable in an equity theory sense? Well, CEOs likely
have unusually high levels of many inputs, including effort, skills and abilities, education, experience,
training, and seniority. CEOs may also use other CEOs as their comparison others—as opposed to
rank-and-file employees—making them less likely to feel a sense of overreward inequity. Ultimately,
however, the equity of their pay depends on how the company performs under them. Unfortunately,
one analysis revealed a near-zero correlation between CEO pay and shareholder returns.73
Some organizations grapple with concerns about equity by emphasizing pay secrecy (though that
doesn’t help with CEO comparisons, given that the Securities and Exchange Commission demands
the disclosure of CEO pay for all publicly traded companies). One survey indicated that 36 percent
of companies explicitly discourage employees from discussing pay with their colleagues, and surveys
also indicate that most employees approve of pay secrecy.74 Is pay secrecy a good idea? Although it
has not been the subject of much research, there appear to be pluses and minuses associated with
pay secrecy. On the plus side, such policies may reduce conflict between employees while appealing
to concerns about personal privacy. On the minus side, employees may respond to a lack of accurate
information by guessing at equity levels, possibly perceiving more underpayment inequity than truly
exists. In addition, the insistence on secrecy might cause employees to view the company with a
sense of distrust (see Chapter 7 on trust, justice, and ethics for more on this issue).75
Now we return, for one last time, to our running example in Figure 6-1. When last we checked in,
your motivation levels had suffered because you learned your coworker was offered the company’s
playoff tickets for successfully completing a similar assignment. As you browse the web in total
“time-wasting mode,” you begin thinking about all the reasons you hate working on this assignment.
Even aside from the issue of goals and rewards, you keep coming back to this issue: You would
never have taken on this project by choice. More specifically, the project itself doesn’t seem very
meaningful, and you doubt that it will have any real impact on the functioning of the organization.
Those sentiments signal a low level of psychological empowerment, which reflects an energy
rooted in the belief that work tasks contribute to some larger purpose.76 Psychological empower-
ment represents a form of intrinsic motivation, in that merely performing the work tasks serves as
TABLE 6-6 Judging Equity with Different Comparison Others
Job Equity Compare yourself to others doing the same job in the same com-
pany, with similar levels of education, seniority, and performance.
Company Equity Compare yourself to others in the same company but in different
jobs, with similar levels of responsibility and working conditions.
Occupational Equity Compare yourself to others doing the same job in other compa-
nies, with similar levels of education, seniority, and performance.
Educational Equity Compare yourself to others who have attained the same educa-
tion level.
Age Equity Compare yourself to others of the same age.
Source: Adapted from R.W. Scholl, E.A. Cooper, and J.F. McKenna, “Referent Selection in Determining Equity Percep-
tions: Differential Effects on Behavioral and Attitudinal Outcomes,” Personnel Psychology 40 (1987), pp. 113–24.
Final PDF to printer

178 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 178 10/11/17 08:43 AM
The farther out we go, the more I find myself wondering what it is we’re trying to accomplish. If
the universe is truly endless, then are we not striving for something forever out of reach?
With those words, Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) expresses the crux of his problem in
Star Trek Beyond (Dir. Justin Lin, Paramount Pictures, 2016). His ship, the U.S.S. Enterprise, is
three years into a five-year mission in deep space. The mission hasn’t had a lot of glamour lately,
between mapping solar systems and brokering peace treaties between alien civilizations. When
one of those brokerings goes awry, Kirk has to utter his classic line, “Scotty, get me out of here!”
He was talking about a planet, but could’ve also been talking about his job.
In a psychological empowerment sense, Kirk sees little purpose in his work. After all, what
value is there in mapping out something that’s infinite? Moreover, in space on a starship, each day
literally looks and feels exactly the same. Even when that peace treaty goes anything but peace-
fully, all Kirk can say is “I ripped my shirt again.” When Dr. McCoy (Karl Urban) asks if Kirk is
OK, the Captain responds, “Never better. Just another day in the fleet.”
To make matters worse, the monotony has begun to make Kirk doubt the meaningfulness and
impact of what he’s doing. “As for me,” he notes in his log, “things have started to feel a little . . .
episodic.” When the Enterprise docks for shore leave at Starbase Yorktown, Kirk is hopeful that it
will lift the crew’s morale noting, “Perhaps a break from routine will offer up some respite from the
mysteries of the unknown.” For his part, Kirk is about to explore a new job opportunity—leaving his
post to become a vice admiral at the Yorktown. Perhaps that post is something more of his choosing,
and more in line with what he’s good at. Will he really leave the Enterprise? In a “be careful what you
wish for” twist, that answer depends on whether Kirk survives the challenge right around the corner.
©Entertainment Pictures/Alamy
its own reward and supplies many of the intrinsic outcomes shown in Table 6-2. The concept of
psychological empowerment has much in common with our discussion of “satisfaction with the
work itself” in Chapter 4 on job satisfaction. That discussion illustrated that jobs with high levels
of variety, significance, and autonomy can be intrinsically satisfying.77 Models of psychological
empowerment argue that a similar set of concepts can make work tasks intrinsically motivating.
Four concepts are particularly important: meaningfulness, self-determination, competence, and
impact. To see these concepts at play in deep space, see our OB on Screen feature.
Final PDF to printer

179C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 179 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Meaningfulness captures the value of a work goal or purpose, relative to a person’s own ide-
als and passions.78 When a task is relevant to a meaningful purpose, it becomes easier to con-
centrate on the task and get excited about it. You might even find yourself cutting other tasks
short so you can devote more time to the meaningful one or thinking about the task outside
of work hours.79 In contrast, working on tasks that are not meaningful brings a sense of empti-
ness and detachment. As a result, you might need to mentally force yourself to keep working
on the task. Managers can instill a sense of meaningfulness by articulating an exciting vision or
purpose and fostering a noncynical climate in which employees are free to express idealism and
passion without criticism.80 For their part, employees can build their own sense of meaningful-
ness by identifying and clarifying their own passions. Employees who are fortunate enough to
be extremely passionate about their work sometimes describe it as “a calling”—something they
were born to do.81
Self-determination reflects a sense of choice in the initiation and continuation of work tasks.
Employees with high levels of self-determination can choose what tasks to work on, how to struc-
ture those tasks, and how long to pursue those tasks. That sense of self-determination is a strong
driver of intrinsic motivation, because it allows employees to pursue activities that they them-
selves find meaningful and interesting.82 Managers can instill a sense of self-determination in their
employees by delegating work tasks, rather than micromanaging them, and by trusting employees
to come up with their own approach to certain tasks.83 For their part, employees can gain more
self-determination by earning the trust of their bosses and negotiating for the latitude that comes
with that increased trust.
Competence captures a person’s belief in his or her capability to perform work tasks success-
fully.84 Competence is identical to the self-efficacy concept reviewed previously in this chapter;
employees with a strong sense of competence (or self-efficacy) believe they can execute the par-
ticular behaviors needed to achieve success at work. Competence brings with it a sense of pride
and mastery that is itself intrinsically motivating. Managers can instill a sense of competence in
their employees by providing opportunities for training and knowledge gain, expressing positive
feedback, and providing challenges that are an appropriate match for employees’ skill levels.85
Employees can build their own competence by engaging in self-directed learning, seeking out feed-
back from their managers, and managing their own workloads.
Impact reflects the sense that a person’s actions “make a difference”—that progress is being
made toward fulfilling some important purpose.86 Phrases such as “moving forward,” “being on
track,” and “getting there” convey a sense of impact.87 The polar opposite of impact is “learned
helplessness”—the sense that it doesn’t matter what a person does, nothing will make a differ-
ence. Here, phrases such as “stuck in a rut,” “at a standstill,” or “going nowhere” become more
relevant. Managers can instill a sense of impact by celebrating milestones along the journey to
task accomplishment, particularly for tasks that span a long time frame.88 Employees can attain a
deeper sense of impact by building the collaborative relationships needed to speed task progress
and initiating their own celebrations of “small wins” along the way.
Studies of generational
trends point to the increas-
ing interest of psychological
empowerment as a motivating
force. For example, one sur-
vey of 3,332 teens worldwide
revealed that 78 percent viewed
personal fulfillment as a key
motivator.89 There is also a
sense that younger employees
enter the workplace with higher
expectations for the impor-
tance of their roles, the auton-
omy they’ll be given, and the
progress they’ll make in their
organizational careers. That
trend is especially apparent in
What is psychological
empowerment, and what
four beliefs determine
empowerment levels?
Young employees at
MindTree, an information
technology consulting firm,
are given mentoring and
personal attention to build
a sense of empowerment.
©Namas Bhojani/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

180 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 180 10/11/17 08:43 AM
India, where the younger generation is coming of age in a time of unprecedented job opportunities
due to the tech-services boom. MindTree, an IT consulting firm headquartered in New Jersey and
Bangalore, India, takes steps to prevent young employees from feeling “lost in a sea of people.”90
The company places new hires into “houses” with their own assembly space and work areas, provid-
ing opportunities for more personal attention and mentoring. Infosys, another IT consulting firm
based in Bangalore, established a “Voice of Youth Council” that places a dozen under-30 employ-
ees on its executive management committee. The committee gives younger employees the chance
to impact the company’s operations. Bela Gupta, the council’s youngest member at 24 years of age,
describes the experience as “very empowering.”
T H A N OT H E R S ?
So what explains why some employees are more motivated than others? As shown in Figure 6-7,
answering that question requires considering all the energetic forces that initiate work-related
effort, including expectancy theory concepts (expectancy, instrumentality, valence), the existence
(or absence) of specific and difficult goals, perceptions of equity, and feelings of psychological
empowerment. Unmotivated employees may simply lack confidence due to a lack of expectancy
or competence or the assignment of an unachievable goal. Alternatively, such employees may feel
their performance is not properly rewarded due to a lack of instrumentality, a lack of valence,
or feelings of inequity. Finally, it may be that their work simply isn’t challenging or intrinsically
rewarding due to the assignment of easy or abstract goals or the absence of meaningfulness, self-
determination, and impact.
Does motivation have a significant impact on the two primary outcomes in our integrative model
of OB—does it correlate with job performance and organizational commitment? Answering that
question is somewhat complicated, because motivation is not just one thing but rather a set of
energetic forces. Figure 6-8 summarizes the research evidence linking motivation to job perfor-
mance and organizational commitment. The figure expresses the likely combined impact of those
energetic forces on the two outcomes in our OB model.
Turning first to job performance, literally thousands of studies support the relationships
between the various motivating forces and task performance. The motivating force with the stron-
gest performance effect is self-efficacy/competence, because people who feel a sense of internal
self-confidence tend to outperform those who doubt their capabilities.91 Difficult goals are the sec-
ond most powerful motivating force; people who receive such goals outperform the recipients of
easy goals.92 The motivational force created by high levels of valence, instrumentality, and expec-
tancy is the next most powerful motivational variable for task performance.93 Finally, perceptions
of equity have a somewhat weaker effect on task performance.94
Less attention has been devoted to the linkages between motivation variables and citizenship
and counterproductive behavior. With respect to the former, employees who engage in more
work-related effort would seem more likely to perform “extra mile” sorts of actions because those
actions themselves require extra effort. The best evidence in support of that claim comes from
research on equity. Specifically, employees who feel a sense of equity on the job are more likely
to engage in citizenship behaviors, particularly when those behaviors aid the organization.95 The
same employees are less likely to engage in counterproductive behaviors because such behaviors
often serve as a retaliation against perceived inequities.96
As with citizenship behaviors, the relationship between motivation and organizational com-
mitment seems straightforward. After all, the psychological and physical forms of withdrawal
that characterize less committed employees are themselves evidence of low levels of motivation.
How does motivation affect
job performance and orga-
nizational commitment?
Final PDF to printer

181C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 181 10/11/17 08:43 AM
FIGURE 6-7 Why Are Some Employees More Motivated Than Others?
Expectancy Instrumentality
and Di�cult
of E�ort
of E�ort
of E�ort
Clearly employees who are daydreaming, coming in late, and taking longer breaks are struggling
to put forth consistently high levels of work effort. Research on equity and organizational com-
mitment offers the clearest insights into the motivation–commitment relationship. Specifically,
employees who feel a sense of equity are more emotionally attached to their firms and feel a stron-
ger sense of obligation to remain.97
Final PDF to printer

182 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 182 10/11/17 08:43 AM
FIGURE 6-8 Effects of Motivation on Performance and Commitment
Sources: Y. Cohen-Charash and P.E. Spector, “The Role of Justice in Organizations: A Meta-Analysis,” Organizational
Behavior and Human Decision Processes 86 (2001), pp. 287–321; J.A. Colquitt, D.E. Conlon, M.J. Wesson, C.O.L.H.
Porter, and K.Y. Ng, “Justice at the Millennium: A Meta-Analytic Review of 25 Years of Organizational Justice Research,”
Journal of Applied Psychology 86 (2001), pp. 425–45; J.P. Meyer, D.J. Stanley, L. Herscovitch, and L. Topolnytsky, “Affec-
tive, Continuance, and Normative Commitment to the Organization: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents, Correlates, and
Consequences,” Journal of Vocational Behavior 61 (2002), pp. 20–52; A.D. Stajkovic and F. Luthans, “Self-Efficacy
and Work-Related Performance: A Meta-Analysis,” Psychological Bulletin 124 (1998), pp. 240–61; W. Van Eerde and
H. Thierry, “Vroom’s Expectancy Models and Work-Related Criteria: A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology
81 (1996), pp. 575–86; and R.E. Wood, A.J. Mento, and E.A. Locke, “Task Complexity as a Moderator of Goal Effects:
A Meta-Analysis,” Journal of Applied Psychology 72 (1987), pp. 416–25.
Motivation has a strong positive e�ect on Job Performance. People who experience higher
levels of motivation tend to have higher levels of Task Performance. Those e�ects are strongest
for self-e�cacy/competence, followed by goal di�culty, the valence-instrumentality-expectancy
combination, and equity. Less is known about the e�ects of motivation on Citizenship and
Counterproductive Behavior, though equity has a moderate positive e�ect on the former and a
moderate negative e�ect on the latter.
Less is known about the e�ects of Motivation on Organizational Commitment. However, equity
has a moderate positive e�ect. People who experience higher levels of equity tend to feel higher
levels of A�ective Commitment and higher levels of Normative Commitment. E�ects on
Continuance Commitment are weaker.
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
The most important area in which motivation concepts are applied in organizations is in the
design of compensation systems. Table 6-7 provides an overview of many of the elements used in
typical compensation systems. We use the term “element” in the table to acknowledge that most
organizations use a combination of multiple elements to compensate their employees. Two points
must be noted about Table 6-7. First, the descriptions of the elements are simplistic; the reality
is that each of the elements can be implemented and executed in a variety of ways.98 Second, the
elements are designed to do more than just motivate. For example, plans that put pay “at risk”
rather than creating increases in base salary are geared toward control of labor costs. As another
Final PDF to printer

183C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 183 10/11/17 08:43 AM
example, elements that stress individual achievement are believed to alter the composition of a
workforce over time, with high achievers drawn to the organization while less motivated employ-
ees are selected out. Finally, plans that reward unit or organizational performance are designed
to reinforce collaboration, information sharing, and monitoring among employees, regardless of
their impact on motivation levels.
One way of judging the motivational impact of compensation plan elements is to consider
whether the elements provide difficult and specific goals for channeling work effort. Merit pay
and profit sharing offer little in the way of difficult and specific goals because both essentially
challenge employees to make next year as good (or better) than this year. In contrast, lump-sum
bonuses and gain sharing provide a forum for assigning difficult and specific goals; the former
does so at the individual level and the latter at the unit level. Partly for this reason, both types of
plans have been credited with improvements in employee productivity.99
Another way of judging the motivational impact of the compensation plan elements is to con-
sider the correspondence between individual performance levels and individual monetary out-
comes. After all, that correspondence influences perceptions of both instrumentality and equity.
What steps can organiza-
tions take to increase
employee motivation?
TABLE 6-7 Compensation Plan Elements
Piece-rate A specified rate is paid for each unit produced, each unit sold, or
each service provided.
Merit pay An increase to base salary is made in accordance with perfor-
mance evaluation ratings.
Lump-sum bonuses A bonus is received for meeting individual goals but no change
is made to base salary. The potential bonus represents “at risk”
pay that must be re-earned each year. Base salary may be lower
in cases in which potential bonuses may be large.
Recognition awards Tangible awards (gift cards, merchandise, trips, special events,
time off, plaques) or intangible awards (praise) are given on an
impromptu basis to recognize achievement.
Gainsharing A bonus is received for meeting unit goals (department goals,
plant goals, business unit goals) for criteria controllable by
employees (labor costs, use of materials, quality). No change is
made to base salary. The potential bonus represents “at risk”
pay that must be re-earned each year. Base salary may be lower
in cases in which potential bonuses may be large.
Profit sharing A bonus is received when the publicly reported earnings
of a company exceed some minimum level, with the magnitude
of the bonus contingent on the magnitude of the profits. No
change is made to base salary. The potential bonus represents
“at risk” pay that must be re-earned each year. Base salary may
be lower in cases in which potential bonuses may be large.
Final PDF to printer

184 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 184 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Profit sharing, for example, is unlikely to have strong motivational consequences because an indi-
vidual employee can do little to improve the profitability of the company, regardless of his or her
job performance.100 Instrumentality and equity are more achievable with gain sharing because the
relevant unit is smaller and the relevant outcomes are more controllable. Still, the highest instru-
mentality and equity levels will typically be achieved through individual-focused compensation
elements, such as piece-rate plans or merit pay plans.
Of the two individual-focused elements, merit pay is by far the more common, given that
it is difficult to apply piece-rate plans outside of manufacturing, sales, and service contexts.
Indeed, one review estimated that merit pay is used by around 90 percent of U.S. organiza-
tions.101 Criticisms of merit pay typically focus on a smaller than expected differentiation in pay
across employees. One survey reported that pay increases for top performers (5.6 percent on
average) are only modestly greater than the pay increases for average performers (3.3 percent
on average).102 Such differences seem incapable of creating a perceived linkage between perfor-
mance and outcomes (though merit reviews can also have indirect effects on pay by triggering
A number of factors constrain instrumentality and equity in most applications of merit pay.
As noted earlier, one such factor is budgetary constraints because many organizations freeze or
limit pay increases during an economic downturn. Another factor is the accuracy of the actual
performance evaluation. Think of all the times you’ve been evaluated by someone else, whether
in school or in the workplace. How many times have you reacted by thinking, “Where did that
rating come from?” or “I think I’m being evaluated on the wrong things!” Performance evalua-
tion experts suggest that employees should be evaluated on behaviors that are controllable by the
employees (see Chapter 2 on job performance for more discussion of such issues), observable by
managers, and critical to the implementation of the firm’s strategy.104 The managers who conduct
evaluations also need to be trained in how to conduct them, which typically involves gaining
knowledge of the relevant behaviors ahead of time and being taught to keep records of employee
behavior between evaluation sessions.105
Even if employees are evaluated on the right things by a boss who has a good handle on their
performance, other factors can still undermine accuracy. Some managers might knowingly give
inaccurate evaluations due to workplace politics or a desire to not “make waves.” One survey
showed that 70 percent of managers have trouble giving poor ratings to underachieving employ-
ees.106 Unfortunately, such practices only serve to damage instrumentality and equity because they
fail to separate star employees from struggling employees. To ensure that such separation occurs,
Yahoo! instituted a “stacked ranking” system to determine compensation, in which managers rank
all the employees within their unit from top to bottom.107 Employees at the top end of those rank-
ings then receive higher bonuses than employees at the bottom end. Although such practices
raise concerns about employee morale and excessive competitiveness, research suggests that such
forced distribution systems can boost the performance of a company’s workforce, especially for
the first few years after their implementation.108
Finally, another factor that can hinder the effectiveness of merit pay is its typical once-a-
year schedule. How long a shelf life can the motivational benefits of a salary increase really
have? One month? Two months? Six? Such concerns have led a number of organizations to
supplement other compensation elements with more widespread use of recognition awards.
For example, Symantec, the Mountain View, California–based software firm, uses something
called an Applause Program.109 It honors employees in real time with a combination of gift cards
(worth up to $1,000) and electronic thank-you cards. Estimates suggest that around 65 percent
of employees have been recognized with some form of “applause” since the program launched.
The Everett Clinic, based in Everett, Washington, uses a number of different recognition awards,
colorfully named HeroGrams, Caught in the Act cards, and Pat on the Back cards.110 Explains
Daniel Debow, the founder of Rypple, a performance management system that resembles Face-
book in its look and feel, “We live in a real-time world . . . so it’s crazy to think people wouldn’t
want real-time feedback.”111
Final PDF to printer

185C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 185 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.1 Motivation is defined as a set of energetic forces that originates both within and outside
an employee, initiates work-related effort, and determines its direction, intensity, and
6.2 According to expectancy theory, effort is directed toward behaviors when effort is believed
to result in performance (expectancy), performance is believed to result in outcomes (instru-
mentality), and those outcomes are anticipated to be valuable (valence).
6.3 According to goal setting theory, goals become strong drivers of motivation and perfor-
mance when they are difficult and specific. Specific and difficult goals affect performance
by increasing self-set goals and task strategies. Those effects occur more frequently when
employees are given feedback, tasks are not too complex, and goal commitment is high.
6.4 According to equity theory, rewards are equitable when a person’s ratio of outcomes to
inputs matches those of some relevant comparison other. A sense of inequity triggers equity
distress. Underreward inequity typically results in lower levels of motivation or higher levels
of counterproductive behavior. Overreward inequity typically results in cognitive distortion,
in which inputs are reevaluated in a more positive light.
6.5 Psychological empowerment reflects an energy rooted in the belief that tasks are contribut-
ing to some larger purpose. Psychological empowerment is fostered when work goals appeal
to employees’ passions (meaningfulness), employees have a sense of choice regarding work
tasks (self-determination), employees feel capable of performing successfully (competence),
and employees feel they are making progress toward fulfilling their purpose (impact).
6.6 Motivation has a strong positive relationship with job performance and a moderate positive
relationship with organizational commitment. Of all the energetic forces subsumed by moti-
vation, self-efficacy/competence has the strongest relationship with performance.
6.7 Organizations use compensation practices to increase motivation. Those practices may include
individual-focused elements (piece-rate, merit pay, lump-sum bonuses, recognition awards),
unit-focused elements (gain sharing), or organization-focused elements (profit sharing).
• Motivation p. 162
• Engagement p. 163
• Expectancy theory p. 164
• Expectancy p. 164
• Self-efficacy p. 165
• Past accomplishments p. 165
• Vicarious experiences p. 165
• Verbal persuasion p. 165
• Emotional cues p. 165
• Instrumentality p. 166
• Valence p. 166
• Needs p. 166
• Extrinsic motivation p. 167
• Intrinsic motivation p. 167
• Meaning of money p. 168
• Goal setting theory p. 170
• Specific and difficult goals p. 170
• Self-set goals p. 170
• Task strategies p. 170
• Feedback p. 172
• Task complexity p. 172
• Goal commitment p. 172
• S.M.A.R.T. goals p. 173
• Equity theory p. 174
• Comparison other p. 174
• Equity distress p. 175
• Cognitive distortion p. 175
• Internal comparisons p. 175
• External comparisons p. 175
• Psychological empowerment p. 177
• Meaningfulness p. 179
• Self-determination p. 179
• Competence p. 179
• Impact p. 179
Final PDF to printer

186 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 186 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.1 Which of the outcomes in Table 6-2 are most appealing to you? Are you more attracted to
extrinsic outcomes or intrinsic outcomes? Do you think that your preferences will change as
you get older?
6.2 Assume that you were working on a group project and that one of your teammates was
nervous about speaking in front of the class during the presentation. Drawing on Figure 6-3,
what exactly could you do to make your classmate feel more confident?
6.3 Consider the five strategies for fostering goal commitment (rewards, publicity, support,
participation, and resources). Which of those strategies do you think is most effective? Can
you picture any of them having potential drawbacks?
6.4 How do you tend to respond when you experience overreward and underreward inequity?
Why do you respond that way rather than with some other combination in Figure 6-6?
6.5 Think about a job that you’ve held in which you felt very low levels of psychological empow-
erment. What could the organization have done to increase empowerment levels?
One motivational issue that Google pays particular attention to concerns its star performers.
Most organizations treat performance evaluation ratings—and accompanying compensation
differences—much like grades in a college course. Just as a distribution of grades might have a
few A’s, more A–’s, B+’s, B’s, and B–’s, and a few C’s, so too do performance evaluations wind
up with a few 5’s, more 4’s, 3’s, and 2’s, and a few 1’s. Thus, scores and rewards have a “bell
curve” distribution, with fewer people in the tails and more in the middle. Moreover, just as an
A is only a bit more rewarding than an A–, so too does a 5 get just a bit more than a 4.
Although there’s a logic to that view of evaluation and compensation, it misses an important
insight from scientific work on performance. That work suggests that the top 1 percent of
performers contribute 10 percent of the firm’s productivity all by themselves. Similarly, the top 5
percent of performers contribute 25 percent of the productivity all by themselves. Put differently,
stars aren’t just a little bit better than typical employees—they’re worlds better. This is especially
true in white collar jobs where there are no equipment or process constraints on what employees
can do. As Bill Gates once argued, “A great lathe operator commands several times the wage
of an average lathe operator, but a great writer of software code is worth 10,000 times the
price of an average software writer.”
Laszlo Bock, the former head of Google’s People Operations group, followed such
advice when rewarding star performers. He argues, “Internal pay systems don’t move quickly
enough or offer enough pay flexibility to pay the best people what they are actually worth.
The rational thing for you to do, as an exceptional performer, is to quit.” Thus, Google prac-
tices what he calls “paying unfairly”—where “unfairly” means a rejection of the notion that
5’s should only get a little more than 4’s or 3’s. “If the best performer is generating ten
times as much impact as an average performer, they shouldn’t necessarily get ten times the
reward,” Bock notes, “but I’d wager they should get at least five times the reward.” He
continues, “The only way to stay within budget is to give smaller rewards to the poorer
performers, or even the average ones. That won’t feel good initially, but take comfort in know-
ing that you’ve now given your best people a reason to stay with you, and everyone else a
reason to aim higher.”
C A S E : G O O G L E
Final PDF to printer

187C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 187 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.1 Do you agree with Bock that star performers should get a lot more—not just a little more—
than average performers? If someone earning a 3 on Google’s evaluation system gets a
2 percent raise, what should employees earning 4’s and 5’s get?
6.2 Given the budget issues created by giving star performers more, should someone earning a
3 get a 2 percent raise—or should they get less? What are the arguments for and against
a 2 percent raise level for average performers?
6.3 Consider all the things Google’s People Operations group does to motivate its employees.
Which motivation theories do they seem to be leveraging, and how?
Sources: L. Bock, Work Rules! Insights from Inside Google that Will Transform How You Live and Lead. New York: Twelve,
2015; E. O’Boyle Jr. and H. Aguinis, “The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Perfor-
mance.” Personnel Psychology, 65, 79–119.
The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate how compensation can be used to influence moti-
vation. This exercise uses groups, so your instructor will either assign you to a group or ask you
to create your own group. The exercise has the following steps:
6.1 Read the following scenario: Chris Clements and Pat Palmer are both computer program-
mers working for the same Fortune 500 company. One day they found out that Chris earns
$60,820 per year, while Pat earns $72,890. Chris was surprised and said, “I can’t think of
any reason why we should be paid so differently.” “I can think of at least 10 reasons,” Pat
responded. Can you, like Pat, think of at least 10 reasons that could cause this difference in
salary between two people? These reasons can be legal or illegal, wise or unwise.
6.2 Going around the group from member to member, generate a list of 10 conceivable reasons
why Pat may be earning more than Chris. Remember, the reasons can be legal or illegal, wise
or unwise.
6.3 Consider whether the theories discussed in the chapter—expectancy theory, goal setting the-
ory, equity theory, and psychological empowerment—are relevant to the list of reasons you’ve
generated. Maybe one of the theories supports the wisdom of a given reason. For example,
maybe Pat’s job is more difficult than Chris’s job. Equity theory would support the wisdom
of that reason because job difficulty is a relevant input. Maybe one of the theories questions
the wisdom of a given reason. For example, maybe Chris’s boss believes that salary increases
are a poor use of limited financial resources. Expectancy theory would question the wisdom
of that reason because that philosophy harms instrumentality.
6.4 Elect a group member to write the group’s 10 reasons on the board. Then indicate which
theories are relevant to the various reasons by writing one or more of the following abbrevia-
tions next to a given reason: EX for expectancy theory, GS for goal setting theory, EQ for
equity theory, and PE for psychological empowerment.
6.5 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on which theories seem
most relevant to the potential reasons for the pay differences between Chris and Pat. Are
there some potential reasons that don’t seem relevant to any of the four theories? Do those
reasons tend to be legal or illegal, wise or unwise?
Source: Adapted from Renard, M.K. “It’s All about the Money: Chris and Pat Compare Salaries.” Journal of Management
Education 32 (2008), pp. 248–61.
Final PDF to printer

188 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 188 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.1 Steers, R.M.; R.T.
Mowday; and D.
Shapiro. “The Future
of Work Motivation.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 29 (2004),
pp. 379–87; and
Latham, G.P. Work
Motivation: History,
Theory, Research, and
Practice. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006.
6.2 Latham, G.P., and
C.C. Pinder. “Work
Motivation Theory
and Research at the
Dawn of the Twenty-
First Century.” Annual
Review of Psychology 56
(2005), pp. 485–516.
6.3 Maier, N.R.F. Psychol-
ogy in Industry, 2nd
ed. Boston: Houghton
Mifflin, 1955.
6.4 Kahn, W.A. “Psycho-
logical Conditions of
Personal Engagement
and Disengagement
at Work.” Academy of
Management Journal 33
(1990), pp. 692–724.
6.5 Rich, B.L.; J.A. LePine;
and E.R. Crawford.
“Job Engagement:
Antecedents and
Effects on Job Perfor-
mance.” Academy of
Management Journal
52 (2009), pp. 617–35;
Schaufeli, W.B.; M.
Salanova; V. Gonzalez-
Roma; and A.B.
Bakker. “The Measure-
ment of Engagement
and Burnout: A Two
Sample Confirma-
tory Factor Analytic
Approach.” Journal
of Happiness Studies
3 (2002), pp. 71–92;
and Macy, W.H., and
B. Schneider. “The
Meaning of Employee
Engagement.” Industrial
and Organizational
Psychology 1 (2008),
pp. 3–30.
6.6 Ibid.; and Rothbard,
N.P. “Enriching or
Depleting? The
Dynamics of Engage-
ment in Work and
Family Roles.”
Administrative Science
Quarterly 46 (2001),
pp. 655–84.
6.7 Harter, J.K.; F.L.
Schmidt; and T.H.
Hayes. “Business-Unit-
Level Relationship
between Employee
Satisfaction, Employee
Engagement, and
Business Outcomes: A
Meta-Analysis.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 87
(2002), pp. 268–79.
6.8 O’Boyle, E., and J.
Harter. “State of the
American Workplace.”
Gallup, June 29, 2013,
6.9 Woolley, S. “New Pri-
orities for Employers.”
Bloomberg Business-
week, September 13–19,
2010, p. 54.
6.10 Bakker, A.B., and D.
Xanthopoulou. “The
Crossover of Daily
Work Engagement: Test
of an Actor-Partner
Model.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 94
(2009), pp. 1562–71.
6.11 Vroom, V.H. Work and
Motivation. New York:
Wiley, 1964.
6.12 Ibid.; see also Thorn-
dike, E.L. “The Law
of Effect.” American
Journal of Psychology
39 (1964), pp. 212–22;
Hull, C.L. Essentials of
Behavior. New Haven:
Yale University Press,
1951; and Postman, L.
“The History and Pres-
ent Status of the Law
of Effect.” Psychological
Bulletin 44 (1947),
pp. 489–563.
6.13 Bandura, A. “Self-
Efficacy: Toward a
Unifying Theory of
Behavioral Change.”
Psychological Review 84
(1977), pp. 191–215.
6.14 Brockner, J. Self-Esteem
at Work. Lexington,
MA: Lexington Books,
6.15 Bandura,
6.16 Ibid.
6.17 Ibid.
6.18 Gist, M.E., and T.R.
Mitchell. “Self-Efficacy:
A Theoretical Analysis
of Its Determinants and
Malleability.” Academy
of Management Review
17 (1992), pp. 183–211.
6.19 Vroom, Work and
Final PDF to printer

189C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 189 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.20 Pinder, C.C. Work Moti-
vation. Glenview, IL:
Scott, Foresman, 1984.
6.21 Stillings, J., and L.
Snyder. “Up Front: The
Stat.” BusinessWeek,
July 4, 2005, p. 12.
6.22 Henneman, T. “Cracks
in the Ice.” Workforce
Management, November
2010, pp. 30–36.
6.23 Source: Henneman,
T. “Cracks in the Ice.”
Workforce Manage-
ment, November 2010,
pp. 30–36.
6.24 Vroom, Work and
6.25 Pinder, Work Motivation.
6.26 Landy, F.J., and W.S.
Becker. “Motivation
Theory Reconsidered.”
In Research in Organiza-
tional Behavior, Vol. 9,
ed. B.M. Staw and L.L.
Cummings. Greenwich,
CT: JAI Press, 1987, pp.
1–38; and Naylor, J.C.;
D.R. Pritchard; and
D.R. Ilgen. A Theory
of Behavior in Orga-
nizations. New York:
Academic Press, 1980.
6.27 Maslow, A.H. “A
Theory of Human Moti-
vation.” Psychological
Review 50 (1943), pp.
370–96; and Alderfer,
C.P. “An Empirical Test
of a New Theory of
Human Needs.” Orga-
nizational Behavior and
Human Performance 4
(1969), pp. 142–75.
6.28 Ibid.; see also Deci,
E.L., and R.M. Ryan.
“The ‘What’ and ‘Why’
of Goal Pursuits:
Human Needs and the
Self-Determination of
Behavior.” Psychological
Inquiry 11 (2000),
pp. 227–68; Cropan-
zano, R.; Z.S. Byrne;
D.R. Bobocel; and D.R.
Rupp. “Moral Virtues,
Fairness Heuristics,
Social Entities, and
Other Denizens of
Organizational Justice.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 58 (2001),
pp. 164–209; Williams,
K.D. “Social Ostra-
cism.” In Aversive Inter-
personal Behaviors, ed.
R.M. Kowalski. New
York: Plenum Press,
1997, pp. 133–70;
and Thomas, K.W.,
and B.A. Velthouse.
“Cognitive Elements
of Empowerment: An
‘Interpretive’ Model of
Intrinsic Task Motiva-
tion.” Academy of
Management Review 15
(1990), pp. 666–81.
6.29 Deci and Ryan, “The
‘What’ and ‘Why’”;
and Naylor et al., A
Theory of Behavior in
6.30 Ibid.
6.31 Source: Huff, C.
“Motivating Workers
Worldwide.” Workforce
Management, Septem-
ber 24, 2007, pp. 25–31.
6.32 Speizer, I. “Incentives
Catch on Overseas, but
Value of Awards Can
Too Easily Get Lost in
Translation.” Workforce,
November 21, 2005,
pp. 46–49.
6.33 Huff, “Motivating the
World”; and Speizer,
“Incentives Catch on
6.34 Rynes, S.L.; B. Gerhart;
and K.A. Minette. “The
Importance of Pay in
Employee Motivation:
Discrepancies between
What People Say and
What They Do.” Human
Resource Management
43 (2004), pp. 381–94;
and Rynes, S.L.; K.G.
Brown; and A.E. Col-
bert. “Seven Common
Misconceptions about
Human Resource Prac-
tices: Research Findings
versus Practitioner
Beliefs.” Academy of
Management Executive
16 (2002), pp. 92–102.
6.35 Rynes et al., “The
Importance of Pay.”
6.36 Ibid.
6.37 Mitchell, T.R., and
A.E. Mickel. “The
Meaning of Money: An
Individual Differences
Perspective.” Academy
of Management Review
24 (1999), pp. 568–78.
6.38 Tang, T.L. “The
Meaning of Money
Revisited.” Journal of
Organizational Behavior
13 (1992), pp. 197–202;
and Mickel, A.E., and
L.A. Barron. “Getting
‘More Bang for the
Buck.’” Journal of
Management Inquiry 17
(2008), pp. 329–38.
6.39 Tang, T.L. “The
Development of a
Short Money Ethic
Scale: Attitudes toward
Money and Pay Satis-
faction Revisited.”
Personality and Indi-
vidual Differences 19
(1995), pp. 809–16.
6.40 Tang, “The Meaning of
Money Revisited.”
Final PDF to printer

190 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 190 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.41 Ibid.; and Tang, “The
Development of a
Short Money Ethic
6.42 Tang, “The Develop-
ment of a Short Money
Ethic Scale.”
6.43 Vroom, Work and Moti-
vation; and Lawler III,
E.E., and J.L. Suttle.
“Expectancy Theory
and Job Behavior.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Perfor-
mance 9 (1973), pp.
6.44 Locke, E.A. “Toward
a Theory of Task
Motivation and Incen-
tives.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Performance 3 (1968),
pp. 157–89.
6.45 Locke, E.A.; K.N.
Shaw; L.M. Saari; and
G.P. Latham. “Goal
Setting and Task Per-
formance: 1969–1980.”
Psychological Bulletin
90 (1981), pp. 125–52.
6.46 Locke, E.A., and G.P.
Latham. A Theory
of Goal Setting and
Task Performance.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1990.
6.47 Ibid.
6.48 Ibid.
6.49 Ibid.; see also Locke,
E.A., and G.P. Latham.
“Building a Practically
Useful Theory of
Goal Setting and Task
Motivation: A 35-Year
Odyssey.” American
Psychologist 57 (2002),
pp. 705–17; and
Latham, G.P. “Motivate
Employee Performance
through Goal-Setting.”
In Blackwell Handbook
of Principles of Organi-
zational Behavior, ed.
E.A. Locke. Malden,
MA: Blackwell, 2000,
pp. 107–19.
6.50 Locke and Latham, A
Theory of Goal Setting.
6.51 Locke et al., “Goal
Setting and Task
6.52 Ibid.; Locke and
Latham, A Theory of
Goal Setting; and Locke
and Latham, “Building
a Practically Useful
6.53 Wood, R.E.; A.J.
Mento; and E.A.
Locke. “Task Complex-
ity as a Moderator of
Goal Effects: A Meta-
Analysis.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 72
(1987), pp. 416–25.
6.54 Ibid.
6.55 Barrett, A. “Cracking
the Whip at Wyeth.”
BusinessWeek, February
6, 2006, pp. 70–71.
6.56 Hollenbeck, J.R., and
H.J. Klein. “Goal
Commitment and the
Goal-Setting Process:
Problems, Prospects,
and Proposal for Future
Research.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 72
(1987), pp. 212–20;
see also Locke et al.,
“Goal Setting and Task
6.57 Klein, H.J.; M.J. Wesson;
J.R. Hollenbeck;
and B.J. Alge. “Goal
Commitment and the
Goal-Setting Process:
Conceptual Clarifica-
tion and Empirical
Synthesis.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 84
(1999), pp. 885–96;
and Donovan, J.J., and
D.J. Radosevich. “The
Moderating Role of
Goal Commitment on
the Goal Difficulty–
Performance Relation-
ship: A Meta-Analytic
Review and Critical
Reanalysis.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 83
(1998), pp. 308–15.
6.58 Hollenbeck and Klein,
“Goal Commitment
and the Goal-Setting
Process”; Klein et al.,
“Goal Commitment”;
Locke, E.A.; G.P
Latham; and M. Erez.
“The Determinants of
Goal Commitment.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 13 (1988),
pp. 23–29; and Latham,
G.P. “The Motivational
Benefits of Goal-
Setting.” Academy
of Management Execu-
tive 18 (2004),
pp. 126–29.
6.59 Shaw, K.N. “Chang-
ing the Goal Setting
Process at Microsoft.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Executive 18
(2004), pp. 139–42.
6.60 Ibid.
6.61 Adams, J.S., and
W.B. Rosenbaum.
“The Relationship of
Worker Productivity to
Cognitive Dissonance
about Wage Inequities.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 46 (1962),
pp. 161–64.
Final PDF to printer

191C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 191 10/11/17 08:43 AM
6.62 Adams, J.S. “Inequity
in Social Exchange.” In
Advances in Experimen-
tal Social Psychology,
Vol. 2, ed. L. Berkowitz.
New York: Academic
Press, 1965, pp.
267–99; and Homans,
G.C. Social Behaviour:
Its Elementary Forms.
London: Routledge &
Kegan Paul, 1961.
6.63 Ibid.
6.64 Adams, “Inequality in
Social Exchange.”
6.65 Ibid.
6.66 Greenberg, J.
“Employee Theft as a
Reaction to Underpay-
ment Inequity: The
Hidden Cost of Payc-
uts.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 75 (1990),
pp. 561–68; and
Greenberg, J. “Stealing
in the Name of Justice:
Informational and
Interpersonal Modera-
tors of Theft Reactions
to Underpayment Ineq-
uity.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Decision Processes 54
(1993), pp. 81–103.
6.67 Adams, “Inequality in
Social Exchange.”
6.68 Scholl, R.W.; E.A. Coo-
per; and J.F. McKenna.
“Referent Selection in
Determining Equity
Perceptions: Differen-
tial Effects on Behav-
ioral and Attitudinal
Outcomes.” Personnel
Psychology 40 (1987),
pp. 113–24.
6.69 Ibid.
6.70 Ibid.; see also Finn,
R.H., and S.M. Lee.
“Salary Equity: Its
Determination, Analy-
sis, and Correlates.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 56 (1972),
pp. 283–92.
6.71 Scholl et al., “Referent
6.72 Sulkowicz, K. “CEO
Pay: The Prestige, the
Peril.” BusinessWeek,
November 20, 2006, p.
6.73 Silver-Greenberg,
J., and A. Leondis.
“How Much Is a CEO
Worth?” Bloomberg
Businessweek, May
10–16, 2010, pp. 70–71.
6.74 Colella, A.; R.L. Paet-
zold; A. Zardkoohi; and
M. Wesson. “Exposing
Pay Secrecy.” Academy
of Management Review
32 (2007), pp. 55–71.
6.75 Ibid.
6.76 Thomas, K.W., and
B.A. Velthouse.
“Cognitive Elements
of Empowerment: An
‘Interpretive’ Model of
Intrinsic Task Motiva-
tion.” Academy of
Management Review 15
(1990), pp. 666–81.
6.77 Hackman, J.R., and
G.R. Oldham. Work
Redesign. Reading, MA:
Addison-Wesley, 1980.
6.78 Thomas and Velthouse,
“Cognitive Elements of
Empowerment”; Spre-
itzer, G.M. “Psychologi-
cal Empowerment in
the Workplace: Dimen-
sions, Measurement,
and Validation.” Acad-
emy of Management
Journal 38 (1995),
pp. 1442–65; Deci,
E.L., and R.M. Ryan.
Intrinsic Motivation and
Self-Determination in
Human Behavior. New
York: Plenum, 1985;
and Hackman and Old-
ham, Work Redesign.
6.79 Thomas, K.W. Intrinsic
Motivation at Work:
Building Energy and
Commitment. San Fran-
cisco: Berrett-Koehler,
6.80 Ibid.
6.81 Bunderson, J.S., and
J.A. Thompson. “The
Call of the Wild:
Zookeepers, Callings,
and the Double-Edged
Sword of Deeply Mean-
ingful Work.” Adminis-
trative Science Quarterly
54 (2009), pp. 32–57;
Duffy, R.D., and W.E.
Sedlacek. “The Pres-
ence of and Search for
a Calling: Connections
to Career Develop-
ment.” Journal of
Vocational Behavior 70
(2007), pp. 590–601;
and Hagmaier, T., and
A.E. Abele. “The Multi-
dimensionality of Call-
ing: Conceptualization,
Measurement and a
Bicultural Perspective.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 81 (2012).
pp. 39–51.
6.82 Thomas and Velthouse,
“Cognitive Elements of
Empowerment”; and
Spreitzer, “Psychologi-
cal Empowerment.”
6.83 Thomas, Intrinsic Moti-
vation at Work.
6.84 Thomas and Velthouse,
“Cognitive Elements of
Final PDF to printer

192 C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 192 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Empowerment”; and
Spreitzer, “Psychologi-
cal Empowerment.”
6.85 Thomas, Intrinsic Moti-
vation at Work.
6.86 Thomas and Velthouse,
“Cognitive Elements of
6.87 Thomas, Intrinsic Moti-
vation at Work.
6.88 Thomas, Intrinsic Moti-
vation at Work.
6.89 Gerdes, L. “Get Ready
for a Pickier Work-
force.” BusinessWeek,
September 18, 2006, p.
6.90 Hamm, S. “Young and
Impatient in India.”
BusinessWeek, January
28, 2008, pp. 45–48.
6.91 Stajkovic, A.D., and F.
Luthans. “Self-Efficacy
and Work-Related
Performance: A Meta-
Analysis.” Psychological
Bulletin 124 (1998), pp.
6.92 Wood et al., “Task
Complexity as a
6.93 Van Eerde, W., and
H. Thierry. “Vroom’s
Expectancy Models
and Work-Related Cri-
teria: A Meta-Analysis.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 81 (1996),
pp. 575–86.
6.94 Cohen-Charash, Y.,
and P.E. Spector.
“The Role of Justice
in Organizations:
A Meta-Analysis.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 86 (2001), pp.
287–321; and Colquitt,
J.A.; D.E. Conlon;
M.J. Wesson; C.O.L.H.
Porter; and K.Y. Ng.
“Justice at the Millen-
nium: A Meta-Analytic
Review of 25 Years of
Organizational Justice
Research.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 86
(2001), pp. 425–45.
6.95 Ibid.
6.96 Ibid.
6.97 Ibid.
6.98 Lawler III, E.E.
Rewarding Excellence:
Pay Strategies for the
New Economy. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
2000; and Gerhart,
B.; S.L. Rynes; and
I.S. Fulmer. “Pay and
Performance: Indi-
viduals, Groups, and
Executives.” Academy of
Management Annals, 3
(2009), pp. 251–315.
6.99 Ibid.; see also Durham,
C.C., and K.M. Bartol.
“Pay for Performance.”
In Handbook of Prin-
ciples of Organizational
Behavior, ed. E.A.
Locke. Malden, MA:
Blackwell, 2000, pp.
150–65; and Gerhart,
B.; H.B. Minkoff; and
R.N. Olsen. “Employee
Compensation: Theory,
Practice, and Evi-
dence.” In Handbook
of Human Resource
Management, ed. G.R.
Ferris, S.D. Rosen, and
D.T. Barnum. Malden,
MA: Blackwell, 1995,
pp. 528–47.
6.100 Ibid.
6.101 Gerhart et al., “Pay
and Performance”;
and Cohen, K. “The
Pulse of the Profes-
sion: 2006–2007
Budget Survey.” Work-
span, September 2006,
pp. 23–26.
6.102 Hansen, F. “Merit-Pay
Payoff?” Workforce
Management, Novem-
ber 3, 2008, pp.
6.103 Ibid.
6.104 Latham, G., and S.
Latham. “Overlook-
ing Theory and
Research in Perfor-
mance Appraisal at
One’s Peril: Much
Done, More to
Do.” In Industrial
and Organizational
Psychology: Linking
Theory with Practice,
ed. C.L. Cooper
and E.A. Locke.
Oxford, UK:
Blackwell, 2000,
pp. 199–215.
6.105 Ibid.
6.106 Sulkowicz, K.
“Straight Talk at
Review Time.”
September 10, 2007,
p. 16.
6.107 McGregor, J.
“The Struggle to
Measure Perfor-
mance.” Business-
Week, January 9,
2006, pp. 26–28.
Final PDF to printer

193C H A P T E R 6 Motivation
coL27660_ch06_160-193.indd 193 10/11/17 08:43 AM
Psychology 58 (2005),
pp. 1–32.
6.109 Shepherd, L.
“Getting Personal.”
Workforce Manage-
ment, September 2010,
pp. 24–29.
6.108 Scullen, S.E.; P.K.
Bergey; and L. Aiman-
Smith. “Forced Distri-
bution Rating Systems
and the Improve-
ment of Workforce
Potential: A Baseline
Simulation.” Personnel
6.110 Ibid.
6.111 Pyrillis, R. “The
Reviews Are In.”
Workforce Manage-
ment, May 2011,
pp. 20–25.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 194 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.1 What is trust, and how does it relate to justice and ethics?
7.2 In what three sources can trust be rooted?
7.3 What dimensions can be used to describe the trustworthiness of an authority?
7.4 What dimensions can be used to describe the fairness of an authority’s decision making?
7.5 What is the four-component model of ethical decision making?
7.6 How does trust affect job performance and organizational commitment?
7.7 What steps can organizations take to become more trustworthy?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Trust, Justice, and Ethics
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 195 10/20/17 02:24 PM
hat image comes to mind when you picture Sea-
World? Dolphins? Penguins? Chances are it’s a
powerful majestic killer whale—or orca—jumping
out of the water or splashing the audience with its tail. The
company owns 89,000 animals in total, but it’s the 29 orcas
that have always gotten the lion’s share of attention. After
years of controversy, however, theatrical orca shows are
being phased out at SeaWorld’s parks.
The controversy over SeaWorld’s orcas began in 2010
when a whale named Tilly killed a trainer. That incident led
to an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health
Administration and—more famously—a scathing documen-
tary called Blackfish. That film debuted at the Sundance
film festival in 2013 and tied Tilly to two additional deaths,
making the case that the whale became violent due to cap-
tivity. As Blackfish played widely on CNN and Netflix, more
and more people expressed criticism of SeaWorld on social
media. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
staged protests of SeaWorld, both at its parks and at the
homes of its executives. The criticisms triggered by Black-
fish cut to the core of SeaWorld as a company. Its mission
was to care for and train animals in captivity, with the film
making the case that captivity itself was unethical. Initially,
the company responded in ways that only exacerbated the
ethical issue. Aside from launching a combative public rela-
tions campaign, it also sent staff members “undercover” as
animal rights activists to spy on PETA.
Joel Manby—SeaWorld’s new CEO—has helped to steady
the ship. It was Manby who made the decision to phase out
the theatrical orca shows. He commissioned a nine-month
study that showed a majority of Americans thought that
keeping large creatures in small spaces was unethical. It
was also Manby who devoted SeaWorld to a more educa-
tion- and conservation-focused mission. Such activities
have always been in SeaWorld’s DNA, as when it helped
rescue hundreds of animals stranded on the California
Coast in 2015. “I really felt the company was getting a bad
rap,” notes Manby. “I wanted to help them get through this.”
Manby’s new vision for the park is “experiences that matter.”
Visitors will increasingly be taken “behind the scenes” to
see all the things that SeaWorld does to care for the planet
and its creatures.
©Asif Islam/Shutterstock
Final PDF to printer

196 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 196 10/20/17 02:24 PM
T R U S T, J U S T I C E , A N D E T H I C S
One reason companies care about ethical issues is that a firm’s reputation is one of its most prized
possessions. An organization’s reputation reflects the prominence of its brand in the minds of
the public and the perceived quality of its goods and services.1 Reputation is an intangible asset
that can take a long time to build but, as Ben Franklin once noted, can be cracked as easily as
glass or china.2 That’s especially the case today, when one bad experience with any company
can be tweeted, shared on Facebook, posted on a blog, or videotaped and uploaded to YouTube.
Although we typically think about a company’s reputation in reference to potential consumers,
it matters to employees as well. Recruitment experts maintain that top performers want to work
at organizations with clean reputations, in part because they want to protect their own personal
image. Indeed, one survey found that 78 percent of adults would rather work at a company with
an excellent reputation and an average salary than at a company with a high salary and a poor
reputation.3 Who are some companies with excellent reputations? Table 7-1 provides the top 25
from Fortune’s list of “Most Admired Companies.”
Reputations depend on many things, but one of the most important factors is trust. Trust is
defined as the willingness to be vulnerable to a trustee based on positive expectations about the
trustee’s actions and intentions.4 If a customer trusts the quality of a company’s products or ser-
vices, that customer is willing to accept the consequences of paying money to the company. If a
potential recruit trusts the words of a company’s management, that recruit is willing to accept the
consequences of becoming a member of the organization. Both examples illustrate that trusting
reflects a willingness to “put yourself out there,” even though doing so could be met with disap-
pointment. The examples also highlight the difference between “trust” and “risk.” Actually mak-
ing yourself vulnerable—by buying products or accepting a job—constitutes risk. Trust reflects the
willingness to take that risk. Unfortunately, trust in many companies has declined sharply due to
TABLE 7-1 The World’s Most Admired Companies
 1. Apple 14. Netflix
 2. Amazon 15. Costco
 3. Starbucks 16. Coca-Cola
 4. Berkshire Hathaway 17. American Express
 5. Walt Disney 18. Nordstrom
 6. Google 19. Procter & Gamble
 7. General Electric 20.
 8. Southwest Airlines 21. BMW
 9. Facebook 22. JPMorgan Chase
10. Microsoft 23. 3M
11. FedEx 24. IBM
12. Nike 25. USAA
13. Johnson & Johnson 25. Marriott
Source: From C. Tkaczyk, “The World’s Most Admired Companies,” Fortune, March 1, 2015.
Final PDF to printer

197C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 197 10/20/17 02:24 PM
corporate scandals and economic shifts. Indeed, one recent survey revealed that only 44 percent
of Americans say they trust business, down from 58 percent one year earlier.5 “Trust is what drives
profit margin and share price,” notes the CEO of one branding and marketing firm. “It is what
consumers are looking for and what they share with one another.”
This chapter focuses on trust in organizational authorities, a group that could include the
CEO of an organization, its top management team, or supervisors and managers within the firm.
These authorities “put a face on a company,” giving employees and customers a means of judg-
ing a company’s reputation. These authorities are also capable of having a significant influence
on the performance and commitment of employees. As you’ll see in the chapter, trust in these
authorities depends on two related concepts. Justice reflects the perceived fairness of an author-
ity’s decision making.6 When employees perceive high levels of justice, they believe that decision
outcomes are fair and that decision-making processes are designed and implemented in a fair
manner. Justice concepts can be used to explain why employees judge some authorities to be
more trustworthy than others.7 Ethics reflects the degree to which the behaviors of an authority
are in accordance with generally accepted moral norms.8 When employees perceive high levels
of ethics, they believe that things are being done the way they “should be” or “ought to be” done.
Ethics concepts can be used to explain why authorities decide to act in a trustworthy or untrust-
worthy manner.
T H A N OT H E R S ?
Think about a particular boss or instructor—someone you’ve spent a significant amount of time
around. Do you trust that person? Would you be willing to let that person have significant influ-
ence over your professional or educational future? For example, would you be willing to let that
person serve as a reference for you or write you a letter of recommendation, even though you’d
have no way of monitoring what he or she said about you? When you think about the level of trust
you feel for that particular authority, what exactly makes you feel that way? This question speaks
to the factors that drive trust—the factors that help inspire a willingness to be vulnerable.
As shown in Figure 7-1, trust is rooted in three different kinds of factors. Sometimes trust is
disposition-based, meaning that your personality traits include a general propensity to trust others.
Sometimes trust is cognition-based, meaning that it’s rooted in a rational assessment of the author-
ity’s trustworthiness.9 Sometimes trust is affect-based, meaning that it depends on feelings toward
the authority that go beyond any rational assessment.10 The sections that follow describe each of
these trust forms in more detail.
DISPOSITION-BASED TRUST Disposition-based trust has less to do with a particular authority
and more to do with the trustor. Some trustors are high in trust propensity—a general expectation
that the words, promises, and statements of individuals and groups can be relied upon.11 Some
have argued that trust propensity represents a sort of “faith in human nature,” in that trusting
people view others in more favorable terms than do suspicious people.12 The importance of trust
propensity is most obvious in interactions with strangers, in which any acceptance of vulnerability
would amount to “blind trust.”13 On the one hand, people who are high in trust propensity may
be fooled into trusting others who are not worthy of it.14 On the other hand, those who are low in
trust propensity may be penalized by not trusting someone who is actually deserving of it. Both
situations can be damaging; as one scholar noted, “We are doomed if we trust all and equally
doomed if we trust none.”15 Where do you stack up on trust propensity? See our OB Assessments
feature to find out.
Where does our trust propensity come from? As with all traits, trust propensity is a product
of both nature and nurture (see Chapter 9 on personality and cultural values for more discussion
What is trust, and how
does it relate to justice and
In what three sources can
trust be rooted?
Final PDF to printer

198 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 198 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Source: Adapted from R.C. Mayer, J.H. Davis, and F.D. Schoorman, “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust,”
Academy of Management Review 20 (1995), pp. 709–34; and D.J. McAllister, “Affect- and Cognition-Based Trust as Foun-
dations for Interpersonal Cooperation in Organizations,” Academy of Management Journal 38 (1995), pp. 24–59.
FIGURE 7-1 Factors That Influence Trust Levels
Feelings toward
Disposition-Based Trust
Cognition-Based Trust
A�ect-Based Trust
of such issues). If our parents are dispositionally suspicious, we may either inherit that tendency
genetically or model it as we watch them exhibit distrust in their day-to-day lives. Research also
suggests that trust propensity is shaped by early childhood experiences.16 In fact, trust propensity
may be one of the first personality traits to develop because infants must immediately learn to
trust their parents to meet their needs. The more our needs are met as children, the more trusting
we become; the more we are disappointed as children, the less trusting we become. Our propensi-
ties continue to be shaped later in life as we gain experiences with friends, schools, churches, local
government authorities, and other relevant groups.17
The nation in which we live also affects our trust propensity. Research by the World Values
Study Group examines differences between nations on various attitudes and perceptions. The
study group collects interview data from 45 different societies with a total sample size of more
than 90,000 participants. One of the questions asked by the study group measures trust propen-
sity. Specifically, participants are asked, “Generally speaking, would you say that most people can
be trusted or that you can’t be too careful in dealing with people?” Figure 7-2 shows the percent-
age of participants who answered “Most people can be trusted” for this question, as opposed to
“Can’t be too careful,” for several of the nations included in the study. The results reveal that trust
propensity levels are actually relatively high in the United States, especially in relation to countries
in Europe and South America.
Final PDF to printer

199C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 199 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Sources: R.C. Mayer and J.H. Davis, “The Effect of the Performance Appraisal System on Trust for Management: A Field
Quasi-Experiment,” Journal of Applied Psychology 84 (1999), pp. 123–36.
Are you a trusting person or a suspicious person by nature? This assessment is designed to mea-
sure trust propensity—a dispositional willingness to trust other people. Answer each question
using the response scale provided. Then subtract your answers to the boldfaced questions from
6, with the difference being your new answers for those questions. For example, if your original
answer for question 4 was “4,” your new answer is “2” (6 – 4). Then sum up your answers for the
eight questions. (Instructors: Assessments on procedural justice, moral attentiveness, and moral
identity can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s Instructor Resources and in the
Connect assignments for this chapter.)
1. One should be very cautious with strangers.
2. Most experts tell the truth about the limits of their knowledge.
3. Most people can be counted on to do what they say they will do.
4. These days, you must be alert or someone is likely to take advantage
of you.

5. Most salespeople are honest in describing their products.
6. Most repair people will not overcharge people who are ignorant of their

7. Most people answer public opinion polls honestly.
8. Most adults are competent at their jobs.
If your scores sum up to 21 or above, you tend to be trusting of other people, which means you’re
often willing to accept some vulnerability to others under conditions of risk. If your scores sum
up to 20 or below, you tend to be suspicious of other people, which means you’re rarely willing to
accept such vulnerability.
COGNITION-BASED TRUST Disposition-based trust guides us in cases when we don’t yet have
data about a particular authority. However, eventually we gain enough knowledge to gauge the
authority’s trustworthiness, defined as the characteristics or attributes of a trustee that inspire
trust.18 At that point, our trust begins to be based on cognitions we’ve developed about the author-
ity, as opposed to our own personality or disposition. In this way, cognition-based trust is driven
by the authority’s “track record.”19 If that track record has shown the authority to be trustworthy,
What dimensions can be
used to describe the trust-
worthiness of an authority?
Final PDF to printer

200 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 200 10/20/17 02:24 PM
then vulnerability to the authority can be accepted. If that track record is spotty however, then
trust may not be warranted. Research suggests that we gauge the track record of an authority
along three dimensions: ability, benevolence, and integrity.20
The first dimension of trustworthiness is ability, defined
as the skills, competencies, and areas of expertise that
enable an authority to be successful in some specific area
(see Chapter 10 on ability for more discussion of such
issues).21 Think about the decision-making process that you
go through when choosing a doctor, lawyer, or mechanic.
Clearly one of the first things you consider is ability because
you’re not going to trust them if they don’t know a scalpel
from a retractor, a tort from a writ, or a camshaft from a
crankshaft. Of course, listing a specific area is a key compo-
nent of the ability definition; you wouldn’t trust a mechanic
to perform surgery, nor would you trust a doctor to fix your
car! The ability of business authorities may be considered on
a number of levels. For example, managers may be judged
according to their functional expertise in a particular voca-
tion but also according to their leadership skills and their
general business sense.
The second dimension of trustworthiness is benevolence,
defined as the belief that the authority wants to do good
for the trustor, apart from any selfish or profit-centered
Source: Adapted from J.J. Johnson and J.B. Cullen, “Trust in Cross-Cultural Relationships,” in Blackwell Handbook of
Cross-Cultural Management, ed. M.J. Gannon and K.L. Newman (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 335–60.
FIGURE 7-2 Trust Propensities by Nation
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
United States
South Korea
South Africa
Percentage Agreeing “Most People Can Be Trusted”
Children whose needs are
generally met tend to grow
into trusting adults.
©Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

201C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 201 10/20/17 02:24 PM
motives.22 When authorities are perceived
as benevolent, it means that they care for
employees, are concerned about their well-
being, and feel a sense of loyalty to them.
The mentor–protégé relationship provides
a good example of benevolence at work, in
that the best mentors go out of their way to
be helpful apart from concerns about finan-
cial rewards.23 The management at Meijer, the
Grand Rapids, Michigan–based supermarket
chain, seems to understand the importance of
benevolence.24 Meijer added a five-day course
on “positive organizational scholarship” to
its leadership training program. The training
stresses the importance of positive communication and a culture of kindness in the organization.
The chain, which operates 180 stores with 60,000 employees, is attempting to compete with the
likes of Walmart by maximizing the commitment of its workforce. David Beach, the vice president
of workforce planning and development, noted, “We realized that we need our company to be a
place where people want to work.”25
The third dimension of trustworthiness is integrity, defined as the perception that the author-
ity adheres to a set of values and principles that the trustor finds acceptable.26 When authorities
have integrity, they are of sound character—they have good intentions and strong moral disci-
pline.27 Integrity also conveys an alignment between words and deeds—a sense that authorities
keep their promises, “walk the talk,” and “do what they say they will do.”28 Unfortunately, one
survey indicated that only around 20 percent of American workers view senior managers as acting
in accordance with their words.29 A few years ago Domino’s Pizza showed an unusual amount
of integrity in its advertising and business operations. Despite the fact that its market share was
holding steady, the company admitted that customers didn’t think its pizza was all that great.30
Domino’s president vowed to put 40 percent more herbs in its sauce, use better cheese, and add a
special glaze to its crust. The end result is a better-tasting pizza (in our humble opinion, anyway!),
an increase in sales,31 and the sense that Domino’s management “tells it how it is.”
Questions about integrity extend beyond senior management, however. For example, studies
suggest that rank-and-file employees lie more frequently when communicating by e-mail because
there are no “shifty eyes” or nervous ticks to give them away. Indeed, one study showed that peo-
ple were more likely to lie via e-mail than when writing letters using pen and paper.32 Why would
those contexts differ, when neither is face-to-face? It may be that e-mail feels more fleeting than
paper and that the ability to delete what you write—even if you ultimately don’t—makes you choose
words more casually. Regardless, the lies can begin even before employees are hired, as one survey
of managers by revealed that 49 percent had caught an applicant lying on a
résumé.33 Among the more colorful “exaggerations” were claims of membership in Mensa, listing
a degree from a fictitious university, and pretending to be a Kennedy. For a discussion of integrity
during the delivery of feedback, see our OB at the Bookstore feature.
AFFECT-BASED TRUST  Although ability, benevolence, and integrity provide three good rea-
sons to trust an authority, the third form of trust isn’t actually rooted in reason. Affect-based
trust is more emotional than rational. With affect-based trust, we trust because we have feelings
for the person in question; we really like them and have a fondness for them. Those feelings are
what prompt us to accept vulnerability to another person. Put simply, we trust them because we
like them. Some of that trust can even be chemical, as research shows that something as common
as a hug can stimulate a hormone called oxytocin—sometimes called the “cuddle chemical”—that
causes your brain to be more trusting.34
Affect-based trust acts as a supplement to the types of trust discussed previously.35 Figure 7-3
describes how the various forms of trust can build on one another over time. In new relation-
ships, trust depends solely on our own trust propensity. In most relationships, that propensity
eventually gets supplemented by knowledge about ability, benevolence, or integrity, at which point
After admitting that the
company needed to
change its pizza recipe and
ingredients, Domino’s set
out to get people to try the
new and improved version.
©Gareth Fuller/PA Wire URN:9540468/AP Images
Final PDF to printer

202 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 202 10/20/17 02:24 PM
by Kim Scott (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017).
Developing trust is not simply a matter of ‘do x, y, and z, and you have a good relationship.’
Like all human bonds, the connections between bosses and the people who report to them are
unpredictable and not subject to absolute rules. But I have identified two dimensions that, when
paired, will help you move in a positive direction.
With those words, Kim Scott describes how to foster trust between
managers and their employees. What are the two dimensions? The
first is called “Care Personally.” It involves viewing employees as
whole human beings—as caring about more than just their skills.
Scott’s description sounds a lot like the benevolence aspect of trust-
worthiness, as it involves a caring that goes beyond profit maximiza-
tion. The second is called “Challenge Directly.” It involves being truly
honest with employees about their performance—when it’s good and
(especially) when it’s bad. Scott argues that this sort of challenging
cuts to the core of what managers are obligated to do. As such, it has
elements of the ability and integrity aspects of trustworthiness.
Where does the book’s title come from? Scott describes Radical
Candor as the combination of high levels of Care Personally and
Challenge Directly. That combination is important. Proving that
they truly care about employees is what gives managers the reserve of
good will during times when challenging is needed. Without that good will, the challenging would
offend rather than redirect.
Of course, Scott doesn’t pretend that Radical Candor is easy. “It’s brutally hard to tell people
when they are screwing up,” she writes. “You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings; that’s because
you’re not a sadist. You don’t want that person or the rest of the team to think you’re a jerk.
Plus, you’ve been told since you learned to talk, ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say
anything at all.’ Now all of a sudden it’s your job to say it. You’ve got to undo a lifetime of train-
ing. Management is hard.” Fortunately, Scott provides a number of specific tips for meeting that
©Roberts Publishing Services
cognition-based trust develops. In a select few of those relationships, an emotional bond develops,
and our feelings for the trustee further increase our willingness to accept vulnerability. These
relationships are characterized by a mutual investment of time and energy, a sense of deep attach-
ment, and the realization that both parties would feel a sense of loss if the relationship were
SUMMARY  Taken together, disposition-based trust, cognition-based trust, and affect-based
trust provide three completely different sources of trust in a particular authority. In the case of
disposition-based trust, our willingness to be vulnerable has little to do with the authority and
more to do with our genes and our early life experiences. In the case of affect-based trust, our
willingness to be vulnerable has little to do with a rational assessment of the authority’s merits
and more to do with our emotional fondness for the authority. Only in the case of cognition-based
trust do we rationally evaluate the pluses and minuses of an authority, in terms of its ability,
Final PDF to printer

203C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 203 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Sources: Adapted from R.J. Lewicki and B.B. Bunker, “Developing and Maintaining Trust in Work Relationships,” in Trust
in Organizations: Frontiers of Theory and Research, ed. R.M. Kramer and T.R. Tyler (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996),
pp. 114–39; and R.C. Mayer, J.H. Davis, and F.D. Schoorman, “An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust,” Academy
of Management Review 20 (1995), pp. 709–34.
FIGURE 7-3 Types of Trust Over Time
Based Trust
Based Trust
Based Trust
benevolence, and integrity. But how exactly do we gauge those trustworthiness forms? One way is
to consider whether authorities adhere to rules of justice.
It’s often difficult to assess the ability, benevolence, and integrity of authorities accurately, par-
ticularly early in a working relationship. What employees need in such circumstances is some sort
of observable behavioral evidence that an authority might be trustworthy. Justice provides that
sort of behavioral evidence because authorities who treat employees more fairly are usually judged
to be more trustworthy.37 As shown in Table 7-2, employees can judge the fairness of an author-
ity’s decision making along four dimensions: distributive justice, procedural justice, interpersonal
justice, and informational justice.
DISTRIBUTIVE JUSTICE Distributive justice reflects the perceived fairness of decision-making
outcomes.38 Employees gauge distributive justice by asking whether decision outcomes—such as
pay, rewards, evaluations, promotions, and work assignments—are allocated using proper norms.
In most business situations, the proper norm is equity, with more outcomes allocated to those
who contribute more inputs (see Chapter 6 on motivation for more discussion of such issues).
The equity norm is typically judged to be the fairest choice in situations in which the goal is to
maximize the productivity of individual employees.39
However, other allocation norms become appropriate in situations in which other goals are
critical. In team-based work, building harmony and solidarity in work groups can become just as
important as individual productivity. In such cases, an equality norm may be judged fairer, such
that all team members receive the same amount of relevant rewards.40 The equality norm is typi-
cally used in student project groups, in which all group members receive exactly the same grade
on a project, regardless of their individual productivity levels. In cases in which the welfare of a
particular employee is the critical concern, a need norm may be judged fairer. For example, some
organizations protect new employees from committee assignments and other extra activities, so
that they can get their careers off to a productive start.
What dimensions can
be used to describe the
fairness of an authority’s
decision making?
Final PDF to printer

204 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 204 10/20/17 02:24 PM
PROCEDURAL JUSTICE In addition to judging the fairness of a decision outcome, employees
may consider the process that led to that outcome. Procedural justice reflects the perceived fair-
ness of decision-making processes.41 Procedural justice is fostered when authorities adhere to
rules of fair process. One of those rules is voice, or giving employees a chance to express their
opinions and views during the course of decision making.42 A related rule is correctability, which
provides employees with a chance to request an appeal when a procedure seems to have worked
ineffectively. Research suggests that these rules improve employees’ reactions to decisions,43
largely because they give employees a sense of ownership over the decisions. Employees tend to
value voice and appeals, even when they don’t result in the desired outcome,44 because they like
to be heard. That is, the expression of opinions is a valued end, in and of itself, when employees
believe that their opinions have been truly considered.
Aside from voice and correctability, procedural justice is fostered when authorities adhere to
four rules that serve to create equal employment opportunity.45 The consistency, bias suppression,
representativeness, and accuracy rules help ensure that procedures are neutral and objective, as
opposed to biased and discriminatory. These sorts of procedural rules are relevant in many areas
of working life. As one example, the rules can be used to make hiring practices more fair by ensur-
ing that interview questions are unbiased and asked in the same manner across applications. As
TABLE 7-2 The Four Dimensions of Justice
Equity vs. equality vs. need Are rewards allocated according to the proper norm?
Voice Do employees get to provide input into procedures?
Correctability Do procedures build in mechanisms for appeals?
Consistency Are procedures consistent across people and time?
Bias suppression Are procedures neutral and unbiased?
Representativeness Do procedures consider the needs of all groups?
Accuracy Are procedures based on accurate information?
Respect Do authorities treat employees with sincerity?
Propriety Do authorities refrain from improper remarks?
Justification Do authorities explain procedures thoroughly?
Truthfulness Are those explanations honest?
Sources: J.S. Adams, “Inequity in Social Exchange,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 2, ed. L. Berkowitz
(New York: Academic Press, 1965), pp. 267–99; R.J. Bies and J.F. Moag, “Interactional Justice: Communication Criteria
of Fairness,” in Research on Negotiations in Organizations, Vol. 1, ed. R.J. Lewicki, B.H. Sheppard, and M.H. Bazerman
(Greenwich, CT: JAI Press, 1986), pp. 43–55; G.S. Leventhal, “The Distribution of Rewards and Resources in Groups
and Organizations,” in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 9, ed. L. Berkowitz and W. Walster (New York:
Academic Press, 1976), pp. 91–131; G.S. Leventhal, “What Should Be Done with Equity Theory? New Approaches to
the Study of Fairness in Social Relationships,” in Social Exchange: Advances in Theory and Research, ed. K. Gergen, M.
Greenberg, and R. Willis (New York: Plenum Press, 1980), pp. 27–55; and J. Thibaut and L. Walker, Procedural Justice: A
Psychological Analysis (Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, 1975).
Final PDF to printer

205C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 205 10/20/17 02:24 PM
another example, the rules can be used to make compensation practices fairer by ensuring that
accurate measures of job performance are used to provide input for merit raises.
These sorts of procedural justice rules are critical because employment data suggest that gen-
der and race continue to have significant influences on organizational decision making. Compen-
sation data suggest that women earn 83 cents for every dollar earned by a man. Such differences
are even greater in highly skilled jobs such as doctors (63 cents), lawyers (78 cents), financial ana-
lysts (69 cents), and CEOs (74 cents).46 Some portion of the gender pay gap can be explained by
the kinds of fields men and women are drawn to and the “caregiving tax” that some women pay by
being more responsible for child care than male significant others. Even after accounting for such
factors, however, estimates still suggest that women earn 91 cents for every dollar a man makes.47
As a result, sex discrimination cases have risen dramatically in recent years, with each victory
adding weight to existing concerns about justice. As one employment lawyer put it, “Employees
already mistrust employers. So each time a case reveals a secret that was never told, employees
think, ‘Aha! They really are paying men more than women.’ ”48
Compensation data also suggest that African American men earn only 76 percent of what
Caucasian men earn.49 Education differences don’t explain the gap because Caucasian high school
dropouts are twice as likely to find jobs as African American dropouts. Such differences are likely
due to procedural injustice in some form, with procedures functioning in an inconsistent, biased,
and inaccurate manner across Caucasian and African American applicants. Indeed, one study
of almost 9,000 personnel files in an information technology firm found that Caucasian men
received bigger merit raises than minority and female employees, even when their performance
evaluation ratings were identical.50 The study’s author noted, “The disparities are small but very
real. And any difference is evidence of bias.”
Consumer Reports serves as a good example of procedural justice in action. The magazine
conducts the tests for its influential automotive ratings on its own 327-acre test site.51 The rat-
ings are performed by both experienced engineers and more typical drivers, while also taking
into account surveys of the magazine’s print and online subscribers. Consumer Reports helps
ensure bias suppression by refusing to include advertisements in its magazine.52 It also buys
all its test cars anonymously from regular dealerships, as opposed to using the vehicles offered
by automakers. It helps ensure accuracy by putting 5,000–6,000 miles on a car for as long as
10 months and taking the car through approximately 50 different tests. Indeed, to measure fuel
efficiency, it installs a fuel meter directly on the gas line, rather than relying on the accuracy of
the vehicle’s own gauges. Finally, Consumer Reports helps ensure consistency by putting each
vehicle through the exact same set of examinations. Although automakers have occasionally
sued Consumer Reports to protest negative ratings, the magazine has never lost a case and has
never paid a dime in settlements.
You might be wondering, “Does procedural justice really matter—don’t people just care about
the outcomes that they receive?” In the case of Consumer Reports, don’t companies care just about
the score their products receive, not how those scores are actually calculated? Research suggests
that distributive justice and procedural justice combine to influence employee reactions, as shown
in Figure 7-4.53 It’s true that when outcomes are good, people don’t spend as much time worrying
about how fair the process was, as illustrated by the green line in the figure, which shows that pro-
cedural justice has little impact on reactions when outcome favorability is high. However, when
outcomes are bad, procedural justice becomes enormously important, as illustrated by the red line
in the figure. Research shows that negative or unexpected events trigger a thorough examination
of process issues, making adherence to rules like consistency, bias suppression, and accuracy
much more vital.54
In fact, research shows that procedural justice tends to be a stronger driver of reactions to
authorities than distributive justice. For example, meta-analyses of hundreds of studies showed
that procedural justice was a stronger predictor of satisfaction with supervision, overall job satis-
faction, and organizational commitment than distributive justice.55 Why does the decision-making
process sometimes matter more than the decision-making outcome? Likely because employees
understand that outcomes come and go—some may be in your favor while others may be a bit
disappointing. Procedures, however, are longer lasting and stay in place until the organization
redesigns them or a new authority arrives to revise them.
Final PDF to printer

206 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 206 10/20/17 02:24 PM
INTERPERSONAL JUSTICE In addition to judging the fairness of decision outcomes and pro-
cesses, employees might consider how authorities treat them as the procedures are implemented.
Interpersonal justice reflects the perceived fairness of the treatment received by employees from
authorities.56 Interpersonal justice is fostered when authorities adhere to two particular rules. The
respect rule pertains to whether authorities treat employees in a dignified and sincere manner, and
the propriety rule reflects whether authorities refrain from making improper or offensive remarks.
From this perspective, interpersonal injustice occurs when authorities are rude or disrespectful to
employees, or when they refer to them with inappropriate labels.57
When taken to the extremes, interpersonally unjust actions create abusive supervision, defined
as the sustained display of hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviors, excluding physical contact.58 A
national study suggests that approximately 15 percent of employees are victims of abusive behav-
iors, ranging from angry outbursts to public ridiculing to being used as scapegoats for negative
events.59 Estimates also indicate that such actions cost U.S. businesses around $24 billion annu-
ally due to absenteeism, health care costs, and lost productivity.60 Employees who are abused
by their supervisors report more anxiety, burnout, and strain, as well as less satisfaction with
their lives in general.61 They are also more likely to strike back at their supervisors with coun-
terproductive behaviors—a response that may even spill over to their coworkers and the larger
Why are interpersonally unjust actions so damaging? One reason may be that people remem-
ber unfair acts more vividly than fair ones. One study asked 41 employees to complete a survey on
interactions with authorities and coworkers four times a day for two to three weeks.63 Two kinds
of interactions were coded—positive experiences and negative experiences—and participants also
reported on their current mood (e.g., happy, pleased, sad, blue, unhappy). The results of the study
showed that positive interactions were more common than negative interactions, but the effects
of negative interactions on mood were five times stronger than the effects of positive interactions.
Such findings suggest that a violation of the respect and propriety rules looms much larger than
adherence to those rules.64
For these reasons, some companies have taken advantage of a growing number of “civility train-
ing” programs offered by consulting firms.65 One such program is CREW—Civility, Respect, and
Engagement in the Workplace—that was developed for the Veterans Health Administration, the
FIGURE 7-4 Combined Effects of Distributive and Procedural Justice
Low High
Procedural Justice
High Distributive Justice
Low Distributive Justice
Source: Adapted from J. Brockner and B.M. Wiesenfeld, “An Integrative Framework for Explaining Reactions to
Decisions: Interactive Effects of Outcomes and Procedures,” Psychological Bulletin 120 (1996), pp. 189–208.
Final PDF to printer

207C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 207 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Washington, DC–based hospital arm of the
Veterans Affairs Department. The program
was administered to more than 900 work-
groups over a six-month period, with the groups
learning about the benefits of respectful com-
munication and how to bring more civility to
contentious situations, such as problem solving
and dispute contexts. The director of organiza-
tional health for the VHA said, “It’s a simplistic
formula. It’s just: How do we want to treat each
other?”66 She noted that the benefits of the
program seemed to be “viral,” with increased
respect being contagious at the VHA.
INFORMATIONAL JUSTICE  Finally, employees may consider the kind of information that
authorities provide during the course of organizational decision making. Informational justice
reflects the perceived fairness of the communications provided to employees from authorities.67
Informational justice is fostered when authorities adhere to two particular rules. The justification
rule mandates that authorities explain decision-making procedures and outcomes in a compre-
hensive and reasonable manner, and the truthfulness rule requires that those communications
be honest and candid. Although it seems like common sense that organizations would explain
decisions in a comprehensive and adequate manner, that’s often not the case. Sharing bad news
is the worst part of the job for most managers, leading them to distance themselves when it’s
time to play messenger.68 A survey of 372 human resources professionals revealed that almost
75 percent felt stress, anxiety, and depression when they had to conduct layoffs during the eco-
nomic downturn.69
Managers also worry about triggering a lawsuit if they comprehensively and honestly explain
the reasons for a layoff, a poor evaluation, or a missed promotion. Ironically, that defense mecha-
nism is typically counterproductive because research suggests that honest and adequate explana-
tions are actually a powerful strategy for reducing retaliation responses against the organization.70
In fact, low levels of informational justice can come back to haunt the organization if a wrongful
termination claim is actually filed. How? Because the organization typically needs to provide
performance evaluations for the terminated employee over the past few years, to show that the
employee was fired for poor performance.71 If managers refrained from offering candid and hon-
est explanations on those evaluations, then the organization can’t offer anything to justify the
One study provides a particularly effective demonstration of the power of informational justice
(and interpersonal justice). The study occurred in three plants of a midwestern manufacturing
company that specialized in small mechanical parts for the aerospace and automotive indus-
tries.72 The company had recently lost two of its largest contracts and was forced to cut wages by
15 percent in two of the three plants. The company was planning to offer a short, impersonal
explanation for the pay cut to both of the affected plants. However, as part of a research study, the
company was convinced to offer a longer, more sincere explanation at one of the plants. Theft lev-
els were then tracked before, during, and after the 10-week pay cut using the company’s standard
accounting formulas for inventory “shrinkage.”
The results of the study are shown in Figure 7-5. In the plant without the pay cut, no change
in theft levels occurred over the 10-week period. In the plant with the short, impersonal explana-
tion, theft rose dramatically during the pay cut, likely as a means of retaliating for perceived ineq-
uity, before falling to previous levels once the cut had passed. Importantly, in the plant with the
long, sincere explanation, the rise in theft was much less significant during the pay cut, with theft
levels again falling back to normal levels once the cut had ended. Clearly, the higher levels of infor-
mational and interpersonal justice were worth it from a cost-savings perspective. The difference in
theft across the two plants is remarkable, given that the long, sincere explanation was only a few
minutes longer than the short, impersonal explanation. What’s a few extra minutes if it can save a
few thousand dollars?
When interpersonal
injustice gets taken to the
extreme, it can turn into
abusive supervision.
Estimates suggest that
15 percent of employees
are victims of abusive
behaviors at work.
©John Foxx/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

208 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 208 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Source: Adapted from J. Greenberg, “Employee Theft as a Reaction to Underpayment Inequity: The Hidden Cost of Payc-
uts,” Journal of Applied Psychology 75 (1990), pp. 561–68.
FIGURE 7-5 The Effects of Justice on Theft During a Pay Cut
Time Period Relative to Pay Cut
Long, Sincere Explanation for Pay Cut
Short, Impersonal Explanation for Pay Cut
No Pay Cut
SUMMARY Taken together, distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational justice can
be used to describe how fairly employees are treated by authorities. When an authority adheres
to the justice rules in Table 7-2, those actions provide behavioral data that the authority might
be trustworthy. Indeed, studies show that all four justice forms have strong correlations with
employee trust levels.73 All else being equal, employees trust authorities who allocate outcomes
fairly; make decisions in a consistent, unbiased, and accurate way; and communicate decision-
making details in a respectful, comprehensive, and honest manner. Which authorities are most
likely to adhere to these sorts of rules? Research on ethics can provide some answers.
Research on ethics seeks to explain why people behave in a manner consistent with generally
accepted norms of morality and why they sometimes violate those norms.74 The study of business
ethics has two primary threads to it. One thread is prescriptive in nature, with scholars in philoso-
phy debating how people ought to act using various codes and principles.75 The prescriptive model
is the dominant lens in discussions of legal ethics, medical ethics, and much of economics. The
second thread is descriptive in nature, with scholars relying on scientific studies to observe how
people tend to act based on certain individual and situational characteristics. The descriptive
model is the dominant lens in psychology. Although the differences between these two threads
give the study of business ethics a certain complexity, the philosophical and empirical approaches
can be integrated to develop a more complete understanding of ethical behavior.
Some studies of business ethics focus on unethical behavior—behavior that clearly violates
accepted norms of morality.76 Unethical behaviors in organizations can be directed at employees
(e.g., discrimination, harassment, health and safety violations, ignoring labor laws), customers (e.g.,
invading privacy, violating contract terms, using false advertising, fabricating test results), financiers
(e.g., falsifying financial information, misusing confidential information, trading securities based
on inside information), or society as a whole (e.g., violating environmental regulations, exposing
the public to safety risks, doing business with third parties who are themselves unethical).77 How
Final PDF to printer

209C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 209 10/20/17 02:24 PM
If unethical actions are defined as behaviors that fall below minimum standards of morality, the
key question becomes, “Whose standards of morality?” Research on business ethics across cul-
tures reveals that different countries have different baseline levels of unethical actions. Transpar-
ency International is an organization that monitors unethical practices in countries around the
world. Using data from businesspeople, risk analysts, investigative journalists, country experts, and
public citizens, the organization rates countries on a scale of 1 (unethical) to 10 (ethical). Here
are some of the scores from the 1999 version of the rankings:
10.0 Denmark 3.8 South Korea
9.8 Finland 3.6 Turkey
9.4 Sweden 3.4 China
9.2 Canada 3.4 Mexico
8.7 Australia 3.2 Thailand
8.6 Germany 3.0 Argentina
7.7 Hong Kong 2.9 Colombia
7.7 Ireland 2.9 India
7.5 United States 2.6 Ukraine
6.8 Israel 2.6 Venezuela
6.6 France 2.6 Vietnam
6.0 Japan 2.4 Russia
4.9 Greece 1.6 Nigeria
4.7 Italy 1.5 Cameroon
These rankings reveal the challenges involved for any multinational corporation that does busi-
ness in areas at the top and bottom of the rankings. Should the company have the same ethical
expectations for employees in all countries, regardless of ethical norms? For now, that seems to be
the most common position. For example, the Coca-Cola Company’s Code of Business Conduct
“applies to all the Company’s business worldwide and to all Company employees.” The code is
given to all employees and covers topics such as conflicts of interest, dealing with government
officials, customer and supplier interactions, and political contributions. The code also describes
the disciplinary actions associated with any violations of the code.
Source: D. C. Robertson, “Business Ethics Across Cultures,” in The Blackwell Handbook of Cross-Cultural Management, ed.
M.J. Gannon and K.L. Newman (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2002), pp. 361–92.
prevalent are such behaviors? Recent surveys suggest that 76 percent of employees have observed
illegal or unethical conduct in their organizations within the past 12 months.78 Those base rates
may be even higher in some countries, as described in our OB Internationally feature.
Other studies focus on what might be termed “merely ethical” behavior—behavior that adheres
to some minimally accepted standard of morality.79 Merely ethical behaviors might include obeying
Final PDF to printer

210 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 210 10/20/17 02:24 PM
labor laws and complying with formal rules and contracts. Still other studies focus on what could
be called “especially ethical” behaviors—behaviors that exceed some minimally accepted stan-
dard of morality. Especially ethical behaviors might include charitable giving or whistle-blowing,
which occurs when former or current employees expose illegal or immoral actions by their organi-
zation.80 Whistle-blowing can be viewed as especially ethical because whistle-blowers risk potential
retaliation by other members of the organization, especially when whistle-blowers lack status and
power.81 Ironically, the company often winds up benefitting from that risk taking, as whistle-blowing
can bring significant improvements to the ethical culture in an organization over the long term.82
Why do some authorities behave unethically while others engage in ethical (or especially ethi-
cal) behaviors? One set of answers can be derived from research in social psychology. The four-
component model of ethical decision making argues that ethical behaviors result from a multistage
sequence beginning with moral awareness, continuing on to moral judgment, then to moral intent,
and ultimately to ethical behavior.83 Figure 7-6 presents an adaptation of this model. In addition
to depicting the four components, the figure illustrates that unethical behavior can be triggered by
characteristics of a person or the situation.84 Put differently, and drawing on the adage “one bad
apple can spoil the barrel,” ethical behavior can be driven by both good versus bad apples and good
versus bad barrels.85 The sections that follow review the components of this model in more detail.
MORAL AWARENESS The first step needed to explain why an authority acts ethically is moral
awareness, which occurs when an authority recognizes that a moral issue exists in a situation
or that an ethical code or principle is relevant to the circumstance.86 Ethical issues rarely come
equipped with “red flags” that mark them as morally sensitive.87 Sometimes authorities act unethi-
cally simply because they don’t perceive that moral issues are relevant in a given situation, so
the ethical merits of certain actions are never debated. For example, let’s say you own a clothing
retailer that specializes in fashion-forward styles at low prices. You know that Diane von Furst-
enberg’s styles are hot this year, and your buying team just discovered a vendor that makes cheap
knockoffs of those styles. Do you buy clothes from that vendor and hang them on your racks?
Is there an ethical issue at play here? On the one hand, you might be tempted to say that imi-
tation is the way that fashion trends spread—that the “gurus of style” expect their products to be
What is the four-component
model of ethical decision
FIGURE 7-6 The Four-Component Model of Ethical Decision Making
Situational Factors
(Good vs. Bad Barrels)
Individual Factors
(Good vs. Bad Apples)
Photos: (top): ©Siede Preis/Getty Images; (bottom): ©C Squared Studios/Getty Images. Text Source: Adapted from J.R. Rest,
Moral Development: Advances in Research and Theory (New York: Praeger, 1986).
Final PDF to printer

211C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 211 10/20/17 02:24 PM
copied. Besides, a skirt is a skirt, and knockoffs are part of the game in a lot of businesses. On
the other hand, Diane von Furstenberg’s styles are her intellectual property, and the people who
work for her label put a great deal of time, effort, and talent into their clothes. It turns out this
scenario has played out with Forever 21, the Los Angeles–based specialty retailer.88 More than
50 labels have sued Forever 21 for copying their clothes, including Diane von Furstenberg, Anna
Sui, and Anthropologie. “Their design is swathed in mystery,” notes one expert on copyright law.
“But it probably looks a bit like a crime scene, with the chalk outline of the garments they’re copy-
ing.”89 Such charges are difficult to prove because U.S. copyright law protects original prints and
graphics, not actual designs. Forever 21 wound up settling those lawsuits, noting that the company
ultimately has to trust the integrity of its clothing vendors. Indeed, one executive notes that she
chooses from among 400 items a day, spending only about 90 seconds to review a piece.
Moral awareness depends in part on characteristics of the issue itself, as some issues have more
built-in ethical salience than others. A concept called moral intensity captures the degree to which
an issue has ethical urgency.90 As described in Table 7-3, moral intensity is driven by two general
concerns, both of which have more specific facets.91 First and foremost, a particular issue is high
in moral intensity if the potential for harm is perceived to be high. An act that could injure 1,000
people is more morally intense than an act that could injure 10 people, and an act that could result
in death is more morally intense than an act that could result in illness.92 Second, a particular
issue is high in moral intensity if there is social pressure surrounding it. An act that violates a
clear social norm is more morally intense than an act that seems similar to what everyone else is
doing. In the case of Forever 21, moral intensity might seem low because selling cheap knockoffs
benefits its customers, and interactions with customers are much more common and salient than
interactions with designers.
Moral awareness also depends on the way authorities observe and perceive the events that
happen around them. A concept called moral attentiveness captures the degree to which people
TABLE 7-3 The Dimensions of Moral Intensity
Potential for harm Magnitude of consequences How much harm would be done to
other people?
Probability of effect How likely is it that the act will actually
occur and that the assumed conse-
quences will match predictions?
Temporal immediacy How much time will pass between
the act and the onset of its
Concentration of effect Will the consequences be concen-
trated on a limited set of people, or
will they be more far reaching?
Social pressure Social consensus How much agreement is there that
the proposed act would be unethical?
Proximity How near (in a psychological or physi-
cal sense) is the authority to those
who will be affected?
Sources: Adapted from T.M. Jones, “Ethical Decision Making by Individuals in Organizations: An Issue-Contingent
Model,” Academy of Management Review 16 (1991), pp. 366–95; and A. Singhapakdi, S.J. Vitell, and K.L. Kraft, “Moral
Intensity and Ethical Decision-Making of Marketing Professionals,” Journal of Business Research 36 (1996), pp. 245–55.
Final PDF to printer

212 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 212 10/20/17 02:24 PM
chronically perceive and consider issues of morality during their experiences.93 Research in cog-
nitive psychology shows that people pay more attention to stimuli that are significant, vivid, and
recognizable. Authorities who are morally attentive tend to view the world through a lens of
morality, giving ethical issues a particular significance, vividness, and recognizability. That lens
colors the way they identify and interpret information and also shapes the way they analyze and
reflect on it. Morally attentive people are likely to report that they face several ethical dilemmas
in a typical day, that many of the decisions they face have ethical consequences, that they regu-
larly think about issues of morality, and that they enjoy pondering moral issues. In the case of
Forever 21, it may be that top management was not morally attentive enough to recognize that
buying copies of more expensive designs represented an ethical issue. That premise may make
some sense, given that Forever 21 has had other ethical struggles. It has settled multiple lawsuits
with garment workers’ groups alleging unfair business practices and wage violations. The com-
pany claims it didn’t know about the conditions in its suppliers’ factories, but lawyers maintain
that the company squeezes suppliers so much on price that they are partially responsible for
the violations.
Some business schools are taking an unusual approach to increasing moral awareness on the
part of their students. New York University, the University of California at Berkeley, Purdue, and
Penn State have invited convicted white-collar criminals to speak to students about their unethical
actions, as well as the consequences of those actions.94 For example, Walter Pavlo Jr. earns up
to $2,500 a visit to detail the $6 million money-laundering scheme he perpetrated at MCI. The
40-year-old served two years in federal prison and is now divorced, unemployed, and living with
his parents. Such testimonials can highlight the potential harm involved in unethical actions while
also making students a bit more attentive to ethical issues. Although some professors consider the
payment of convicted felons to be an ethical issue in its own right, part of what Pavlo earns goes
to make restitution for his crimes. One professor at Penn State summarizes, “Here’s a real person
telling students what happened to his life. I don’t think there’s any substitute for that.”95
MORAL JUDGMENT Some authorities may recognize that a moral issue exists in a given situ-
ation but then be unable to determine whether a given course of action is right or wrong. The
second step needed to explain why an authority acts ethically is therefore moral judgment, which
reflects the process people use to determine whether a particular course of action is ethical or
Forever 21, a Los
Angeles–based specialty
retailer, has been sued by
more than 50 labels for
allegedly stealing their
designs in order to sell sig-
nificantly cheaper versions
to its customers.
©Robert Marquardt/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

213C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 213 10/20/17 02:24 PM
unethical.96 One of the most important factors influencing moral judgment is described in Kohl-
berg’s theory of cognitive moral development.97 This theory argues that as people age and mature,
they move through various stages of moral development—each more mature and sophisticated
than the prior one. All else equal, authorities who operate at more mature stages of moral develop-
ment should demonstrate better moral judgment. You might wonder how the moral development
of a person can be measured. One approach is to give people a series of ethical dilemmas like the
one in Table 7-4, then ask questions to gain insights into their decision-making process.98
According to Kohlberg, people begin their moral development at the preconventional stage.99
At this stage, right versus wrong is viewed in terms of the consequences of various actions for the
individual. For example, children seek to avoid punishment for its own sake, regardless of any con-
cern about moral order. Similarly, children obey adults for its own sake, regardless of the respect
or wisdom shown by those adults. Over time, the desire to obtain pleasure and avoid pain expands
to the formation of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” sort of exchanges. Such relationships
remain self-interested however, with little concern for loyalty, gratitude, or fairness. In the case of
the ethical dilemma in Table 7-4, viewing question 1 as one of the most important issues would
signal preconventional thinking.
As people mature, their moral judgment reaches the conventional stage.100 At this stage, right
versus wrong is referenced to the expectations of one’s family and one’s society. At first, people
seek the approval of friends and family members, conforming to stereotypes about what’s right.
Question 2 in Table 7-4 reflects this sort of priority. Over time, people come to emphasize the
laws, rules, and orders that govern society. Concepts such as doing one’s duty and maintaining the
social order come to be valued for their own sakes. Question 3 reflects this level of moral sophis-
tication. Research suggests that most adults find themselves at the conventional stage.101 That
positioning is relevant to organizations because it shows that moral judgment can be influenced
by organizational policies, practices, and norms.
The most sophisticated moral thinkers reach the principled (or postconventional) stage.102
At this stage, right versus wrong is referenced to a set of defined, established moral principles.
Research suggests that fewer than 20 percent of Americans reach this principled stage.103 Philoso-
phers have identified a number of moral principles that serve as prescriptive guides for making
moral judgments, with some of the most influential shown in Table 7-5. Rather than viewing a
TABLE 7-4 Ethical Dilemma Used to Assess Moral Development
Chris is an accountant who is in charge of creating budget projections for all of the depart-
ments in the company. Chris’s job is to draw on both data from the past and potential changes
in the future to create those projections. The projections then decide how much money
department heads can spend during the fiscal year. After creating and releasing the projec-
tions for this year, Chris noticed an error in the calculations. Although the error is not large, it is
not insignificant either. And it will result in departments having less money to spend than they
really should. No one else has noticed the error and it is very unlikely that anyone will, given
who has access to the information. Should Chris come forward and admit the error?
On a scale from 1 = No Importance to 5 = Great Importance, rate how important each of the
following questions are to your decision:
1. Could Chris receive a harsher punishment if the company finds the mistake without his/her
2. Whether Chris’s subordinates and peers would lose faith in Chris if Chris is caught instead of
reporting the mistake himself/herself.
3. Whether or not company policy ought to be respected by all employees.
4. Would reporting the mistake do any good for Chris or society?
5. What values Chris has set for himself/herself in his/her personal code of behavior.
Source: Adapted from Greg Loviscky, “Assessing Managers’ Ethical Decision-Making: An Objective Measure of Manage-
rial Moral Judgment,” Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 73. 2007, Springer Netherlands.
Final PDF to printer

214 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 214 10/20/17 02:24 PM
TABLE 7-5 Moral Principles Used in the Principled Stage
Consequentialist Utilitarianism An act is morally right if it results in the great-
est amount of good for the greatest number
of people—sometimes termed the “greatest
happiness principle” (Jeremy Bentham, John
Stuart Mill).
Egoism An act is morally right if the decision maker
freely decides to pursue either short-term or
long-term interests. Markets are purported to
limit the degree to which one egoist’s inter-
ests harm the interests of another (Adam
Nonconsequentialist Ethics of duties An act is morally right if it fulfills the “cat-
egorical imperative”—an unambiguously
explicit set of three crucial maxims: (a) the
act should be performable by everyone with
no harm to society; (b) the act should respect
human dignity; (c) the act should be endors-
able by others (Immanuel Kant).
Ethics of rights An act is morally right if it respects the
natural rights of others, such as the right to
life, liberty, justice, expression, association,
consent, privacy, and education (John Locke,
John Rawls).
Virtue ethics An act is morally right if it allows the deci-
sion maker to lead a “good life” by adhering
to virtues like wisdom, honesty, courage,
friendship, mercy, loyalty, modesty, and
patience (Aristotle).
Source: Adapted from A. Crane and D. Matten, Business Ethics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).
given principle as the single, best lens for making decisions, it’s better to view the principles as a
prism for shedding light on a given situation from a number of different angles.104 The consequen-
tialist principles in Table 7-5 judge the morality of an action according to its goals, aims, or out-
comes (these principles are sometimes termed “teleological,” after the Greek word for “goal”).105
Question 4 in Table 7-4 reflects these sorts of concerns. The nonconsequentialist principles judge
the morality of an action solely on its intrinsic desirability (these principles are sometimes termed
“deontological,” after the Greek word for “duty,” or “formalist,” due to their emphasis on formal-
ized codes and standards). Viewing question 5 as one of the most important issues in the dilemma
would signal nonconsequentialist thinking.
Returning to the Forever 21 example, a utilitarian analysis would focus on whether the “great-
est happiness” was created by giving their customers access to cutting-edge designs at cheap
prices, even if doing so harmed the profitability of the labels. An egoistic analysis would focus on
whether buying “copycat” clothes from vendors boosted the short-term and long-term interests of
the company. Is selling those clothes vital to the company’s mission, or are the risks to the reputa-
tion and brand of the company severe enough that a change in course is warranted? Although the
takeaways from those analyses may be debatable, the judgment of the three remaining principles
Final PDF to printer

215C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 215 10/20/17 02:24 PM
seems clearer. From the perspective of the ethics of duties, society would clearly be harmed if all
companies copied the intellectual property of their competitors, though some customers would
likely endorse the company’s practices. From an ethics of rights perspective, Forever 21’s actions
can be viewed as disrespecting the designers’ rights to consent and expression (and justice, given
that they were offered no compensation for the use of their intellectual property). Finally, an
analysis using virtue ethics would suggest that Forever 21’s actions lacked the virtue of honesty.
MORAL INTENT Assuming that an authority recognizes that a moral issue exists in a situation
and possesses the cognitive moral development to choose the right course of action, one step
remains: The authority has to want to act ethically. Moral intent reflects an authority’s degree of
commitment to the moral course of action.106 The distinction between awareness or judgment
on the one hand and intent on the other is important, because many unethical people know and
understand that what they’re doing is wrong—they just choose to do it anyway. Why? Sometimes
situational factors encourage people to go against their moral convictions. For example, organiza-
tions may possess unethical cultures, where violations of moral codes become the rule rather than
the exception (see Chapter 16 on organizational culture for more discussion of such issues).107 As
another example, economic pressures from assigned goals or specific incentives can encourage
people to set aside their moral judgment, at least for a time.108
What explains the ability of some people to resist situational pressures and stay true to their
moral judgment? One factor is moral identity—the degree to which a person self-identifies as a
moral person.109 Our self-concepts have a number of components to them: We may define our-
selves by what we do, where we come from, what our family status is, or what cultural or ethnic
groups we belong to. People with strong moral identities define themselves as compassionate,
generous, honest, kind, fair, and hardworking. Their emotional well-being and sense of self is
wrapped up in living up to those virtues. Moreover, the actions they take in their daily life—from
the things they buy, to the hobbies they have, to the groups they join—are viewed as symbols
of those virtues. Research suggests that people with strong moral identities volunteer more for
charitable work and donate more to charity drives.110 Research also suggests that moral iden-
tity “moderates” the effects of moral judgment on ethical behavior. Recall that in the language
of theory diagrams, moderators affect the strength of the relationship between two variables.
For example, one study shows that managers who emphasize specific ethics principles are
less likely to engage in unethical behaviors (e.g., calling in sick to take a day off, ignoring
others’ unethical actions), but only when they define themselves as a moral person.111 When
morality is not an important piece of their identity, their moral principles have no relation-
ship with their actual behavior. For an example of low moral identity in the fast food industry,
see our OB on Screen feature.
SUMMARY Taken together, the stages of the four-component model can be used to explain why
authorities act in an ethical or unethical manner. When authorities are morally aware, when
they have sophisticated moral judgment, and when they possess strong moral intent, chances
are their actions will tend to be ethical. By extension, those authorities should attend more to
the rules of distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational justice, because treating
employees fairly is itself an ethical act.112 Those authorities should also be viewed as trustworthy,
in that moral awareness, judgment, and intent should result in higher levels of both benevolence
and integrity.
So what explains why some authorities are more trusted than others? As shown in Figure 7-7,
answering that question requires understanding the different sources in which trust can be
rooted, including dispositions, cognitions, and affect. Disposition-based trust is rooted in an
individual’s trust propensity, whereas affect-based trust is rooted in a fondness for the authority.
Cognition-based trust is driven by perceptions of trustworthiness, as employees attempt to assess
the ability, benevolence, and integrity of authorities. Unfortunately, it’s often difficult to gauge
Final PDF to printer

216 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 216 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Mac, I’m the President and CEO of a major corporation with land holdings in 17 states. You run
a burger stand in the desert.
With those words, Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) seizes control of McDonald’s from Mac and Dick
McDonald (John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman) in The Founder (Dir. John Lee Hancock, Film-
nation, 2016). Ray had been in the restaurant supply business when two brothers in California placed
an unusually large order. When he visited their burger stand, he was instantly awed by the “speedy
system” they’d created. A perfectly engineered process where a fresh hamburger gets a few squirts of
mustard and ketchup, two pickles, and some diced onions—all within 30 seconds of ordering. Through
sheer force of personality, Ray convinced the McDonald brothers to make him head of franchising.
As Ray led the expansion of the chain in the Midwest, he became increasingly bothered by
Mac and Dick’s resistance to new ideas. For example, Ray wanted to use a powdered mix for the
milkshakes to save money, but the brothers were resolute in maintaining their high standards. Ray
had little recourse because the contract he signed gave the brothers full control over restaurant-
related decisions. It was then that an advisor of Ray’s gave him an idea: he could start a separate
company that would control the land upon which new locations would operate. The franchisees
would lease the land from him, giving him a separate revenue stream (and more leverage).
Eventually Ray became powerful enough that he violated the terms of his contract with Mac
and Dick, noting “Contracts are like hearts . . . they’re made to be broken.” Such moves revealed
Ray as having less of a moral identity than Mac or Dick. They were driven by doing “the right
thing” for their vision and their customers. Ray was not. When Mac lashed out to say that they
had invented the things that made McDonald’s great, not him, Ray corrected: “You know what I
came up with Mac? I came up with the concept of winning. . . . If my competitor were drowning,
I’d walk over and put a hose right in his mouth. Can you say the same?”
Source: Dir. John Lee Hancock, “The Founder” Filmnation, 2016
©Entertainment Pictures/Alamy
trustworthiness accurately, so employees instead look to more observable behaviors that can be
used as indirect evidence of trustworthiness. Those behaviors may center on the justice of authori-
ties, with employees considering the distributive, procedural, interpersonal, and informational
justice they have experienced at work. The justice and general trustworthiness of authorities in
turn can be explained by authorities’ own moral awareness, moral judgment, and moral intent.
Final PDF to printer

217C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 217 10/20/17 02:24 PM
FIGURE 7-7 Why Are Some Authorities More Trusted Than Others?
Feelings toward
H O W I M P O R TA N T I S T R U S T ?
Does trust have a significant impact on the two primary outcomes in our integrative model
of OB—does it correlate with job performance and organizational commitment? Figure 7-8
summarizes the research evidence linking trust to job performance and organizational commit-
ment. The figure reveals that trust does affect job performance. Why? One reason is that trust is
moderately correlated with task performance. A study of employees in eight plants of a tool manu-
facturing company sheds some light on why trust benefits task performance.113 The study gave
employees survey measures of their trust in two different authorities: their plant’s manager and the
company’s top management team. Both trust measures were significant predictors of employees’
How does trust affect job
performance and organiza-
tional commitment?
Final PDF to printer

218 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 218 10/20/17 02:24 PM
ability to focus, which reflects the degree to which employees can devote their attention to work,
as opposed to “covering their backside,” “playing politics,” and “keeping an eye on the boss.”
The ability to focus is clearly vital to task performance in many jobs, particularly when job duties
become more complex.
Trust also influences citizenship behavior and counterproductive behavior. Why? One reason
is that the willingness to accept vulnerability changes the nature of the employee–employer rela-
tionship. Employees who don’t trust their authorities have economic exchange relationships that
are based on narrowly defined, quid pro quo obligations that are specified in advance and have
an explicit repayment schedule.114 Economic exchanges are impersonal and resemble contractual
agreements, such that employees agree to fulfill the duties in their job description in exchange
for financial compensation. As trust increases, social exchange relationships develop that are
based on vaguely defined obligations that are open-ended and long term in their repayment sched-
ule.115 Social exchanges are characterized by mutual investment, such that employees agree to go
above and beyond their duties in exchange for fair and proper treatment by authorities. In social
exchange contexts, employees are willing to engage in beneficial behaviors because they trust that
those efforts will eventually be rewarded (see Chapter 3 on organizational commitment for more
discussion of such issues).
Figure 7-8 also reveals that trust affects organizational commitment. Why? One reason is that
trusting an authority increases the likelihood that an emotional bond will develop,116 particularly
if that trust is rooted in positive feelings for the authority. Trusting an authority also makes it
more likely that a sense of obligation will develop, because employees feel more confident that the
FIGURE 7-8 Effects of Trust on Performance and Commitment
Trust has a moderate positive e�ect on Performance. Employees who are willing to be
vulnerable to authorities tend to have higher levels of Task Performance. They are also
more likely to engage in Citizenship Behavior and less likely to engage in
Counterproductive Behavior.
Trust has a strong positive e�ect on Commitment. Employees who are willing to be
vulnerable to authorities tend to have higher levels of A�ective Commitment and
higher levels of Normative Commitment. Trust has no e�ect on Continuance
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
Sources: K.T. Dirks and D.L. Ferrin, “Trust in Leadership: Meta-Analytic Findings and Implications for Research and
Practice,” Journal of Applied Psychology 87 (2002), pp. 611–28; and J.A. Colquitt, B.A. Scott, and J.A. LePine, “Trust,
Trustworthiness, and Trust Propensity: A Meta-Analytic Test of Their Unique Relationships with Risk Taking and Job
Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology 92 (2007), pp. 909–27.
Final PDF to printer

219C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 219 10/20/17 02:24 PM
authority deserves that obligation. When negative events occur, employees who trust the authority
are willing to accept the vulnerability that comes with continued employment,117 remaining confi-
dent in their belief that the situation will eventually improve.
A P P L I C AT I O N : S O C I A L R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y
Now that you understand the factors that drive trust in authorities and the importance of trust lev-
els to performance and commitment, we turn our attention to a very practical question: “How can
organizations become more trustworthy?” Certainly that’s a big question with no single answer.
However, one strategy is to focus the organization’s attention on corporate social responsibility,
a perspective that acknowledges that the responsibilities of a business encompass the economic,
legal, ethical, and citizenship expectations of society.118 This perspective maintains the belief that
the foundation of any business is profitability, because organizations must fulfill their economic
responsibilities to their employees and their shareholders. However, the social responsibility
lens supplements that belief by arguing that the company’s obligations do not end with profit
The legal component of corporate social responsibility argues that the law represents soci-
ety’s codification of right and wrong and must therefore be followed.119 Fulfilling this component
speaks to the integrity of the organization and suggests that it has reached the conventional level
of moral development. Further violations of intellectual property or labor laws on Forever 21’s
part would signal a breach of this component, so protecting its reputation will likely require an
emphasis on the origins of vendors’ designs and a monitoring of their factory conditions. Many
organizations turn to compliance officers to police the legality of their operations. For example,
Computer Associates International, a New York–based maker of computer security software,
recently installed a new compliance officer.120 As part of a series of reforms to avoid a trial over
accounting fraud, the company gave its new officer, who was a former chief trial attorney for the
U.S. Navy, unprecedented power. The officer has direct access to the CEO, can go over the CEO’s
head if need be, and has the authority to fire managers and employees who violate company
The ethical component of corporate social responsibility argues that organizations have an
obligation to do what is right, just, and fair and to avoid harm.121 Fulfilling this component is
relevant to the benevolence and integrity of the organization and suggests that it has reached the
principled level of moral development.122 Regardless of its legal implications, the way Forever
21 manages its relationships with its vendors speaks to the ethical makeup of its culture. What
can organizations do to improve that ethical makeup? J.M. Smuckers, the Orrville, Ohio–based
food and beverage maker, requires all of its 3,500 employees to attend training sessions on moral
awareness and moral judgment. Employees go through programs every 3–5 years and sign a nine-
page ethics statement annually. That statement, which the company treats as a living document,
spells out the codes and principles that Smuckers employees can use to navigate moral dilemmas.
The citizenship component of corporate social responsibility argues that organizations should
contribute resources to improve the quality of life in the communities in which they work.123
Sometimes this component involves philanthropic efforts, in which donations of time or cash
are given to charitable groups. At Home Depot, for example, 50,000 of its 325,000 employees
donated a total of 2 million hours to community groups in a single year.124 The citizenship com-
ponent may also involve efforts geared toward environmental sustainability. On that front, a num-
ber of notable companies, from Nike to Walmart to General Electric, have focused on adopting
“green” manufacturing processes.125 Walmart has taken steps to reduce waste and inefficiency, an
important goal given that the company is the nation’s largest private user of electricity.126 General
Electric issues an annual “citizenship report” to highlight several aspects of its corporate social
responsibility, from increases in volunteer hours to efforts to reduce air pollution.127
What steps can organiza-
tions take to become more
Final PDF to printer

220 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 220 10/20/17 02:24 PM
• Reputation p. 196
• Trust p. 196
• Justice p. 197
• Ethics p. 197
• Disposition-based trust p. 197
• Cognition-based trust p. 197
• Affect-based trust p. 197
• Trust propensity p. 197
• Trustworthiness p. 199
• Ability p. 200
• Benevolence p. 200
• Integrity p. 201
• Distributive justice p. 203
• Procedural justice p. 204
• Interpersonal justice p. 206
• Abusive supervision p. 206
• Informational justice p. 207
• Whistle-blowing p. 210
7.1 Trust is the willingness to be vulnerable to an authority based on positive expectations about
the authority’s actions and intentions. Justice reflects the perceived fairness of an author-
ity’s decision making and can be used to explain why employees judge some authorities
as more trustworthy than others. Ethics reflects the degree to which the behaviors of an
authority are in accordance with generally accepted moral norms and can be used to explain
why authorities choose to act in a trustworthy manner.
7.2 Trust can be disposition-based, meaning that one’s personality includes a general propensity
to trust others. Trust can also be cognition-based, meaning that it’s rooted in a rational
assessment of the authority’s trustworthiness. Finally, trust can be affect-based, meaning
that it’s rooted in feelings toward the authority that go beyond any rational assessment of
7.3 Trustworthiness is judged along three dimensions. Ability reflects the skills, competencies,
and areas of expertise that an authority possesses. Benevolence is the degree to which an
authority wants to do good for the trustor, apart from any selfish or profit-centered motives.
Integrity is the degree to which an authority adheres to a set of values and principles that
the trustor finds acceptable.
7.4 The fairness of an authority’s decision making can be judged along four dimensions. Distrib-
utive justice reflects the perceived fairness of decision-making outcomes. Procedural justice
reflects the perceived fairness of decision-making processes. Interpersonal justice reflects
the perceived fairness of the treatment received by employees from authorities. Informa-
tional justice reflects the perceived fairness of the communications provided to employees
from authorities.
7.5 The four-component model of ethical decision making argues that ethical behavior depends
on three concepts. Moral awareness reflects whether an authority recognizes that a moral
issue exists in a situation. Moral judgment reflects whether the authority can accurately
identify the “right” course of action. Moral intent reflects an authority’s degree of commit-
ment to the moral course of action.
7.6 Trust has a moderate positive relationship with job performance and a strong positive rela-
tionship with organizational commitment.
7.7 Organizations can become more trustworthy by emphasizing corporate social responsibility,
a perspective that acknowledges that the responsibilities of a business encompass the eco-
nomic, legal, ethical, and citizenship expectations of society.
Final PDF to printer

221C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 221 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.1 Which would be more damaging in organizational life—being too trusting or not being trust-
ing enough? Why do you feel that way?
7.2 Consider the three dimensions of trustworthiness (ability, benevolence, and integrity).
Which of those dimensions would be most important when deciding whether to trust your
boss? What about when deciding whether to trust a friend? If your two answers differ, why
do they?
7.3 Putting yourself in the shoes of a manager, which of the four justice dimensions (distribu-
tive, procedural, interpersonal, informational) would you find most difficult to maximize?
Which would be the easiest to maximize?
7.4 Which component of ethical decision making do you believe best explains student cheating:
moral awareness, moral judgment, or moral intent? Why do you feel that way?
7.5 Assume you were applying for a job at a company known for its corporate social responsibil-
ity. How important would that be to you when deciding whether to accept a job offer?
• Four-component model p. 210
• Moral awareness p. 210
• Moral intensity p. 211
• Moral attentiveness p. 211
• Moral judgment p. 212
• Cognitive moral development p. 213
• Moral principles p. 213
• Moral intent p. 215
• Moral identity p. 215
• Ability to focus p. 218
• Economic exchange p. 218
• Social exchange p. 218
• Corporate social responsibility p. 219
As is often the case with large companies, SeaWorld’s responses to its ethical crises have been
shaped, in part, by negotiations with government representatives. Before Manby was brought
in, the company had been investigating a concept called BlueWorld: 50-feet-deep orca tanks
with simulated currents that would allow whales to swim against moving water. The California
Coastal Commission had approved the BlueWorld plan, but under the following stipulation:
SeaWorld could no longer breed orcas. Once its 11 California orcas were no more, BlueWorld
would have no occupants for its tanks.
As the company moved on from BlueWorld, a former congressman (and former cochair
of the animal welfare caucus) helped connect Manby with Wayne Pacelle—the CEO of the
Humane Society. Once the two men got past the initial awkwardness of their exchanges, they
began communicating regularly. Eventually, Manby brought Pacelle to SeaWorld—his first ever
trip to the park. There Pacelle was impressed by the rescue work that SeaWorld did. “People
who work there love animals; appreciation of animals is a big part of their enterprise,” he
noted. “If you sit down, look at the other person, and see the complexity; you find you have
more common ground than you might have imagined when lobbing cannonballs.” Indeed,
Manby and Pacelle announced an initiative to fight shark finning—a practice that kills
75 million sharks a year.
Other negotiations involved John Reilly—the former president of SeaWorld San Diego and
now the company’s COO—and Richard Bloom—a California assemblyman. Bloom was in the
process of authoring a bill that would have outlawed captivity, which would have dealt a fatal
C A S E : S E AW O R L D
Final PDF to printer

222 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 222 10/20/17 02:24 PM
E X E R C I S E : U N E T H I C A L B E H AV I O R
The purpose of this exercise is to explore how authorities can prevent unethical behaviors on the
part of their employees. This exercise uses groups, so your instructor will either assign you to a
group or ask you to create your own group. The exercise has the following steps:
7.1 Read the following scenario:
Alex Grant recently graduated from college and is excited to be starting his first job as a
store manager for The Grocery Cart, a large supermarket chain. The company has a very
good management training program, and it is one of the fastest growing chains in the nation.
If Alex does well managing his first store, there are a number of promising advancement
opportunities in the company. After completing the store management training program,
Alex met with Regina Hill, his area supervisor. She informed Alex that he would be taking
charge of a medium-volume store ($250,000 in sales/week) in an upper-class neighborhood.
This store had been operating without a store manager for the past six months. The store
had also not made a profit in any of the monthly financial reports for the last year.
Hill also shared the following information with Alex: Because the store has been without
a store manager for the last six months, the assistant manager (Drew Smith) has been in
charge. Drew is known for being highly competent and a solid performer. However, there
have been complaints that he is frequently rude to employees and insults and ridicules
them whenever they make mistakes. Turnover among sales clerks and cashiers at this store
has been somewhat higher than in other stores in the area. The average pay of clerks and
cashiers is $7.25/hour. The last two semiannual inventories at this store showed significant
losses. There has been a large amount of theft from the store stockroom (an area where only
employees are allowed). Given that the store has generally done well in sales (compared with
others in the area) and that most expenses seem well under control, Hill believes that the
profitability problem for this store is primarily due to theft. Therefore, she suggested that
Alex’s plans for the store should focus on this priority over any others.
blow to SeaWorld. Reilly, Manby, and Bloom worked out a compromise, resulting in the Orca
Protection Act. Not only would orca breeding be banned, but all theatrical shows using orcas
would be phased out. They would be replaced by so-called “encounters” with orcas in more
natural-looking environments. Of course, no one knows what the future may bring, in terms of
either activist or government pressure. After all, SeaWorld will continue to do theatrical dolphin
and sea lion shows and continues to keep animals in captivity. When a company “moves the
line” in an area of its business that is ethically murky, it can be difficult to decide where that line
should be repositioned.
7.1 In terms of the four-component model, what effect did Blackfish seem to have on the public,
as it altered its views of SeaWorld’s theatrical orca shows?
7.2 If you consider the various moral principles described in Table 7-5, is there support for end-
ing theatrical orca shows but not ending theatrical dolphin or sea lion shows?
7.3 Activist groups like PETA exist, in part, to force companies to become more ethical in their
practices. Looking back across decades, has that seemed to happen? What role does (or
should) government play in such evolutions?
Source: E. Fry, “Swimming Upstream: Can a Bible-Studying, Love-Peddling Showman Save SeaWorld. . .from Itself?”
Fortune, September 15, 2016.
Final PDF to printer

223C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 223 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.1 Rindova, V.P.; I.O. Wil-
liamson; A.P. Petkova;
and J.M. Sever. “Being
Good or Being Known:
An Empirical Examina-
tion of the Dimensions,
Antecedents, and
Consequences of
Organizational Reputa-
tion.” Academy of
Management Journal 48
(2005), pp. 1033–49.
7.2 Frauenheim, E. “Does
Reputation Matter?”
Workforce Management,
November 20, 2006,
pp. 22–26.
7.3 Ibid.
7.4 Mayer, R.C.; J.H. Davis;
and F.D. Schoorman.
“An Integrative Model
of Organizational
Trust.” Academy of
Management Review
20 (1995), pp. 709–34;
and Rousseau, D.M.;
S.B. Sitkin;
R.S. Burt; and C.
Camerer. “Not So
Different After All:
A Cross-Discipline
View of Trust.” Acad-
emy of Management
Review 23 (1998),
pp. 393–404.
7.2 As a manager, what steps should Alex take to reduce employee theft? Come up with a list
of three ideas. Elect a group member to write the group’s three ideas on the board or on a
7.3 Now read the following scenario:
When Alex arrived for his first day of work in his new store, he saw that Drew was in the
process of terminating an employee (Rudy Johnson) who had been caught stealing. Alex
immediately went to the break room of the store where the termination interview was being
conducted to learn more about the situation. Drew informed Alex that Rudy had been a
grocery clerk for the past six weeks and that he had apparently figured out how to tell if the
alarms to the stockroom doors were off. Rudy would then open the back stockroom doors
and stack cases of beer outside the store to pick up after his shift. After Drew caught Rudy
doing this, Drew had a conversation with one of his friends who works as a restaurant man-
ager down the street. Drew’s friend noted that he had hired Rudy a few months ago and that
he’d been caught stealing there too.
Turning to Rudy, Drew asked, “So, Rudy, what do you have to say for yourself?” Rudy
quickly replied: “Look here, [expletive], you don’t pay me enough to work here and put up
with this garbage. In fact, you’re always riding everyone like they’re your personal servant or
something. So I was trying to get some beer. I’ve seen you let stockers take home damaged
merchandise a dozen times. So just because they cut open a box of cookies, which we all
know they do on purpose, they get to take stuff home for free. For that matter, we’ve all seen
you do the same thing! I’ve never seen you make a big deal about this stuff before. Why can’t
I get a few cases of beer? What’s the big deal?”
7.4 Do these events give you any additional insights into how to decrease employee theft in this
store? If so, elect a group member to write an additional one or two reasons in your spot on
the board or on your transparency.
7.5 Class discussion (whether in groups or as a class) should center on whether the theft that’s
occurring at The Grocery Cart reveals a problem of moral awareness, moral judgment, or
moral intent. In addition, does the theft point to a problem with “bad apples,” a “bad barrel,”
or both?
Source: Adapted from E.C. Tomlinson, “Teaching the Interactionist Model of Ethics,” Journal of Management
Education 33 (2009), pp. 142–65.
Final PDF to printer

224 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 224 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.5 Kiley, D., and B. Helm.
“The Great Trust Offen-
sive.” BusinessWeek,
September 29, 2008,
pp. 38–41.
7.6 Greenberg, J. “A Taxon-
omy of Organizational
Justice Theories.” Acad-
emy of Management
Review 12 (1987),
pp. 9–22.
7.7 Lind, E.A. “Fairness
Heuristic Theory:
Justice Judgments as
Pivotal Cognitions in
Organizational Rela-
tions.” In Advances in
Organizational Justice,
ed. J. Greenberg and R.
Cropanzano. Stanford,
CA: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 2001, pp.
56–88; Van den Bos,
K. “Fairness Heuristic
Theory: Assessing the
Information to Which
People Are Reacting
Has a Pivotal Role
in Understanding
Organizational Justice.”
In Theoretical and
Cultural Perspectives
on Organizational
Justice, ed. S. Gilliland,
D. Steiner, and D.
Skarlicki. Greenwich,
CT: Information Age,
2001, pp. 63–84; and
Van den Bos, K.; E.A.
Lind; and H.A.M.
Wilke. “The Psychology
of Procedural and Dis-
tributive Justice Viewed
from the Perspective
of Fairness Heuristic
Theory.” In Justice in
the Workplace, Vol. 2,
ed. R. Cropanzano.
Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum,
2001, pp. 49–66.
7.8 Treviño, L.K.; G.R.
Weaver; and S.J.
Reynolds. “Behavioral
Ethics in Organiza-
tions: A Review.”
Journal of Management
32 (2006), pp. 951–90.
7.9 McAllister, D.J. “Affect-
and Cognition-Based
Trust as Foundations
for Interpersonal
Cooperation in Orga-
nizations.” Academy of
Management Journal 38
(1995), pp. 24–59.
7.10 Ibid.
7.11 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model”; Rotter,
J.B. “A New Scale for
the Measurement of
Interpersonal Trust.”
Journal of Personality
35 (1967), pp. 651–65;
Rotter, J.B. “General-
ized Expectancies for
Interpersonal Trust.”
American Psychologist
26 (1971), pp. 443–52;
and Rotter, J.B.
“Interpersonal Trust,
Trustworthiness, and
Gullibility.” American
Psychologist 35 (1980),
pp. 1–7.
7.12 Rosenberg, M. “Mis-
anthropy and Political
Ideology.” American
Sociological Review 21
(1956), pp. 690–95;
and Wrightsman Jr.,
L.S. “Measurement of
Philosophies of Human
Nature.” Psychological
Reports 14 (1964), pp.
7.13 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model.”
7.14 Jones, W.H.; L.L.
Couch; and S. Scott.
“Trust and Betrayal:
The Psychology of Get-
ting Along and Getting
Ahead.” In Handbook
of Personality Psychol-
ogy, ed. R. Hogan, J.S.
Johnson, and S.R.
Briggs. San Diego, CA:
Academic Press, 1997,
pp. 465–82.
7.15 Source: Stack, L.C.
“Trust.” In Dimensional-
ity of Personality, ed. H.
London and J.E. Exner
Jr. New York: Wiley,
1978, pp. 561–99.
7.16 Webb, W.M., and P.
Worchel. “Trust and
Distrust.” In Psychology
of Intergroup Relations,
ed. S. Worchel and
W.G. Austin. Chicago:
Nelson-Hall, 1986, pp.
213–28; and Erickson,
E.H. Childhood and
Society, 2nd ed. New
York: Norton, 1963.
7.17 Stack, “Trust.”
7.18 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model.”
7.19 McAllister, “Affect- and
Cognition-Based Trust
as Foundations for
Interpersonal Coopera-
tion in Organizations”;
and Lewicki, R.J., and
B.B. Bunker. “Develop-
ing and Maintaining
Trust in Work Rela-
tionships.” In Trust in
Organizations: Frontiers
of Theory and Research,
ed. R.M. Kramer and
T.R. Tyler. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996,
pp. 114–39.
7.20 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model.”
7.21 Ibid.; and Gabarro,
J.J. “The Development
of Trust, Influence,
and Expectations.” In
Interpersonal Behavior:
Final PDF to printer

225C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 225 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Communication and
Understanding in
Relationships, ed. G.
Athos and J.J. Gabarro.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1978, pp.
7.22 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model.”
7.23 Ibid.
7.24 Source: Marquez, J.
“Kindness Pays . . . Or
Does It?” Workforce
Management, June 25,
2007, pp. 41–49.
7.25 Source: Marquez, J.
“Kindness Pays . . . Or
Does It?” Workforce
Management, June 25,
2007, pp. 41–49.
7.26 Mayer et al., “An Inte-
grative Model.”
7.27 Wright, T.A., and J.
Goodstein. “Character
Is Not ‘Dead’ in Man-
agement Research: A
Review of Individual
Character and
Virtue.” Journal of Man-
agement 33 (2007),
pp. 928–58; and
Gabarro, “The
Development of
Trust, Influence, and
7.28 Mayer et al., “An Integra-
tive Model”; Simons, T.
“Behavioral Integrity:
The Perceived Align-
ment between Managers’
Words and Deeds as a
Research Focus.” Organi-
zation Science 13 (2002),
pp. 18–35; and Dineen,
B.R.; R.J. Lewicki;
and E.C. Tomlinson.
“Supervisory Guidance
and Behavioral Integrity:
Relationships with
Employee Citizenship
and Deviant Behavior.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 91 (2006),
pp. 622–35.
7.29 Dineen et al., “Super-
visory Guidance”;
and Bates, S. “Poll:
Employees Skeptical
about Management
Actions.” HR Magazine,
June 2002, p. 12.
7.30 Lencioni, P. “The
Power of Saying ‘We
Blew It.’” Bloomberg
Businessweek, February
22, 2010, p. 84.
7.31 Penenberg, A.L.
“Doctor Love.” Fast
Company, July/August
2010, pp. 78–83, 113.
7.32 Naquin, C. E.; T.R.
Kurtzerg; and L.Y. Bel-
kin. “The Finer Points
of Lying Online: E-mail
Versus Pen and Paper.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 95 (2010),
pp. 387–94.
7.33 Stead, D. “. . . And
I Invented Velcro.”
BusinessWeek, August
4, 2008, p. 15.
7.34 Penenberg, “Doctor
7.35 McAllister, “Affect- and
Cognition-Based Trust”;
Lewicki and Bunker,
“Developing and
Maintaining Trust”;
and Lewis, J.D., and
A. Weigert. “Trust as a
Social Reality.” Social
Forces 63 (1985),
pp. 967–85.
7.36 McAllister, “Affect- and
Cognition-Based Trust.”
7.37 Lind, “Fairness Heuris-
tic Theory: Assessing”;
Van den Bos, “Fairness
Heuristic Theory: Jus-
tice”; and Van den Bos
et al., “The Psychology
of Procedural and Dis-
tributive Justice.”
7.38 Adams, J.S. “Inequity
in Social Exchange.” In
Advances in Experimen-
tal Social Psychology,
Vol. 2, ed. L. Berkowitz.
New York: Academic
Press, 1965, pp. 267–99;
and Leventhal, G.S.
“The Distribution of
Rewards and Resources
in Groups and Organi-
zations.” In Advances
in Experimental Social
Psychology, Vol. 9, ed.
L. Berkowitz and W.
Walster. New York:
Academic Press, 1976,
pp. 91–131.
7.39 Leventhal, “The Distri-
bution of Rewards.”
7.40 Ibid.
7.41 Leventhal, G.S. “What
Should Be Done with
Equity Theory? New
Approaches to the
Study of Fairness in
Social Relationships.”
In Social Exchange:
Advances in Theory and
Research, ed. K. Ger-
gen, M. Greenberg, and
R. Willis. New York:
Plenum Press, 1980,
pp. 27–55; and Thibaut,
J., and L. Walker.
Procedural Justice: A
Psychological Analysis.
Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum,
7.42 Folger, R. “Distributive
and Procedural Justice:
Combined Impact of
‘Voice’ and Improve-
ment on Experienced
Inequity.” Journal of
Final PDF to printer

226 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 226 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Personality and Social
Psychology 35 (1977),
pp. 108–19.
7.43 Colquitt, J.A.; D.E.
Conlon; M.J. Wesson;
C.O.L.H. Porter; and
K.Y. Ng. “Justice at the
Millennium: A Meta-
Analytic Review of
25 Years of Orga-
nizational Justice
Research.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 86
(2001), pp. 425–45.
7.44 Tyler, T.R.; K.A. Rasin-
ski; and N. Spodick.
“Influence of Voice
on Satisfaction with
Leaders: Exploring the
Meaning of Process
Control.” Journal of
Personality and Social
Psychology 48 (1985),
pp. 72–81; Earley,
P.C., and E.A. Lind.
“Procedural Justice and
Participation in Task
Selection: The Role of
Control in Mediating
Justice Judgments.”
Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology
52 (1987),
pp. 1148–60; Lind,
E.A.; R. Kanfer; and
P.C. Earley. “Voice,
Control, and Procedural
Justice: Instrumental
and Noninstrumental
Concerns in Fairness
Judgments.” Journal of
Personality and Social
Psychology 59 (1990),
pp. 952–59; and Kors-
gaard, M.A., and L.
Roberson. “Procedural
Justice in Performance
Evaluation: The Role of
Instrumental and Non-
Instrumental Voice in
Performance Appraisal
Discussions.” Journal of
Management 21 (1995),
pp. 657–69.
7.45 Leventhal, “What
Should Be Done with
Equity Theory?”
7.46 Kolhatkar, S. “Emascu-
lation Nation.” Bloom-
berg Businessweek,
September 17–23, 2012,
pp. 102–103.
7.47 Coy, P., and E.
Dwoskin. “Short-
changed.” Bloomberg
Businessweek, June 25–
July 1, 2012, pp. 6–7.
7.48 Source: Morris, “How
Corporate America
Is Betraying Women.”
Fortune, January 10,
v2005, pp. 64–74
7.49 Hansen, F. “Race and
Gender Still Matter.”
Workforce Management,
September 11, 2006,
p. 12.
7.50 Source: Hansen, F.
“Merit-Pay Payoff?”
Workforce Management,
November 3, 2008,
pp. 33–39
7.51 Taylor, A., III “No Test
Dummies.” Fortune, June
11, 2007, pp. 49–52.
7.52 Leonard, D. “Who’s
Afraid of Steve Jobs?”
Bloomberg Business-
week, July 26–August 1,
2010, pp. 58–63.
7.53 Brockner, J., and B.M.
Wiesenfeld. “An Inte-
grative Framework for
Explaining Reactions to
Decisions: Interactive
Effects of Outcomes
and Procedures.” Psy-
chological Bulletin 120
(1996), pp. 189–208.
7.54 Ibid.
7.55 Colquitt et al., “Justice
at the Millennium”;
and Cohen-Charash,
Y., and P.E. Spector.
“The Role of Justice
in Organizations:
A Meta-Analysis.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 86 (2001),
pp. 278–321.
7.56 Bies, R.J., and J.F.
Moag. “Interactional
Justice: Communi-
cation Criteria of
Fairness.” In Research
on Negotiations in
Organizations, Vol. 1,
ed. R.J. Lewicki, B.H.
Sheppard, and M.H.
Bazerman. Green-
wich, CT: JAI Press,
1986, pp. 43–55; and
Greenberg, J. “The
Social Side of Fairness:
Interpersonal and Infor-
mational Classes of
Organizational Justice.”
In Justice in the Work-
place: Approaching Fair-
ness in Human Resource
Management, ed. R.
Cropanzano. Hillsdale,
NJ: Erlbaum, 1993,
pp. 79–103.
7.57 Bies, R.J. “Interactional
(In)justice: The Sacred
and the Profane.” In
Advances in Organi-
zational Justice, ed.
J. Greenberg and R.
Cropanzano. Stanford,
CA: Stanford Univer-
sity Press, 2001,
pp. 85–108.
7.58 Tepper, B.J.
“Consequences of
Abusive Supervision.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 43
(2000), pp. 178–90.
Final PDF to printer

227C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 227 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.59 Schat, A.C.H.; M.R.
Frone; and E.K. Kel-
loway. “Prevalence of
Workplace Aggression
in the U.S. Workforce:
Findings from a
National Study.” In
Handbook of Workplace
Violence, ed. E.K. Kel-
loway, J. Barling, and
J.J. Hurrell. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006,
pp. 47–89.
7.60 Tepper, B.J.; M.K.
Duffy; C.A. Henle; and
L.S. Lambert. “Proce-
dural Injustice, Victim
Precipitation, and
Abusive Supervision.”
Personnel Psychology 28
(2006), pp. 101–23.
7.61 Tepper, B.J. “Abusive
Supervision in Work
Review, Synthesis, and
Research Agenda.”
Journal of Management
33 (2007), pp. 261–89.
7.62 Mitchell, M.S., and
M.L. Ambrose. “Abu-
sive Supervision and
Workplace Deviance
and the Moderating
Effects of Negative
Reciprocity Beliefs.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 92 (2007), pp.
1159–68; Tepper, B.J.;
C.A. Henle; L.S. Lam-
bert; R.A. Giacalone;
and M.K. Duffy. “Abu-
sive Supervision and
Subordinates’ Orga-
nizational Deviance.”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 93 (2008), pp.
721–32; and Tepper,
B.J.; J.C. Carr; D.M.
Breaux; S. Geider;
C. Hu; and W. Hua.
“Abusive Supervision,
Intentions to Quit, and
Employees’ Workplace
Deviance: A Power/
Dependence Analy-
sis.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Processes 109 (2009),
pp. 156–67.
7.63 Miner, A.G.; T.M.
Glomb; and C. Hulin.
“Experience Sampling
Mode and Its Corre-
lates at Work.” Journal
of Occupational and
Organizational Psychol-
ogy 78 (2005), pp.
7.64 Gilliland, S.W.; L.
Benson; and D.H.
Schepers. “A Rejection
Threshold in Justice
Evaluations: Effects
on Judgment and
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 76 (1998), pp.
7.65 Hauser, S.G. “The
Degeneration.” Work-
force Management,
January 2011, pp.
7.66 Source: Susan G.
Hauser, “The Degen-
eration of Decorum,”
Workforce Management
(January 16, 2011), pp.
16–18, 20–21.
7.67 Bies and Moag, “Inter-
actional Justice”; and
Greenberg, “The Social
Side of Fairness.”
7.68 Folger, R., and D.P.
Skarlicki. “Fairness as
a Dependent Variable:
Why Tough Times Can
Lead to Bad Manage-
ment.” In Justice in the
Workplace: From Theory
to Practice, ed. R.
Cropanzano. Mahwah,
NJ: Erlbaum, 2001, pp.
7.69 Marquez, J.; E. Frauen-
heim; and M. Schoeff
Jr. “Harsh Reality.”
Workforce Management,
June 22, 2009,
pp. 18–23.
7.70 Shaw, J.C.; R.E. Wild;
and J.A. Colquitt. “To
Justify or Excuse?: A
Meta-Analysis of the
Effects of Explana-
tions.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 88
(2003), pp. 444–58.
7.71 Orey, M. “Fear of
Firing.” BusinessWeek,
April 23, 2007, pp.
7.72 Greenberg, J.
“Employee Theft as a
Reaction to Underpay-
ment Inequity: The
Hidden Cost of Payc-
uts.” Journal of Applied
Psychology 75 (1990),
pp. 561–68.
7.73 Colquitt et al., “Justice
at the Millennium”; and
Cohen-Charash and
Spector, “The Role of
7.74 Treviño et al., “Behav-
ioral Ethics”; and
Tenbrunsel, A.E., and
K. Smith-Crowe. “Ethi-
cal Decision Making:
Where We’ve Been and
Where We’re Going.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Annals 2 (2008),
pp. 545–607.
7.75 Donaldson, T., and
T.W. Dunfee. “Toward
a Unified Conception
Final PDF to printer

228 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 228 10/20/17 02:24 PM
of Business Ethics: Inte-
grative Social Contracts
Theory.” Academy of
Management Review 19
(1994), pp. 252–84.
7.76 Treviño et al., “Behav-
ioral Ethics.”
7.77 Kaptein, M. “Developing
a Measure of Unethical
Behavior in the Work-
place: A Stakeholder
Perspective.” Journal of
Management 34 (2008),
pp. 978–1008.
7.78 Covey, S.M.R. The
Speed of Trust: The One
Thing That Changes
Everything. New York:
The Free Press, 2006.
7.79 Treviño et al., “Behav-
ioral Ethics.”
7.80 Near, J.P., and M.P.
Miceli. “Organizational
Dissidence: The Case
of Whistle-Blowing.”
Journal of Business Eth-
ics 4 (1985), pp. 1–16.
7.81 Rehg, M.T.; M.P.
Miceli; J.P. Near; and
J.R. Van Scotter. “Ante-
cedents and Outcomes
of Retaliation Against
Whistleblowers: Gen-
der Differences and
Power Relationships.”
Organization Science 19
(2008), pp. 221–40.
7.82 Miceli, M.P.; J.P. Near;
and T.M. Dworkin. “A
Word to the Wise: How
Managers and Policy-
Makers Can Encourage
Employees to Report
Wrongdoing.” Journal
of Business Ethics 86
(2009), pp. 379–96.
7.83 Rest, J.R. Moral Devel-
opment: Advances in
Research and Theory.
New York: Praeger,
7.84 Treviño, L.K. “Ethi-
cal Decision Making
in Organizations:
A Person-Situation
Interactionist Model.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 11 (1996),
pp. 601–17; and Kish-
Gephart, J.J.; D.A.
Harrison; and L.K.
Treviño. “Bad Apples,
Bad Cases, and Bad
Barrels: Meta-Analytic
Evidence about Sources
of Unethical Decisions
at Work.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 95
(2010), pp. 1–31.
7.85 Tomlinson, E.C.
“Teaching the Inter-
actionist Model of
Ethics.” Journal of
Management Educa-
tion 33 (2009), pp.
142–65; and Treviño,
L.K., and M.E. Brown.
“Managing to be
Ethical: Debunking
Five Business Ethics
Myths.” Academy of
Management Executive
18 (2004), pp. 69–83.
7.86 Rest, Moral
7.87 Butterfield, K.D.; L.K.
Treviño; and G.R.
Weaver. “Moral Aware-
ness in Business Orga-
nizations: Influence
of Issue-Related and
Social Context Factors.”
Human Relations 53
(2000), pp. 981–1017.
7.88 Berfield, S. “Steal This
Look.” Bloomberg
Businessweek, January
24–30, 2011, pp. 90–96.
7.89 Source: Berfield, S.
“Steal This Look.”
Bloomberg Business-
week, January 24–30,
2011, pp. 90–96
7.90 Jones, T.M. “Ethical
Decision Making by
Individuals in Organiza-
tions: An Issue-
Contingent Model.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 16 (1991),
pp. 366–95.
7.91 Singhapakdi, A.; S.J.
Vitell; and K.L. Kraft.
“Moral Intensity and
Ethical Decision-
Making of Marketing
Professionals.” Journal
of Business Research 36
(1996), pp. 245–55.
7.92 Jones, “Ethical Deci-
sion Making by Individ-
uals in Organizations.”
7.93 Reynolds, S.J. “Moral
Attentiveness: Who
Pays Attention to the
Moral Aspects of Life?”
Journal of Applied Psy-
chology 93 (2008),
pp. 1027–41.
7.94 Porter, J. “Using Ex-
Cons to Scare MBAs
Straight.” BusinessWeek,
May 5, 2008, p. 58.
7.95 Source: Porter, J. “Using
Ex-Cons to scare MBAs
Straight.” Businessweek,
May 5, 2008, p. 58.
7.96 Rest, Moral
7.97 Kohlberg, L. “Stage and
Sequence: The Cogni-
tive Developmental
Approach to Socializa-
tion.” In Handbook of
Socialization Theory, ed.
D.A. Goslin. Chicago:
Rand McNally, 1969,
pp. 347–480; and Kohl-
berg, L. “The Claim to
Moral Adequacy of a
Highest Stage of Moral
Judgment.” Journal of
Philosophy 70 (1973),
pp. 630–46.
Final PDF to printer

229C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 229 10/20/17 02:24 PM
7.98 Rest, J. Manual for
the Defining Issues
Test. Minneapolis,
MN: Center for the
Study of Ethical
Development, 1986;
and Loviscky, G.E.;
L.K. Treviño; and
R.R. Jacobs. “Assess-
ing Managers’ Ethical
Decision-Making: An
Objective Measure
of Managerial Moral
Judgment.” Journal
of Business Ethics 73
(2007), pp. 263–85.
7.99 Kohlberg, “Stage
and Sequence”; and
Kohlberg, “The Claim
to Moral Adequacy.”
7.100 Ibid.
7.101 Treviño et al., “Behav-
ioral Ethics”
7.102 Kohlberg, “Stage
and Sequence”; and
Kohlberg, “The Claim
to Moral Adequacy.”
7.103 Treviño et al., “Behav-
ioral Ethics;” and
Rest, J.; D. Narvaez;
M.J. Bebeau; and S.J.
Thoma. Postconven-
tional Moral Thinking:
A Neo-Kohlbergian
Approach. Mahwah,
NJ: Erlbaum, 1999.
7.104 Crane and Matten,
Business Ethics. New
York: Oxford Univer-
sity Press, 2007.
7.105 Ibid.
7.106 Rest, Moral
7.107 Kaptein, M. “Devel-
oping and Testing
a Measure for the
Ethical Culture of
Organizations: The
Corporate Ethics
Virtues Model.”
Journal of Organiza-
tional Behavior 29
(2008), pp. 923–47;
Schminke, M.; M.L.
Ambrose; and D.O.
Neubaum. “The
Effect of Leader
Moral Development
on Ethical Climate
and Employee Atti-
tudes.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Decision Processes 97
(2005), pp. 135–51;
and Treviño, “Ethical
Decision Making in
7.108 Schweitzer, M.E.;
L. Ordòñez; and B.
Douma. “Goal Setting
as a Motivator of
Unethical Behavior.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Journal 47
(2004), pp. 422–32.
7.109 Aquino, K., and A.
Reed II. “The Self-
Importance of Moral
Identity.” Journal of
Personality and Social
Psychology 83 (2002),
pp. 1423–40.
7.110 Ibid.
7.111 Reynolds, S.J., and
T.L. Ceranic. “The
Effects of Moral
Judgment and Moral
Identity on Moral
Behavior: An Empiri-
cal Examination of
the Moral Individual.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 92 (2007),
pp. 1610–24.
7.112 Schminke, M.; M.L.
Ambrose; and T.W.
Noel. “The Effects of
Ethical Frameworks
on Perceptions
of Organizational
Justice.” Academy of
Management Journal
40 (1997), pp. 1190–
1207; and Wendorf,
C.A.; S. Alexander;
and I.J. Firestone.
“Social Justice and
Moral Reasoning: An
Empirical Integration
of Two Paradigms
in Psychological
Research.” Social
Justice Research 15
(2002), pp. 19–39.
7.113 Mayer, R.C., and
M.B. Gavin. “Trust
in Management and
Performance: Who
Minds the Shop While
the Employees Watch
the Boss?” Academy
of Management Jour-
nal 48 (2005),
pp. 874–88.
7.114 Blau, P. Exchange and
Power in Social Life.
New York: Wiley,
1964; and Shore,
L.M.; L.E. Tetrick; P.
Lynch; and K. Barks-
dale. “Social and
Economic Exchange:
Construct Develop-
ment and Validation.”
Journal of Applied
Social Psychology 36
(2006), pp. 837–67.
7.115 Ibid.
7.116 Dirks, K.T., and D.L.
Ferrin. “Trust in
Leadership: Meta-
Analytic Findings
and Implications
for Research and
Practice.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 87
(2002), pp. 611–28.
7.117 Ibid.
7.118 Carroll, A.B. “A Three-
Dimensional Model of
Corporate Social Per-
formance.” Academy of
Management Review 4
Final PDF to printer

230 C H A P T E R 7 Trust, Justice, and Ethics
coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 230 10/20/17 02:24 PM
(1979), pp. 497–505;
Carroll, A.B. “The
Pyramid of Corporate
Social Responsibility:
Toward the Moral
Management of Orga-
nizational Stakehold-
ers.” Business Horizons
34 (1991), pp. 39–48;
Carroll, A.B. “The
Four Faces of Cor-
porate Citizenship.”
Business and Society
Review 100 (1998), pp.
1–7; and Carroll, A.B.
“Corporate Social
Evolution of a
Definitional Con-
struct.” Business and
Society 38 (1999),
pp. 268–95.
7.119 Carroll, “The
7.120 Weber, J. “The New
Ethics Enforcers.” Busi-
nessWeek, February 13,
2006, pp. 76–77.
7.121 Carroll, “The
7.122 Schoeff, M., Jr. “J. M.
Smuckers Co.”
Workforce Manage-
ment, March 13,
2006, p. 19.
7.123 Carroll, “The
7.124 Grow, B.; S. Hamm;
and L. Lee. “The
Debate Over Doing
Good.” BusinessWeek,
August 15, 2005,
pp. 76–78.
7.125 Holmes, S. “Nike
Goes for the Green.”
BusinessWeek, Sep-
tember 25, 2006, pp.
7.126 Gunther, M. “The
Green Machine.” For-
tune, August 7, 2006,
pp. 42–57.
7.127 Grow et al., “The
Debate Over Doing
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch07_194-231.indd 231 10/20/17 02:24 PM
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 232 10/11/17 08:45 AM
8.1 What is learning, and how does it affect decision making?
8.2 What types of knowledge can employees gain as they learn and build expertise?
8.3 What are the methods by which employees learn in organizations?
8.4 What two methods can employees use to make decisions?
8.5 What decision-making problems can prevent employees from translating their learning into accurate
8.6 How does learning affect job performance and organizational commitment?
8.7 What steps can organizations take to foster learning?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Learning and Decision
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 233 10/11/17 08:45 AM
ridgewater Associates LP, based in Westport, CT,
(about an hour from New York City) is the world’s larg-
est hedge fund firm, managing $160 billion in invest-
ments. It is also a company whose 1,500 employees are
doggedly focused on identifying mistakes and learning from
them. Bridgewater records almost every conversation and
every meeting between employees and analyzes them for
mistakes and successes. The company requires employ-
ees to work in an environment of “radical truth” and “radi-
cal transparency.” What does that mean? Well, for one thing,
it means that employees are expected to be as open and
honest as possible with everyone and everything they come
in contact with at work. This might mean speaking up when
they feel a meeting is a waste of time. It also might mean
telling a person in front of a room full of people that they
are unprepared and their opinion didn’t add value. In fact,
the second worst thing you can do as an employee (dishon-
esty is first) is to say something about a person behind their
back—the expectation is that you will say it to their face. 
Much of this culture of transparency and truth comes
from Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio (age 67) who moves
between jobs (or at least job titles) such as CIO, CEO, and
Mentor on a regular basis as he attempts to find a succes-
sor. The unquestioned leader regardless of his job title,
Dalio describes the firm as an “intellectual Navy Seals” and
notes that the firm is ruled by a manifesto he created of
210 principles. Over 100 pages long, new employees are
expected to have read these principles and act accordingly
when they arrive to work. (Open to the public, a list of these
principles can be found at
At the core of these principles is a desire for employees
to learn and be independent thinkers and decision makers.
The goal is that decisions inside the firm are made with full
information and diversity of thought—ideas rule, not emo-
tions. This also means that the expectation is that conflict
will be a daily part of life. It’s not an environment that fits
everyone—20 percent of new hires leave within their first
year. Sometimes the honesty is too much and employ-
ees can be found crying in the bathroom. However, many
employees thrive in the environment. Dalio states that as
a firm, “our greatest power is that we know that we don’t
know and we are open to being wrong and learning.” 
©Bloomberg/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

234 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 234 10/11/17 08:45 AM
What types of knowledge
can employees gain as they
learn and build expertise?
What is learning, and how
does it affect decision
Bridgewater Associates spends an enormous amount of time and effort to create an environment
where employees learn from their mistakes and ideally make decisions more effectively through
open and honest communication and conflict. Learning reflects relatively permanent changes
in an employee’s knowledge or skill that result from experience.1 The more employees learn, the
more they bring to the table when they come to work. Why is learning so important? Because it
has a significant impact on decision making, which refers to the process of generating and choos-
ing from a set of alternatives to solve a problem. The more knowledge and skills employees pos-
sess, the more likely they are to make accurate and sound decisions. The risk, at Bridgewater and
other organizations, is that less experienced employees will lack the knowledge base needed to
make the right decisions when performing their jobs or stepping into new roles.
One reason inexperience can be so problematic is that learning is not necessarily easy. Have
you ever watched “experts” perform their jobs? How is it that someone becomes an expert? It takes
a significant amount of time to become proficient at most complex jobs. It takes most employees
anywhere from three months to a year to perform their job at a satisfactory level.2 To develop high
levels of expertise takes significantly longer. This difficulty makes it even more important for com-
panies to find a way to improve learning and decision making by their employees.
D E C I S I O N S B E T T E R T H A N OT H E R S ?
Bill Buford, a journalist interested in becoming a chef, was hired by Mario Batali’s world-renowned
restaurant Babbo in New York. At some point early in his tenure in the kitchen, he realized he was
in over his head while he stood and watched other, more experienced cooks work at an unbeliev-
ably frantic pace. He knew right then that he had a decision to make:
I was at a go-forward-or-backward moment. If I went backward, I’d be saying, “Thanks for
the visit, very interesting, that’s sure not me.” But how to go forward? There was no place
for me. These people were at a higher level of labor. They didn’t think. Their skills were so
deeply inculcated they were available to them as instincts. I didn’t have skills of that kind
and couldn’t imagine how you’d learn them. I was aware of being poised on the verge of
something: a long, arduous, confidence-bashing, profoundly humiliating experience.3
In this situation, Buford realized that his coworkers had more expertise than he did. Expertise
refers to the knowledge and skills that distinguish experts from novices and less experienced peo-
ple.4 Research shows that the differences between experts and novices is almost always a function
of learning as opposed to the more popular view that intelligence or other innate differences make
the difference.5 Although learning cannot be directly seen or observed, we can tell when people
have learned by observing their behaviors. It’s those behaviors that can be used to tell experts
from novices, and it is changes in those behaviors that can be used to show that learners are gain-
ing knowledge. Although it’s sometimes easy for employees to mimic a behavior once or twice, or
get lucky with a few key decisions, true learning only occurs when changes in behavior become
relatively permanent and are repeated over time. Understanding why some employees prove better
at this than others requires understanding what exactly employees learn and how they do it. For
more discussion of the development of expertise, see our OB at the Bookstore feature.
Employees learn two basic types of knowledge, both of which have important implications for
organizations. Explicit knowledge is the kind of information you’re likely to think about when
you picture someone sitting down at a desk to learn. It’s information that’s relatively easily
Final PDF to printer

235C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 235 10/11/17 08:45 AM
by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)
The main thing that sets experts apart from the rest of us is that their years of practice have
changed the neural circuitry in their brains to produce highly specialized mental representations,
which in turn make possible the incredible memory, pattern recognition, problem solving, and
other sorts of advanced abilities needed to excel in their particular specialties.
With those words, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool deliver the
main thrust of the book’s message: ignore the premise of “natural
ability” and realize that effort is the primary building block that
develops expertise. Did you ever want to become an expert at
something? Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule? Made popu-
lar in Outliers, a book written by Malcolm Gladwell, the rule states
that one has to spend 10,000 hours doing something to become
an “expert” at it. The research that Gladwell cited was that of
Anders Ericsson who has spent his career studying people who
are exceptional at what they do—in other words, experts. Although
Ericsson argues that Gladwell misunderstood his research and that
the 10,000 hour rule is not really a “rule”—it does help highlight
something very clear—“people working to become experts requires
a tremendous amount of effort exerted over many years. It may not
require exactly 10,000 hours, but it will take a lot.”
In fact, it takes exerted effort at what Ericsson calls “deliberate
practice.” Naïve practice, as noted in the book, is essentially just
doing something repeatedly and expecting that the simple repetition will improve your perfor-
mance. Ericsson would argue that it won’t. The most practical benefit of the book is the detailed
explanation of deliberate practice, which involves well-defined and specific goals, focus, feedback,
and getting out of our comfort zone. Ideally, all of this happens under the tutelage of an expert
so that the practice will be well informed. Much of Ericsson’s research on expertise is oriented
around the development of tacit knowledge, or what he refers to as “mental representations.”
These mental representations are what allow experts to process their world more efficiently and
accurately than novices.
©Roberts Publishing Services
communicated and a large part of what companies teach during training sessions. Think about it
this way: If you can put the information or knowledge in a manual or write it down for someone
else, chances are good you’re talking about explicit knowledge. As you read this textbook, we’re
doing our best to communicate explicit knowledge to you that will be useful to you in your future
job. Although such information is necessary to perform well, it winds up being a relatively minor
portion of all that you need to know.
Tacit knowledge, in contrast, is what employees can typically learn only through experience.6
It’s not easily communicated but could very well be the most important aspect of what we learn
in organizations.7 In fact, it’s been argued that up to 90 percent of the knowledge contained in
organizations occurs in tacit form.8 Did you ever get to be so good at something that you had the
ability to do it but couldn’t really explain it to someone else? That’s a common way to explain
tacit knowledge. It’s been described as the “know-how,” “know-what,” and “know-who” acquired
solely through experience.9 Others have used terms such as intuition, skills, insight, beliefs, mental
Final PDF to printer

236 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 236 10/11/17 08:45 AM
models, and practical intelligence.10 Table 8-1
lists the qualities that help explain the differ-
ences between explicit and tacit knowledge. Some
would say that explicit knowledge is what every-
one can find and use, but tacit knowledge is what
separates experts from common people.11
Tacit and explicit knowledge are extremely
important to employees and organizations. As
an employee, it’s hard to build a high level of
tacit knowledge without some level of explicit
knowledge to build from. From an organization’s
perspective, the tacit knowledge its employees
accumulate may be the single most important
strategic asset a company possesses.12 The ques-
tion then becomes: How do employees learn
these types of knowledge? The short answer is
that we learn through reinforcement (i.e., rewards
and punishment), observation, and experience.
REINFORCEMENT We’ve long known that man-
agers use various methods of reinforcement to induce desirable or reduce undesirable behaviors
by their employees. Originally known as operant conditioning, B.F. Skinner was the first to pio-
neer the notion that we learn by observing the link between our voluntary behavior and the con-
sequences that follow it. Research has continually demonstrated that people will exhibit specific
behaviors if they’re rewarded for doing so. Not surprisingly, we have a tendency to repeat behav-
iors that result in consequences that we like and to reduce behaviors that result in consequences
we don’t like. Figure 8-1 shows this operant conditioning process.
In the model in Figure 8-1, you can see that there are antecedents or events that precede or sig-
nal certain behaviors, which are then followed by consequences. Antecedents in organizations are
typically goals, rules, instructions, or other types of information that help show employees what
is expected of them. Although antecedents are useful for motivational reasons, it’s primarily the
consequences of actions that drive behavior. This entire process of reinforcement is a continuous
cycle, and the repetition of behaviors is strengthened to the degree that reinforcement continues
What are the methods by
which employees learn in
Expertise is the accumula-
tion of superior knowledge
and skills in a field that
separates experts from
everyone else.
©Dynamic Graphics/JupiterImages
TABLE 8-1 Characteristics of Explicit and Tacit Knowledge
Easily transferred through written or verbal
Very difficult, if not impossible, to articulate to
Readily available to most Highly personal in nature
Can be learned through books Based on experience
Always conscious and accessible
Sometimes holders don’t even recognize that
they possess it
General information Typically job- or situation-specific
Source: Adapted from R. McAdam, B. Mason, and J. McCrory, “Exploring the Dichotomies within the Tacit Knowledge
Literature: Towards a Process of Tacit Knowing in Organizations,” Journal of Knowledge Management 11 (2007), pp. 43–59.
Final PDF to printer

237C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 237 10/11/17 08:45 AM
FIGURE 8-1 Operant Conditioning Components
Behavior ConsequenceAntecedent
Manager sets
specific and
di�cult goal
Condition that
precedes behavior
Employee meets
assigned goal
Action performed
by employee
Employee receives
a bonus
Result that occurs
after behavior
to occur. There are four specific consequences typically used by organizations to modify employee
behavior, known as the contingencies of reinforcement.13 Figure 8-2 summarizes these contingen-
cies. It’s important to separate them according to what they’re designed to do—namely, increase
desired behaviors or decrease unwanted behaviors.
Two contingencies of reinforcement are used to increase desired behaviors. Positive reinforcement
occurs when a positive outcome follows a desired behavior. It’s perhaps the most common type
of reinforcement and the type we think of when an employee receives some type of “reward.”
Increased pay, promotions, praise from a manager or coworkers, and public recognition would
all be considered positive reinforcement when given as a result of an employee exhibiting desired
behaviors. For positive reinforcement to be successful, employees need to see a direct link between
their behaviors and desired outcomes (see Chapter 6 on motivation for more discussion of such
issues). If the consequences aren’t realized until long after the specific behaviors, then the odds
that employees will link the two are minimized. Negative reinforcement occurs when an unwanted
outcome is removed following a desired behavior. Have you ever performed a task for the specific
reason of not getting yelled at? If so, you learned to perform certain behaviors through the use
of negative reinforcement. Perhaps there are some tasks your job requires that you don’t enjoy.
If your manager removes these responsibilities specifically because you perform well at another
aspect of your job, then this could also be seen as negative reinforcement. It’s important to remem-
ber that even though the word “negative” has a sour connotation to it, it’s designed to increase
desired behaviors.
FIGURE 8-2 Contingencies of Reinforcement
Is Added
Is Removed
Increases Desired
Decreases Unwanted
Final PDF to printer

238 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 238 10/11/17 08:45 AM
The next two contingencies
of reinforcement are designed to
decrease undesired behaviors. Pun-
ishment occurs when an unwanted
outcome follows an unwanted behav-
ior. Punishment is exactly what it
sounds like. In other words, employ-
ees are given something they don’t
like as a result of performing behav-
iors that the organization doesn’t
like. Suspending an employee for
showing up to work late, assigning
job tasks generally seen as demean-
ing for not following safety proce-
dures, or even firing an employee
for gross misconduct are all exam-
ples of punishment. Extinction occurs when there is the removal of a consequence following an
unwanted behavior. The use of extinction to reinforce behavior can be purposeful or accidental.
Perhaps employees receive attention from coworkers when they act in ways that are somewhat
childish at work. Finding a way to remove the attention would be a purposeful act of extinction.
Similarly though, perhaps employees work late every now and then to finish up job tasks when
work gets busy, but their manager stops acknowledging that hard work. Desired behavior that’s
not reinforced will diminish over time. In this way, a manager who does nothing to reinforce good
behavior is actually decreasing the odds that it will be repeated!
In general, positive reinforcement and extinction should be the most common forms of rein-
forcement used by managers to create learning among their employees. Positive reinforcement
doesn’t have to be in the form of material rewards to be effective. There are many ways for
managers to encourage wanted behaviors. Offering praise, providing feedback, public recogni-
tion, and small celebrations are all ways to encourage employees and increase the chances they
will continue to exhibit desired behaviors. At the same time, extinction is an effective way to
stop unwanted behaviors. Both of these contingencies deliver their intended results, but perhaps
more importantly, they do so without creating feelings of animosity and conflict. Although
punishment and negative reinforcement will work, they tend to bring other, detrimental conse-
quences along with them.
Whereas the type of reinforcement used to modify behavior is important, research also shows
that the timing of reinforcement is equally important.14 Therefore, it’s important to examine the
timing of when the contingencies are applied, referred to as schedules of reinforcement. Table 8-2
provides a summary of the five schedules of reinforcement. Continuous reinforcement is the sim-
plest schedule and happens when a specific consequence follows each and every occurrence of a
desired behavior. New learning is acquired most rapidly under a continuous schedule.15 For most
jobs, continuous reinforcement is impractical. As a manager, can you imagine providing positive
reinforcement every time someone exhibits a desired behavior? It’s a good thing that research also
shows that under many circumstances, continuous reinforcement might be considered the least
long lasting, because as soon as the consequence stops, the desired behavior stops along with it.16
Once a behavior has been acquired, some form of intermittent scheduling is more effective.17
The other four schedules differ in terms of their variability and the basis of the consequences.
Two schedules are interval based; that is, they distribute reinforcement based on the amount of
time that passes. A fixed interval schedule is probably the single most common form of reinforce-
ment schedule. With this schedule, workers are rewarded after a certain amount of time, and the
length of time between reinforcement periods stays the same. Every time employees get a pay-
check after a predetermined period of time, they’re being reinforced on a fixed interval schedule.
Variable interval schedules are designed to reinforce behavior at more random points in time. A
supervisor walking around at different points of time every day is a good example of a variable
interval schedule. If that supervisor walked around at the same exact time every day, do you think
workers would be more or less prone to exhibit good behaviors throughout the day?
Positive reinforcement, like
public recognition, both
encourages employees
and helps ensure that
desirable behaviors will be
imitated and repeated.
©Caiaimage/Paul Bradbury/OJO+/Getty Images RF
Final PDF to printer

239C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 239 10/11/17 08:45 AM
The other two reinforcement schedules are based on actual behaviors. Fixed ratio schedules rein-
force behaviors after a certain number of them have been exhibited. Some manufacturing plants
have created piece-rate pay systems in which workers are paid according to the number of items
they produce. Employees know ahead of time how many items they have to produce to be rein-
forced. Variable ratio schedules reward people after a varying number of exhibited behaviors. Sales-
people, for example, are often compensated based on commission because they receive extra pay
every time they sell an item. However, a car salesperson doesn’t make a sale every time someone
walks in the door of the dealership. Sometimes it takes exhibiting good sales behaviors to eight or
nine customers to make a sale. Take a slot machine as an example. The machine doesn’t reward you
for every lever pull or even every 10 lever pulls—you never know when the next winning pull will
be. Would you say that slot machines do a good job of reinforcing the behavior that casinos would
like you to have? You bet! There is a significant amount of evidence that variable ratio reinforce-
ment and the “like” button is largely responsible for the addictive growth of numerous social media
platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.18 Think about what happens every time you post some-
thing on social media—you wait to see who “likes” it or responds. That good feeling you get when
someone does? That’s variable ratio reinforcement in action and it makes you want to do it again.
On the whole, research has consistently shown that variable schedules lead to higher levels of
performance than fixed schedules.19 Think about it this way: Do you study more consistently in a
class that gives pop quizzes or one that simply tests you three set times a semester? Research also
shows that desired behaviors tend to disappear much more quickly when reinforcement is discon-
tinued under fixed plans. However, variable schedules are not always appropriate for some types
of reinforcement. How would you like it if your employer decided to give you your paychecks on
a variable schedule? Sorry, you’re not getting a paycheck this week—maybe next week! Moreover,
studies suggest that continuous or fixed schedules can be better for reinforcing new behaviors or
behaviors that don’t occur on a frequent basis.
OBSERVATION In addition to learning through reinforcement, social learning theory argues that
people in organizations have the ability to learn through the observation of others.20 In fact, many
would argue that social learning is the primary way by which employees gain knowledge in organi-
zations.21 Think about where you’re most likely to get your cues while working in an organization.
When possible, chances are good you’ll look around at other employees to figure out the appropri-
ate behaviors on your job. Not only do employees have the ability to see the link between their
own behaviors and their consequences, they can also observe the behaviors and consequences of
others.22 When employees observe the actions of others, learn from what they observe, and then
repeat the observed behavior, they’re engaging in behavioral modeling.
For behavioral modeling to occur successfully, a number of processes have to take place. These
steps are shown in Figure 8-3. First, the learner must focus attention on an appropriate model and
TABLE 8-2 Schedules of Reinforcement
Continuous Every desired behavior High, but difficult to
Fixed interval Fixed time periods Average Paycheck
Variable interval Variable time periods Moderately high Supervisor walk-by
Fixed ratio Fixed number of desired
High Piece-rate pay
Variable ratio Variable number of
desired behaviors
Very high Commission pay
Final PDF to printer

240 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 240 10/11/17 08:45 AM
accurately perceive the critical behavior the model exhibits. That model might be a supervisor, a
coworker, or even a subordinate. Some organizations go out of their way to supply role models for
newcomers or inexperienced workers to watch and learn from. For instance, Praxair, the global
industrial gases company, rewards and encourages older workers to model behavior and share
their knowledge. In this way, not only does explicit knowledge get passed on but also tacit knowl-
edge. Company representatives believe this has significantly reduced the time it takes for recent
graduates to become competent and it passes along skills required to replace retiring employees.23
In fact, because tacit knowledge is so difficult to communicate, modeling might be the single best
way to acquire it. For that reason, modeling is a continual process that is used at all levels of many
organizations. Ursula Burns’s ascent to CEO of Xerox was carefully controlled as she was allowed
to closely observe and model former CEO Anne Mulcahy for a number of years before taking
control.24 At Verizon, new CEO Lowell McAdam was tabbed to take over the spot but spent over
a year observing and modeling the prior CEO before moving into the job. At the time, McAdam
said, “I’m a very roll-up-your-sleeves guy. I need to learn to be CEO.”25 Needless to say, choosing
a good model is important, and not all models are good ones. There is a great deal of evidence
that supports the notion that employees will learn to behave unethically when in the presence
of others who model that same behavior.26 Salomon Brothers, the New York–based investment
bank, learned this lesson the hard way when employees began to model the unethical behaviors of
their managers and leaders.27 In addition to unethical behavior, there is substantial evidence that
employees will behavior model counterproductive work behaviors such as aggression and absen-
teeism when they see others in the organization exhibit those behaviors.28
Second, the learner needs to remember exactly what the model’s behavior was and how they
did it. This step is very difficult when watching experts perform their job because so much of what
they do remains unspoken and can occur at a rapid pace. Third, the learner must undertake pro-
duction processes or actually be able to reproduce what the model did. Not only must the learner
have the requisite knowledge and physical skills to be able to perform the task; now he or she
must translate what’s been observed into action. Do you remember the first time you drove a car?
Chances are good you’d been watching other drivers for many years, picking up bits and pieces
of how to do it through observation. However, things became different when you were behind the
wheel for the first time. Suddenly, there was a lot of information to process, and years and years of
observation had to be put into action.
Fourth, the last step of behavioral modeling is reinforcement. This reinforcement can come
from observation, direct experience, or both. The learner can observe the consequences of the
model having exhibited the behavior (positive reinforcement or punishment), which in itself will
help ingrain the desirability of performing the behavior. In addition, it’s important for the learner
to receive reinforcement after replicating the behavior. If the newly acquired behaviors are posi-
tively reinforced, the likelihood of continued behavior increases.
FIGURE 8-3 The Modeling Process
Source: Adapted from H.M. Weiss, “Learning Theory and Industrial and Organizational Psychology,” Handbook of Indus-
trial and Organizational Psychology, ed. M.D. Dunnette and L.M. Hough (Consulting Psychologists Press: Palo Alto, CA,
1990), pp. 75–169.
attention on
the critical
exhibited by
the model
Learner must
remember the
behaviors of
the model
once the
model is no
longer present
Learner must
have the
skill set and be
able to
reproduce the
Learner must
view the model
reinforcement for
the behavior and
then receive it
Final PDF to printer

241C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 241 10/11/17 08:45 AM
we leave this section, it’s impor-
tant to recognize that people
learn somewhat differently
according to their predisposi-
tions or attitudes toward learn-
ing and performance. These
differences are reflected in dif-
ferent “goal orientations” that
capture the kinds of activities
and goals that people priori-
tize. Some people have what’s
known as a learning orientation,
where building competence is
deemed more important than
demonstrating competence.
“Learning-oriented” persons
enjoy working on new kinds of tasks, even if they fail during their early experiences. Such people
view failure in positive terms—as a means of increasing knowledge and skills in the long run.29
For others, the demonstration of competence is deemed a more important goal than the build-
ing of competence. That demonstration of competence can be motivated by two different thought
processes. Those with a performance-prove orientation focus on demonstrating their competence
so that others think favorably of them. Those with a performance-avoid orientation focus on demon-
strating their competence so that others will not think poorly of them. In either case, “performance-
oriented” people tend to work mainly on tasks at which they’re already good, preventing them
from failing in front of others. Such individuals view failure in negative terms—as an indictment of
their ability and competence.
Research has shown that a learning goal orientation improves self-confidence, feedback-
seeking behavior, learning strategy development, and learning performance.30 Research on the
two performance orientations is more mixed. Although it would seem that focusing on perfor-
mance should improve performance-based outcomes, research shows that isn’t necessarily the
case. On the whole, a performance-prove orientation tends to be a mixed bag, producing varying
levels of performance and outcomes. What’s more clear are the detrimental effects of having a
performance-avoid orientation. Employees who enter learning situations with a fear of looking
bad in front of others tend to learn less and have substantially higher levels of anxiety.31 What
kind of orientation do you tend to exhibit? See our OB Assessments feature to find out. Regard-
less of an individual’s general tendency though, it has been found that managers or trainers
can set training-specific orientations toward learning.32 In other words, they can instruct you to
have a specific goal orientation before you start a training session. Under such conditions, set-
ting learning-oriented goals for those in training is likely to foster more skill development than
setting performance-oriented goals.33
How do employees take explicit and tacit knowledge, however it’s gained, and turn that knowl-
edge into effective decision making? Sometimes that process is very straightforward. Programmed
decisions are decisions that become somewhat automatic because people’s knowledge allows
them to recognize and identify a situation and the course of action that needs to be taken. As
shown in Figure 8-4, experts often respond to an identified problem by realizing that they’ve
dealt with it before. That realization triggers a programmed decision that’s implemented and
then evaluated according to its ability to deliver the expected outcome. For experts who possess
high levels of explicit and tacit knowledge, many decisions they face are of this programmed
variety. That’s not to say that the decisions are necessarily easy. It simply means that their experi-
ence and knowledge allows them to see the problems more easily and recognize and implement
solutions more quickly.
What two methods can
employees use to make
Ursula Burns was provided
an unusual opportunity
to learn by observation
and behavioral modeling
before becoming CEO
of Xerox. She essentially
co-led with her predeces-
sor for two years to gain
insider experience before
taking the helm.
©Bloomberg/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

242 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 242 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Learning Orientation: Sum up items 1–4. _____
Performance-Prove Orientation: Sum up items 5–7. _____
Performance-Avoid Orientation: Sum up items 8–10. _____
For learning orientation, scores of 16 or more are above average, and scores of 15 or less are below
average. For the two performance orientations, scores of 11 or more are above average, and scores
of 10 or less are below average.
Source: Adapted from J.F. Brett and D. VandeWalle, “Goal Orientation and Goal Content as Predictors of Performance
in a Training Program,” Journal of Applied Psychology 84 (1999), pp. 863–73. Copyright (c) 1999 by the American Psycho-
logical Associated.
What does your goal orientation look like? This assessment is designed to measure all three
dimensions of goal orientation. Please write a number next to each statement that indicates the
extent to which it accurately describes your attitude toward work while you are on the job. Answer
each question using the response scale provided. Then sum up your answers for each of the three
dimensions. (Instructors: Assessments on rational decision making, intuition, learning potential,
and social identity can be found in the PowerPoints in the Connect Library’s Instructor Resources
and in the Connect assignments for this chapter.)
1. I would rather do something difficult where I learn a lot than something easy. ________
2. I am constantly seeking out moments that allow me to better myself. ________
3. I relish the opportunity to learn new things by doing something I’ve never
done before.
4. Taking a chance on something is worth it if I grow from it as a result. ________
5. I enjoy proving that I can perform better than others at work. ________
6. Working hard to show others how well I can do is important.  ________
7. I like it when others know how well I can do things at work. ________
8. I generally won’t try things if others might see me fail. ________
9. I avoid tasks that might show others that I have a low ability to be successful. ________
10. Even though I might learn from it, I won’t try something new in front of
others if it might show my low ability.
To experts, programmed decisions sometimes comes across as intuition or a “gut feeling.” Intu-
ition can be described as emotionally charged judgments that arise through quick, nonconscious,
and holistic associations.34 There is almost unanimous consent among researchers that intuition
is largely a function of learning—tacit knowledge gained through reinforcement, observation, and
experience allows a decision maker to decide more quickly and confidently.35 Because of their
Final PDF to printer

243C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 243 10/11/17 08:45 AM
FIGURE 8-4 Programmed and Nonprogrammed Decisions
Experts tend to recognize
problems more quickly
than novices
Programmed Decisions Nonprogrammed Decisions
(using rational decision-making model)
Experts have the ability
to recognize patterns and
situations that novices
Identify the problem
Is the problem
recognized? Has
it been dealt with
Does the
solution deliver
the expected
appropriate solution
Does the
solution deliver
the expected
appropriate criteria
for making a decision
Generate list of
available alternatives
Evaluate the
alternatives against
Choose the solution
that maximizes value
Implement appropriate
tacit knowledge, experts sometimes cannot put into words why they know that a problem exists,
why a solution will work, or how they accomplished a task. They just “know.” Of course, the dif-
ficulty arises in knowing when to trust that “gut instinct” and when not to.36 As a general rule of
thumb, you should probably ask yourself how much expertise you have about the subject of the
judgment. Research is clear that intuition can be a very effective way to make decisions, but only
Final PDF to printer

244 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 244 10/11/17 08:45 AM
when those making the decisions have a high level of domain expertise.37 In other words, don’t
go laying down your life savings on a spin of the roulette wheel in Vegas because your intuition
tells you “red”!
Intuitive decision making is perhaps never more important than during a crisis. A crisis
situation is a change—whether sudden or evolving—that results in an urgent problem that must
be addressed immediately. For businesses, a crisis is anything with the potential to cause sud-
den and serious damage to its employees, reputation, or bottom line. One of the key factors in
almost all crises is that decisions must be made quickly.38 Unless there has been some form
of specific preplanning for that crisis, managers (who should have the most tacit knowledge
to support their decisions) must use their intuition rather than take a lengthy period of time
to think through all of their options.39 When a manager uses intuition to make a decision in a
crisis situation, followers often misinterpret the manager’s intent because the managers can’t
put the reasons for their decisions into words (or don’t have the time to do so).40 In turn, the
implementation of their plan often suffers. Therefore, managers who make decisions face two
major questions: How can they ensure that others follow their lead when the path is unclear,
and how can they confirm that their intuition is not faulty? Karl Weick, a preeminent scholar on
crisis management at the University of Michigan, suggests five steps for communicating intent
to others when using intuition:
1. Here’s what I think we face. (How does the manager perceive the situation?)
2. Here’s what I think we should do. (A task-focused statement of what the manager wants to happen)
3. Here’s why. (The reasoning behind the decision)
4. Here’s what we should keep our eye on. (What things should the staff look for to ensure the intu-
ition is correct or that the situation hasn’t changed?)
5. Now, talk to me. (Confirm that everyone understands their roles and that there is no other infor-
mation to consider.)41
These communications steps are important for a manager making intuitive decisions because
they help others follow directives more easily, while also providing a check on the manager to
ensure he or she observes the crisis environment correctly.
When a situation arises that is new, complex, and not recognized, it calls for a nonprogrammed
decision on the part of the employee. Organizations are complex and changing environments, and
many workers face uncertainty on a daily basis. In these instances, employees have to make sense
of their environment, understand the problems they’re faced with, and come up with solutions to
overcome them. As a general rule of thumb, as employees move up the corporate ladder, a larger
percentage of their decisions become less and less programmed. How should decision making
proceed in such contexts? The rational decision-making model offers a step-by-step approach to
making decisions that maximize outcomes by examining all available alternatives. As shown in
Figure 8-4, this model becomes relevant when people don’t recognize a problem as one they’ve
dealt with before.
The first step in the rational decision-making model is to identify the criteria that are important
in making the decision, taking into account all involved parties. The second step is to generate
a list of all available alternatives that might be potential solutions to the problem. At this point,
evaluating the alternatives is not necessary. The responsibility simply lies in coming up with as
many potential solutions as possible. The third step in the model is the evaluation of those alterna-
tives against the criteria laid out in step one. Does it matter how much the alternative costs? What
exactly will happen as a result of various choices? What will the side effects of the alternative be?
The fourth step is to select the alternative that results in the best outcome. That is, given the costs
and benefits of each alternative, which alternative provides us with the most value? The fifth step
is to implement the alternative.
The rational decision-making model assumes that people are, of course, perfectly rational. How-
ever, problems immediately arise when we start to examine some of the assumptions the model
makes about human decision makers.42 The model assumes there is a clear and definite problem
to solve and that people have the ability to identify what that exact problem is. It also assumes
that decision makers have perfect information—that they know and are able to identify the avail-
able alternatives and the outcomes that would be associated with those alternatives. The model
Final PDF to printer

245C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 245 10/11/17 08:45 AM
OK, so here’s how a synthetic CDO works. Let’s say I bet $10 million on a blackjack hand.
With those words, Selena Gomez (international pop star) begins to describe how a complicated
collateralized debt obligation (CDO) process works and how it almost took down the entire finan-
cial industry in 2008 in The Big Short (Dir: Adam McKay, Paramount, 2015). Gomez does this
along with Richard Thaler, Ph.D., (widely known as the father of behavioral economics) while sit-
ting at a blackjack table in a casino in Las Vegas. The scene is one of a number of cutaways where
various celebrities you wouldn’t expect (think Margot Robbie and Anthony Bourdain) break into
the movie to describe detailed and complicated financial topics in simple terms the audience can
understand. At a key point in the movie, while interviewing an arrogant financial manager, hedge
fund manager Mark Baum (Steve Carell) comes to the realization that the housing market is all
built on fraud and faulty decision making on the part of banks and investors.
During this interview, the movie cuts away to Gomez and Thaler who attempt to explain how
the synthetic CDO process works. Thaler describes a classic decision-making error—in basketball
what is known as the “hot hand fallacy” in which a player makes a bunch of shots in a row and
people become overconfident in the odds the next shot will be made. While playing a hand of
blackjack, Selena is dealt a Jack and an eight (18) and the dealer’s one card showing is a 7. This
results in an 87 percent chance that Selena will win the hand, plus she’s been on a hot streak. A
woman standing behind Gomez turns to another person in the crowd and makes a $50 million bet
that Gomez will win the hand and offers 3–1 odds. Then others make a bet on that second bet and
on and on. So the original $10 million blackjack bet has now turned in to billions of dollars rid-
ing on the outcome of the one hand. In the context of the movie, during the real estate boom, the
hot hand fallacy played a role when investors mistakenly assumed that the housing market would
continue to rise and never go down.
©Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy
further assumes that time and money are generally not issues when it comes to making a deci-
sion, that decision makers always choose the solution that maximizes value, and that they will act
in the best interests of the organization. Given all these assumptions, perhaps we shouldn’t label
the model as “rational” after all! See our OB on Screen feature for an example of how irrational
decision making played a role in the financial crash of 2008.
Final PDF to printer

246 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 246 10/11/17 08:45 AM
D E C I S I O N – M A K I N G P R O B L E M S
Because employees don’t always make rational decisions, it’s easy to second-guess decisions after
the fact. Many decisions made inside organizations look good at the time and were made with
perfectly good justifications to support them but turn out to have what are perceived to be “bad
results.” The reality, however, is that it’s a lot easier to question decisions in hindsight. As War-
ren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, is often quoted as saying, “In the business world, the
rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” Our responsibility here is not to rehash all
the poor decisions employees and managers have made (and there are many of them!), but rather
to detail some of the most common reasons for bad decision making—in other words, when are
people most likely to falter in terms of the rational decision-making model and why?
LIMITED INFORMATION  Although most employees perceive themselves as rational decision
makers, the reality is that they are all subject to bounded rationality. Bounded rationality is the
notion that decision makers simply do not have the ability or resources to process all available
information and alternatives to make an optimal decision.43 A comparison of bounded rational-
ity and rational decision making is presented in Table 8-3. This limit results in two major prob-
lems for making decisions. First, people have to filter and simplify information to make sense of
their complex environment and the myriad of potential choices they face.44 This simplification
leads them to miss information when perceiving problems, generating and evaluating alternatives,
or judging the results. Second, because people cannot possibly consider every single alternative
when making a decision, they satisfice. Satisficing results when decision makers select the first
acceptable alternative considered.45
In addition to choosing the first acceptable alternative, decision makers tend to come up with
alternatives that are straightforward and not that different from what they’re already doing. When
you and another person are deciding where to go out for dinner tonight, will you sit down and
list every restaurant available to you within a certain mile limit? Of course not. You’ll start listing
off alternatives, generally starting with the closest and most familiar, until both parties arrive at
a restaurant that’s acceptable to them. Making decisions this way is no big deal when it comes
to deciding where to go for dinner, because the consequences of a poor decision are minimal.
What decision-making
problems can prevent
employees from
translating their learning
into accurate decisions?
TABLE 8-3 Rational Decision Making vs. Bounded Rationality
SHOULD . . .
Identify the problem by thoroughly examining
the situation and considering all interested
Boil down the problem to something that is
easily understood.
Develop an exhaustive list of alternatives to
consider as solutions.
Come up with a few solutions that tend to be
straightforward, familiar, and similar to what is
currently being done.
Evaluate all the alternatives simultaneously. Evaluate each alternative as soon as we think
of it.
Use accurate information to evaluate
Use distorted and inaccurate information
during the evaluation process.
Pick the alternative that maximizes value. Pick the first acceptable alternative (satisfice).
Sources: Adapted from H.A. Simon, “Rational Decision Making in Organizations,” American Economic Review 69 (1979),
pp. 493–513; D. Kahneman, “Maps of Bounded Rationality: Psychology for Behavioral Economics,” The American Economic
Review 93 (2003), pp. 1449–75; and S.W. Williams, Making Better Business Decisions (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2002).
Final PDF to printer

247C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 247 10/11/17 08:45 AM
However, many managers make decisions that have critical consequences for their employees and
their customers. In those cases, making a decision without thoroughly looking into the alterna-
tives becomes a problem!
FAULTY PERCEPTIONS As decision makers, employees are forced to rely on their perceptions to
make decisions. Perception is the process of selecting, organizing, storing, and retrieving informa-
tion about the environment. Although perceptions can be very useful—because they help us to make
sense of the environment around us—they can often become distorted versions of reality. Percep-
tions can be dangerous in decision making because we tend to make assumptions or evaluations on
the basis of them. Selective perception is the tendency for people to see their environment only as it
affects them and as it is consistent with their expectations. Has someone ever told you, “You only
see what you want to see”? If a relative, spouse, or significant other said that to you, chances are
good it probably wasn’t the best experience. That person was likely upset that you didn’t perceive
the environment (or what was important to them) the same way they did. Selective perception
affects our ability to identify problems, generate and evaluate alternatives, and judge outcomes. In
other words, we take “shortcuts” when we process information. In the following paragraphs, we’ll
discuss some of the ways in which we take shortcuts when dealing with people and situations.
One false assumption people tend to make when it comes to other people is the belief that oth-
ers think, feel, and act the same way they do. This assumption is known as a projection bias. That
is, people project their own thoughts, attitudes, and motives onto other people. “I would never
do that—that’s unethical” equates to “They would never do that—that’s unethical.” Projection bias
causes problems in decision making because it limits our ability to develop appropriate criteria
for a decision and evaluate decisions carefully. The bias causes people to assume that everyone’s
criteria will be just like theirs and that everyone will react to a decision just as they would.
Another example of faulty perceptions is caused by the way we cognitively organize people into
groups. Social identity theory holds that people identify themselves by the groups to which they
belong and perceive and judge others by their group memberships.46 There is a substantial amount
of research that shows that we like to categorize people on the basis of the groups to which
they belong.47 These groups could be based on demographic information (gender, race, religion,
hair color), occupational information (scientists, engineers, accountants), where they work (GE,
Halliburton, Goldman Sachs), what country they’re from (Americans, French, Chinese), or any
other subgroup that makes sense to the perceiver. You might categorize students on campus by
whether they’re a member of a fraternity or sorority. Those inside the Greek system categorize
people by which fraternity or sorority they belong to. And people within a certain fraternity might
group their own members on the basis of whom they hang out with the most. There is practically
no end to the number of subgroups that people can come up with.
A stereotype occurs when assumptions are made about others on the basis of their member-
ship in a social group.48 Although not all stereotypes are bad per se, our decision-making process
becomes faulty when we make inaccurate generalizations. Many companies work hard to help
their employees avoid stereotyping because doing so can lead to illegal discrimination in the work-
place. Facebook, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Wells Fargo, Google, Kaiser Permanente, and
Microsoft (just to name a few) have developed extensive diversity training programs to help their
employees overcome specific cultural, racial, and gender stereotypes in the workplace.49
When confronted with situations of uncertainty that require a decision on our part, we often
use heuristics—simple, efficient rules of thumb that allow us to make decisions more easily. In
general, heuristics are not bad. In fact, they lead to correct decisions more often than not.50 How-
ever, heuristics can also bias us toward inaccurate decisions at times. Consider this example from
one of the earliest studies on decision-making heuristics: “Consider the letter R. Is R more likely
to appear in the first position of a word or the third position of a word?”51 If your answer was the
first position of a word, you answered incorrectly and fell victim to one of the most frequently
talked about heuristics. The availability bias is the tendency for people to base their judgments on
information that is easier to recall. It’s significantly easier for almost everyone to remember words
in which R is the first letter as opposed to the third. The availability bias is why more people are
afraid to fly than statistics would support. Every single plane crash is plastered all over the news,
making plane crashes more available in memory than successful plane landings.
Final PDF to printer

248 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 248 10/11/17 08:45 AM
TABLE 8-4 Decision-Making Biases
Anchoring The tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor,” on one trait or piece of
information when making decisions even when the anchor might be
unreliable or irrelevant.
Example: One recent study showed that initial bids for a bottle of wine
in an auction could be heavily influenced by simply having subjects
write down the last two digits of their Social Security number prior to
putting a value on the bottle. Those with higher two-digit numbers
tended to bid 60–120 percent more for a bottle of wine than those
with low numbers.
Framing The tendency to make different decisions based on how a question or
situation is phrased.
Example: Why do gas stations (or any retailer) give out discounts for
paying cash as opposed to adding a surcharge for using a credit card?
The discount is seen as a gain, while the surcharge is seen as a loss.
Because humans are loss averse, we’re more likely to give up the dis-
count (the gain) than accept the surcharge (the loss).
Representativeness The tendency to assess the likelihood of an event by comparing it to a
similar event and assuming it will be similar.
Example: Because a flipped coin has come up heads 10 times in a row,
some assume the likelihood that it will come up tails is greater than
50–50. This is sometimes referred to as the “gambler’s fallacy.”
Contrast The tendency to judge things erroneously based on a reference that is
near to them.
Example: If you were to take your hand out of a bowl of hot water and
place it in a bowl of lukewarm water, you would describe that water
as “cold.” If someone else were to take their hand out of a bowl of
extremely cold water and place it in the same bowl of lukewarm water,
they would describe that water as “hot.”
Recency The tendency to weigh recent events more than earlier events.
Example: A manager tends to weight ratings in performance evalu-
ations based on an employee’s behavior during the prior month as
opposed to his or her behavior over the entire evaluation period.
Ratio Bias Effect The tendency to judge the same probability of an unlikely event as
lower when the probability is presented in the form of a ratio of smaller
rather than of larger numbers.
Example: When offered an opportunity to win $1 if they drew a red jelly
bean, people frequently elected to draw from a bowl that contained a
greater number but a smaller proportion of red beans (e.g., 7 in 100
vs. 1 in 10). Participants knew the probabilities were against them, but
they “felt” they had a better chance when there were more beans.
Sources: J. Baron, Thinking and Deciding, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000); V. Denes-Raj and
S. Epstein, “Conflict between Intuitive and Rational Processing: When People Behave against Their Better Judgment,”
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66 (1994), pp. 819–29; R.E. Nisbett and L. Ross, Human Inference: Strate-
gies and Shortcomings of Social Judgment (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1980); D.G. Meyers, Social Psychology
(Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2005); G. Gigerenzer, P.M. Todd, and ABC Research Group, Simple Heuristics That Make
Us Smart (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); D. Kahneman, A. Tversky, and P. Slovic, Judgment under Uncer-
tainty: Heuristics & Biases (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1982); and D. Kahneman and A. Tversky,
“Choices, Values and Frames,” American Psychologist 39 (1984), pp. 341–50.
Final PDF to printer

249C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 249 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Aside from the availability bias, there are many other biases that affect the way we make
decisions. Table 8-4 describes six more of the most well-researched decision-making biases. After
reading them, you might wonder how we ever make accurate decisions at all! The answer is that
we do our best to think rationally through our most important decisions prior to making them and
tend to use heuristics for decisions that are less important or that need to be made more quickly.
Regardless of how often we fall victim to the biases, being aware of potential decision errors can
help us make them less frequently. Interestingly enough, Lowe’s, the North Carolina–based home
improvement retailer, and several other companies are actually trying to take advantage of these
types of biases and behavioral economics in order to get employees to make better decisions about
their health benefits.52 Workers are getting bombarded from all angles!
FAULTY ATTRIBUTIONS  Another category of decision-making problems centers on how we
explain the actions and events that occur around us. Research on attributions suggests that when
people witness a behavior or outcome, they make a judgment about whether it was internally or
externally caused. For example, when a coworker of yours named Joe shows up late to work and
misses an important group presentation, you’ll almost certainly make a judgment about why that
happened. You might attribute Joe’s outcome to internal factors—for example, suggesting that
he is lazy or has a poor work ethic. Or you might attribute Joe’s outcome to external factors—for
example, suggesting that there was unusually bad traffic that day or that other factors prevented
him from arriving on time.
The fundamental attribution error argues that people have a tendency to judge others’ behaviors
as due to internal factors.53 This error suggests that you would likely judge Joe as having low moti-
vation, poor organizational skills, or some other negative internal attribute. What if you yourself
had showed up late? It turns out that we’re less harsh when judging ourselves. The self-serving bias
occurs when we attribute our own failures to external factors and our own successes to internal
factors. Interestingly, evidence suggests that attributions across cultures don’t always work the
same way; see our OB Internationally feature for more discussion of this issue.
One model of attribution processes suggests that when people have a level of familiarity with
the person being judged, they’ll use a more detailed decision framework. This model is illustrated
in Figure 8-5.54 To return to our previous example, if we want to explore why Joe arrived late to
work, we can ask three kinds of questions:
Consensus: Did others act the same way under similar situations? In other words, did others
arrive late on the same day?
Distinctiveness: Does this person tend to act differently in other circumstances? In other words,
is Joe responsible when it comes to personal appointments, not just work appointments?
Consistency: Does this person always do this when performing this task? In other words, has Joe
arrived late for work before?
The way in which these questions are answered will determine if an internal or external attribu-
tion is made. An internal attribution, such as laziness or low motivation for Joe, will occur if there
is low consensus (others arrived on time), low distinctiveness (Joe is irresponsible with other
commitments as well), and high consistency (Joe has arrived late before). An external attribution,
such as bad traffic or a power outage, will occur if there is high consensus (others arrived late),
high distinctiveness (Joe is responsible with other commitments), and low consistency (Joe has
never come late to work before).
ESCALATION OF COMMITMENT Our last category of decision-making problems centers on
what happens as a decision begins to go wrong. Escalation of commitment refers to the decision to
continue to follow a failing course of action.55 The expression “throwing good money after bad”
captures this common decision-making error. An enormous amount of research shows that people
have a tendency, when presented with a series of decisions, to escalate their commitment to previ-
ous decisions, even in the face of obvious failures.56 Why do decision makers fall victim to this sort
of error? They may feel an obligation to stick with their decision to avoid looking incompetent.
They may also want to avoid admitting that they made a mistake. Those escalation tendencies
Final PDF to printer

250 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 250 10/11/17 08:45 AM
become particularly strong when decision makers have invested a lot of money into the decision
and when the project in question seems quite close to completion.57
One prominent example of escalation of commitment is United Airlines’ abandonment of the
automated baggage handling system at the Denver International Airport. When it initially opened
(after a two-year delay), the baggage handling system with 26 miles of track designed to haul
baggage across three terminals was supposed to be the single, most advanced baggage handling
system in the world. However, originally scheduled to cost $186 million, a series of delays and
technological problems caused the cost of the system to skyrocket by $1 million per day. Because
of a series of technological issues, the system never really worked very well. In fact, United was the
only airline in the airport willing to use it. It took 10 years and many mangled and lost suitcases
before United finally “cut its losses,” saving itself $1 million a month in maintenance fees.58 If you
Any time a major accident occurs in a company, or any time a significant breach of ethics occurs,
a company is expected to respond accordingly. One of the natural reactions of employees, cus-
tomers, and other observers is to attribute the cause of the negative event to someone. Place-
ment or assignment of this blame might be very different, depending on the part of the world in
which the company is operating. A culture such as the United States tends to blame the particular
individuals most responsible for the event, whereas East Asian (China, Korea, Japan) cultures
tend to blame the organization itself. For example, when scandals within organizations occur
(e.g., “rogue trading” in an investment bank), newspapers in the United States often publish the
name of the employee and discuss the individual worker involved, whereas East Asian newspapers
refer to the organization itself.
Interestingly, these biases place different responsibilities on the leaders of organizations in
these countries. In East Asian cultures, it’s typical for the leader of an organization to take the
blame for accidents, regardless of whether he or she had direct responsibility for them. For exam-
ple, the director of a hospital in Tokyo was forced to resign when the cover-up of a medical acci-
dent was discovered, even though the director didn’t start his job until after the cover-up took
place! Similar events are common, such as the resignation of the CEO of Japan Airlines after a jet
crashed, killing 500 people. In the United States, in contrast, CEOs rarely take the same level of
blame. When Joseph Hazelwood crashed the Exxon Valdez into the Alaskan coastline, there were
no calls for the Exxon CEO to resign. It was simply assumed by the American public that he had
nothing to do with the accident.
Much of the reasoning for such differences has to do with the way the cultures view individuals
and groups. East Asian cultures tend to treat groups as entities and not as individuals, whereas the
culture in the United States tends to see individuals acting of their own accord. This difference
means that organizational leaders should be very cognizant of how to handle crises, depending
on the country in which the negative event occurs. An apology offered by a senior leader is likely
to be seen by East Asians as the company taking responsibility, whereas in the United States, it’s
more likely to be taken as an admission of personal guilt.
Sources: S. An, D. Park, S. Cho, and B. Berger, “A Cross-Cultural Study of Effective Organizational Crisis Response
Strategy in the United States and South Korea,” International Journal of Strategic Communications 4 (2010), pp. 225–43;
C. Chiu, & M.W. Morris, Y. Hong, and T. Menon, “Motivated Cultural Cognition: The Impact of Implicit Cultural Theo-
ries on Dispositional Attribution Varies as a Function of Need for Closure,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78
(2000), pp. 247–59; T. Menon, M.W. Morris, C. Chiu, and Y. Hong, “Culture and the Construal of Agency: Attribution to
Individual versus Group Dispositions,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76 (1999), pp. 701–17; and Y. Zemba,
M.I. Young, and M.W. Morris, “Blaming Leaders for Organizational Accidents: Proxy Logic in Collective versus Individual-
Agency Cultures,” Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 101 (2006), pp. 36–51.
Final PDF to printer

251C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 251 10/11/17 08:45 AM
FIGURE 8-5 Consensus, Distinctiveness, and Consistency
Behavior is observed
factors are to
External AttributionIndividual factors
such as ability,
motivation, or
are to blame
Internal Attribution
ever find yourself in this predicament, recent research suggests that by focusing on what you have
to gain by moving on, rather than what you have to lose, will reduce your chances of committing
escalation of commitment.59
B E T T E R D E C I S I O N S T H A N OT H E R S ?
So what explains why some employees learn to make better decisions than others? As shown in
Figure 8-6, answering that question requires understanding how employees learn, what kind of
United Airlines took
10 years to finally abandon
an expensive but faulty
baggage handling system
at Denver International
Airport, illustrating the
power of escalation of
©Kevin Moloney/The New York Times/Redux Pictures
Final PDF to printer

252 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 252 10/11/17 08:45 AM
FIGURE 8-6 Why Do Some Employees Learn to Make Decisions Better Than Others?
Decision-Making Problems
• Limited Information
• Faulty Perceptions
• Faulty Attributions
• Escalation of Commitment
Reinforcement Observation
knowledge they gain, and how they use that knowledge to make decisions. Employees learn from
a combination of reinforcement and observation, and that learning depends in part on whether
they are learning-oriented or performance-oriented. Some of that learning results in increases
in explicit knowledge, and some of that learning results in increases in tacit knowledge. Those
two forms of knowledge, which combine to form an employee’s expertise, are then used in deci-
sion making. If a given problem has been encountered before, decision making occurs in a more
automatic, programmed fashion. If the problem is new or unfamiliar, nonprogrammed deci-
sion making occurs and, in the best-case scenario, follows the rational decision-making model.
Unfortunately, a number of decision-making problems can hinder the effectiveness of such deci-
sions, including limited information, faulty perceptions, faulty attributions, and escalation of
Final PDF to printer

253C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 253 10/11/17 08:45 AM
H O W I M P O R TA N T I S L E A R N I N G ?
Does learning have a significant impact on the two primary outcomes in our integrative model of
OB—does it correlate with job performance and organizational commitment? Figure 8-7 summa-
rizes the research evidence linking learning to job performance and organizational commitment.
The figure reveals that learning does influence job performance. Why? The primary reason is that
learning is moderately correlated with task performance. It’s difficult to fulfill one’s job duties if
the employee doesn’t possess adequate levels of job knowledge. In fact, there are reasons to sug-
gest that the moderate correlation depicted in the figure is actually an underestimate of learning’s
importance. That’s because most of the research linking learning to task performance focuses on
explicit knowledge, which is more practical to measure. It’s difficult to measure tacit knowledge
because of its unspoken nature, but clearly such knowledge is relevant to task performance. Learn-
ing seems less relevant to citizenship behavior and counterproductive behavior however, given
that those behaviors are often less dependent on knowledge and expertise.
Figure 8-7 also reveals that learning is only weakly related to organizational commitment.60
In general, having higher levels of job knowledge is associated with slight increases in emotional
attachment to the firm. It’s true that companies that have a reputation as organizations that value
learning tend to receive higher-quality applicants for jobs.61 However, there’s an important distinc-
tion between organizations that offer learning opportunities and employees who take advantage
of those opportunities to actually gain knowledge. Moreover, it may be that employees with higher
levels of expertise become more highly valued commodities on the job market, thereby reducing
their levels of continuance commitment.
How does learning affect
job performance and orga-
nizational commitment?
FIGURE 8-7 Effects of Learning on Performance and Commitment
Represents a strong correlation (around .50 in magnitude).
Represents a moderate correlation (around .30 in magnitude).
Represents a weak correlation (around .10 in magnitude).
Learning has a moderate positive e�ect on Performance. Employees who gain more
knowledge and skill tend to have higher levels of Task Performance. Not much is known
about the impact of learning on Citizenship Behavior and Counterproductive Behavior.
Learning has a weak positive e�ect on Commitment. Employees who gain more
knowledge and skill tend to have slightly higher levels of A�ective Commitment. Not
much is known about the impact of learning on Continuance Commitment or Normative
Sources: G.M. Alliger, S.I. Tannenbaum, W. Bennett Jr., H. Traver, and A. Shotland, “A Meta-Analysis of the Relations
among Training Criteria,” Personnel Psychology 50 (1997), pp. 341–58; J.A. Colquitt, J.A. LePine, and R.A. Noe, “Toward
an Integrative Theory of Training Motivation: A Meta-Analytic Path Analysis of 20 Years of Research,” Journal of Applied
Psychology 85 (2000), pp. 678–707; and J.P. Meyer, D.J. Stanley, L. Herscovitch, and L. Topolnytsky, “Affective, Continu-
ance, and Normative Commitment to the Organization: A Meta-Analysis of Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences,”
Journal of Vocational Behavior 61 (2002), pp. 20–52.
Final PDF to printer

254 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 254 10/11/17 08:45 AM
A P P L I C AT I O N : T R A I N I N G
How can organizations improve learning in an effort to boost employee expertise and, ulti-
mately, improve decision making? One approach is to rely on training, which represents a sys-
tematic effort by organizations to facilitate the learning of job-related knowledge and behavior.
Organizations spent more than $150 billion on training in 2015, or $1,252 per learner. On
average, employees receive 31.5 hours of training per year.62 A full discussion of all the types of
training companies offer is beyond the scope of this section, but suffice it to say that companies
are using many different methods to help their employees acquire explicit and tacit knowledge.
Technological changes are altering the way those methods are delivered, as instructor-led class-
room training has declined over the last decade (although still the majority at 51 percent) while
online self-study programs and other technology-based forms of e-learning involve 41 percent of
learning hours.63
In addition to traditional training experiences, companies are also heavily focused on knowledge
transfer from their older, experienced workers to their younger employees. Some companies are
using variations of behavior modeling training to ensure that employees have the ability to observe
and learn from those in the company with significant amounts of tacit knowledge. For example,
Herman Miller, a furniture manufacturer in Zeeland, Michigan, allows retiring employees to cut
back on their hours during the two years immediately before retirement while maintaining their
full benefits. This is a win–win as the retiree gets to ease into the emotional adjustment that comes
with retirement, but the company gets to have the employees slowly pass on their knowledge and
skills to those underneath them.64 Such sharing of information between workers is not always
easy, especially in competitive or political environments. One recent study suggests that one key to
helping the passing of tacit information between coworkers is trust.65 (See Chapter 7 for a more
detailed description of how to foster trust.) One of the most difficult but most necessary periods
of learning for employees is when they are sent outside their home country to work (referred to
as expatriates). Ernst & Young has around 2,600 employees placed in international locations at
any given time. The company uses “mobility experts,” partners who have been overseas, to help
expatriates learn how to operate and live in these new cultures. The cost of that training is far less
than an unsuccessful employee. Director Troy Dickerson says, “We want to ensure a strong return
on investment for both the individual and Ernst & Young.”66
Another form of knowledge transfer that’s being used by companies more frequently, as
described in our opening example, is social networking. One such example of this type of network-
ing is communities of practice. Communities of practice are groups of employees who work together
and learn from one another by collaborating over an extended period of time.67 Many companies
such as PwC, John Deere, Shell, and Verizon are adopting this newer form of informal social learn-
ing.68 Boeing has developed a formal “communities of excellence” program to distribute knowledge
throughout the company as well as formal and informal mentoring programs throughout their engi-
neering employee groups.69 Communities of practice introduce their own unique complications,
but their potential for transferring knowledge through employees is significant.70
The success of these programs, as well as more traditional types of training, hinges on transfer
of training. Transfer of training occurs when the knowledge, skills, and behaviors used on the
job are maintained by the learner once training ends and generalized to the workplace once the
learner returns to the job.71 Transfer of training can be fostered if organizations create a climate
for transfer—an environment that can support the use of new skills. There are a variety of factors
that can help organizations foster such a climate. The degree to which the trainee’s manager sup-
ports the importance of the newly acquired knowledge and skills and stresses their application
to the job is perhaps the most important factor. Peer support is helpful, because having multiple
trainees learning the same material reduces anxiety and allows the trainees to share concerns and
work through problems. Opportunities to use the learned knowledge are also crucial, because
practice and repetition are key components of learning. Because companies have a huge stake in
increasing and transferring knowledge within their employee base, creating a climate for the trans-
fer of that knowledge is imperative to the success of formal learning systems.
What steps can orga-
nizations take to foster
Final PDF to printer

255C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 255 10/11/17 08:45 AM
8.1 Learning is a relatively permanent change in an employee’s knowledge or skill that results
from experience. Decision making refers to the process of generating and choosing from
a set of alternatives to solve a problem. Learning allows employees to make better deci-
sions by making those decisions more quickly and by being able to generate a better set of
8.2 Employees gain both explicit and tacit knowledge as they build expertise. Explicit knowledge
is easily communicated and available to everyone. Tacit knowledge, however, is something
employees can learn only through experience.
8.3 Employees learn new knowledge through reinforcement and observation of oth-
ers. That learning also depends on whether the employees are learning-oriented or
8.4 Programmed decisions are decisions that become somewhat automatic because a person’s
knowledge allows him or her to recognize and identify a situation and the course of action
that needs to be taken. Many task-related decisions made by experts are programmed
decisions. Nonprogrammed decisions are made when a problem is new, complex, or not
recognized. Ideally, such decisions are made by following the steps in the rational decision-
making model.
8.5 Employees are less able to translate their learning into accurate decisions when they
struggle with limited information, faulty perceptions, faulty attributions, and escalation of
8.6 Learning has a moderate positive relationship with job performance and a weak positive
relationship with organizational commitment.
8.7 Through various forms of training, companies can give employees more knowledge and a
wider array of experiences that they can use to make decisions.
• Learning p. 234
• Decision making p. 234
• Expertise p. 234
• Explicit knowledge p. 234
• Tacit knowledge p. 235
• Contingencies of reinforcement p. 237
• Positive reinforcement p. 237
• Negative reinforcement p. 237
• Punishment p. 238
• Extinction p. 238
• Schedules of reinforcement p. 238
• Continuous reinforcement p. 238
• Fixed interval schedule p. 238
• Variable interval schedule p. 238
• Fixed ratio schedule p. 239
• Variable ratio schedule p. 239
• Social learning theory p. 239
• Behavioral modeling p. 239
• Learning orientation p. 241
• Performance-prove orientation p. 241
• Performance-avoid orientation p. 241
• Programmed decision p. 241
• Intuition p. 242
• Crisis situation p. 244
• Nonprogrammed decision p. 244
• Rational decision-making model p. 244
• Bounded rationality p. 246
• Satisficing p. 246
• Selective perception p. 247
• Projection bias p. 247
• Social identity theory p. 247
• Stereotypes p. 247
• Heuristics p. 247
• Availability bias p. 247
• Fundamental attribution error p. 249
• Self-serving bias p. 249
• Consensus p. 249
• Distinctiveness p. 249
Final PDF to printer

256 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 256 10/11/17 08:45 AM
8.1 In your current or past workplaces, what types of tacit knowledge did experienced workers
possess? What did this knowledge allow them to do?
8.2 Companies rely on employees with substantial amounts of tacit knowledge. Why do compa-
nies struggle when these employees leave the organization unexpectedly? What can compa-
nies do to help ensure that they retain tacit knowledge?
8.3 What does the term “expert” mean to you? What exactly do experts do that novices don’t?
8.4 Do you consider yourself to be a “rational” decision maker? For what types of decisions are
you determined to be the most rational? What types of decisions are likely to cause you to
behave irrationally?
8.5 Given your background, which of the decision-making biases listed in the chapter do you
most struggle with? What could you do to overcome those biases to make more accurate
One of the biggest challenges Bridgewater faces is the succession plan for the eventual departure
of on-again, off-again CEO Ray Dalio. In March 2017, the Apple executive that was hired to
potentially take over left after only 10 months on the job with Dalio posting online that “We
mutually agree that he is not a cultural fit for Bridgewater.” It’s clear that Bridgewater’s culture
of transparency, decision making, and fostered conflict and disagreement is not for everyone.
Dalio is now halfway through what he has termed a 10-year succession plan and there appears
to be no clear answer as to who is going to carry on the torch of the company’s “principles” and
“radical transparency” (although Dalio has stated that he plans to remain at the company as a
professional investor until he dies).
Dalio’s solution could very well be a form of artificial intelligence—a software system
designed to automate management decisions that has been known within the company as
the “Book of the Future” and most recently by its formal name: PriOS (Principles Operating
System). PriOS, once complete, is designed to automate management within the firm based on
its guiding 210 principles. How might this work? Well, first the software needs data about the
decisions made in the firm and the people that make them, which it will get from numerous
sources such as from the battery of personality and cognitive tests that every employee in the
company takes. In addition, employees rate one another’s performance via an iPad application
known as the “Dot Collector” on a daily basis. Information is also gathered via snap polls taken
in meetings and staff take daily multiple-choice quizzes on management issues that occur within
the company (correct and incorrect answers are logged over time).
These inputs are then processed by the operating system against Dalio’s Principles and ide-
ally this results in direct information on whom to hire, fire, or employ in a specific situation,
and even to provide detailed directions for employees on day-to-day tasks. Recent former
employees have felt that working at Bridgewater has been like a giant experiment in human
decision making. All employees have their own “baseball card” that anyone can see, which
• Consistency p. 249
• Escalation of commitment p. 249
• Training p. 254
• Knowledge transfer p. 254
• Behavior modeling training p. 254
• Communities of practice p. 254
• Transfer of training p. 254
• Climate for transfer p. 254
Final PDF to printer

257C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 257 10/11/17 08:45 AM
identifies their strengths and weaknesses on certain dimensions. Dalio plans for nearly
75 percent of the management decisions made at Bridgewater to be determined by PriOS
within the next five years. In essence, the software will potentially be the embodiment of Ray
Dalio after he is gone.
8.1 How would you like to work for a company whose management decisions are primarily
made by a computer (potentially in the image of its founder)?
8.2 Could a different firm without such detailed, strong “principles” do the same thing as
8.3 Do you see the creation of PriOS as a potential competitive advantage for Bridgewater or as
something that won’t survive long term after Dalio is gone?
Sources: K. Burton and S. Kishan, “Behind the Bridgewater Shakeup: Ray Dalio’s Unusual Culture,”,
March 1, 2017; J. Cassidy, “Mastering the Machine,” The New Yorker, July 25, 2011; Bridgewater Company websites: and [accessed March 2017]; R. Copeland and B. Hope, “The World’s Largest
Hedge Fund Is Building an Algorithmic Model from Its Employee’s Brains,” The Wall Street Journal, December 22, 2016;
A. Stevenson and M. Goldstein, “At World’s Largest Hedge Fund, Sex, Fear, and Video Surveillance,” The New York Times,
July 27, 2016, p. A1.
E X E R C I S E : D E C I S I O N – M A K I N G B I A S
The purpose of this exercise is to illustrate how decision making can be influenced by decision
heuristics, availability bias, and escalation of commitment. The exercise has the following steps:
8.1 Answer each of the following problems.
A. A certain town is served by two hospitals. In the larger hospital, about 45 babies are
born each day, and in the smaller hospital, about 15 babies are born each day. Although
the overall proportion of boys is about 50 percent, the actual proportion at either hospi-
tal may be greater or less than 50 percent on any given day. At the end of a year, which
hospital will have the greater number of days on which more than 60 percent of the
babies born were boys?
a. The large hospital
b. The small hospital
c. Neither—the number of days will be about the same (within 5 percent of each other)
B. Linda is 31 years of age, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy
in college. As a student, she was deeply concerned with discrimination and other social
issues and participated in antinuclear demonstrations. Which statement is more likely?
a. Linda is a bank teller.
b. Linda is a bank teller and active in the feminist movement.
C. A cab was involved in a hit-and-run accident. Two cab companies serve the city: the
Green, which operates 85 percent of the cabs, and the Blue, which operates the remain-
ing 15 percent. A witness identifies the hit-and-run cab as Blue. When the court tests the
reliability of the witness under circumstances similar to those on the night of the acci-
dent, he correctly identifies the color of the cab 80 percent of the time and misidentifies
it the other 20 percent. What’s the probability that the cab involved in the accident was
Blue, as the witness stated?
D. Imagine that you face this pair of concurrent decisions. Examine these decisions and
then indicate which choices you prefer.
Decision I: Choose between:
a. A sure gain of $240 and
b. A 25 percent chance of winning $1,000 and a 75 percent chance of winning nothing
Decision II: Choose between:
a. A sure loss of $750 and
b. A 75 percent chance of losing $1,000 and a 25 percent chance of losing nothing
Final PDF to printer

258 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 258 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Decision III: Choose between:
a. A sure loss of $3,000 and
b. An 80 percent chance of losing $4,000 and a 20 percent chance of losing nothing
E. You’ve decided to see a Broadway play and have bought a $150 ticket. As you enter the
theater, you realize you’ve lost your ticket. You can’t remember the seat number, so you
can’t prove to the management that you bought a ticket. Would you spend $150 for a
new ticket?
F. You’ve reserved a seat for a Broadway play, for which the ticket price is $150. As you
enter the theater to buy your ticket, you discover you’ve lost $150 from your pocket.
Would you still buy the ticket? (Assume you have enough cash left to do so.)
G. Imagine you have operable lung cancer and must choose between two treatments:
surgery and radiation. Of 100 people having surgery, 10 die during the operation,
32 (including those original 10) are dead after 1 year, and 66 are dead after 5 years.
Of 100 people having radiation therapy, none dies during treatment, 23 are dead after
1 year, and 78 after 5 years. Which treatment would you prefer?
8.2 Your instructor will give you the correct answer to each problem. Class discussion, whether
in groups or as a class, should focus on the following questions: How accurate were the
decisions you reached? What decision-making problems were evident in the decisions you
reached? Consider especially where decision heuristics, availability, and escalation of com-
mitment may have influenced your decisions. How could you improve your decision making
to make it more accurate?72
8.1 Weiss, H.M. “Learning
Theory and Industrial
and Organizational
Psychology.” In Hand-
book of Industrial and
Organizational Psychol-
ogy, ed. M.D. Dunnette
and L.M. Hough. Palo
Alto, CA: Consulting
Psychologists Press,
1990, pp. 75–169.
8.2 Tai, B., and N.R. Lock-
wood. “Organizational
Entry: Onboarding,
Orientation, and
Socialization.” SHRM
Research Paper (n.d.),
8.3 Source: Buford, B.
Heat. New York:
Knopf, 2006, pp.49–50.
8.4 Ericsson, K.A. “An
Introduction to Cam-
bridge Handbook of
Expertise and Expert
Performance: Its
Development, Organi-
zation, and Content.”
In The Cambridge
Handbook of Expertise
and Expert Performance,
ed. K.A. Ericsson;
N. Charness; P.J.
Feltovich; and R.R.
Hoffman. New York:
Cambridge University
Press, 2006, pp. 3–19.
8.5 Ericsson, K.A., and
A.C. Lehmann.
“Experts and Excep-
tional Performance:
Evidence of Maximal
Adaptation to Task
Constraints.” Annual
Review of Psychology 47
(1996), pp. 273–305.
8.6 Brockmann, E.N., and
W.P. Anthony. “Tacit
Knowledge and Strate-
gic Decision Making.”
Group & Organizational
Management 27,
December 2002,
pp. 436–55.
8.7 Wagner, R.K., and R.J.
Sternberg. “Practi-
cal Intelligence in
Real-World Pursuits:
The Role of Tacit
Knowledge.” Journal of
Personality and Social
Psychology 4 (1985),
pp. 436–58.
8.8 Wah, L. “Making
Knowledge Stick.”
Management Review 88
(1999), pp. 24–33.
8.9 Eucker, T.R. “Under-
standing the Impact of
Tacit Knowledge Loss.”
Knowledge Management
Review, March 2007,
pp. 10–13.
8.10 McAdam, R.; B.
Mason; and J.
McCrory. “Explor-
ing the Dichotomies
Final PDF to printer

259C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 259 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Within the Tacit
Knowledge Literature:
Towards a Process of
Tacit Knowing in Orga-
nizations.” Journal of
Knowledge Management
11 (2007), pp. 43–59.
8.11 Lawson, C., and E.
Lorenzi. “Collective
Learning, Tacit Knowl-
edge, and Regional
Innovative Capacity.”
Regional Studies 21
(1999), pp. 487–513.
8.12 Bou-Llusar, J.C., and
M. Segarra-Ciprés.
“Strategic Knowledge
Transfer and Its
Implications for Com-
petitive Advantage: An
Integrative Conceptual
Framework.” Journal of
Knowledge Management
10 (2006), pp. 100–12;
Ihrig, M., and I.
MacMillan. “Managing
Your Mission-Critical
Knowledge.” Harvard
Business Review 93
(2015), pp. 80–87;
Nonaka, I. “The
Company.” Harvard
Business Review 69
(1991), pp. 96–104;
and Nonaka, I. “A
Dynamic Theory
of Organizational
Knowledge Creation.”
Organizational Science
5 (1994), pp. 14–37.
8.13 Luthans, F., and R.
Kreitner. Organizational
Behavior Modification
and Beyond. Glenview,
IL: Scott, Foresman,
8.14 Latham, G.P., and V.L.
Huber. “Schedules of
Reinforcement: Les-
sons from the Past and
Issues for Future.” Jour-
nal of Organizational
Behavior Management
13 (1992), pp. 125–49.
8.15 Pinder, C. Work Motiva-
tion in Organizational
Behavior. New York:
Psychology Press, 2008.
8.16 Luthans and Kreitner,
Organizational Behavior
8.17 Pinder, Work
8.18 Alter, A. Irresistable:
The Rise of Addictive
Technology and the
Business of Keeping Us
Hooked. New York:
Penguin, 2017.
8.19 Pinder, Work
8.20 Bandura, A. Social
Foundations of Thought
and Action: A Social
Cognitive Theory.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1986.
8.21 Weiss, “Learning
8.22 Pescuric, A., and W.C.
Byham. “The New
Look of Behavior
Modeling.” Training &
Development, July 1996,
pp. 24–30.
8.23 Trees, L. “Why Your
KM strategy Should
Include Mentoring.”
KM World, September
2016, pp. 5–7.
8.24 Mulcahy, A. “How I
Did It: Xerox’s Former
CEO on Why Succes-
sion Shouldn’t Be a
Horse Race.” Harvard
Business Review, Octo-
ber 2010, pp. 47–51;
and Gelles, D.
“Burns to Replace
Mulcahy at Xerox.”
Financial Times, May
22, 2009, p. 16.
8.25 Source: Eliison, S.
“Lowell McAdam:
Seidenberg’s Air’
Apparent.” Fortune,
October 20, 2010.
8.26 Kish-Gephart, J.J.; D.A.
Harrison; L.K. Treviño;
and L. Klebe. “Bad
Apples, Bad Cases,
and Bad Barrels: Meta-
Analytic Evidence about
Sources of Unethical
Decisions at Work.” Jour-
nal of Applied Psychology
95 (2010), pp. 1–31.
8.27 Sims, R.R., and J.
Brinkmann. “Leaders
as Moral Role Models:
The Case of John
Gutfreund at Salomon
Brothers.” Journal
of Business Ethics 35
(2002), pp. 327–40.
8.28 Biron, M., and P.
Bamberger. “Aversive
Workplace Conditions
and Absenteeism:
Taking Referent Group
Norms and Supervisor
Account into Account.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 97 (2012),
pp. 901–12; and Mitch-
ell, M.S., and M.L.
Ambrose. “Employee’s
Behavioral Reactions to
Supervisor Aggression:
An Examination of
Individual and Situa-
tional Factors.” Journal
of Applied Psychology 97
(2012), pp. 1148–70.
8.29 VandeWalle, D. “Devel-
opment and Validation
of a Work Domain
Goal Orientation
Instrument.” Educa-
tional and Psychological
Measurement 8 (1997),
pp. 995–1015.
8.30 Payne, S.C.; S.
Youngcourt; and J.M.
Final PDF to printer

260 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 260 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Beaubien. “A Meta-
Analytic Examination
of the Goal Orientation
Nomological Net.”
Journal of Applied
Psychology 92 (2007),
pp. 128–50.
8.31 Ibid.
8.32 Cannon-Bowers, J.A.;
L. Rhodenizer; E.
Salas; and C. Bowers.
“A Framework for
Understanding Pre-
Practice Conditions
and Their Impact on
Learning.” Personnel
Psychology 51 (1998),
pp. 291–320.
8.33 Mesmer-Magnus, J.,
and C. Viswesvaran.
“The Role of Pre-
Training Interventions
in Learning: A Meta-
Analysis and Integra-
tive Review.” Human
Resource Management
Review 20 (2010),
pp. 261–82.
8.34 Dane, E., and M.G.
Pratt. “Exploring
Intuition and Its Role
in Managerial Decision
Making.” Academy of
Management Review
32 (2007), pp. 33–54;
and Hayashi, A.M.
“When to Trust Your
Gut.” Harvard Business
Review, February 2001,
pp. 59–65.
8.35 Hogarth, R.M. “Intu-
ition: A Challenge
for Psychological
Research on Decision
Making.” Psychological
Inquiry 21 (2010),
pp. 338–53.
8.36 March, J.G. A Primer
on Decision Making.
New York: The Free
Press, 1994.
8.37 Dane, E.; K.W.
Rockmann; and M.G.
Pratt. “When Should I
Trust My Gut? Linking
Domain Expertise to
Intuitive Decision-
Making Effectiveness.”
Organizational Behavior
and Human Decision
Processes 119 (2012),
pp. 187–94.
8.38 Seeger, M.W.; T.L.
Sellnow; and R.R.
Ulmer. “Communica-
tion, Organization and
Crisis.” Communication
Yearbook 21 (1998),
pp. 231–75.
8.39 Weick, K.E., and K.M.
Sutcliffe. Managing the
Unexpected: Resilient
Performance in an Age
of Uncertainty, 2nd ed.
San Francisco: Jossey-
Bass, 2007.
8.40 Klein, G. Sources of
Power. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press, 1999.
8.41 Weick, K.E. “Manage-
rial Thought in the
Context of Action.” In
The Executive Mind,
ed. S. Srivasta. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass,
1983, pp. 221–42;
Weick and Sutcliffe,
Managing the Unex-
pected; and Klein,
G. The Power of
Intuition. New York:
Currency Doubleday,
8.42 Simon, H.A. “A
Behavioral Model of
Rational Choice.”
Quarterly Journal of
Economics 69 (1955),
pp. 99–118.
8.43 Simon, H.A. “Rational
Decision Making
in Organizations.”
American Economic
Review 69 (1979),
pp. 493–513.
8.44 March, J.G., and H.A.
Simon. Organizations.
New York: Wiley,
8.45 Ibid.
8.46 Hogg, M.A., and D.J.
Terry. “Social Identity
and Self-Categorization
Process in Organiza-
tional Contexts.” Acad-
emy of Management
Review 25, January
2000, pp. 121–40.
8.47 Judd, C.M., and B.
Park. “Definition and
Assessment of Accu-
racy in Social
Stereotypes.” Psycho-
logical Review 100,
January 1993, pp.
8.48 Ashforth, B.E., and F.
Mael. “Social Identity
Theory and the Orga-
nization.” Academy of
Management Review 14
(1989), pp. 20–39; and
Howard, J.A. “Social
Psychology of Identi-
ties.” Annual Review of
Sociology 26 (2000),
pp. 367–93.
8.49 McGirt, E. “Google
Searches Its Soul.”
Fortune, February 1,
2017, pp. 48–56; and
Society for Human
Resource Management.
“Diversity Training,”
2014, http://www.shrm
8.50 Kahneman, D.; P.
Slovic; and A. Tversky,
eds. Judgment under
Uncertainty: Heuristics
and Biases. Cambridge,
Final PDF to printer

261C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 261 10/11/17 08:45 AM
UK: Cambridge
University Press, 1982.
8.51 Source: Kahneman,
D., and A. Tversky.
“On the Psychol-
ogy of Prediction.”
Psychological Review
8.52 Smerd, J. “In Worker’s
Heads.” Workforce Man-
agement, June 22, 2009,
pp. 34–39.
8.53 Ross, L. “The Intuitive
Psychologist and His
Shortcomings: Distor-
tions in the Attribution
Process.” In Advances
in Experimental Social
Psychology, ed. L.
Berkowitz. New York:
Academic Press, 1977,
pp. 173–220. See also
Jones, E.E., and V.A.
Harris. “The Attribu-
tion of Attitudes.”
Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology 3
(1967), pp. 1–24.
8.54 Kelley, H.H. “The
Processes of Casual
Attribution.” American
Psychologist 28 (1973),
pp. 107–28; and Kelley,
H.H. “Attribution in
Social Interaction.” In
Attribution: Perceiving the
Causes of Behavior, ed.
E. Jones. Morristown,
NJ: General Learning
Press, 1972.
8.55 Staw, B.M., and J. Ross.
“Behavior in Escalation
Situations: Antecedents,
Prototypes, and Solu-
tions.” In Research
in Organizational
Behavior, Vol. 9, ed. L.L.
Cummings and B.M.
Staw. Greenwich, CT:
JAI Press, 1987, pp.
39–78; and Staw, B.M.
“Knee-Deep in the Big
Muddy: A Study of
Escalating Commitment
to a Chosen Course of
Action.” Organizational
Behavior and Human
Performance 16 (1976),
pp. 27–44.
8.56 Brockner, J. “The Esca-
lation of Commitment
to a Failing Course
of Action: Toward
Theoretical Progress.”
Academy of Manage-
ment Review 17 (1992),
pp. 39–61; and Staw,
B.M. “The Escalation
of Commitment: An
Update and Appraisal.”
In Organizational
Decision Making, ed.
Z. Shapira. New York:
Cambridge University
Press, 1997.
8.57 Conlon, D.E., and H.
Garland. “The Role
of Project Comple-
tion Information in
Resource Allocation
Decisions.” Academy
of Management
Journal 36 (1993),
pp. 402–13; and Moon,
H. “Looking Forward
and Looking Back:
Integrating Completion
and Sunk-Cost Effects
within an Escalation of
Commitment Progress
Decision.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 86
(2001), pp. 104–13.
8.58 Johnson, K. “Denver
Airport to Mangle Last
Bag.” The New York
Times, August 27, 2005.
8.59 Molden, D.C., and
C.M. Hui. “Promoting
De-Escalation of Com-
mitment: A Regulatory-
Focus Perspective
on Sunk Costs.”
Psychological Science 22
(2011), pp. 8–12.
8.60 Alliger, G.M.; S.I. Tan-
nenbaum; W. Bennett
Jr.; H. Traver; and A.
Shotland. “A Meta-
Analysis of the Relations
among Training Crite-
ria.” Personnel Psychology
50 (1997), pp. 341–58;
Colquitt, J.A.; J.A.
LePine; and R.A. Noe.
“Toward an Integrative
Theory of Training Moti-
vation: A Meta-Analytic
Path Analysis of 20
Years of Research.” Jour-
nal of Applied Psychology
85 (2000), pp. 678–707;
and Meyer, J.P.; D.J.
Stanley; L. Herscovitch;
and L. Topolnytsky.
“Affective, Continuance,
and Normative Commit-
ment to the Organiza-
tion: A Meta-Analysis of
Antecedents, Correlates,
and Consequences.”
Journal of Vocational
Behavior 61 (2002),
pp. 20–52.
8.61 Averbrook, J. “Con-
necting CLOs with the
Recruiting Process.”
Chief Learning Officer 4
(2005), pp. 24–27.
8.62 Ho, M. “2016 State of
the Industry Report:
Investment in Learn-
ing Increases for 4th
Straight Year.” TD:
Talent Development,
November 2016,
pp. 30–35.
8.63 Ibid.
8.64 Milligan, S. “Wisdom
of the Ages.” HRMaga-
zine, November 2014,
pp. 22–27.
8.65 Holste, J.S., and D.
Fields. “Trust and Tacit
Final PDF to printer

262 C H A P T E R 8 Learning and Decision Making
coL27660_ch08_232-262.indd 262 10/11/17 08:45 AM
Knowledge Sharing
and Use.” Journal of
Knowledge Management
14 (2010), pp. 128–40.
8.66 Source: Ladika, S.
“Shipping and
Handling: Picking
the Right People to
Head Overseas Is
Paramount.” Workforce
Management, March 1.
8.67 Retna, K.S., and P.T.
Ng. “Communities of
Practice: Dynamics and
Success Factors.” Lead-
ership and Organization
Development Journal
32 (2011), pp. 41–59;
and Sauve, E. “Informal
Knowledge Transfer.”
T + D 61 (2007),
pp. 22–24.
8.68 Overton, L. “Learning
Innovators.” E.learning
Age, July/August 2014,
pp. 12–14; Ligdas, N.
“Using a Wiki Portal to
Support Organizational
Excellence at Shell.”
Knowledge Management
Review, October 2009,
p. 1; and Allan, B.,
and D. Lewis. “Virtual
Learning Communities
as a Vehicle for
Workforce Develop-
ment: A Case Study.”
Journal of Workplace
Learning 18 (2006),
pp. 367–83.
8.69 Trees, L. “Mentoring
as a Springboard for
Networking and Col-
laboration.” KMWorld,
2016, pp. 280–83.
8.70 Pyrko, I., V. Dorfler,
and C. Eden. “Thinking
Together: What Makes
Communities of Prac-
tice Work?” Human
Relations 70 (2016),
pp. 389–409; and Noe,
R.A. Employee Training
and Development.
New York: Irwin/
McGraw-Hill, 1999.
8.71 Tracey, J.B.; S.I. Tan-
nenbaum; and M.J.
Kavanaugh. “Applying
Trained Skills on the
Job: The Importance
of the Work Environ-
ment.” Journal of
Applied Psychology 80
(1995), pp. 239–52.
8.72 Ivancevich, J.; R.
Konopaske; and
M. Matteson. Organi-
zational Behavior and
Management, 7th ed.
New York: McGraw-
Hill, 2005. Reprinted
with permission of The
McGraw-Hill Com-
panies. The original
exercises are based on
the following sources:
(1) Tversky, A., and D.
Kahneman. “Rational
Choice and the Framing
of Decisions.” Journal
of Business 59 (1986), pp.
251–78; (2) Tversky, A.,
and D. Kahneman.
“The Framing of
Decisions and the Psy-
chology of Choice.”
Science 211 (1981),
pp. 453–58; (3) Tversky,
A., and D. Kahne-
man. “Extensional vs.
Intuitive Reasoning: The
Conjunction Fallacy in
Probability Judgment.”
Psychological Review 90
(1983), pp. 293–315;
and (4) McKean, K.
“Decisions, Decisions.”
Discovery Magazine,
June 1985.
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch09_263-303.indd 263 10/11/17 08:46 AM
Personality and Cultural Values
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch09_263-303.indd 264 10/11/17 08:46 AM
9.1 What is personality? What are cultural values?
9.2 What are the “Big Five”?
9.3 Is personality driven by nature or by nurture?
9.4 What taxonomies can be used to describe personality, other than the Big Five?
9.5 What taxonomies can be used to describe cultural values?
9.6 How does personality affect job performance and organizational commitment?
9.7 Are personality tests useful tools for organizational hiring?
After reading this chapter, you should be able to answer the following questions:
Personality and Cultural
Processes &
Trust, Justice,
& Ethics
Characteristics &
Learning &
Decision Making
Personality &
Cultural Values
Power &
Styles &
Final PDF to printer

coL27660_ch09_263-303.indd 265 10/11/17 08:46 AM
ne thousand seven hundred and twenty-eight play-
ers. Fifty-two managers. That’s how many people
represented the Chicago Cubs between 1908—
their prior World Series title—and 2016—when their long
drought ended. That 1908 team had played in the era of
Mark Twain, Florence Nightingale, and the Ottoman Empire.
How did the franchise break through after all that time?
Much of the credit can be given to a new owner, a new pres-
ident of baseball operations, and a focus on personality.
The new owner is Tom Ricketts, the director of TD Ameri-
trade Holding Corporation. The new president of baseball
operations is Theo Epstein, previously the general manager
of the Boston Red Sox, and assembler of a two-time World
Series champion in that city. Ricketts had been impressed
with Epstein’s personality as they discussed a position with
the Cubs. “He was the kind of person who treats people
with respect,” Ricketts noted. “He was honest and candid
about his successes and failures.” Epstein is also enor-
mously curious, a trait fueled by a family rule where every
minute watching baseball had to be matched by time read-
ing books. “A double header was a lot of reading,” recalled
Epstein. The Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, offered his own
take on Epstein’s personality: “He’s brilliant, he’s sabermetri-
cally inclined, he’s old school, he understands old-school
scouting techniques, he understands the game, but of all
the guys I’ve met, he’s more empathetic than all of them. He
understands people. And he feels what they feel.” Much like
how books fueled his curiosity, Epstein attributes that empa-
thy to his family and his upbringing. “Maybe it’s part of being
a twin. I’m a twin. My mom’s a twin. My grandfather’s a twin.”
Regardless of where his traits came from, Epstein went
about retooling the Cubs with his own emphasis on per-
sonality. He wanted players with the right “makeup”—who
would create the proper “ethos” in the clubhouse. Some
of that emphasis came from the failures of his most recent
Red Sox clubs, but it was also a simple evolution of his own
views on managing people. The word that he most often
uses is “character”—a sense that players will work hard,
do the right thing, fit into the team concept, and overcome
adversity. “We are not going to compromise character for
talent,” Epstein vowed. “We’re the Cubs. We’re going to
have both. Talent and character.”
©Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Final PDF to printer

266 C H A P T E R 9 Personality and Cultural Values
coL27660_ch09_263-303.indd 266 10/11/17 08:46 AM
As the opening illustrates, a company can gain from paying close attention to the personal-
ity of its employees when making decisions about hiring and development. Personality refers
to the structures and propensities inside people that explain their characteristic patterns of
thought, emotion, and behavior.1 Personality creates people’s social reputations—the way they
are perceived by friends, family, coworkers, and supervisors.2 In this way, personality captures
what people are like. That’s in contrast to ability, the subject of Chapter 10, which captures
what people can do. Although we sometimes describe people as having “a good personality,”
personality is actually a collection of multiple traits. Traits are defined as recurring regulari-
ties or trends in people’s responses to their environment.3 Adjectives such as “responsible,”
“easygoing,” “polite,” and “reserved” are examples of traits that can be used to summarize
someone’s personality.
As we’ll describe later, personality traits are a function of both your genes and your environ-
ment. One important piece of the environmental part of that equation is the culture in which you
were raised. Cultural values are defined as shared beliefs about desirable end states or modes of
conduct in a given culture.4 You can think of cultural values as capturing what cultures are like.
Adjectives such as “traditional,” “informal,” “risk averse,” or “assertive” are all examples of values
that can be used to summarize a nation’s culture. Cultural values can influence the development
of people’s personality traits, as well as how those traits are expressed in daily life. In this way, a
responsible person in the United States may act somewhat differently than a responsible person
in China, just as an easygoing person in France may act somewhat differently than an easygoing
person in Indonesia.
We can use personality traits and cultural values to describe what employees are like. For example,
how would you describe your first college roommate to one of your classmates? You’d start off
using certain adjectives—maybe the roommate was funny and outgoing or maybe frugal and orga-
nized. Of course, it would take more than a few adjectives to describe your roommate fully. You
could probably go on listing traits for several minutes, maybe even coming up with 100 traits or
more. Although 100 traits may sound like a lot, personality researchers note that the third edition
of Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary contained 1,710 adjectives that can be used to describe some-
one’s traits!5 Was your roommate abrasive, adulterous, agitable, alarmable, antisocial, arbitrative,
arrogant, asocial, audacious, aweless, and awkward? We hope not!
With 1,710 adjectives, you might be worrying about the length of this chapter (or the difficulty
of your next exam!). Fortunately, it turns out that most adjectives are variations of five broad
dimensions or “factors” that can be used to summarize our personalities.6 Those five personality
dimensions include conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and
extraversion. Collectively, these dimensions have been dubbed the Big Five.7 Figure 9-1 lists the
traits that can be found within each of the Big Five dimensions. We acknowledge that it can be
hard to remember the particular labels for the Big Five dimensions, and we wish there was some
acronym that could make the process easier. . . .
Would you like to see what your Big Five profile looks like? Our OB Assessments feature will
show you where you stand on each of the five dimensions. After you’ve gotten a feel for your
personality profile, you might be wondering about some of the following questions: How does
personality develop? Why do people have the traits that they possess? Will those traits change
What is personality? What
are cultural values?
What are the “Big Five”?
Final PDF to printer

267C H A P T E R 9 Personality and Cultural Values
coL27660_ch09_263-303.indd 267 10/11/17 08:46 AM
over time? All of these questions are variations on the “nature vs. nurture” debate: Is personality
a function of our genes, or is it something that we develop as a function of our experiences and
environment? As you might guess, it’s sometimes difficult to tease apart the impact of nature and
nurture on personality. Let’s assume for a moment that you’re especially extraverted and so are
your parents. Does this mean you’ve inherited their “extraversion gene”? Or does it mean that you
observed and copied their extraverted behavior during your childhood (and were rewarded with
praise for doing so)? It’s impossible to know, because the effects of nature and nurture are acting
in combination in this example.
One method of separating nature and nurture effects is to study identical twins who’ve been
adopted by different sets of parents at birth. For example, the University of Minnesota has been
conducting studies of pairs of identical twins reared apart for several decades.8 Such studies find,
for example, that extraversion scores tend to be significantly correlated across pairs of identical
twins.9 Such findings can clearly be attributed to “nature,” because identical twins share 100 percent
of their genetic material, but cannot be explained by “nurture,” because the twins were raised in
different environments. A review of several different twin studies concludes that genes have a
significant impact on people’s Big Five profile. More specifically, 49 percent of the variation in
extraversion is accounted for by genetic differences.10 The genetic impact is somewhat smaller for
the rest of the Big Five: 45 percent for openness, 41 percent for neuroticism, 38 percent for con-
scientiousness, and 35 percent for agreeableness.
Another method of examining the genetic basis of personality is to examine changes in per-
sonality traits over time. Longitudinal studies require participants to complete personality assess-
ments at multiple time periods, often separated by several years. If personality has a strong genetic
component, then people’s Big Five profiles at, say, age 21 should be very similar to their profiles at
Sources: G. Saucier, “Mini-Markers: A Brief Version of Goldberg’s Unipolar Big-Five Markers,” Journal of Personality
Assessment 63 (1994), pp. 506–16; L.R. Goldberg, “The Development of Markers for the Big-Five Factor Structure,”
Psychological Assessment 4 (1992), pp. 26–42; R.R. McCrae and P.T. Costa Jr., “Validation of the Five-Factor Model of Per-
sonality across Instruments and Observers,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52 (1987), pp. 81–90; and C.M.
Gill and G.P. Hodgkinson, “Development and Validation of the Five-Factor Model Questionnaire (FFMQ): An Adjectival-
Based Personality Inventory for Use in Occupational Settings,” Personnel Psychology 6