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Monday, July 9, 2012

Attitudes - Value, Attitude and Job Satisfaction

Attitudes are also known as "frames of reference". They provide the background against which facts and events are viewed. It becomes necessary to know the attitudes of members of an organization because they have to perceive specific aspects like pay, hours of work, promotion etc., of their job life in the wider context of their generalized attitudes. Attitudes are also known as "frames of reference". They provide the background against which facts

Characteristics of Attitudes

i) An attitude is the predisposition of the individual to evaluate some objects in a favourable or an unfavourable manner.

ii) The most pervasive phenomenon is "attitude". People at work place have attitudes about lots of topics that are related to them. These attitudes are firmly embedded in a complex psychological structure of beliefs.

iii) Attitudes are different from values. Values are the ideals, whereas attitudes are narrow. They are our feelings, thoughts and behavioural tendencies toward a specific object or situation.

iv) Attitude is a predisposition to respond to a certain set of facts.

v) Attitudes are evaluative statements - either favourable or unfavourable concerning the objects, people or events.

There are three components of an attitude:

1. Cognition
2. Affect
3. Behavior

Cognition – It is the mental process involved in gaining knowledge and comprehension, including thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem solving. The cognition component of an attitude reflects a person's perceptions or beliefs. Cognitive elements are evaluative beliefs and are measured by attitude scales or by asking about thoughts.

Affect – This component refers to the person's feelings that result from his or her beliefs about a person, object or situation. A person who believes that hard work earns promotions may feel anger or frustration when he or she works hard but is not promoted. The affective component becomes stronger as an individual has more frequent and direct experience with a focal object, person or situation. 'Affect' is the emotional component of an attitude. It refers to an individual's feeling about something or someone.

Behavior – This component refers to the individual's behaviour that occurs as a result of his or her feeling about the focal person, object or situation. An individual may complain, request a transfer, or be less productive because he or she feels dissatisfied with work. The behavioural component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something.

Types of Attitudes

Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

1. Job satisfaction

It is defined as an individual‟s general attitude toward his/her job. A high level of job satisfaction equals positive attitudes toward the job and vice-a-versa.

2. Job involvement

It is the measure of the degree to which a person identifies psychologically with his/her job and considers his/her perceived performance level important to self-worth.

3. Organizational commitment

Organizational commitment is related to lower rates of absenteeism, higher quality of work, and increased productivity. Managers should be concerned about affective commitment because committed individuals expend more task-related effort and are less likely than others to leave the organization. It is defined as a state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the organization. Research evidence has shown a negative relationship between organizational commitment and both absenteeism as well as turnover. An individual‟s level of organizational commitment is a better indicator of turnover than the far more frequently used job satisfaction predictor, because, it is a more global and enduring response to the organization as a whole than is job satisfaction.

4. Organization Citizenship Behavior (OCB)

Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB) is a unique aspect of individual activity at work, first mentioned in the early 1980s. According to Organ's (1988) definition, It represents "individual behavior that is discretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the formal reward system, and in the aggregate promotes the efficient and effective functioning of the organization"

Lambert, S.J., (2006) defined organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) as behavior that:

a) goes beyond the basic requirements of the job,
b) is to a large extent discretionary, and
c) is of benefit to the organization”

“OCBs are employee behaviors that, although not critical to the task or job, serve to facilitate organizational functioning” (Lee and Allen, 2002).

Organization Citizenship Behavior or OCB is one human behavioral technique under research for improvisation in many institutions worldwide as well as tried and tested approach in many Fortune 500 companies. OCB is one way in which there is a direct involvement of the business leaders with the people in his company. There is an open communication channel and there is a clear understanding in every individual of their role in the organization.

Attitudes and Consistency

When there is an inconsistency, forces are initiated to return the individual to an equilibrium state where attitudes and behavior are again consistent, by altering either the attitudes or the behavior, or by developing a rationalization for the discrepancy.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory-Leon Festinger (1950)

Leon Festinger (1957), while linking attitudes with behavior, argued that, any form of inconsistency is uncomfortable and individuals will attempt to reduce the dissonance. The desire to reduce dissonance would be determined by the importance of the elements creating the dissonance, the degree of influence the individual believes he/she has over the elements and the rewards that may be involved in dissonance

Importance: If the elements creating the dissonance are relatively unimportant, the pressure to correct this imbalance will be low.
Influence: If the dissonance is perceived as an uncontrollable result, they are less likely to be receptive to attitude change. Though dissonance exists, it is possible to rationalize and justify it.
Rewards: The inherent tension in high dissonance tends to be reduced with high rewards.

However, it is not possible for any individual to completely avoid dissonance. Due to moderating factors, individuals will not necessarily move to reduce dissonance – or consistency.

Contemporary research has shown that attitudes can significantly predict future behavior and has confirmed Festinger‟s original view that relationship can be enhanced by taking moderating variables into account (Robbins, 2003). The most powerful moderators are:

1. Importance
2. Specificity
3. Accessibility
4. Social pressures
5. Direct experience

1. Importance: refers to fundamental values, self-interest, or identification with individuals or groups that a person values.

2. Specificity: The more specific the attitude and the more specific the behavior, the stronger the link between the two.

3. Accessibility: Attitudes that are easily remembered are more likely to predict behavior than attitudes that are not accessible in memory.

4. Social pressures: Discrepancies between attitudes and behavior are more likely to occur where social pressures to behave in certain ways hold exceptional power.

5. Direct experience: The attitude-behavior relationship is likely to be much stronger if an attitude refers to an individual‟s direct personal experience.

Self-perception theory

Self-perception theory (Bem, 1967) proposes that attitudes are used to make sense out of an action that has already occurred rather than devices that precede and guide action. In contrast to the cognitive dissonance theory, attitudes are just casual verbal statements and they tend to create plausible answers for what has already occurred.

While the traditional attitude-behavior relationship is generally positive, the behavior-attitude relationship is stronger especially when attitudes are unclear and ambiguous or little thought has been given to it earlier.

Attitude Surveys

The most popular method for getting information about employee attitudes is through attitude surveys. It provides with valuable feedback about the way employees perceive their working conditions. Managers present the employee with set statements or questions to obtain specific information. What may be viewed by management as fair policies and practices, and as objective, may be seen as inequitable by employees in general, or by certain groups of employees, and may result in negative attitudes about the job and the organization. The use of regular attitude surveys can alert management to potential problems and employees‟ intentions well in time, so that action can be taken to prevent repercussions (Robbins, 2003).

Measuring Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is the sense of fulfillment and pride felt by people who enjoy their work and do it well. For an organization, satisfied work force ensures commitment to high quality performance and increased productivity Job satisfaction helps organizations to reduce complaints and grievances, absenteeism, turnover, and termination. Job satisfaction is also linked to a healthier work force and has been found to be a good indicator of longevity. And although only little correlation has been found between job satisfaction and productivity, it has also been found that satisfying or delighting employees is a prerequisite to satisfying or delighting customers, thus protecting the "bottom line (Brown, 1996).

The most important factors conductive to job satisfaction are:

i) Mentally Challenging Work: Employees tend to prefer jobs that give them opportunities to use their skills and abilities and offer a variety of tasks, freedom and feedback on how well they are doing. Under conditions of moderate challenge, most employees will experience pleasure and satisfaction.

ii) Personality-Job Fit: People with personality types congruent with their chosen vocations should find they have the right talents and abilities to meet the demands of their jobs; and because of this success, they have a greater probability of achieving high satisfaction from their work. It is important, therefore to fit personality factors with job profiles.

iii) Equitable Rewards: Employees want pay systems and promotion policies that they perceive as being just, unambiguous, and in line with their expectations. When pay is seen as fair based on job demands, individual skill level, and industry pay standards, satisfaction is likely to result. Similarly, employees seek fair promotion policies and practices. Promotions provide opportunities for personal growth, more responsibilities and increased social status. Individuals who perceive that promotion decisions are made in a fair and just manner are likely to experience job satisfaction.

iv) Supportive working conditions: Employees prefer physical conditions that are comfortable and facilitate doing a good job. Temperature, light, noise and other environmental factors should not be extreme and provide personal comfort. Further, employees prefer working relatively close to home, in clean and relatively modern facilities and with adequate tools and equipment.

v) Supportive Colleagues: Employees have need for social interaction. Therefore, having friendly and supportive co-workers and understanding supervisor's leads to increased job satisfaction. Most employees want their immediate supervisor to be understanding and friendly, those who offer praise for good performance, listen to employees' opinions and show a personal interest in them.

vi) Whistle blowing: Whistle-blowers are employees who inform authorities of wrongdoings of their companies or co-workers. Whistle blowing is important because committed organizational members sometimes engage in unethical behaviour in an intense desire to succeed. Organizations can manage whistle blowing by communicating the conditions that are appropriate for the disclosure of wrongdoing. Clearly delineating wrongful behaviour and the appropriate ways to respond are important organizational actions.

vii) Social Responsibility: Corporate social responsibility is the obligation of an organization to behave in ethical ways in the social environment in which it operates. Socially responsible actions are expected of organizations. Current concerns include protecting the environment, promoting worker safety, supporting social issues, investing in the community, etc. Managers must encourage both individual ethical behaviour and organizational social responsibility.

Job enrichment

It is a deliberate upgrading of responsibility, scope, and challenge in the work itself. Job enrichment usually includes increased responsibility, recognition, and opportunities for growth, learning, and achievement. Large companies that have used job-enrichment programs to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction include, AT&T, IBM, and General Motors (Daft, 1997).

Workers’ role in job satisfaction

A worker should also take some responsibility for his or her job satisfaction. Everett (1995) proposed the following questions which employees ask themselves in regard to job satisfaction at the workplace:

1. When have I come closest to expressing my full potential in a work situation?
2. What did it look like?
3. What aspects of the workplace were most supportive?
4. What aspects of the work itself were most satisfying?
5. What did I learn from that experience that could be applied to the present situation?

The following suggestions can help a worker find personal job satisfaction:

1. Seek opportunities to demonstrate skills and talents.
2. Develop communication skills.
3. Acquire job related skills and try to implement them.
4. Demonstrate creativity and initiative.
5. Improve team building and leadership skill.
6. Learn to de-stress.

The ways of expressing job dissatisfaction

Job dissatisfaction is a negative feeling about one‟s job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics. Job dissatisfaction is a reality in the workplace. The responses to job dissatisfaction according to Farrell (1983) are exit, voice, loyalty and neglect.

In 2005, Robbins and Judge stated that job dissatisfaction is concerned with factors such as company policy, administration, supervision and salary. Since there are no perfect organizations, it is reasonable to state that high levels of dissatisfaction exist for some firms.

There are a number of ways in which employees can express dissatisfaction (Robbins, 2003). They are:

1. Exit
2. Voice
3. Loyalty
4. Neglect

1. Exit: Behavior directed toward leaving the organization, actions like looking for a new position as well as resigning.

2. Voice: Actively and constructively attempting to improve conditions, including suggesting improvements, discussing problems with superiors, and some forms of union activity.

3. Loyalty: Passively, but optimistically waiting for conditions to improve, including standing up for the organization in the face of external criticism/ crisis, and reposing trust in the organization and its management to take the right decisions and set things in order.

4. Neglect: Passively allowing conditions to worsen, including chronic absenteeism or lateness, reduced effort, and increased error rate Voice should be the desired response to job dissatisfaction. “The voice option [is] defined as any attempt at all to change rather than to escape from an objectionable state of affairs.”(Farrell, 1983, p.597)

However, according to Zhou and George (2001, p. 682) “it is naive to assert that job dissatisfaction will always lead to creativity in the workplace.” Like Farrell (1983), Zhou and George noted the four responses to job dissatisfaction. Exit and voice are both active measures. Exit involves leaving the job, while voice is concerned with active and constructive attempts to improve conditions. However, loyalty and neglect refer to passive measures taken by employees who choose to stay at the organization. Loyalty means that the employee will wait for conditions to improve. Neglect suggests a withdrawal from work while allowing conditions to worsen. Of these responses to job dissatisfaction, one can see that voice would most benefit a company. The positive impact can range from innovation that increases a company's market share, to perhaps creating an atmosphere of enthusiasm which can result in prompting other...

Types of Managerial Ethics: Managerial ethics are standards of conduct or moral judgement used by managers of organizations in carrying out their business.

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