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NEW TRENDS IN ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE RESEARCH . Vicente González-Romá University of Valencia Spain. Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, May 31, 2007. OUTLINE. INTRODUCTION INITIAL ISSUES CLIMATE AS SHARED PERCPETIONS AND THE ROLE OF WITHIN-UNIT DISPERSION . Composition models .

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New trends in organizational climate research l.jpg

NEW TRENDS IN ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE RESEARCH

Vicente González-Romá

University of Valencia

Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, May 31, 2007


Outline l.jpg

OUTLINE

  • INTRODUCTION

  • INITIAL ISSUES

  • CLIMATE AS SHARED PERCPETIONS AND THE ROLE OF WITHIN-UNIT DISPERSION.

    • Composition models.

    • Payne’s 3-dimension model

    • Dispersion theory and forms of emergence

  • CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

  • RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.

    • Climate strength’s influences.

    • Antecedents of climate strength

  • A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS.

  • CONCLUSIONS


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1. INTRODUCTION

  • Organizational Climate: classic topic in WOP, but nowadays there is interest in it:

    • Recent Handbooks:

      • Ashkanasy, N. M., Wilderom, C. P. M., & Peterson, M. F. (2000). Handbook of organizational culture and climate. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

      • Cooper, C. L., Cartwright, S. & Earley, P. C. (2001). The International handbook of organizational culture and climate. Chichester, England: John Wiley & Sons.

    • Recent Meta-analyses (Parker et al., 2003, JOB; Carr et al., 2003, JAP)

    • According to PsycINFO, the number of published studies is increasing.


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1. INTRODUCCIÓN

Number of articles in PsycINFO where ‘Organizational climate’ is the major point of the article.


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1. INTRODUCTION

  • Aims:

    • To present a new line of research in organizational climate.

    • To propose a conceptualization of climate as a configural unit property.

    • To present some results on the relationships between within-unit dispersion in climate and team processes and outcomes.


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2. INITIAL ISSUES.

  • Climate: employees’ perceptions of the social setting of which the person is a part (Rousseau, 1988).

  • In organizations, the social setting may be the work-team, the department, the organization  distinct targets.

  • Facets: The content of climate perceptions clusters on groups of psychologically related events and meanings (support, innovation, service, safety, etc.).

  • Climate can be operationalized at different levels of analysis:

    • Individual: psychological climate.

    • Higher-levels: aggregate climate.


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3. CLIMATE AS SHARED PERCPETIONS AND THE ROLE OF WITHIN-UNIT DISPERSION.

  • Climate at higher-levels (aggregate climate) is defined as shared perceptions.

  • Within-unit agreement is a prerequisite for arguing that unit climate can be operationalized and that it exists.

  • This approach:

    • restricts the conceptualization of climate

    • has hidden the status of within-unit dispersion as a scientific construct.

  • Recently  A number of conceptual and theoretical proposals have contributed to extending the unit climate concept by highlighting the role of within-unit dispersion in climate perceptions.


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3.1. Composition models.

  • Specify the functional relationships among constructs operationalized at different levels of analysis (Chan, 1998; James, 1992).

  • Chan’s (1998) typology: additive, direct consensus, referent-shift consensus, dispersion, process models.

  • In direct consensus and referent-shift consensus models  within-unit agreement is a prerequisite for aggregation.

  • Dispersion models: within-unit agreement (dispersion) is the focal construct.

    • Examples: norm crystallization (Jackson, 1975), mental model sharedness (Mathieu et al., 2005), climate strength.


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3.2. Payne’s 3-dimension model.

  • Payne (2000, 2001) proposed a 3-dimension model for analyzing organizational climate and culture. Dimensions:

    • 1. Pervasiveness: range of defined and controlled beliefs and behaviors (narrow-wide)

    • 2. Psychological intensity: target constructs (shallow-deep).

    • 3. Strength of consensus: degree of agreement (low-high).

  • Payne (2000) found in a sample of 56 organizations that the degree of consensus in 17 climate scales varied notably across organizations.


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

  • Dispersion Theory (TD, Brown & Kozlowski, 1999): within-unit dispersion of individual-level constructs can be used for examining the degree of emergence of higher-level constructs.

  • Within-unit dispersion comprises two dimensions:

    • 1. strength: the degree of within-unit agreement of the individual-level construct

    • 2. uniformity: the pattern of the individual-level construct at the unit level.


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

Four ideal dispersion types (Brown & Kozlowski, 1999).


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

  • In climate research, the role of dispersion dimensions as scientific constructs has been neglected for a long time.

  • Researchers have recently begun to study the role of climate strength (the degree of within-unit agreement in climate perceptions):

    • Bliese & Halverson, 1998; Lindell & Brandt, 2000; Schneider et al., 2002; González-Romá et al., 2002, 2005; Colquitt et al.; Zohar & Luria, 2004, 2005; Moliner et al., 2005.

  • Lack of studies about uniformity.

    • Chan (1998) refers to the absence of multimodality (i.e. subgroups) as a prerequisite for composition in dispersion models.


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

  • Factors to explain this situation:

    • Predominance of the integration perspective: unit climate as shared perceptions.

    • A number of factors in real work units promote convergence of climate perceptions (ASA processes, socialization, social interaction, leadership).

  • However, there are ‘non-uniform climates’.


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

Observed non-uniform climates


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3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

  • We know very little about this type of climates.

  • What factors promote these patterns of climate perceptions?

    • Demographic diversity

    • Leader-member interaction

  • What are their influences on unit processes and outcomes?

    • Conflict

    • Communication

    • Performance


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3.4. Summary.

  • To promote research on these issues we need a broader conceptualization of unit climate.

  • The conceptual and theoretical contributions presented above call for the consideration of within-unit dispersion in climate perceptions.


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY.

  • Unit climate: the pattern of employees’ perceptions of their unit.


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

  • Assumption: climate may emerge as a configurational property adopting different shapes, following a compilation process of emergence; not only as a shared property following a composition process of emergence.

  • Kozlowski & Klein (2000): 3 types of unit-level constructs:

    • Globalunit properties: originate and are manifest at the unit level (unit size, unit function); single-level phenomena.

    • Shared unit properties: originate at lower levels, but are manifest as higher-level phenomena; describe the characteristics that are common to the members of a unit.

    • Configural unit properties: originate at lower levels, but are manifest as higher-level phenomena; capture the pattern of individual-level phenomena within a unit.


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

  • Kozlowski & Klein (2000): 2 reference types of emergence:

    • Composition: the type and amount of individual-level phenomena (cognition, perception, affect, behavior) are similar for all unit members.

    • Compilation: either the amount or type of individual-level phenomena is different, or both the amount and type are different.


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

  • If climate is conceptualized as a configural unit property, the pattern of strong similarity that has dominated research in the field is one of the possible observable patterns.

  • “A given phenomenon or construct domain does not necessarily have to exhibit a universal form of emergence; that is, a given emergent phenomenon may be the results of composition processes in one situation and of compilation processes in another” (Kozlowski & Klein, 2000, p. 59).


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

Implications:

  • All units have climate as a higher-level property.

  • To describe unit climate, we have to consider:

    • Uniformity

    • Strength

    • Localization

  • Other contributions in this direction:

    • Lindell, M. K. & Brandt, C. J. (2000, JAP): Dissensus does not imply that climate does not exists.

    • Ostroff, Kinicki & Tamkins (2003): variability in fundamental elements may not necessarily lead to lack of emergence of a higher-level property.

    • Roberson, Q. M. & Colquitt, J. A. (2005). Shared and configural justice: A social network model of justice in teams. Academy of Management Review, 3, 595-607.


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4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY

  • Research questions:

    • What factors contribute to shaping work-units’ climate?

    • What are the consequences of different climate configurations?

By studying climate strength’s role in the unit climate-unit outcomes relationship, recent empirical research has begun to pay attention to the pattern of climate perceptions within work units.


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Climate strength

Performance

Absenteeism

Satisfaction

Commitment

Burnout

Service quality

Unit climate

González-Romá, Peiró & Tordera (2002), Schneider, Salvaggio & Subirats (2002), Colquitt, Noe & Jackson (2002), González-Romá & West (2003), González-Romá, Fortes, Peiró & Gamero (2005); Moliner, Martínez-Tur, Peiró, Ramos & Cropanzano (2005).

5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.


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CLIMATE STRENGTH

TEAM CLIMATE

TEAM PERFORMANCE

5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

González-Romá et al.’s (2005) study


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5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

González-Romá et al.’s (2005) study

  • The moderator influence of climate strength is based on Mischel’s (1973) concept of situational strength:

    • the degree of ambiguity presented in the context

  • STRONG SITUATIONS:

    • Lead persons to interpret events in a similar way

    • Induce uniform expectancies regarding the most appropriate behavior

    • Behavioral variability will be small

    • Behavior is more predictable


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5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

González-Romá et al.’s (2005) study


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5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

Bliese & Halverson’s (1998) study:

Lack of consensus  Stressful work environments  Well-being

CLIMATE STRENGTH

Leadership climate

Peer relations

UNIT PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING

+


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CLIMATE STRENGTH Leadership climate

WORK STRESSORS

INDIVIDUAL MORALE

5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

Bliese & Britt’s (2001) study:


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4.5

4.0

3.5

Quality of innovations

3.0

2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

-1.2

-1.0

-.8

-.6

-.4

-.2

Climate strength

5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.1. Climate strength’s influences.

Are other forms of relationship plausible?

The case of team innovation


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5. RESEARCH ON CLIMATE STRENGTH.5.2. Antecedents of climate strength.

Demographic diversity

Leader-member interaction

Interaction among team members

Supervisors’ behavioral patterns (simplicity, variability, visibility)

Organizational type (Mechanistic vs. Organic)

Climate strength

Naumann & Bennett, 2000; Klein, Conn, Smith & Sorra (2001); Colquitt, Noe & Jackson (2002), González-Romá, Peiró & Tordera (2002), González-Romá & West (2003), Zohar & Luria (2004, 2005); Dickson, Resick & Hanges, 2006.


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

  • Lack of studies.

  • Why are these studies necessary?

    • Climate strength (CS) only conveys part of the information about climate configuration.

    • The same CS value may show different forms.


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

Configurations with VAR (X) = 2


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

Configurations with VAR (X) = 1


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

  • Research question: What are the influences of uniform and non-uniform climate configurations on team processes and team outcomes?

  • In this study we identified 3 levels for uniformity:

    • Uniform

    • Non-uniform (2 sub-groups)

    • Non-uniform (1 sub-group)


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

  • Hypotheses:

    • Non-Uniform configurations:

      • More (task & relationship) conflict and tension

      • Less communication quality and optimism

    • Considering that a given within-unit dispersion value may adopt different forms, the relationship between climate strength and team processes & outcomes will depend on uniformity:

      • The relationship will be more dysfunctional when the configuration is non-uniform.


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.2. Method: Sample.

  • Teams: 193 bank branches.

  • Team size: average = 4.6 (SD = 1.8)

  • Subjects: 846 team members.

    • Response rate: 95.4%

  • 55% men; 2/3 between 25-45 years old.


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.2. Method: Measures.

  • Team climate: 4 facets:

    • Support from the organization: 4 items, a =.81

    • Innovation: 4 items, a = .78.

    • Goal achievement: 4 items, a = .83.

    • Enabling formalization: 4 items, a = .84.

  • Climate strength: Average Deviation Index • (-1)


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.2. Method: Measures.

  • Uniformity in team climate configurations:

    • Uniform

    • Non-uniform (2 sub-groups)

    • Non-uniform (1 sub-group)

  • 2 dummy variables (comparison group: uniform)


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.2. Method: Measures.

  • Team Conflict:

    • Task: 6 items, a =.89

    • Relationship: 4 items, a = .90

  • Quality of communication: 5 items, a = .90

  • Team mood:

    • Tension: 6 items, a = .90

    • Optimism: 6 items, a = .91

      Aggregation at the team level was justified.


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.2. Method: Analysis.

  • Team level.

  • Hierarchical regression analysis.

  • Steps:

    • Average climate as a control

    • Climate strength

    • Dummies for uniformity

    • Interaction term: climate strength * uniformity


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.3. Results.

SUPPORT

Non-uniform configurations:

Less communication quality

Less optimism

More tension


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.3. Results.

GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

Non-uniform configurations:

Less optimism

More tension


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6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.3. Results.

INNOVATION

When the configuration is Non-uniform (2 sub-groups):

Climate strength shows a significant negative relationship with task and relationship conflict.

Uniformity does not show significant relationships for enabling formalization.


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7. CONCLUSIONS

  • To better understand the role of unit climate we need a broader conceptualization  climate as configural unit property.

  • Implications for research:

    • A new area of research focused on climate configurations. Lack of studies.

    • Empirical evidence on climate strength  models of unit climate should pay attention to within-unit dispersion.

    • Do not remove units with low climate strength (ask why, reduced sample size, restriction of range)

  • Implications for practice:

    • Climate surveys: The mean is not enough (only at the extremes!).

    • The SD may not be enough.

    • The analysis of within-unit climate configurations yields a more detailed diagnosis.


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Thank you very much

[email protected]

University of Valencia


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