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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

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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.

    • 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


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.


1. INTRODUCCIÓN

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

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


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.


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’.


3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

Observed non-uniform climates


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


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.


4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY.

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


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


CLIMATE STRENGTH

TEAM CLIMATE

TEAM PERFORMANCE

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

González-Romá et al.’s (2005) study


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


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

González-Romá et al.’s (2005) study


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

+


CLIMATE STRENGTH Leadership climate

WORK STRESSORS

INDIVIDUAL MORALE

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

Bliese & Britt’s (2001) study:


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


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.


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.


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

Configurations with VAR (X) = 2


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

Configurations with VAR (X) = 1


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)


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.


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.


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)


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)


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.


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


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

SUPPORT

Non-uniform configurations:

Less communication quality

Less optimism

More tension


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

GOAL ACHIEVEMENT

Non-uniform configurations:

Less optimism

More tension


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.


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.


Thank you very much

Vicente.Glez-Roma@uv.es

University of Valencia


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