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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

NEW TRENDS IN ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE RESEARCH

Vicente González-Romá

University of Valencia

Spain

Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, May 31, 2007

outline
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
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 introducci n
1. INTRODUCCIÓN

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

1 introduction5
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
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
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
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
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
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 emergence11
3.3. Dispersion theory and forms of emergence.

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

3 3 dispersion theory and forms of emergence12
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 emergence13
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 emergence15
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
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
4. CLIMATE AS A CONFIGURAL UNIT PROPERTY.
  • Unit climate: the pattern of employees’ perceptions of their unit.
4 climate as a configural unit property18
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 property19
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 property20
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 property21
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 property22
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.

5 research on climate strength 5 1 climate strength s influences
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.
5 research on climate strength 5 1 climate strength s influences24
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 influences25
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 influences26
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 influences27
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

+

5 research on climate strength 5 1 climate strength s influences28
CLIMATE STRENGTH Leadership climate

WORK STRESSORS

INDIVIDUAL MORALE

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

Bliese & Britt’s (2001) study:

5 research on climate strength 5 1 climate strength s influences29
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
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 perceptions 6 1 introduction
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 perceptions 6 1 introduction32
6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

Configurations with VAR (X) = 2

6 a study on uniformity in team climate perceptions 6 1 introduction33
6. A STUDY ON UNIFORMITY IN TEAM CLIMATE PERCEPTIONS6.1. Introduction.

Configurations with VAR (X) = 1

6 a study on uniformity in team climate perceptions 6 1 introduction34
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 perceptions 6 1 introduction35
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 perceptions 6 2 method sample
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 perceptions 6 2 method measures
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 perceptions 6 2 method measures38
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 perceptions 6 2 method measures39
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 perceptions 6 2 method analysis
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 perceptions 6 3 results
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 perceptions 6 3 results42
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 perceptions 6 3 results43
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
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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