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My Job, Your Calling: Work Orientations in Organizational Teams

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  1. My Job, Your Calling: Work Orientations in Organizational Teams Amy Wrzesniewski New York University May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  2. General Research Question • What kinds of meanings do people derive from work, both generally and in challenging contexts? May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  3. The Meaning of Work: Theoretical Framework • Values (Dubin, 1956; Lodahl & Kejner, 1965; Roberson, 1990) • Expectations and motivation (Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, & Tighe, 1994; Ryan & Deci, 2001) • Characteristics of the job (Griffin, 1987; Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980) • Organizational influences (Pratt & Ashforth, 2003) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  4. Work Orientation • Origin of concept (Bellah, Madsen, Sullivan, Swidler, & Tipton, 1985) • Ways work fits sense of self • Shapes relationship to work • Goal-oriented May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  5. Jobs, Careers, and Callings Jobs: Material benefits from work ‘My primary reason for working is financial – to support my family and lifestyle.’ Careers: Advancement in occupation ‘I expect to be in a higher level job in five years.’ Callings: Fulfillment from work itself ‘My work makes the world a better place.’ May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  6. Prior Relevant Results • Unambiguous in seeing work as a Job, Career, or Calling • Associated with different work behaviors and work and life satisfaction • Each orientation found both across and within occupations and organizations • Importance of others in experience of work • “Job crafting” May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  7. Work Orientation in Work Groups • Increasing use of teams in organizations (Hackman, 1998) • Challenges of coordination and cooperation (George, 1996) • Work behaviors and moods affect other members (Barsade, et al., 2000; Bartel & Saavedra, 2000) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  8. Research Question • What happens when people with different work orientations are interdependent in a team context? May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

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  11. Work Groups: Prior Research • Group process and outcomes affected by similarity (Bettenhausen, 1991) • General preference for similar others (Berscheid, 1985) • Similarity on a number of dimensions (e.g., affect, demography) promotes satisfaction, commitment, and trust (Barsade, et al., 2000) • Personality and demographic difference can promote conflict, poor rapport and process (Ancona & Caldwell, 1992; O’Reilly, Snyder, & Boothe, 1993; Pelled, 1996) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  12. Hypotheses • Groups with a higher proportion of members with Calling orientations will have better team functioning • Groups with a higher proportion of members with Career orientations will have poorer team functioning • Diverse mixes of work orientations will be associated with poorer team functioning May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  13. Method • Survey study of work teams • N = 266 teams, range in size from 3 to 18, mean size of 4.6 • Drawn from a wide variety of industries and organizations, from accounting teams to emergency room teams to equity arbitrage teams • Mean age = 31.9 • Mean tenure with team = 34.9 months • Met criteria for real groups (Hackman, 1998) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  14. Measures Independent Variables • Work Orientation (Wrzesniewski et al., 1997) • Satisfaction with Work Elements (Andrews & Withey, 1976) Dependent Variables • Team Identification (Bhattacharya, 2001) • Group Process (Taylor & Bowers, 1972) • Faith and Confidence in Management (Cook & Wall, 1980) • Team Commitment (Mowday, Steers, & Porter, 1979) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  15. Data Analysis • Aggregated group measures • Significant F values in one-way ANOVA(Kenny & Judd, 1986) • ICC(2) values greater than .75 (Bliese, 2000) • Ran correlations on aggregated data • Individual level analyses • Stepwise regression, predicting attitudes toward group, controlling for age, gender, tenure, satisfaction May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  16. Initial Results: Callings • At the Group Level: • The higher the proportion of members with Callings: • Better group process • Higher commitment to team • Stronger faith and confidence in management (range in rs .37 to .54, all rs significant at .001 level) • On individual level, Calling associated with: • Identification with Team (beta .12**) • Better Group Process (beta .05*) • Commitment to Team (beta .25**) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  17. Initial Results: Careers • At the Group Level: • The higher the proportion of members with Careers: • Poorer group process • Lower commitment to team • Lower faith and confidence in management (range in rs -.34 to -.48, all rs significant at .001 level) • On individual level, Career associated with: • Team Identification (beta .07*) • Faith and Confidence in Management (beta -.05*) • Team Commitment (beta -.07*) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  18. Initial Results: Mix • Larger range in work orientation scores in the group is associated with: • Poorer group process (-.17**) • Lower commitment to team (-.16**) May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  19. Potential Contributions • Elaborates research on group composition and its effects • Further develops picture of the role of work meanings in organizational contexts May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  20. My Questions • How to frame this? • Can I use the composition argument as a way in? • Other data to collect or use? • Other ways to parse the data? May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  21. Team Identification • 6 Items (adapted from Bhattacharya, 2001), 1-5 scale • When someone criticizes my team, it feels like a personal insult. • I am very interested in what others think about my team. • When I talk about my team, I usually say 'we' rather than 'they'. • My team’s successes are my successes. • When someone praises my team, it feels like a personal compliment. • If a story in the media criticized my team, I would feel embarrassed. May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  22. Group Process • 8 Items (Taylor & Bowers, 1972), 1-5 scale • Thinking about your work team, to what extent: • does your work group plan together and coordinate its efforts? • does your work group make good decisions and solve problems well? • do people in your work group know what their jobs are and know how to do them well? • does your work group really want to meet its objectives successfully? • do you have confidence and trust in the people in your work group? • is there conflict in your work group? May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  23. Faith and Confidence in Management • 6 Items (Cook & Wall, 1980), 1-5 scale • Management at my firm is sincere in its attempt to meet the team’s point of view. • I feel quite confident that the management will always try to treat my team fairly. • Our management would be quite prepared to gain advantage by deceiving the workers. • Our firm has a poor future unless it can attract better managers. • Management can be trusted to make sensible decisions for the firm’s future. • Management at work seems to do a good job. May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  24. Team Commitment • 16 items (Porter & Smith, 1970), 1-5 scale • I am willing to put in a great deal of effort beyond that normally expected in order to help this team be successful. • I feel very little loyalty to this team. • I would accept almost any type of job assignment in order to keep working with this team. • I am proud to tell others that I am part of this team. • I could just as well be working with a different team as long as the type of work were similar. • It would take very little change in my present circumstances to cause me to leave this team. • I really care about the fate of this team. May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04

  25. Correlations ** Correlation is significant at the .01 level (2-tailed). * Correlation is significant at the .05 level (2-tailed). May Meaning Meeting 5/8/04