organizational behavior  ATTITUDES AT WORK Overview

Why is it important to know an individual’s values? Although they do not have a direct impact on behavior, values strongly influence a person’s attitudes. Knowledge of an individual’s value system can provide insight into his/her attitudes. Managers should be interested in their employees’ attitudes because attitudes give warnings of potential problems and because they influence behavior. Satisfied and committed employees, for instance, have lower rates of turnover and absenteeism. Given that managers want to keep resignations and absences down— especially among their more productive employees—they will want to do those things that will generate positive job attitudes.

Managers should also be aware that employees will try to reduce cognitive dissonance. More importantly, dissonance can be managed. If employees are required to engage in activities that appear inconsistent to them or are at odds with their attitudes, the pressures to reduce the resulting dissonance are lessened when the employee perceives that the dissonance is externally imposed and is beyond his/her control or if the rewards are significant enough to offset the dissonance.

Importance of Values

Values lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation because they influence our perceptions.

Individuals enter organizations with notions of what is right and wrong with which they interpret behaviors or outcomes—at times this can cloud objectivity and rationality.

Values generally influence attitudes and behavior.


Right: a person’s just claim or entitlement, Focuses on the person’s actions or the actions of others toward the person

Legal rights: defined by a system of laws

Moral rights: based on ethical standards, Purpose: let a person freely pursue certain actions without interference from others


An attitude is a mental stage of readiness, learned and organized through experience, exerting a specific influence on a person’s response to people, objects, and situations with which it is related.

“A persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way toward some object”

Attitudes are evaluative statements that are either favorable or unfavorable concerning objects, people, or events.

Attitudes are not the same as values, but the two are interrelated.

Three components of an attitude:




The belief that “discrimination is wrong” is a value statement and an example of the cognitive component of an attitude

Value statements set the stage for the more critical part of an attitude—its affective component. Affect is the emotional or feeling segment of an attitude. Example: “I don’t like Jon because he discriminates again minorities.”

The behavioral component of an attitude refers to an intention to behave in a certain way toward someone or something. Example: “I chose to avoid Jon because he discriminates.”

Viewing attitudes as made up of three components helps with understanding of the potential relationship between attitudes and behavior, however, when we refer to attitude essentially we mean the affect part of the three components.

In contrast to values, your attitudes are less stable. Advertisements are directed at changing your attitudes and are often successful.

Types of attitudes

OB focuses our attention on a very limited number of job-related attitudes. Most of the research in OB has been concerned with three attitudes: job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

Job satisfaction

Definition: It is an individual’s general attitude toward his/her job.

A high level of job satisfaction equals positive attitudes toward the job and vice versa.

Employee attitudes and job satisfaction are frequently used interchangeably.

Often when people speak of “employee attitudes” they mean “employee job satisfaction.”

3. Job involvement

A workable definition: 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.

High levels of job involvement is thought to result in fewer absences and lower resignation rates.

Job involvement more consistently predicts turnover than absenteeism

4. Organizational commitment

Definition: A state in which an employee identifies with a particular organization and its goals, and wishes to maintain membership in the organization.

Research evidence demonstrates negative relationships between organizational commitment and both absenteeism and 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.

This evidence, most of which is more than two decades old, needs to be qualified to reflect the changing employee-employer relationship.

Organizational commitment is probably less important as a job-related attitude than it once was because the unwritten “loyalty” contract in place when this research was conducted is no longer in place.

In its place, we might expect “occupational commitment” to become a more relevant variable because it better reflects today’s fluid workforce.

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is the collection of feelings and beliefs people have about their current jobs. In addition to attitudes about a job as a whole, people can have attitudes about various aspects of their jobs, such as the kind of work, coworkers, or pay.

Job satisfaction is an important work attitude in organizational behavior because it affects a wide range of behaviors and contributes to workers’ well-being. It is one of the most well researched work attitudes.

Measuring Job Satisfaction

There are several measures of job satisfaction, useful to researchers studying job satisfaction and to managers who wish to assess satisfaction levels. Most measures have workers respond to questions or statements about their jobs. The most widely used scales include the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire, the Faces Scale, and the Job Descriptive Index.

Realize that some workers will be more satisfied that others with the same job because of different personalities and work values. Job satisfaction can be increased because it is determined not only by personalities but also by the situation.

  • Try to place newcomers in groups whose members are satisfied with their jobs.
  • identify the facets of the job that are important to workers and try to increase their satisfaction by providing these facets.
  • Assess subordinates’ levels of job satisfaction using scales to monitor their levels of job satisfaction. Take steps to improve the levels.
  • Realize the workers’ job satisfaction levels depend on their perceptions of their jobs, not yours; changing some facets of the job may boost job satisfaction longer than others.

What Determines Job Satisfaction?

  • Mentally Challenging Work –Equitable Rewards –Supportive Working Conditions –Supportive Colleagues –Personality – Job Fit –Heredity/Genes

Job Satisfaction and Employee Performance

  • Satisfaction and Productivity –Satisfaction and Absenteeism –Satisfaction and Turnover

Job Satisfaction is an emotional response to a job situation. Job Satisfaction determined by how well outcomes meet or exceed expectations. Job Satisfaction represents several related attitudes. –The work itself –Pay Attitudes Associated with

  • Promotion opportunities

Job Satisfaction

  • Supervision –Coworkers


Job Outcomes of Job Satisfaction Itself


•Satisfaction and Productivity


Satisfaction and Turnover Co

Satisfaction and Absenteeism workers

Satisfaction and Citizenship

Behavior Promotion Working Opportunities Pay Conditions

How Satisfied Are People in Their Jobs?

Most people are satisfied with their jobs in the developed countries surveyed.

However, there has been a decline in job satisfaction since the early 1990s. In the US nearly an eight percent drop in the 90s. Surprisingly those last years were one’s of growth and economic expansion.

What factors might explain the decline despite growth:

organizational behavior  ATTITUDES AT WORK Overview

Increased productivity through heavier employee workloads and tighter deadlines

Employees feeling they have less control over their work

4. While some segments of the market are more satisfied than others, they tend to be higher paid, higher skilled jobs which give workers more control and challenges.

The Effect of Job Satisfaction on Employee Performance

Managers’ interest in job satisfaction tends to center on its effect on employee performance. Much research has been done on the impact of job satisfaction on employee productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.

Satisfaction and productivity:

Happy workers are not necessarily productive workers—the evidence suggests that productivity is likely to lead to satisfaction.

At the organization level, there is renewed support for the original satisfaction-performance relationship. It seems organizations with more satisfied workers as a whole are more productive organizations.

3. Satisfaction and absenteeism

We find a consistent negative relationship between satisfaction and absenteeism. The more satisfied you are, the less likely you are to miss work.

It makes sense that dissatisfied employees are more likely to miss work, but other factors have an impact on the relationship and reduce the correlation coefficient. For example, you might be a satisfied worker, yet still take a “mental health day” to head for the beach now and again.

4. Satisfaction and turnover

Satisfaction is also negatively related to turnover, but the correlation is stronger than what we found for absenteeism.

Other factors such as labor market conditions, expectations about alternative job opportunities, and length of tenure with the organization are important constraints on the actual decision to leave one’s current job.

Evidence indicates that an important moderator of the satisfaction-turnover relationship is the employee’s level of performance.

How Employees Can Express Dissatisfaction

1. There are a number of ways employees can express dissatisfaction





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

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

Loyalty: Passively but optimistically waiting for conditions to improve, including speaking up for the organization in the face of external criticism, and trusting the organization and its management to “do the right thing.”

Neglect: Passively allowing conditions to worsen, including chronic absenteeism or lateness, reduced effort, and increased error rate. Exit and neglect behaviors encompass our performance variables—productivity, absenteeism, and turnover.

Voice and loyalty are constructive behaviors allow individuals to tolerate unpleasant situations or to revive satisfactory working conditions. It helps us to understand situations, such as those sometimes found among unionized workers, where low job satisfaction is coupled with low turnover.

Job Satisfaction and Customer Satisfaction

Evidence indicates that satisfied employees increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Customer retention and defection are highly dependent on how front-line employees deal with customers. Satisfied employees are more likely to be friendly, upbeat, and responsive. Customers appreciate that.

Dissatisfied customers can also increase an employee’s dissatisfaction. The more employees work with rude and thoughtless customers, the more likely they are to be dissatisfied.

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