It's Worth Reading
William R. Pasewark, University of Houston
We would appreciate hearing from any section members with suggestions for papers you feel would be of interest to others and that should be included in this column in the future. Please send any citations to us at: Department of Accounting and Taxation, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-6283.
Jerry R. Strawser, University of Houston
- Breaugh, J. A. and J. P. Colihan, "Measuring Facets of Job Ambiguity: Construct Validity Evidence." Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 79, No. 2, 1994), pp. 191-202.
Job ambiguity is defined as employees' perceptions of the degree of uncertainty associated with various aspects of their job. The existence of job ambiguity has been found to be related to numerous negative outcomes, such as lower levels of performance, organizational commitment, and job satisfaction and higher levels of turnover intentions. Based on the suggestions of previous research, this study creates and examines a multi-faceted measure of job ambiguity, comprised of: (1) performance criteria ambiguity (uncertainty concerning standards used for evaluating an employee's performance); (2) work method ambiguity (uncertainty related to methods or procedures that should be used by employees to accomplish their work); and, (3) scheduling ambiguity (uncertainty concerning the proper sequencing of work activities). The results of confirmatory factor analysis as well as various goodness-of-fit indices supports the use of a three-factor measure of job ambiguity.
- Church, A. T. and P. J. Burke, "Exploratory and Confirmatory Tests of the Big Five and Tellegen's Three-and-Four-Dimensional Models," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 66, No. 1, 1994), pp. 93-114.
Earlier studies have attempted to measure higher order personality structure using dimensions such as extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and intellect. This study used both exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis to validate dimensions utilized in three models developed in previous studies. The study found poor fits with regard to the a priori models and suggests the specificity of personality structure theory is limited.
- Hackett, R. D., P. Bycio, and P. A. Hausdorf, "Further Assessments of Meyer and Allen's (1991 ) Three-Component Model of Organizational Commitment," Journal of Applied Psychology (Volume 79, No. 1, 1994), pp. 15-23.
Traditionally, organizational commitment has been conceptualized as the extent to which an individual identifies with an organization and is willing to pursue the goals of that organization. Recently, Meyer and Allen (1991) have identified three separate components of organizational commitment; affective commitment (resulting from the emotional attachment of an individual to the employing organization), continuance commitment (resulting from the costs associated with leaving the employing organization), and normative commitment (resulting from the individual's feelings of obligation to stay with the employing organization). Using samples of registered nurses and bus operators, the authors supported the existence of three distinct components of organizational commitment which closely paralleled that advanced by Meyer and Allen.
- Iver, R.D. and Roy, P., "A Causal Model of Behavioral Commitment: Evidence From a Study of Australian Blue-Collar Employees," Journal of Management (Vol. 20, No. 1, 1994) pp. 15-41.
The intent to stay with a corporation was measured by examining a wide variety of variables, classified into four categories: structural, pre-entry, environmental, and employee orientations. The study found many causal effects between specific variables and organizational commitment and noted the usefulness of category classifications in explaining these correlations.
- Johnson, J.T., K.R. Boyd, P.S. Magnani, "Causal Reasoning the Attribution of Rare and Common Events," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Vol. 66, No. 2, 1994), pp. 229-242.
The concept of covariation suggests that behavior is often explained by the relationship of two dispositions on an outcome. This study attempts to determine whether "common" or "rare" dispositions are the most causally related to specific behaviors. Subjects believed that rare behaviors were the likely cause when the behavior itself was rare. Contrary to the covariation principle, however, subjects also believed that a common disposition was the more important cause of common behaviors. The study concludes that when the behavior is common, causal attributions may be more influenced by the generative strength of the disposition rather than covariation.
- Mitchell, T. R., H. Hopper, D. Daniels, J. George-Falvy, and L. R. James, "Predicting Self-Efficacy and Performance During Skill Acquisition," Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol 79, No. 4, 1994), pp. 506-517.
Self-efficacy is a reflection of an individual's ability to perform adequately on a particular task. Previous research has concluded that self-efficacy is an important determinant of task-motivated behavior and performance on a particular task. This study extended previous research efforts by examining how the performance/self-efficacy relationship changes as knowledge and skills are acquired in a particular task. The results of this study indicate that self-efficacy is strongly related to performance in early trials; however, in later trials, expected performance and goals are more closely related to actual performance. The authors conclude that the importance of developing skills and abilities early in a task (which are crucial in the development of self-efficacy) overshadow motivational mechanisms, such as performance expectations or goals.
- Vandenberg, R. J., R. M. Self, and J. H. Seo, "A Critical Examination of the Internalization, Identification, and Compliance Commitment Measures," Journal of Management (Vol. 20, No. 1, 1994), pp. 123-140.
This study examines measures developed by previous studies for internalization, identification, and compliance. Strong validity was found for each of the three measures as they relate to one another. However, the identification variable appeared to be closely related to the measures in the Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) developed by Mowday, Steers, and Porter. The resulting measures were used in an employment turnover model. Only the OCQ variables had a significant casual effect on turnover.
- Werner, J. M., "Dimensions That Make a Difference: Examining the Impact of In-Role and Extrarole Behaviors on Supervisory Ratings," Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 79, No. 1, 1994), pp. 98-107.
While previous research supports the contention that supervisor ratings of employee performance are primarily based on measurable job behaviors and tangible results (known as in-role behaviors), the cognitive processes used by raters may introduce subjectivity through consideration of other behaviors not necessarily related to performance. These behaviors are referred to as organizational citizenship behaviors (or extrarole behaviors) and include such actions as cooperating with coworkers, accepting special orders or assignments without complaint, and working to improve the organization. This study examines the effect of both in-role and extrarole behaviors in the rating process. The results of this study indicated that supervisors searched for both in-role and extrarole behaviors in evaluating the performance of a hypothetical employee; however, they appeared to focus primarily on in-role behaviors.
- Williams, C. R. and L. P. Livingstone, "Another Look at the Relationship Between Performance and Voluntary Turnover," Academy of Management Journal (Vol. 37, No. 2, 1994), pp. 269-296.
In evaluating the potential costs of turnover to the organization, researchers should consider employee performance; that is, are individuals who voluntarily leave the organization high or low performers? This study performed a meta-analysis of previous research examining the relationship between voluntary turnover and performance. A total of 55 studies with a total sample size of 15,138 participants formed the basis for this analysis. The primary finding of this meta-analysis supported a U-shaped relationship between performance and voluntary turnover. In this relationship, poor performers tend to have higher levels of voluntary turnover, reflecting an actual or perceived threat of firing. As the employees' performance level approaches an average level, the threat of dismissal is not a concern; however, alternative opportunities for employment are not plentiful, resulting in the lack of a strong relationship between performance and voluntary turnover. For high levels of performance, the existence of better alternative employment opportunities resulted in greater levels of voluntary turnover.
- Woeher, D. J., "Understanding Frame-of-Reference Training: The Impact of Training On the Recall of Performance Information," Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 79, No. 4, 1994), pp. 525-534.
Previous research in accounting has extensively examined factors influencing the performance evaluation of professional accountant (particularly in public accounting firms). One limitation of all performance evaluation settings is that they rely heavily on subjective judgements that may introduce distortion into the performance evaluation process. Two methods of overcoming this limitation are developing more effective rating scales and providing more extensive levels of training to raters. This study examines a recently-developed training method, known as frame-of-reference (FOR) training. Frame-of-reference training involves (1) considering and defining multiple dimensions of performance, (2) providing a sample of incidents representative of these dimensions of performance and (3) providing feedback based on these dimensions. This study concluded that subjects trained in FOR evaluation provided more accurate performance ratings, recalled a greater number of individual behaviors, and considered a greater number of performance dimensions than those not trained in these methods.
- Wright, P. M., A. M. O'Leary-Kelly, J. M. Cortins, H.J. Klein, and J.R. Hollenbeck, "On the Meaning and Measurement of Goal Commitment," Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 79, No. 6, 1994), pp. 795-803.
An individual's commitment toward a given goal has been hypothesized to moderate the relationship between goal difficulty and performance, such that a positive relationship between goal difficulty and performance only exists when high levels of goal commitment are observed. However, previous research examining goal commitment has utilized self-reported measures of this construct. These measures present statistical problems, since both dependent (performance) and independent (goal commitment) are measured from responses of the same individual. In this paper, the authors evaluate the "discrepancy" measure of goal commitment advanced by Tubbs and Tubbs and Ekeberg. The discrepancy measure of goal commitment focuses on differences between personal goals and assigned goals. The results of this study indicate that the superiority of the discrepancy measure in moderating the relationship between goal difficulty and performance may reflect the failure of previous research to control for an individual's ability and not limitations associated with self-reported measures of goal commitment.