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Can a work organization have an attitude problem? The impact of workplaces on employee attitude and economic outcomes

Bartel, Ann, Ichniowski, Casey, Kleiner, Morris and Freeman, Richard B. (2004) Can a work organization have an attitude problem? The impact of workplaces on employee attitude and economic outcomes. CEPDP, 636. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 0753017628

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Abstract

In this study we examine whether a workplace can induce good or bad attitudes among its employees and whether any such ¿workplace attitudes¿ affect economic outcomes. This study analyzes responses of thousands of employees working in nearly two hundred branches to the emp loyee opinion survey of a major US bank in 1994 and 1996. The results document the existence and persistence of a genuine workplace effect in how workers view their jobs and organizations. Employee attitudes differ significantly across branches in ways that cannot be explained by branches randomly drawing workers from a distribution of workers with different innate attitudes. Furthermore, newly hired workers adopt the favourable or unfavourable attitudes that the branches exhibited before they arrived. These workplace attitudes also have significant effects on economic outcomes. Branches with less favourable attitudes have higher turnover, lower levels of sales, and lower rates of sales growth than branches where workers have more favourable attitudes. Less favourable branch attitudes are also a significant predictor of subsequent branch closings. The study¿s results show that there are happy and unhappy workplaces, as well as happy and unhappy workers, with very different patterns of turnover and productivity in these workplaces.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk
Additional Information: © 2004 the authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J0 - General
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: 636
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2008 10:08
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19953/

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