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

  • Ann Bartel
  • Casey Ichniowski
  • Morris Kleiner
  • Richard B. Freeman

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.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19953/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19953.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19953
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Allen N. Berger & John H. Leusner & John Mingo, 1994. "The efficiency of bank branches," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-26, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. Watson, David & Slack, Ann Keltner, 1993. "General Factors of Affective Temperament and Their Relation to Job Satisfaction over Time," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 54(2), pages 181-202, March.
  3. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard Murnane, 2000. "Upstairs, Downstairs: Computer-Skill Complementarity and Computer-Labor Substitution on Two Floors of a Large Bank," NBER Working Papers 7890, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1990. "Measurement and efficiency issues in commercial banking," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 151, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Judge, Timothy A. & Hulin, Charles L., 1993. "Job Satisfaction as a Reflection of Disposition: A Multiple Source Causal Analysis," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 388-421, December.
  6. Ann P. Bartel, 2004. "Human resource management and organizational performance: Evidence from retail banking," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 181-203, January.
  7. Ann P. Bartel, 2004. "Human Resource Management and Organizational Performance: Evidence from Retail Banking," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 181-203, January.
  8. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial relations performance, economic performance, and QWL programs: An interplant analysis," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
  9. Larry W. Hunter & Annette Bernhardt & Katherine L. Hughes & Eva Skuratowicz, 2001. "It's not just the ATMs: Technology, firm strategies, jobs, and earnings in retail banking," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 402-424, March.
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