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Can a Work Organization Have an Attitude Problem? The Impact of Workplaces on Employee Attitudes and Economic Outcomes

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

Using the employee opinion survey responses from several thousand employees working in 193 branches of a major U.S. bank, we consider whether there is a distinctive workplace component to employee attitudes despite the common set of corporate human resource management practices that cover all the branches. Several different empirical tests consistently point to the existence of a systematic branch-specific component to employee attitudes. "Branch effects" can also explain why a significant positive cross-sectional correlation between branch-level employee attitudes and branch sales performance is not observed in longitudinal fixed-effects sales models. The results of our empirical tests concerning the determinants of employee attitudes and the determinants of branch sales are consistent with an interpretation that workplace-specific factors lead to better outcomes for both employees and the bank, and that these factors are more likely to be some aspect of the branches' internal operations rather than some characteristic of the external market of the branch.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9987.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9987.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9987
Note: LS
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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. 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.).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(2), pages 181-203, January.
  7. 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.
  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. 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.
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