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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Bartel & Richard Freeman & Casey Ichniowski & Morris M. Kleiner, 2003. "Can a Work Organization Have an Attitude Problem? The Impact of Workplaces on Employee Attitudes and Economic Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 9987, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9987
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Berger, Allen N. & Leusner, John H. & Mingo, John J., 1997. "The efficiency of bank branches," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 141-162, September.
    4. Harry C. Katz & Thomas A. Kochan & Kenneth R. Gobeille, 1983. "Industrial Relations Performance, Economic Performance, and QWL Programs: An Interplant Analysis," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 37(1), pages 3-17, October.
    5. 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," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(2), pages 402-424, January.
    6. Allen N. Berger & David B. Humphrey, 1992. "Measurement and Efficiency Issues in Commercial Banking," NBER Chapters,in: Output Measurement in the Service Sectors, pages 245-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:54:y:2001:i:2a:p:402-424 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw, 2004. "Using "Insider Econometrics" to Study Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 217-223, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor

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