Can a Workplace Have an Attitude Problem? Workplace Effects on Employee Attitudes and Organizational Performance

48 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2011

See all articles by Ann P. Bartel

Ann P. Bartel

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Richard B. Freeman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies; Harvard University; London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Casey Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Morris M. Kleiner

Humphrey School of Public Affairs; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 28, 2011

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 characteristics of the external market of the branch.

Keywords: Employee attitudes, workplace effects, performance

JEL Classification: J2, J3

Suggested Citation

Bartel, Ann P. and Freeman, Richard B. and Ichniowski, Bernard E. (Casey) and Kleiner, Morris M., Can a Workplace Have an Attitude Problem? Workplace Effects on Employee Attitudes and Organizational Performance (January 28, 2011). Labour Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1772885

Ann P. Bartel (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Richard B. Freeman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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University of Edinburgh - School of Social and Political Studies ( email )

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Harvard University ( email )

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Bernard E. (Casey) Ichniowski

Columbia Business School - Management ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Morris M. Kleiner

Humphrey School of Public Affairs ( email )

Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-625-2089 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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