BU288 Lecture 2 Appendix: Research in Organizational Behaviour Thurs. Sept. 13. 2012.
Research: finding out about the world through objective and systematic information gathering
Understanding how researchers conduct research is important to studying OB
1. should know how info was collected raise confidence in systematic study over common sense
2. When evaluating reports of interventions to improve OB, such as job redesign, a critical
perspective is necessary to differentiate carefully designed from useless ones.
3. Managers can make better decisions through evidence-based management.
Evidence-based management: translating principles based on the scientific research (vs. personal
preferences and unsystematic experience) into organizational practices that solve problems.
THE BASICS OF ORGANIZATION BEHAVIOUR RESEARCH
Question: all research in OB begins with basic question about work/organization
- What are the causes/ effects of X?
Literature Review: go to the journals and find out what’s been done before
Hypothesis: simple restatement of the research question in such a way that it can be tested
formal statement of expected relationship between 2 variables
Collect Data: analyze data
Interpretation: draw conclusions
Variables: measures that can take on 2 or more values (ex: temperature, pay, fairness)
Hypothesis = “the less fair people perceive their pay to be, the more likely they’ll resign.” A variable
(perceived fairness) can be many values & is linked to a variable of 2 values: staying or leaving.
Types of Variables
Independent: predictor/cause of variation on a dependent variable, factor manipulated/measured
Dependent: outcome, result; will vary as a result of changes in the independent variable
Moderation: affects the nature of the relationship between independent and dependent variable,
such that the relationship depends on the level of the moderating variable.
- Ex: employee attendance depends on attendance bonus. Moderation variable = pay satisfaction.
If the bonus only reduces absenteeism of employees who are dissatisfied with pay, the pay
satisfaction moderates the effect of the bonus on absenteeism.
Mediating: intervenes/ explains relationship between an independent and dependent variable.
Ex: why bonus reduces absenteeism? Motivation mediates relationship between bonus and absence.
Measurement of Variables
Reliability: index of the consistency of a research subject’s responses
- Do they respond similarly to the survey if completed at different points in time?
Validity: index of the extent to which a measure truly reflects what it is supposed to measure
- Ex: perceived pay fairness shouldn’t be swayed by workers’ feelings of fairness about supervision
- Convergent validity: strong relationship between different measures of the same variable
- Discriminant validity: weak relationship between measures of different variables
- Ex: a measure of job satisfaction should be highly correlated to other measures of job satisfaction
(ex: environment, workload), but not be strongly related to measures of job performance.
- Valid questionnaire would be consistent with observations and hypothesis
Ex: reliable, invalid metre stick with random markings: same result each time, but inaccurate
*EXAMPLE: JOB PERFORMANCE*
1) Questionnaire? Should we ask the employee, manager, or co-worker?
2) What behaviours should we measure? Amount produced, customer satisfaction, etc.
3) Should we measure it once, twice, or daily?
1 BU288 Lecture 2 Appendix: Research in Organizational Behaviour Thurs. Sept. 13. 2012.
3 KINDS OF RESEARCH TECHNIQUES
Observational Techniques: general
most straightforward ways of finding out about OB and thus come closest to the ways in which we
develop common-sense views about such behaviour
Observation: examine the natural activities of people in an organizational setting by watching them
Observational techniques are best for initial examinations of organization events where we have
little information to generate ideas for further investigation with more refined techniques
Difference between everyday observations and formal observations = systematic and objective.
1) Researcher approaches the organizational setting with extensive training concerning the nature of
human behaviour and a particular set of questions that the observation is designed to answer
2) keeps a careful record of the events observed reliance on memory is unnecessary
3) aware of dangers of influencing the behaviour of those observed and draw reasonable conclusions
Case study: outcomes of research are summarized in narrative form nature of the organization,
people& events studied, the role of and techniques used by the observer, the research questions.
Participant and direct observation both capture depth, richness, spontaneity, and realism of OB.
Shared weaknesses = lack of control over environment and selective perception of observed events
researcher becomes a member of the organizational unit being studied actively participate
Advantages of participation/experience outweigh the possible disadvantages of subjectivity
subjects need not know that they’re being observed; raises ethical issues, but