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Chapter 9

PSYC 3080 Chapter Notes - Chapter 9: Absenteeism

Course Code
PSYC 3080

of 5
Appendix: Research in Organizational Behavior
Pg. 603-618
-Research is a way of finding out about the world through objective and systematic information
-Note, Key words: Objective and Systematic
-Information of OB was conducted through systematic research
-A critical perspective is necessary to differentiate those interventions that are
carefully designed and evaluated from useless or damaging ones
-Managers occasionally have to evaluate research proposals to be carried out in
their organization
Basics of Organizational Research:
All research in OB begins with a question about work or organizations
Hypothesis: a formal statement of the expected relationship between two variables. A
human resource manager may develop this hypothesis:
oThis introduction of a small attendance bonus will reduce absenteeism
Variables: measures that can take on two or more values
oEg. Temperature, pay, fairness, absenteeism
Types of Variables: in research we are concerned with four kinds of variables:
Independent Variable: the variable that predicts or is the cause of variation in a
dependent variable
Dependent Variable: the variable that is expected to vary as a result of changes to the
independent variable
oHypothesis: introduction of a small attendance bonus will reduce absenteeism
oIndependent Variable: attendance bonus
oDependent Variable: absenteeism
Scores on the dependent variable are expected to vary as a function of scores on the
independent variable
Moderating Variable: A variable that affects the nature of the relationship between the
independent and a dependent variable such that the relationship depends on the level of
the moderating variable
oSimilar to contingency variables because they indicate when an independent
variable is most likely related to a dependent variable
oHypothesis: introduction of a small attendance bonus will reduce absenteeism
oModerating variable: could be pay satisfaction
oIf the attendance bonus only reduces absenteeism of employees who are not
satisfied with their pay and has no effect on those who are satisfied, then it can be
concluded that pay satisfaction moderates the effect of the bonus on absenteeism
Mediating Variable: A variable that intervenes/explains the relationship between and
independent and a dependent variable
oAbsenteeism Example
oThe cause of why the bonus reduces absenteeism may want to be known. It is
possible that the bonus increases people perceived fairness, therefore fairness
perceptions mediate the relationship between attendance bonus and absenteeism
oMediating Variable: fairness perception
Measurement Variables:
-Good researchers carefully measure the variables they choose, a good measure should exhibit
high: -1) Reliability
-2) Validity
Reliability: index of the consistency of a research subject’s responses
Eg. A survey about how fair pay is, the respondent should respond roughly the same way
to each question and roughly the same way to the same questions in a week, or month
from now (if pay has not changed
*Reliability can exist without validity
Validity: an index of the extent to which a measure truly reflects what it is supposed to measure
Eg. A good measure of perceived fairness should not be influenced by employees feelings
of fairness about other workplace factors, such as supervision
*Good measures should have both Convergent and Discriminant Validity
Convergent Validity: when there is a strong relationship between different measures of the same
Exists when there is a strong relationship between different measures of the same variable
Discriminant Validity: when there is a weak relationship between measures of different variables
Good measures should not be related to measures of other variables
Observational Techniques:
Observational Research Techniques: research that examines the natural activities of people in an
organizational setting by listening to what they say/watching what they do
Closest ways we develop common sense views about OB
The difference between our everyday observations and formal observations is expressed
by the key words systematic and objective
oResearcher approaches organizational setting with training concerning the nature
of human behavior and a set of questions that the observation is designed to
These factors provide systematic framework for the business of observing
oBehavioral scientist attempts to keep careful ongoing record of the events that he
oFinally, the scientists is well informed of the dangers of influencing the behavior
of those under observation and is trained to draw reasonable conclusions from his
or her observations
These factors help ensure objectivity
Outcomes of observational research are summarized in a narrative form called a case
study, where the nature of the organization, people and events are studied
-2 main forms of observation
-1) Participant Observation
-2) Direct Observation
-3) Correlational Research (other one)
*Both techniques capture the depth, breadth, richness and realism of organizational behavior.
But because of their limitations they may be best used as an initial examination of some
organizational event where little information is currently available, where further ideas can be
generated for further investigation with more refined techniques
1) Participant Observation
Where researcher becomes a functioning member of the organizational unit being studied
oSome concerns about objectivity and influencing the behavior of subjects
oAdvantages: it is a more personal experience for researchers
oAdvantages: has the potential for secrecy as participants don’t need to know that
they are being observed
oAdvantages: certain kinds of information can only be obtained through
participant observation—like the use of illegal tools
2) Direct Observation
Observes organizational behavior without taking part in the studied activity
oAdvantages: there are many situations where the introduction of a new person
into an existing work setting would disrupt and change the nature of the activities
in that setting
oMany job tasks are ones that researcher could not realistically be trained for (eg.
oIn contrast of participant observation, there are not severe limitations on the
observers opportunity to record information
Disadvantages of Observational Research (Direct and Participant)
-Lack of control over the environment where study is conducted
-The small # of observers & situations in the typical observational study is problematic
With one observer there is a potential for biases
Since only a few situations are analyzed, the extent to which observed behavior can be
generalized to to other settings is limited
3) Correlational Research
Research that attempts to measure variables precisely and examine relationships among
these variables without introducing change into the research setting
Data includes surveys (questionnaires), interviews (series of questions) and existing data
(data from original records)
Possible to ensure reliability and validity here, which is harder in observational research
oTo ensure reliability one can construct questionnaire that is distributed to the
same employees numeral times for reliable data if results are stable
oExample of validity would be to predict which employees are most likely to quit,
assuming that dissatisfied employees would, as evident in a satisfaction measure
Sacrifices broadness to investigate specific and well-defined variables
Correlation and Causation:
oCorrelation does not imply causation
oEg. In a survey that wants to know if friendly supervisors are more likely to have
more productive employees, the survey ends up showing a positive correlation
between the two variables. Does this mean that friendly supervisors increase
productivity in employees--- the answer is no. Friendly supervisors may not have
caused productive employees; results can even be interpret the other way where
the productivity of employees caused for more friendly supervisors.