If an organization wants to be able to expect consistent results their managing must be consistent with their messaging.
In a recent research project reviewing organization psychology studies as they specifically applied to criminal justice, I was pleasantly surprised to find applications to my work experience. These multi discipline studies held many important observations relevant to any organization with regards to the impacts of supervisory interactions. Managerial input, supervisory qualities and team performance are key components impacting the health of the organization. What can we learn from these studies that helps our efforts as supervisors?
In a study published with the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the authors observe how managers can have a positive impact on employees working in what are considered dirty work industries. For those, like myself, working in water damage mitigation, carpet cleaning and property restoration, dirty work is an understatement. A key finding of the report was that the recruitment should be geared towards finding those employees that would be a good fit for the organization as much as they would be a fit for the duties they will be performing. Managers provide a critical communication of, “You can fit, you are fitting and you still fit,” as it related to motivating team members to engage in their responsibilities and develop a strong organization.
Incivility in the workplace, according to Harold and Holtz, is experienced both as behavioral as well as perceived. It is known that incivility in the workplace impacts employee-supervisor as well as employee-coworker interactions. The question posed by this study was how much of an impact that passive leadership has in mitigating the effects of incivility. From the research it has been determined that employees who work under a passive manager are more likely to experience incivility in the workplace and reciprocate by acting out in an uncivil manner towards others. Across both studies, only passive leadership yielded significant effects on experienced and behavioral incivility as well as intent and intensity of the incivility. The findings involving passive leadership are consistent with previous research that suggests negative social interactions are more harmful than the helpfulness of socially supportive interactions. It’s not enough to simply be nice or supportive, those in management and supervisory roles need to be active in creating an environment that reduces incivility.
A study published with Crime & Delinquency sought to answer where supervisor feedback and perceived organizational support had a relationship with organizational commitment. For those slow on the draw, this is another means to discuss cultural buy-in. Johnson identified that supervisor feedback, perceived organizational support, peer cohesion, organizational size, job variety, and job autonomy each had positive correlations with organizational commitment. Persons in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) understand that these things are important but often organizations don’t know how to implement them consistently. Previous studies had led to conclusions that officer demographics and job characteristics were related to attitudes leading to commitment, but this study has revealed that the overall environment has a much greater impact. These findings indicate that the culture or environment have a much broader collective impact than any specific feature.
Equality is an issue that affects our nation but it also affects our organizations. Results of a study published in Sage Journals share lessons being learned by law enforcement as a public service entity that are directly applicable to many industries. When officers act in an inequitable fashion it creates questions whether their organization is promoting, passively or actively, these attitudes. Turnover, buy in, compliance and job satisfaction can be improved with an emphasis on organizational procedural justice. The inner workings of justice impact the external workings of justice, “Justice received and given.” Officers who have good relationships with their supervisors will have a direct relationship with increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment and in turn affect their interaction with the public. Supervisory behavior has an impact on officer behavior on the streets, an indirect effect on officer compliance. Police departments, and by extension all organizations, that place an emphasis on procedural justice with training for supervisors will see a positive impact in the extension of that justice to employee and customer interactions.
Organizations that are able to create a positive environment have accomplished this by investing in recruiting people that embrace and enhance their values. The key to consistency in performance in these character areas is that the messaging is consistent with the managing. Organizations who set an example from top down, show by their actions that they are serious about their values and thereby reap the benefits of accountability to those values from the bottom up.
1. Ashforth, B.E., Kreiner, G.E., Clark, M.A., Fugate, M. (16 April 2017) Congruence work in stigmatized occupations: A managerial lens on employee fit with dirty work. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259165/View 2. Harold, C.M., Holtz, B.C. (24 March 2014) The effects of passive leadership on workplace incivility. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 36, 16-38. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259156/View 3. Johnson, R.R. (2015) Police organizational commitment: The influence of supervisor feedback and support. Crime & Delinquency. Vol. 61 (9), 1155-1180. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259159/View 4. Wu, Y., Sun, I.Y., Chang, C.K. & Hsu, K.K. (2017) Procedural justice received and given: Supervisory treatment, emotional states, and behavioral compliance among Taiwanese police officers. Sage Journals, Vol 44, Issue 7. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/0093854817702407
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Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.