ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE - A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Peoples’ problems are known to be the most time consuming and difficult problem, being experienced, in the past, present and also predictably for the future for any organization. To understand the problem, a manager / administrator must know the reason behind a person’s behavior of doing so. A manager must be knowledgeable enough to identify the factors responsible for the different types of peoples’ behavior in an organization. An employee must be well versed with the organizational climate & psychological atmosphere and organization’s behavior.
CONCEPT OF OC
The weather conditions or atmospheric climates of different regions of the world are found to be most dissimilar. In the same manner, if a person joins into a new organization, the climate / environment of the organization will be different from the earlier one. According to Lafollete, the ‘climate’ of an organization is its psychological or internal environment. OC has become the intense matter of interest for the social scientist, as they study organizational behavior for extracting the relations between job performance and job satisfaction constructs. Due to the interest in OC, many definitions of this constructs have came in fore in recent times.
INTERPRETATIONS OF RESEARCHES
OC is known to be a molar concept that can reflect about the strength and content of prevalent feelings, behaviors, attitudes, norms and rules of a social system that can be operationally measured through the members’ perceptions. According to
Forehand and Gilrner, OC means a set of characteristics that can say about an organization, distinguish an organization from others, behavior & influence of people of an organization and the situations over a period of time. According to this revelation, people are the center of discussion, irrespective of their OC & the related experiences. Hence it can be said that OC is seen to be one of the primary causes for performance and job satisfaction in any organization. OC is defined by Georgopoules as the normative structure of behavioral standards and attitude to provide a basis for the situational interpretations and act as a pressure source for activity directions. Schein finds different motives act behind the circumstances of an organization that has connections with some given conditions and behavioral variations. Nonetheless, it is hard to understand the psychological dynamics by simply looking at the organizational practices & conditions and individual motivations. Likert considers climate as the bridge between the structural attributes and effectiveness of an organization. Climate has been defined by Schneider and Bartlett as an organization’s specific experience which is derived by an individual under a set or readiness. OC has been defined by Tagiuri and Litwin as an internal environment’s relatively enduring quality, which is experienced by the people around. This ultimately influences the behavior of these people because of the particular set of characteristic-related values of an organization. OC has been defined by Friedlander and Margulies as an ongoing or a relatively stable property of an organization, with the capacity of releasing, facilitating and channeling human resources or technical constraints of an organization. OC has been defined by Champbell e t al. as a set of attributes of an organization, which can be experienced by the way an organization deals with its environment & people. Both the dynamic characteristics (the behavioral outcomes) and the static characteristics (degree of autonomy) of an organization’s set of expectancies and attributes are the forms of OC for an individual worker.
OC is defined by Baumgartel as the communication pattern, leadership practice’s product and the systematic and enduring characteristics of the working relationships among divisions and persons of a particular organization. OC is defined by Johannesson as an organizational environmental condition, which has relations with the characteristics of the various subsystems, the leadership, the job, the work group and the organization as a total. OC can be in other way particularly referred as the members’ operational environment. OC is referred by Slocum and Strawger as the interactions among the power, task, people, technology and structure variables of an organization that can produce a process and culture for the organizational goal achievement and employee job satisfaction. OC has been defined by Pritchard and Karasick as an organization’s internal environment related relatively enduring quality, which is not seen in other organizations. The characteristics of it are:
- results from the policies and behavior of the members of an establishment, especially the top echelon ,
- It is the members’ perceptions,
- it is the base for interpreting the situation, and
- it performs the job of a source of pressure for activity directions.
OC has been viewed by Meera Komarraju as the atmosphere of an organization, which results due to various factors like 888 goals & management policies, communication systems, relationship between employees and management, controls, welfare activities, leadership styles and so on.
From all the above discussions it is found that the researchers consider OC as the organizational characteristics and also view those climatic conditions of an organization can impact upon the workers of an organization. Of course a few are there to consider OC as the perceptions of the workers of an entity. According to Litwin and Stringer, OC has the measurable properties of an organizational environment, directly or indirectly perceived by the members who work & live in that organization. These properties influence the behavioral and motivational factors of the employees. According to Taylor and Bowers, OC is the organizational stimuli’s perceived traits and through the interpersonal interactions it turns as the group property, and can modify peoples’ overt behavior under the organizational atmosphere. OC is defined by Helreigal and Slocum as a set of attributes, observed in a particular subsystem / organization. This is perceived form the dealings of an organization with its employees. There are many factors, constituting the OC’s definition:
- Perceptual responses are basically descriptive instead of evaluative
- The inclusiveness of the constructs, scales and items are macro, not micro
- Analytical units are found to be the organizational attributes, not individual
- OC perceptions tend to have significant behavioral consequences
Downey et.a1. found OC as the organizational characteristic, being reflected by the employees about the organizational practices, policies and conditions that are prevalent in the organizational environment. According to Gawin OC is constituent of perception based sets of description, being revealed by the people about the organization. This perception of climate eventually forms the response basis viz. commitment, satisfaction and performance. In the words of Schneider, OC is based on macro perception, reflecting about concept formation processes and abstractions which base perceptions of micro concept about the given organizational events, conditions and experiences.
Similar views, pertaining to perceptual filtering, cognitive structuring and summation, have also been expressed by Campell and Beaty. In their views, Gibson et. a1 opine that OC is a set of conceptual properties of the workers, pertaining to work environment, either in direct or indirect way. There-by OC is considered to be a major force to influence the workers’ behavior towards job.
According to Payne and Mansfield, climate is a conceptual linkage between the individuals and the organization. As per this concept, climate is the mediator between the specific situational events and attributes as well individual behavior, attitudes and perceptions. Drawing in James and Jones, OC as a set of individual perception in the context of an organization, is the representation of salient events, features and processes of an organization. Generally, OC is viewed as the perceived set of attributes of an entity. 3 key words such as attributes, perception and descriptive are relevant here. To clarify it, 1st) According to (B.Schneider and R. A. Snyder, OC perception is not evaluative, in the context of work environment; it is rather simply the perception of a worker about the work environment. 2nd) OC has the complexities of perceiving different climate of the same set by the other member(s) of the same organization. Hence, according to (H.R. Johnaon), the climate is subject to be perceived as per the personalities and perceptions of the individual members. 3rd) OC includes the characteristics or attributes of a work environment, which is being perceived at the time of processing the formulation of OC view, as is opined by (Litwin and striqner, 1986). A number of common elements are shared by the above mentioned concepts of the OC, they are:
- OC as the organizational characteristics,
- OC is known as molar concept, in addition to this, the influence of climatic dimension impact on the employees of an organization,
- OC is mainly the perceived view of an organization’s system and this perceived views are the reasons for the employees to behave in the same or different way.
DEFINITION OF OC
Having discussed all above, OC is considered as the characteristics or perceived properties as seen in an organization, as a result of consciously taken (large based) actions by its members or unconsciously done by the organization; and is presumed that either of them consequently affects the employee behavior as the result. To describe it in other way, climate can be an organization’s personality, as viewed by its people.
If OC can be interpreted in the above said way, it will have certain implications, such as 1st) the dealing with OC is fully perceptual; the climate of an organization is known to be the beliefs of its employees; it may differ from actuality or reality. Sometimes, the climate is perceived by the employees as highly authoritarian, in spite of the fact that every effort has been made by the top management to be employee-oriented / democratic. 2nd) the interconnections between other organizational instincts, actions taking place in climate. Generally the organizational climate is mainly determined by the characteristics of the organization and behavior & actions of the management. It is also a fact that the climate of any organization determines employee behavior. The variables of climate make the difference between the perceptions of the members of individual organizations. According to (Litwin and Stringer) the climate variables can be both manipulated and measured to certain extent.
Whatsoever it may be, climate is the base for the individuals to understand and interpret the surroundings of the organization and evaluate the punishment-reward associations.
PC (PSYCHOLOGICAL CLIMATE) AND OC
PC and OC are interchangeable but with distinction. At first James and Jones proposed this distinction which was generally accepted, PC denotes individual’s perception about the context of the work, while OC is averaged / summated meanings perceived by the people in the context of a settings’ particular feature.
According to Stern, in case a study is biased to a particular organization and the climate scoring analysis is done by the individual as the unit, it is considered as psychological climate. On the other side, if the study is multi-organizational and the climate score from each entity is averaged, totaled and analyzed by using ‘organization’ as the analyzing unit, it is considered as the organizational climate. Basic data in both the cases are the same; in A case the property of the phenomenon is of individual and in the B case the property of the phenomenon is of the organization.
SIGNIFICANCE OF OC
According to many literatures, climate, in many ways, is an important issue for any organization. To go with the many researchers OC is a key factor for updating and innovations. If there is the concept of the climate, it can establish a framework for motivation conceptualization in a collective level, instead of individual level, in the affairs of psychology it can be typically the motivational model. Besides this, the representatives of process are also the organization’s contextual features, such as management policies, structure and technology are likely to impact on climatic perceptions. Climate is constituent of perceptually based description sets which can comprehend the interpretation of the people about the organizational context. As a result of which, according to (James and Jones; Gavin, Lawler, Hall & Oldham, Pritchard & Karasick, Newman), a climate perception becomes the response base just like commitment or satisfaction and performance. Other than this, the value position is maximized by the help of OC, as known from the issues pertaining to profitability, higher operational efficiency, long term & short term gains to the organization, and so on. Further to this, humanistic value positions, more need fulfillment, more rewarding for the members etc. are also created by it. One of the operational cultures is high operational efficiency that can accelerate output in a maximum way out of the human organizations that is the part of the OC.
EMERGENCE OF CLIMTE
3 different perspectives are there pertaining to the emergence of climate. The structuralists view that the attachments to the events are done by the individuals by themselves. As per the view, different organizations have different climates because of the differing organizational structures. The paradox to this view, the SAA (Selection Attraction Attrition) perspective guesses that events are attached by the individuals, which is primarily based on the individuals. As per this SAA view, different organizations have different climates, because functionally organizations have different types of people. The approach of the symbolic inter-actionists focuses the meaning of the interactions of the people. To go with this view, primary importance is attached to the socialization process during the newcomers’ interactions. Besides this, it puts more stresses on the group membership’s importance which determines climate, of course with the variances among group.
Organizational entry and newcomers’ socialization based researches has characteristically focused on organizational and individual outcomes viz. job performance, job satisfaction, and tenure, instead of etiology of climates. In the emergence of climate, this is very relevant because of it’s emphasizes on:
- in the work place it can establish the identity of a situation (Katz & Khan);
- changes in the social lives of the new comers due to their disconformation perceived in large number of their naïve expectations in the matter of organizational life (Schein);
- the new comers’ sense-making activities by getting themselves engaged for organizing the many new stimulus they are expected to undertake and to convert them as their purposeful & meaningful structure (Louis 1980), in addition to insulating importance of social roles and (Graen, Orrjse and Johnson) instilling the process of group assimilation.
OC is considered by Litwin and Stringer as constituent of several factors: they are a) Past experience that includes climate is the key factor, b) climate is considered to be negatively impacted by the formal system prevailing in the organization and the employee-tasks’ nature, C) in the matter of climate determination, it is believed that particular values, expectations and needs of the organizational members plat crucial roles. They furthered to state that the key determinant of client is perhaps the leadership management style.
Preciously, as the meanings are attached with the work environment, it means emergence of climate where interactions of a members of a work place are the regular features. There may be the different climatic situations between the different groups within the same organization. The reasons behind is different meanings come out from different interactions and also the fellows in the same group tend to talk more with their own group than with the other group. As the groups differ, different meanings and different climates will be generated in regards to event processes and practices which will continue for ever in the organization.
DETERMINANTS OF OC
Precipitation, atmospheric pressure, temperature and humidity are the important variables in the meteorological climate. But as far as the OC is concerned, nothing is exhaustive, agreed upon set. As on fact, many researches have noticed the discouraging huge numbers of variables, some are labeled differently while many of them are unique. The variables’ samples are: conflict, autonomy, structure, size, spirit, managerial policies, reward, motivational condition, top management receptiveness, job satisfaction and inter-group co-operation,
As it is all accepted that there is no “single best” leadership for every sort of situation, hence there is no unique dimension of OC set. This is acceptable by one and all since organizations have different nature of character and task of the environment; asides this the members in every organization has different needs some are satisfied and some are not. As per the climatic dimensions, the most crucial one needs to be identified, evaluated and if needed changed which will depend on 1) the effective criteria, particularly which the manager desires to improve, and 2) The specific set of personal and situational factors involved. Litwin and Stringer while attempting to develop independent scales for the dimensions of climate have indicated about one of the relatively prime ways. The commonly accepted work environment’s dimensions of OC are Reward, Risk, Structure, Responsibility, Warmth, Support, Conflicts, Standards and Identity. Besides these some other dimensions are there for inclusion. In the context of Organizational Climate’s individual perception, these dimensions are to vary in terms of their importance. For a few, the structure can be of prime importance as dimension, while for others reward orientation can be the important element. However, there is no reason for a particular individual to believe that these dimensions have continuous importance. Appendix 3.1 (at the end of this chapter) enlists the OC dimensions, which were studied by previous researchers. A modified and comprehensive version of 10 different dimensions of House and Rizzo; Litwin and Stringer and Hackman & Oldham are used in this study as a measure of OC.
OUTCOMES OF CLIMATE
Among the variations in OC, 2 are most widely studied outcomes or consequences; they are 1) Job performances and 2) Job satisfaction. The indication from the available evidence is there is a positive and clear relationship between JS and OC. According to (Lafollete Sims, Frederickson) if the climate is more employee-oriented, open and consultative, it will lead to higher positive attitudes. In case the employees realize that they are the part and parcel of the organization and personal interests are taken by their superiors for their welfare, the JS is sure to be of high degree. On the other hand, the relationship between JP and climate are found to be somewhat complex. Litwin & Stringer conducted major investigation on this relationship and found that authoritarian climate where employee behavior is mainly governed by the standardized procedures and rules and the decision making is centralized, it will result in not only to negative attitude and low creativity towards the work group. However in an affiliative climate where employees maintain good interpersonal relationship, a moderately creative behavior, positive attitude towards work group and high JS are created; while JP remains low. And in the case of achievement oriented climate, where goal attainment is mainly targeted, productivity and behavior are found to be high. Positive group attitudes, high JS, and high levels of achievement motivation are noticed in the achievement climate. The view is consistent with the recent findings of Steers.
According to further observation with open communication these are the outputs: employee centered climates, decentralized decision-making and mutual support result in reduced employee turnover, enhanced employee performance, reduced training time and low manufacturing cost. As these findings were compared with the above findings, the emerging picture is the best possible climate for both employee satisfaction and organizational production are achieved through emphasis on employee consideration and employee achievement. By this way we may consider that effectiveness can be brought in by the managers by fostering a climate that stresses on the significance, attached with goal attainment, while patronizing participations in the activities, cooperation and mutual supports, which all can contribute to goal attainment.
Baumgartel and Jeanplerre observed that OC is such a dominating factor that can strongly impact on the application of the new skills & knowledge get positioned by Management Development Programs. Rao, while undertaking nationwide survey in the context of human resource development program in the industrial and business sector, also came up with identical findings.
Hence, according to (Pritchard & Karasick, Steers, Hellriegal, Downey & Slocum, Scnheider & Bartlett), if the climate stimulates the motive of achievement and makes the platform for satisfaction, which is connected with the diverse needs of the employees, the climatic contributions towards satisfaction and performance are optimistically substantial.
EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE AND CLIMATE
As this research aims to investigate the performances of EP & OC, referencing about EP & climate is required. EP has the relation with the act of given job’s fulfillment (the way the employees carry on with their jobs, work accomplishment or efficiency at work and finally discharging the duty). As climate is considered to be existing at the group or individual level, (and not in organization level) the measures of the outcome should be considered at the group or individual level.
Therefore, instead of making OE (organizational effectiveness) to only climate, it will be better to talk about group or individual related facets of effectiveness; the examples may be organizational commitment JS, EP and so on. Final outcomes and behavior is dependant on the interactions between perceived organizational environment and individual needs. If the climate is expected to be favorable to the needs of the individual, a qualitative goal-oriented behavior is expected, but if the emerging climate is at variance with the personal motives, needs and goals, both the satisfaction and performance are expected to be low.
By basing upon his research, a model of human behavior was proposed by Lewin, which considered about both personal and individual differences as “P” and the environment or climate surrounding individual as “E”. To sum it up, he pointed that human behavior “B” is churned out of the interplay between P & E.
Likert, Vroom and Katz and Kahn have tried to develop complex models by basing on the equation of the above equation B=f(P,E) and had established that there is constant relationships between human behavior and climate. In a recent study by Anuradha Sharma, who kept ‘ability’ as the constant factor to study EP as the manifestation of the personality of the workers and their perception of the situation of the work. According to Cawsey, in an achievement climate, individuals believe themselves as better performers than those who are in lesser motivating climates. To refer to Kaczka and Kirk, OC can affect performance. They furthered to observe that the climate which is employee centered can result into higher performance if factors like higher profit, lower unit costs etc. are considered. According to Frederickson if the climates are innovative, they would yield predictable task performance and greater productivity.
A MOTIVATING WORK CLIMATE DEVELOPMENT
Goal oriented behavior is encouraged by some organizational climates, but not by all. Previously it was found that majority of the executives were in a position to create sufficient amount of motivating climates by the use of their standardized and well approaches towards job design, compensation, selection and promotion. But with the passing of time the approach of creation of motivating work environment is changed. The traditional punishment & reward system is becoming obsolete.
According to E.E. Lawler III there are 6 styles of management for creating conducive or motivating climate for the people to operate under encouraging / conducive atmosphere that can mainly benefit the organization. They are:
- Participative management -- it has twin communication systems between the subordinates and supervisors.
- Individualized system for rewards— it must be the consideration of the organizational reward system that all workers can’t be satisfied with the same reward.
- Realistic job previews – it must ensure best possible suitability between organizational rewards and individual needs.
- Analysis of new technology – it is employed for jacking up information processing, manufacturing quality products and delivering quick services, which all have tremendous impacts n the employee motivation.
- Individualized job design – if the job is to be motivating, it must be designed in such a way that the needs and the values of the people performing it should be emancipated.
- Submit design – Large organizations must note that large size should not come in thee way of employee motivation.
A motivational climate can be brought in by adequate benefits & pay, healthy & safe environment, employee growth & development, social integration in the work, free collective bargaining, employee participates in the organizational goal and finally democracy at work.