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Organizational death and employee motivation: Investigating a plant closure in a multi-plant organization
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Major organizational changes are often connected with a variety of negative outcomes for both employees and the organization alike. As a contrast to this, organizational deaths have instead been associated with increased productivity and motivation to perform, despite certainty of job loss. These results have been regarded as counter-intuitive, since employment and job security are regarded as a foundation for work motivation.

Consequently, this thesis aims at investigating the motivational aspects of organizational deaths in terms of change in motivation as individuals adjust to changing realities. The thesis rests on three empirical studies.The first study's results showed (contrary to theoretical postulations) that goal setting was able to influence employees' in-role and extra-role performance, job-induced tension, commitment to the closure, and job satisfaction. The second study showed that organizational productivity, efficiency, performance, motivation and psychological climate increased for both blue-collar and white-collar employees'.

The results of the third study lend support to the anecdotal reports that high-performers stop performing during organizational deaths. However, this study also found that low-performers perceiving low justice increased their effort which may show that they have a personal gain in performing (e.g., positive self-perception). The results of the empirical studies support the notion that organizational productivity increases along with employees' motivation to perform.

Finally, a common pattern in the data was that most positive variables increased and the negative variables decreased. These results are explained by the adoption of new goals, which creates horizontal coherence (harmony) among goals, which gives rise to goal proximity (motivation increases due to moving closer to the goal).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 2010. , 68 p.
Keyword [en]
Plant closure, closedown, goal theory, goal setting, motivation, organizational death, productivity, efficiency, performance and psychological climate
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43603ISBN: 978-91-7447-156-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43603DiVA: diva2:358573
Public defence
2010-11-19, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: In press. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 3: Submitted. Available from: 2010-10-28 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2010-10-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Goal setting and plant closure: When bad things turn good
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Goal setting and plant closure: When bad things turn good
2011 (English)In: Economic and Industrial Democracy, ISSN 0143-831X, E-ISSN 1461-7099, Vol. 32, no 1, 135-156 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research has shown that closedowns seem to result in increased productivity even though allproductivity targets have been abandoned. The closedown case analysed in this article is differentfrom previous research since management came to employ high goals for productivity and efficiencythroughout the entire closedown process (29 months). The article argues that individuals gradually accept the demise and detach themselves from the dying organization by adopting new careergoals which they can start pursuing after the actual closure, thus the closure becomes a subgoal.

This study examines change in the dependent variables’ mean values, and the relationships betweengoal setting, job performance, goal commitment, organizational citizenship behaviour (OCB), jobsatisfaction and job-induced tension. A longitudinal design (N = 151) based on two data points (T1:February 2006, T2: February 2007) were tapped into the annual goal setting process. The resultssupports that goal setting was effective in this specific closedown scenario.

Keyword
commitment, control, job loss, productivity, restructuring
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43596 (URN)10.1177/0143831X10376615 (DOI)000286375700008 ()
Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. The upside of organizational death: Investigating change in productivity, efficiency, performance, motivation, and psychological climate during plant closure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The upside of organizational death: Investigating change in productivity, efficiency, performance, motivation, and psychological climate during plant closure
(English)In: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, ISSN 0963-1798, E-ISSN 2044-8325Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This longitudinal study examined qualitative change in productivity, efficiency, as well as blue-collar and white-collar workers‟ performance, motivation, and psychological climate. The results showed that productivity and efficiency improved throughout the years (T1: Dec-05 and T2: Nov-07), indicating that there was a Closedown effect present. Repeated measures showed that there was a main effect of time in all the performance, motivation and climate variables. Both quantitative and qualitative role overload, together with job involvement, decreased over time, while all the other variables increased. There were also main effects of collar, whereas white-collar workers perceived higher job autonomy, lower levels of qualitative role overload and higher levels of managerial support. No effects of collar were found in the motivational or performance variables. Lastly, no significant interaction effects were found.

Keyword
organizational death, closure, productivity, psychological climate, motivation, performance
National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43598 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Contrasting between high-performers’ and low-performers’ justice perceptions on effort and turnover cognitions: Can you rely on high-performers’ during plant closures?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contrasting between high-performers’ and low-performers’ justice perceptions on effort and turnover cognitions: Can you rely on high-performers’ during plant closures?
(English)In: Journal of Managerial Psychology, ISSN 0268-3946, E-ISSN 1758-7778Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Purpose of this paper: The purpose of this study is to investigate the claim that high-performing employees lose their motivation to exert effort, and has a higher propensity to quit during the process of a closedown.

Design/methodology/approach: A longitudinal design was used, with one year between data collection points (T1 and T2). Data was collected using online and paper copies of the same questionnaire, with a response rate of 61% on T1 and 55% on T2. A 2 (T1 Job performance: Low vs. High) × 2 (T2 Overall justice: Low vs. High) between-subject analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was performed on two dependent variables (effort and turnover cognitions), while controlling for positive and negative affectivity.

Findings: The results showed that high-performers’ who perceived low justice received lowest scores on effort, while low-performers’ perceiving low justice received next highest score on effort. Whereas, all groups who perceived high justice had lower turnover cognitions than those who perceived low justice.

Practical implications: Using high-performers’ in key positions during a plant closure could be disappointment since the results suggest that high-performers’ could either be those who put forth most and least effort, depending on if they perceive low justice. Therefore, we suggest that it could be more productive to open up the key positions to all employees to apply and interview those who are interested.

National Category
Applied Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43600 (URN)
Available from: 2010-10-22 Created: 2010-10-22 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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