If an employee feels disempowered at work, they’ll soon find themselves struggling to stay motivated and productive. This disengagement is a lose-lose situation for everyone, causing unhappiness for employees and profit loss for companies. In the 1980’s, Edward E. Lawler III presented a possible solution to this problem by initiating a model which increased employee engagement and, as a result, organizational performance. But how well does this model hold up when put into practice and what behavioral components are needed for success? Mark A. Kizilos, Chailin Cummings, and Thomas G. Cummings explore this question on their article “How High-Involvement Work Processes Increase Organization Performance: The Role of Organizational Citizenship Behavior” from the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science.
Employee involvement is a popular approach to improve organization performance. It moves decision making downward in the organization so employees can make decisions and solve problems as quickly and close to their source as possible. One of the most developed and referenced approaches to involvement is Edward E. Lawler’s model of “high-involvement work processes” (HIWP). It describes organizational attributes that contribute to employee involvement and explains how they work together to increase organization performance. Although extensive attention has been paid to Lawler’s model in the literature, empirical tests of the model are still in a preliminary stage. Our study describes and tests a mechanism through which HIWP increases organization performance, organizational citizenship behavior. We find that organizational citizenship behavior mediates the relationship between HIWP and organization performance in a sample of 143 consumer-products organization units. Results also confirm that the HIWP attributes work together synergistically to create opportunities for employee involvement.
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