Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Managers' Perceptions of Their Work Group and Their Own Performance and Well-Being Following a Job Transfer

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Managers' Perceptions of Their Work Group and Their Own Performance and Well-Being Following a Job Transfer

Article excerpt

In this study, I compare the perceptions of managers who have been transferred, either with a promotion or laterally, and managers who remained in the same job. The participants were 329 management-level employees of two departments in the Canadian federal government. Managers who were laterally transferred had less positive perceptions of the performance and cohesiveness of the new work group they were supervising and reported worse overall health and more health symptoms than managers who had not been transferred. Laterally transferred managers also perceived receiving significantly less recognition and reported worse overall health than managers whose transfer involved a promotion. There were no significant differences between managers who had a promotional transfer and managers who were not transferred. The findings indicate that lateral transfers should be accompanied by support efforts designed to promote better adjustment to the transfer.

Job transfer is a widely used human resource practice. Given that job transfer is so common, it is somewhat surprising that so little research exists on the consequences of job transfer for the individual employee, the group and the organization itself. (1) Some researchers have argued that a job transfer represents a traumatic and disruptive event that requires substantial adjustment on the part of the transferee, including the development of new relationships and the learning of new tasks. (2,3,4) There is a general belief in the research literature that job transfers have negative consequences for transferees, including poorer job attitudes, reduced job performance and increased turnover. (5) However, there is some evidence that the type of job transfer makes a difference in how transferees respond to the transfer. People receiving transfers involving a promotion have been found to exhibit more positive attitudes and better adjustment than people receiving a lateral transfer. (6,7,8,9) In this paper, the findings of a study that compared three groups of managers employed in two departments of the Canadian federal government are presented: those who received a job transfer involving a promotion, those who were laterally transferred and those who remained in the same job (no transfer group). The study assessed managers' perceptions of the work group they were currently supervising and factors related to their own job performance and well-being.

Managers' Perceptions of Their Work Group

In a review of the job transfer literature, Dalton and Wimbush (10) were unable to locate a single study that has examined the relationship of job transfer with group outcomes. The present study focuses on managers' perceptions of the performance of the work group that they are currently supervising, the quality of service the work group is providing to its clients and cohesiveness within the work group. The research question was whether managers who had been transferred would perceive the performance, service quality and cohesiveness of the new work group they were supervising differently than managers who continued supervising the same work group. And, within the job transfer group, the issue was whether the perceptions of managers who had received a transfer involving a promotion would differ from the perceptions of managers who had been laterally transferred.

Job transfer requires the establishment of relationships with one's new work group. Moreover, managers who are transferred will be less familiar with aspects of the work group than managers who continue supervising the same work group. I therefore predicted that managers who had not been transferred would have more positive perceptions of their work group's performance, service quality and cohesiveness than managers who had been transferred. On the other hand, I expected that managers whose transfer involved a promotion would have more positive perceptions of their work group's performance, service quality and cohesiveness than managers who had been laterally transferred. …

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