Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Differences in Supervisor and Non-Supervisor Perceptions of Quality Culture and Organizational Climate

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Differences in Supervisor and Non-Supervisor Perceptions of Quality Culture and Organizational Climate

Article excerpt

Data were collected from 8,126 employees in a large government service agency using an anonymous survey measuring 9 aspects of quality culture and 10 aspects of organizational climate. Results show that supervisors perceived all 19 aspects of the culture and climate measured on the survey significantly more positively than did non-supervisors. Results are discussed in terms of their implications for organizational effectiveness.

The pervasive focus in both the public and private sectors is on organizational effectiveness and efficiency. Positive relationships have been found among sound management practices, quality of work life, customer service quality and satisfaction, and organizational productivity and growth.[1] The objectives of attaining greater employee and customer satisfaction, higher productivity, and increased market share and profitability have been met in various organizations with the implementation of quality management.[2]

The results of surveys that assess employees' perceptions of the implementation of quality improvement practices and organizational climate provide direction and focus for action plans and interventions proposed to improve workforce and customer satisfaction. However, results of employee surveys likely vary for different types of organizations and employee groups within them. Organizational factors such as size, nature of business, public vs. private sector, and employee demographic factors such as years in organization and hierarchical level likely influence the results of employee assessments.[3] Therefore, a generic intervention plan designed to improve organizational performance may not be effective for diverse employee groups in different types of organizations; interventions may have to be tailored to meet the needs of the specific organization and the various employee groups within them.

Research that explores the effects of organizational and demographic factors relative to perceptions of quality management implementation and/or organizational climate is scarce. In one study, Fritz examined relationships between position, size of department, age, gender, years in position, and perceptions of quality management implementation for a sample of university personnel in nonacademic departments. The author found that staff at all levels in the organization were interested in improving services to customers; perceived opportunity for improvement in the quality climate was greatest in the area of utilization of human resources. Rewards were a concern for all personnel, but especially for those in the 29-39 year-old age bracket. Moreover, females perceived greater opportunities for quality improvement than did males.[4]

In another study, Burke found that for a sample of employees of a large professional services firm, males, who were at significantly higher organizational levels than females, reported significantly higher levels of job satisfaction. When organizational level was controlled, the gender difference was not found. That is, both males and females at higher organizational levels were more satisfied than males and females at lower levels. The author found significant differences in job satisfaction between individuals at higher levels and those at lower levels on 19 out of 20 job satisfaction items (e.g., use of skills, challenging work, co-workers, advancement, independence, compensation, appreciation, etc.).[5]

The present study explores differences in perceptions of the quality culture and organizational climate for a sample of supervisory and non-supervisory personnel in a large government services agency. It is hypothesized that supervisors' perceptions of the implementation of quality management principles and practices and the organizational climate are significantly more favorable than those of non-supervisors. An understanding of the nature of these differences relative to the various aspects of quality culture and organizational climate measured in this study will assist human resource personnel and organizational change agents in designing interventions purported to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency. …

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