Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Organizational Cynicism, School Culture, and Academic Achievement: The Study of Structural Equation Modeling

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Organizational Cynicism, School Culture, and Academic Achievement: The Study of Structural Equation Modeling

Article excerpt

Cynicism, mentioned frequently and discussed in different disciplines in recent times, emerged in ancient Greek civilization as "a school of thought and way of life." The origin of the concept is thought to have been derived from the Greek word "kyon," meaning "dog" or a school in Cynosarges located near Athens at that time. Although the first cynic character in history is seen as Antisthenes, who was Socrates' student, Diogenes of Sinop overshadowed him with his honesty and enlightening ideas that marked the period. Other cynics believed in people rather than institutions; they despised and insulted eminent foundations like religion and the government, finding them unnecessary. Cynics during that period also wanted the elimination of traditions in order to reach freedom and self- sufficiency for a better life. Furthermore, they refused conventional notions of happiness like money, power, and fame, and sought happiness in the pursuit of virtue. The emphasis on this doctrine turned into a contemptuous and unwilling negative attitude, which emerged as a general suspicion of the honesty of people and public statements at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. This modern definition of cynicism is in contrast to its definition in ancient philosophy which emphasizes "virtue and moral freedom in liberation from desire" (Brandes, Dharwadkar, & Dean, 1999; Dean, Brandes, & Dharwardkar, 1998; Mazella, 2007; Russell, 1972).

Cynicism, which has its roots in ancient Greek civilization, is seen today as a personality disorder, and from a psycho-analytic point of view, it is a state in which one possesses a negative ethic with (i) the person's goodness, (ii) internal unrest, and (iii) linguistic actions (Eiguer, 1999) or one's disbelief in his own world in true friendship, love, or concern for others (Bonime, 1966). From a socio-analytical point of view, cynicism is sharing of a belief that a particular institution or system lacks the capacity for approaching others with love and faith (Sievers, 2007). The relevant literature about cynicism provides various definitions and conceptualizations; the concept of cynicism is addressed under six basic frameworks by different scholars in terms of (i) personality cynicism (Cook & Medley, 1954), (ii) social and institutional cynicism (Kanter & Mirvis, 1989), ( iii) professional cynicism (O'Connell, Holzman, & Armandi, 1986), (iv) employee cynicism (Andersson, 1996), (v) organizational change cynicism (Wanous, Reichers, & Austin, 1994), and ( vi) organizational cynicism (Dean et al., 1998). The conceptualization of cynicism has been different in the context of different studies conducted by researchers, but the common focal point of them all is the fact that cynicism is a negative (i) belief, (ii) emotion, and (iii) behavior (Brandes et al., 1999; Dean et al., 1998). In fact, cynicism is often incorrectly referred to as "skepticism" and "distrust" in the literature. Even though some authors (Kanter & Mirvis, 1989; Reichers, Wanous, & Austin, 1997) have tried to distinguish these concepts from each other structurally, a consensus has not yet been reached in the literature. However, cynicism is clearly separate from other behaviors and feelings. Cynicism completely depends on an individual's own experiences, and it contains intensely emotional aspects such as frustration, disappointment, shame, and disgust (Brandes et al., 1999; Dean et al., 1998). For example, cynics are not very optimistic about organizational change due to thinking of repeated failures (Stanley, Meyer, & Topolnytsky, 2005).

Organizational Cynicism

While cynicism is an innate personality trait reflecting generally negative emotions and perceptions like frustration about human behavior, organizational cynicism refers to negative attitudes toward one's employing organization that are composed of cognitive (belief ), affective (affect), and behavioral (behavior) dimensions which are (i) one's belief that the organization lacks integrity, (ii) a negative affect toward the organization, and (iii) tendencies towards disparaging and exhibiting critical behaviors toward the organization that are consistent with these beliefs and affects (Abraham, 2000; Andersson, 1996; Dean et al. …

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