Coming of Age for a New Era
Allen I. Kraut
Lise M. Saari
Employee opinion surveys have changed gradually but dramatically in recent decades. Some of the changes were allowed by enhanced computer technologies, and still more changes were the result of mature use of such surveys. By far, though, the major driver of the changes has been a shift in the strategic purpose of such surveys. Going beyond mere assessment of employee attitudes, surveys nowadays are likely to focus on organizational change and its impacts, a result of the push for greater organizational competitiveness. In consequence, these surveys are notably different from their predecessors.
The central aim of this chapter is to describe and explain the new look and function of surveys, and what they mean for the organizations that use them. We think this can be done best by looking at the following topics: purposes of surveys; shifts in content; use of models in survey research; use of surveys to predict organizational performance; use of surveys to provide research links to outcomes; data collection technology; data reporting; census and sample surveys; people surveyed; special topic surveys; oversurvey-
Note: The authors acknowledge with thanks the helpful comments of Angela Lynch, Maria Park, and Paul Yost on an earlier draft of this chapter.