Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science

By Jerald Greenberg | Go to book overview

people who lost their jobs. Reactions to job loss included perceptual changes (e.g., the individual's personal explanation for why and how the job loss occurred, the meaning of work in one's life), emotional distress, and physiological problems. Furthermore, two broad classes of coping behaviors were identified. For some, coping focused on eliminating or changing the source of stress itself; these individuals engaged in activities such as retraining, job searches, and relocation efforts. For others, coping focused on alleviating the consequences or symptoms of stress; these individuals engaged in activities such as applying for government assistance, receiving counseling, and involvement in public relief programs.

In research streams by Brocker and by Leana and Feldman, the approaches to employee turnover and its effects are innovative and insightful. Yet, only the surface of these issues have been studied. For example, the psychological and calculative commitment for people waiting to be recalled from a lay off might be studied. In addition, the organizational commitment,job satisfaction and likelihood of absences for people actually recalled from one or more lay offs might also be studied. In short, reversing the traditional notions about job affect causing employee withdrawal and extending the causal chain to consider proactive causes of attitudes and consequences of withdrawal behaviors might be valuable research activities.


CONCLUSION

In this chapter, we reflected on an active and enduring body of research and theory. In general, we perceived a reasonably sound and methodologically rigorous body of knowledge that is fairly well grounded in theory. Moreover, the likelihood for continued vitality of the topic seems quite high. At the very least, consistent and incremental gains in our knowledge seem assured because of the wide array of ongoing research activities. In addition, some new and different theories may be sufficiently innovative to stimulate more nontraditional research directions. These new orientations focus on broadening our understanding of employee attachment to the organization. Attachment is seen as occurring over a period of time and not necessarily as a smooth and easily predictable process. Job attitudes and behaviors are seen as resulting from a broad array of factors, such as the contextual variables reflecting employee embeddedness. Moreover, the causal chain has been extended to include events antecedent to job attitudes and subsequent to work behaviors. We feel that these new orientations are important to the field of OB behavior. Further, we hope that this chapter serves as a catalyst for more innovative theory and research on employee withdrawal processes.


AUTHORS' NOTE

We thank Jerry Greenberg and Rick Mowday for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this chapter.

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