Type of Document Dissertation Author James, Matrecia Shalonda Long URN etd-04102005-124207 Title Antecedents and Consequences of Cynicism in Organizations: An Examination of the Potential Positive and Negative Effects on School Systems Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Management, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Gerald R. Ferris Committee Co-Chair Wayne A. Hochwarter Committee Co-Chair Carolyn D. Herrington Committee Member John A. Sample Committee Member Pamela L. Perrewe Committee Member Keywords
- Organizational Cynicism
- Social Exchange
- Workplace Perceptions
- Employee Attitudes
Date of Defense 2005-03-04 Availability unrestricted AbstractABSTRACT
Cynicism is described as a mind-set characterized by hopelessness, disappointment, and disillusionment, and is also associated with scorn, disgust, and suspicion (Andersson, 1996). This strong negative attitude has infiltrated America’s corporations, and is believed to be responsible for a host of unfavorable organizational consequences. Thus, cynicism is acknowledged as a increasing problem in the workplace that merits immediate and detailed research attention.
In large part, cynicism is emerging as the new pattern of employer-employee relations. Past research indicated that a large percentage of employees agreed that management in organizations would take advantage of them if given the chance, employees are never really told the real reason behind decisions that affect them, and a person doesn’t know whom he or she can count on (Kanter & Mirvis, 1989; Mirvis & Kanter, 1992).
Contemporary academicians now realize the profound effect that cynicism can have on organizations, and the significance of understanding this seemingly ubiquitous organizational phenomenon. However, most studies have not examined organizational cynicism as the central concept, and theoretical model development has been limited. Thus, the principle objective of this dissertation is to propose, and empirically test, a comprehensive, integrative model of organizational cynicism that is comprised of antecedents, moderators, and consequences. This dissertation takes a systematic view in which organizational cynicism is considered a negative attitude directed particularly towards the organization. The projected contribution of this investigation is to offer the field a more informed understanding of organizational cynicism.
Specifically, this study examines four workplace perceptions (perceptions of organizational politics, organizational justice, psychological contract violations, and perceived organizational support) as antecedents of organizational cynicism, work locus of control and workplace spirituality as moderators the individual workplace perceptions-organizational cynicism relationships, and job strain (job tension and teacher burnout), citizenship behaviors (organization focused and person focused), workplace deviance (counterproductive behavior and compliance), and performance (individual performance and organizational performance) as associated outcomes.
Findings indicate that all four workplace perceptions significantly influence organizational cynicism, and that work locus of control moderates the relationship between perceive organizational support and organizational cynicism. Additionally, findings reveal that organizational cynicism is positively related to job tension, teacher burnout, counterproductive work behavior, and compliance. On the contrary, results show a negative relationship between organizational cynicism and personal citizenship behavior, and as expected, organizational cynicism did not significantly influence individual performance.
Tests of the model assumption further indicate organizational cynicism partially mediates the relationships between perceptions of organizational politics and job tension, perceived organizational support and job tension, and perceived organizational support and teacher burnout. Additionally, support was found for the notion that organizational cynicism fully mediated the relationship between perceived organizational support and organizational performance.
Furthermore, post hoc analysis results suggest that work locus of control and workplace spirituality moderate the relationships between various workplace perceptions and individual factors of organizational cynicism. Implications are discussed and future research considered.
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