Employee Attitudes in a Downsizing, Highly- Unionized Public Sector Work Environment
Jerome, Benjamin T.
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This study explores the effects of union membership and employee residency on employee understanding of organizational mission/goals and task significance. A survey soliciting information concerning organizational mission/goals and task significance was completed by a randomly selected group of 66 Lansing City Hall employees. Previous research has shown that employee understanding of mission/goals is highly related to numerous positive worker outcomes (e.g. productivity, motivation, and commitment). Responses were analyzed based on union membership and residency. It was hypothesized that union membership predicts lower organizational mission/goal understanding and task significance when compared to non-union employees. It was also hypothesized that non-City residents would also have lower measures of organizational mission/goal understanding and task significance compared to City residents. The resulting data indicate that union membership did predict lower organizational mission/goal understanding. Living within or outside the city in which they worked was not a significant predictor of employee understanding of mission/goals or task significance. It is speculated that union membership may create disagreement and misunderstandings of the missions/goals of the union compared to that of the organization. These differences may be particularly evident when collected during a time of potential lay-offs. Direction for future research of this difference and the difficulties collecting employee attitude data during a contentious time of possible lay-offs is discussed.