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Managing Uncertainty During Organization Design Decision-Making Processes: The Moderating Effects of Different Types of Uncertainty

Alice Mann

Title:
Managing Uncertainty During Organization Design Decision-Making Processes: The Moderating Effects of Different Types of Uncertainty
Author(s):
Mann, Alice
Thesis Advisor(s):
Burke, W. Warner
Date:
Type:
Dissertations
Department:
Social-Organizational Psychology
Permanent URL:
Notes:
Ph.D., Columbia University.
Abstract:
Uncertainty about one's job or work environment is a common and aversive experience that organizational members typically seek to reduce or manage. This study investigates whether different types of uncertainty - informational uncertainty (i.e., not having sufficient information to confidently form social judgments) and standing uncertainty (i.e., instability in one's perception of positive regard from relevant others) - are qualitatively distinct. The study also examines whether both types of uncertainty are heightened by ongoing organizational factors (i.e., organization role and tenure) as well as temporary factors (i.e., affiliation with a division undergoing redesign). Implementing fair processes and procedures may be an effective way for organizational leaders to help organizational members address their uncertainty. Uncertainty has been shown to moderate the "fair process effect," such that the positive effect of higher process fairness (i.e., procedural, informational, and interpersonal fairness) on organizational members' attitudes is stronger when uncertainty is higher. Specifically, people's uncertainty about their standing in an organization has been shown to moderate the "process-outcome interaction effect," such that the positive effect of the interaction between higher process fairness and lower outcome fairness on organizational members' attitudes is stronger when uncertainty is higher. This study investigates whether informational uncertainty, like standing uncertainty, moderates the fair process effect and the process-outcome interaction effect. Study hypotheses were tested through a longitudinal field research design that utilized web-based questionnaires involving responses from 500 students, faculty, and administrators of an urban university undergoing an organization redesign effort. Both ongoing and temporary organizational factors were found to significantly reduce rather than heighten uncertainty, which was the opposite of what was predicted. Higher informational and standing uncertainty were found to enhance the positive effect of process fairness on organizational members' attitudes as predicted. But lower informational and standing uncertainty were also found to enhance the positive effect of process fairness on organizational members' attitudes, which was the opposite of what was predicted. Lower informational uncertainty, but not standing uncertainty, was found to enhance the positive effect of higher process fairness and lower outcome favorability on organizational members' attitudes, which was the opposite of what was predicted.
Subject(s):
Organizational behavior
Item views:
1153
Metadata:
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