Rehmat, M., Abid, G. Ashfaq, F., Arya, B. & Farooqi, S. (2020). Workplace respect and organizational identification: A sequential mediation. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 14(12), 446-471.
Background & Theory:
Social exchange theory maintains that in any type of relationship, when one person positively affects a relationship, the other tends to reciprocate positively. This is an especially useful concept to consider within the workplace. Past studies have shown that employees who feel respected by those who create positive experiences for them in their organization, often reciprocate with increased gratitude towards the organization (Ng, 2016). This study uses social exchange theory as a backbone to analyze the relationships between workplace respect and organizational identification as well as managerial support and organizational identification.
Research was conducted by Maryam Rehmat et al. to answer the following questions:
- Do trust and job satisfaction mediate a positive relationship between workplace respect and organizational identification?
- Do trust and job satisfaction mediate a positive relationship between managerial support and organizational identification?
A series of surveys were distributed to 450 full-time faculty members across various higher education institutions in Lahore City, Pakistan. Out of the 450 surveys sent, 293 were usable for data analysis. The respondents included 209 females and 84 males in the age range of 25-34 years old, all of which held at least a Master’s degree.
The first survey sent consisted of questions about workplace respect and managerial support. Ten days later, the second survey was sent, asking participants to refer to a colleague who could provide their level of interpersonal trust and job satisfaction. Ten days after, the third survey was sent regarding organizational identification.
The variables of workplace respect, managerial support, trust, job satisfaction, organizational identification, and the control variables were all measured through scales and items verified through past research. All variables were scored by respondents on Likert-type scales. Empirical data were tested for reliability and validity through various statistical procedures. A confirmatory factor analysis via AMOS 20 was conducted to test this study’s measurement model.
The authors found that workplace respect is positively related to organizational identification when trust and job satisfaction mediate this relationship. In other words, employees who feel respected at work also feel more able to trust employees, leadership, and the organization as a whole. This trust then leads to positive job satisfaction, which then increases employee organizational identification. Therefore, the more respected employees feel at work, the more trust and job satisfaction they feel, leading to a greater sense of organizational identification. The authors also found that if the mediators of trust and job satisfaction are not present, the positive relationship between workplace respect and organizational identification is not significant.
Additionally, the authors found a positive relationship between managerial support and organizational identification. This positive relationship occurred with and without the mediators of trust and job satisfaction. In other words, on its own, greater support from managers leads to greater employee identification with the organization. However, greater managerial support also leads to increased trust and job satisfaction among employees, resulting in greater organizational identification.
What We Can Learn:
Looking over this research, we can take away the following key insights:
- Workplace respect is positively correlated to organizational identification when trust and job satisfaction are involved. Managerial support is positively correlated to organizational identification regardless of whether trust and job satisfaction mediate this relationship. Organizational leaders should consider the impact they have in providing both workplace respect and managerial support to their employees, as both can positively benefit the employee and organization.
For Consultants: Perhaps one reason that workplace conflict can lead to higher employee turnover is that employees do not feel respected or supported in conflict, which in turn prohibits positive identification with the organization, and may influence them to leave. When working with organizations, consultants should consider investigating the level of respect and support that employees feel. Discovering this could lead to establishing leadership practices that better support and show respect towards employees.
For Everyone: If you do not feel supported or respected at work, consider implementing coaching that cultivates better leadership practices. Additionally, based on social exchange theory, if you are able to show respect and support others, they may reciprocate, likely leading to greater overall work experience.