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Attitudes towards working in organizations

This is an excerpt from Organizational Behavior in Sport Management-2nd Edition by Eric MacIntosh & Laura Burton.


You have likely heard the word attitude used to describe a person; in fact, you may have used it in describing someone you know. Phrases such as “he has a bad attitude” or “she has a positive attitude” are often used to describe a person’s tendency to feel and behave in an unfavorable or favorable way ­toward a specific person, idea, or object. Like personality, attitudes tend to be relatively stable ­unless a person is provided with information that changes their perspective. For example, if you strongly prefer college basketball to the NBA, you are likely to continue holding that preference ­unless you are provided with impor­tant information that changes your preference.

Attitudes are directed ­toward a par­tic­u­lar object, person, or idea. Therefore, if you have a negative attitude ­toward your internship in event operations, that attitude ­will not necessarily influence your positive attitude ­toward college basketball. It ­will, however, influence your be­hav­ior. For instance, if you prefer college basketball (attitude), you ­will watch it on TV or attend games in person (be­hav­ior).

In the context of working in an ­organization, ­people behave in ways that are consistent with their attitudes. This consistency can be problematic if an employee holds a negative attitude ­toward a coworker; for instance, that employee (let’s call her Sasha) may not cooperate with the coworker (Jesse) on a shared proj­ect. However, if a man­ag­er works to change Sasha’s attitude ­toward Jesse, then her be­hav­ior ­toward them may improve. In addition, attitudes can be changed by be­hav­iors. For example, if Sasha must work with Jesse, she may realize ­after spending time with them that they care a lot about their work and are committed to ­doing a good job. This realization may lead Sasha to develop a more positive attitude ­toward Jesse.

Impor­tant Attitudes in Sport ­Organization Workplaces

Having described attitudes in general terms, we focus now on two impor­tant ­measures of attitude that are specific to working in an ­organization: ­organizational commitment and job satisfaction. ­Organizational commitment helps us understand how connected an employee feels to the ­organization and how they value being part of it. Job satisfaction, on the other hand, consists of the level of fulfillment that an employee derives from working for the ­organization. Both attitudes have been the subject of significant scholarship in sport management.

­Organizational Commitment

­Organizational commitment consists of a person’s overall attitude ­toward the ­organization, including how much the person identifies with the ­organization and values being associated with it. Strong ­organizational commitment involves adopting the ­organization’s view as one’s own, placing value on being a member of the ­organization, and being willing to work to help the ­organization achieve its stated goals (Meyer & Allen, 1991). This kind of commitment ­matters ­because it has been linked to reduced interest in seeking another job (i.e., low turnover intention), increased work attendance, and positive be­hav­iors directed ­toward other members of the ­organization (e.g., willingness to help a colleague or stay ­after work to help finish a proj­ect) (Klein et al., 2012; Vandenberghe et al., 2004).

­Organizational commitment has been studied in vari­ous areas of sport, including among coaches, volunteers, and interns. In one study, when U.S. collegiate coaches indicated low commitment to their occupation, they ­were more likely to want to leave the profession (Turner & Chelladurai, 2005). In another example, ­organizational commitment demonstrated by volunteers in sport ­organizations was linked to job satisfaction (Costa et al., 2006), job ­performance (Stephens et al, 2004), willingness to be trained (Kim & Chelladurai, 2008), and intention to continue as a volunteer (Park, 2010). Another study found that interns at sport ­organizations needed to be provided with challenging job roles to develop a high level of commitment to the ­organization (Dixon et al., 2005).

Commitment to work can also become detrimental to employees when their commitment leads to workaholism. Workaholism occurs when individuals work harder than they are required to and put much more effort into their work than is expected of them and as a result neglect their life outside of their work (Schaufeli et al., 2008). In college athletics, individuals who are workaholics tend to burn out at higher rates than other employees, which is harmful both for the employee and the athletic department. By decreasing employee burnout and workaholism, sport ­organizations can reduce employee turnover and reduce the need to recruit and train new employees (Taylor et al., 2019).

Sport ­organizations need to establish expectations for employees that reduce workaholism through both employee onboarding and mentoring early-­career professionals ­because reduced workaholism benefits sport ­organizations and provides employees a healthier work environment (Taylor et al., 2019).

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction consists of one’s general attitude ­toward one’s job. It is impor­tant in terms of ­organizational be­hav­ior ­because, as you might expect, a person with higher job satisfaction is more likely to stay in their current position (Chelladurai & Ogasawara, 2003). Job satisfaction also exerts a moderately positive influence on an individual’s job motivation (Jalagat, 2016; Kinicki et al., 2002) and is moderately and positively related to job ­performance (Jalagat, 2016).

More Excerpts From Organizational Behavior in Sport Management 2nd Edition