Organization Culture As An Explanation

Published: Last Edited:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.


Most supervisors dread employee discipline and often employ strategies not officially sanctioned by the organization. Poorly designed discipline systems cause this variation in discipline practices. Inconsistent discipline can cause losses in productivity and reduce employee morale. Extant literature offers little in the form of guidance for improving this important human resource activity. This article explore where normative literature on organizational culture may have explanatory value for understanding variation in discipline practices. The article suggests two groups of factors that have causal effects on discipline practices. The tangible factors are those describing the formal practices the organization wishes its employees to follow. The intangible factors provide cues for explaining why informal strategies emerge as successful practices for getting things done. Using this conception of organization culture, the article proposes hypotheses for future testing to validate the suspected influence of culture on decisions regarding employee discipline.

Understanding Variation in the Practice of Employee Discipline

The Perspective of the First-Line Supervisor

Javier F. Pagan

University of Puerto Rico

Aimee L. Franklin

The University of Oklahoma


First-line supervisors' responses to employee-related problems can vary widely from one supervisor to another. Assuming fair and consistent disciplinary activity is valued by organizations, then discovery of the factors causing supervisors to respond differently to similar situations is a valuable activity. Using a case study approach for four organizations in Puerto Rico, this article explores how factors such as sector, union presence, and managerial and human resource department support influence the choice of a discipline strategy. When present, some of these factors were found to encourage supervisors to comply with formal disciplinary policy. Organizations can use these findings to assess the degree to which there is consistency in these factors and take strategic action to assure that first-line supervisors receive clear and consistent signals regarding appropriate disciplinary strategies.

Employee Reactions to Disciplinary Action

Charles R. Greer

Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma 74078.

Chalmer E. Labig Jr.

Oklahoma State University


While the use of disciplinary actions in the workplace is common, few studies have investigated employee reactions to these actions. Using survey data collected from 177 firefighters, associations between various aspects of meting out discipline and employee reactions are examined in an exploratory study. Results reveal that the pleasantness with which disciplinary action is administered appears to be the most important factor in lessening discipline's potential for generating emotional reactions and deterioration of supervisor/subordinate relationships. In addition, perceived appropriateness of discipline is related to the degree to which prior relations were positive, accuracy of supervisor's diagnosis of the situation, and presentation of a reason for discipline. Cessation of targeted behaviors was least explained by the variables of the study suggesting that the factors that account for effective behavior change through disciplinary action are in need of identification.

The Disciplinary Experience and its Effects on Behaviour: An Exploratory Study

Derek Rollinson

Department of Management, University of Huddersfield Business School

Janet Handley

Department of Management, University of Huddersfield Business School

Caroline Hook

Department of Management, University of Huddersfield Business School

Margaret Foot

Department of Management, University of Huddersfield Business School


Using the results obtained from a small-scale, exploratory study of the internal dynamics of the disciplinary process, two issues are addressed: whether the disciplinary experience results in the disciplined person's internalising and/or observing an organisational rule; and the extent to which this is affected by the way the disciplinary process is handled. It is tentatively concluded that discipline can achieve the outcome of rule internalisation and/or observation, but it does so for only about half of those formally disciplined; for the remaining half, there are ongoing tendencies

towards rule breaking. Explanations for this state of affairs are located in two important features of the internal dynamics of disciplinary handling. The first is the implicit use of a `conditioning by punishment' paradigm, which is applied within a context where punishing stimuli are largely ineffective in shaping behaviour. The second, which flows from the first, consists of managerial styles that often create an impression in the eyes of the disciplined person that retributional motives are at work.

Examining the disciplinary process in nursing: a case study approach

Hannah Cooke

University of Manchester


This article examines the disciplinary process in nursing using data drawn from qualitative cases studies carried out in three healthcare Trusts in the north of England.The main method of data collection employed in the cases studies was in depth interviews with managers, nurses and trade union representatives.The study considers the models of discipline employed by managers when making the decision to discipline, the conduct of disciplinary cases and their outcomes.The study pays particular attention to 'quasi-formal' discipline in which investigative processes may be used as punishments.The study also considers the poor outcomes of disciplinary action and their relationship to the ways in which disciplinary processes are conducted.

That is my job'

How employees' role orientation affects their job performance

Sharon K. Parker

University of Sheffield, UK,


Findings from two field studies support the proposition that the way individuals define their role, or their role orientation, is a powerful influence on their behaviour, resulting in more or less effective job performance. The first study showed that, within a relatively self-managing context, flexible role orientation predicted supervisory assessments of overall job performance, as well as a change in job performance. The second study showed flexible role orientation predicted job performance in high autonomy jobs but not low autonomy jobs. In both studies, role orientation predicted performance more strongly than other work attitudes, including job satisfaction, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and job aspiration. Collectively, the findings suggest that the development of a more flexible role orientation represents a relatively unexplored avenue for enhancing employee performance, particularly in self-managing contexts. As such, further research on the process of shaping and promoting employees' role orientation is recommended.

Organizational Characteristics and Employer Responses to Employee Substance Abuse

Stuart H. Milne and

Terry C. Blum1

+ Author Affiliations

1Georgia Institute of Technology


Working within an integrative framework of human resource management (HRM) in context (Jackson & Schuler, 1995), and theorizing from an integrated institutional and resource dependence perspective (Oliver, 1991), this study investigated whether factors in the internal and external organizational environments are associated with the presence of a counseling/rehabilitative response by employers to identified employee substance abuse. Data were collected at two points in time from a sample of 342 private sector worksites in the state of Georgia. The results of ordered logistic regression analysis suggest that variables from both the internal and external organizational environments are related to a rehabilitative response by management to employee substance abuse

The Secondary School Principal and Teachers' Quality of work Life

Richard A. Rossmiller

Department of Educational Administration, Univer sity of Wisconsin-Madison, Educational Science Building, 1025 West Johnson St, Madison, WI 53706 United States


The author is Professor of Educational Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In this article he draws upon case studies of the school principal and other senior administrators, in eight 'ordinary' metropolitan secondary schools in the upper midwest of the United States, to describe how the actions of school-level administrators affect the quality of work life of teachers in schools. In interpreting the data Richard Rossmiller draws upon both rational bureaucratic and loose-coupling theory.

Time for Absenteeism: A 20-Year Review of Origins, Offshoots, and Outcomes

David A. Harrison1 and

Joseph J. Martocchio2

+ Author Affiliations

1University of Texas at Arlington

2University of Illinois


We use a time-based system to help organize, summarize, and analyze research on employee absenteeism published in the last 20 years (1977-1996). Although what is known about some mid-term (4-12 month) origins of absence-taking has been greatly clarified and expanded, less is known about long-term (> 12 months) and short-term (I day-3 months) origins, or about how causes in different time frames relate to each other. Poor performance and "neglectful" behaviors serve as reliable offshoots of absenteeism. The long- and short-term etiology of the latter behaviors is unclear, but their shared variance in the mid-term reflects negative job attitudes. Outcomes of absenteeism have received much less research attention. Although mid-term consequences such as reduced performance, turnover, and organizational expense are well-established, little is known about short- and long-term effects of absence-taking on individuals and their social environments. We conclude with suggestions for more explicit consideration of time frames, causal lags, and aggregation periods in the next decades of absenteeism research.

Dispositional Influences on Attributions Concerning Absenteeism

Timothy A. Judge1 and

Joseph J. Martocchio2

+ Author Affiliations

1University of Iowa

2Univeristy of Illinois


Because the degree to which absenteeism is within or beyond an employee's control is a significant yet unresolved issue in the absence literature, it is important to understand the factors which influence employees' attributions about the causes of absence events. As a result of recent research suggesting that personality variables are important influences on work attitudes and behaviors, the present study took a dispositional approach in investigating the predictors of employee absence attributions. Using data collected from three sources, between-subjects analyses suggested a number of dispositional influences on absence attributions. Within-subjects analyses suggested that the factors leading to external attributions vary widely across individuals.

Strategies in Absence Management

Peter J. Erwin

University of Melbourne

Roderick D. Iverson

University of Melbourne


The purpose of this paper was to demonstrate the link between theory, research and the development of intervention strategies to reduce absenteeism in a large Australian manufacturing organization. A causal model was tested on a sample of 310 blue-collar employees at the organization. The LISREL and tobit results indicated that several factors had a significant effect on the level of absenteeism. These causal factors comprised routinization, supervisory support, job motivation, external responsibilities, accumulated sick leave, and previous warnings. Intervention strategies based on these results are described together with initial findings regarding their effectiveness in reducing absenteeism.