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Commitment or Inefficiency
Running Head:
ORGANIZATIONAL COMMITMENT OR INEFFICIENCY
Working Past Five: Organizational Commitment or Inefficiency
Oscar Holmes IV
Virginia Commonwealth University
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Commitment or Inefficiency
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Abstract : Employees generally do not enjoy working longer hours than necessary. This may
definitely be the case for employees who are on salary as they do not get paid for extra hours
worked. Even for employees who are hourly and get paid overtime, this might bring ridicule
from supervisors if overtime was not approved beforehand and even if it was approved and
employees get paid, they still might not want the extra hours nor care for the extra money.
Nevertheless, there might be some employees who insist on working longer hours (work past
five) than his or her co-workers. This exploratory study proposes that some employees might
work past five as an impression management strategy because of a performance inefficiency and
that supervisors would be wise to investigate the reasons employees are working past five.
Keywords: organizational commitment, impression management, burnout, performance, workfamily conflict
Commitment or Inefficiency
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Working Past Five: Organizational Commitment or Inefficiency
Introduction
It is 8:00 p.m. and you are typing hastily at your desk while also finishing the last of your
donut and sipping on your now lukewarm coffee because you worked through dinner. To make
matters worse, you are not in the comfort of your home, but are still in the office. In fact, you
waved goodbye to your supervisor as she passed your desk almost three hours ago. She smiled
and nodded back at you. Her smile reassured you that she recognized how committed you are
and how much you must love your job. But are you really that committed? Do you really love
your job that much? Why are you the last one in the office each night? Do your colleagues
know something that you do not? Perhaps, they do. It is possible that your colleagues are
working more efficiently than you are and your supervisor is mistaking your long hours as
commitment thus failing to provide you with the appropriate performance feedback.
Furthermore, those long work hours might make you begin to loathe your job because it might
interfere with your personal life and familial responsibilities. When is working past five too
much? When is it genuine organizational commitment and when is it an impression management
strategy used to cover an area in which an employee is weak?
The present exploratory study is designed to predict antecedents when working past five
might be used as impression management strategies to advance one’s career or to cover up one’s
inefficiencies. As background, I discuss the relation of working long hours and its possible
consequences of employee burnout, work-family conflict, and lack of adequate supervision. My
argument is borne out of the impression management, burnout, work-family conflict,
performance feedback, and organizational commitment literature.
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Social identity theory states that people will attempt to maintain positive identities
(Tajfel, 1974). Part of maintaining a positive attitude has to do with how others view you.
Impression management is a “process by which individuals attempt to control the impressions
others form of them” (Leary & Kowalski, 1990, p. 34). To the extent that they can, employees
are likely to use impression management strategies in the workplace to advance their career,
maintain positive interpersonal relationships with others, and obtain greater power and status
(Baumeister, 1982; Ibarra, 1999; Jones & Pittman, 1982; Leary & Kowalski, 1990; Roberts,
2005; Rosenfeld, Giacalone, & Riordan, 1995). Because supervisors control many of the
rewards given to employees, it is likely that employees are most concern with maintaining a
positive image to their supervisor than their co-workers (Bolino, Varela, Bande, & Turnley,
2006). Employees are also concerned with maintaining a positive image because they want to
“build credibility, form high-quality relationships, and generate high performance outcomes with
their constituents” (Roberts, 2005, p. 685). Once employees have aggregated the positive
feedback they receive from their personal experiences and co-workers based on their impression
management strategies, employees form reflected best self-portraits (RBS) of their own strengths
and contributions (Roberts, Dutton, Spreitzer, Heaphy, & R. E. Quinn, 2005). Roberts et al.
state, “the RBS portrait creates a pathway to becoming extraordinary, in that it involves
envisioning the self at one’s best, and then acting on this vision to translate possibilities for the
extraordinary into reality” (p. 712).
When one is at his or her best, he or she is most efficient. In relation to RBS, working
longer hours than most co-workers can be indicative of many things. In one vein, it could be that
one has not reached his or her RBS yet and the longer hours are needed to improve. In another
vein, one might have already reached his or her RBS and the longer hours are necessary because
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even at his or her RBS, he or she is not as efficient as other co-workers. Yet in another vein, one
might work longer hours even after reaching his or her RBS and being able to perform as
efficiently as co-workers, but is still using an impression management strategy for other
organizational rewards. Although each scenario likely occurs in many organizations
simultaneously, this paper will focus on employees working longer hours as an impression
management strategy to gain an organizational reward and/or to cover inefficient performance.
If the latter case is true, the employee could use supervisor feedback in order to improve
performance. However, if an inefficient employee is also using an impression management
strategy to cover his or her inefficiency, it is unlikely that the employee will seek out the
appropriate feedback. Instead, the supervisor will have to be especially vigilant to pick up cues
that performance feedback and interventions are indeed needed. I argue that an employee
working longer hours than other co-workers might be a possible cue that supervisors can use as a
basis for further inquiry. If a supervisor does not pick up on the cues, then he or she can
mistakenly take employees’ long hours worked as strong organizational commitment and miss
the opportunity to help employees improve their productivity.
Employees’ non-verbal and verbal behaviors provide cues for managers to determine
employees’ emotional attachment to the organization (Riggio & Friedman, 1986). Organizational
commitment has been split into three dimensions: affective commitment, continuance
commitment, and normative commitment (Meyer & Allen, 1991; T. H. Shore, Bommer, & L. M.
Shore, 2008). Affective commitment deals with an employee’s emotional attachment to an
organization that makes them want to stay with an organization. On the other hand, employees
who would like to leave an organization, but feel that the cost outweighs the gains experience
continuance commitment. Normative commitment entails one’s staying with an organization
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because he or she feels obligated to repay a debt with his or her loyalty to the company for
receiving some organizational benefit (T. H. Shore et al., 2008). This study is most concerned
with an employee’s affective commitment because based on these definitions, employees will
most likely engage in impression management because they genuinely want to stay with the
organization.
Do employees really stay at work later just to impress others?
Ely’s (1995) mixed-method quantitative and qualitative study allows us to glimpse into
the life of employees who stay at work just to be “seen” at work. A female participant in her
study states:
The work ethic is different. [The men] don’t ever care if they go home. They hang out
and pal around a lot with the other guys, see who can gut it out longer, even just to show,
just to be the last one to leave. . . . The women want to come in and get their work done
and leave (Ely, 1995, p. 612).
Ely’s study participants were lawyers, a group of professionals known to work long hours.
Although there is no mention that the men performed any worse than the women in her study,
this quote highlights that satisfactory work can be completed within a shorter timeframe. In
other words, the men at this law firm were not displaying more organizational commitment than
the women, instead, they were employing impression management strategies most likely to
enhance their positive self-image that others held of them. Therefore, the extra time that these
men stayed at work was superfluous and could be counterproductive to the organization’s
operation. I will call this particular impression management strategy of staying at the office
longer than necessary office loafing. Office loafing might prove counterproductive to an
organization’s long-term goals because it might lead to spending more than necessary on
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maintenance resources, increase incidences of work-family conflict, contribute to injustice
perceptions, and engender burnout and other stress-related conditions among employees.
Office Loafing and Resource Inefficiency
Fixed costs are expenses an organization incurs regardless of any output produced. An
example of a fixed cost is rent. In most cases, whether an organization makes a huge profit or no
profit from month-to-month, the rent (within the same lease agreement) owed for its office space
will be the same. Rent payments are a constant rent expense. In contrast, variable costs are
expenses that vary based on the amount of output an organization produces (Mankiw, 2007).
Employees and inventory are considered variable costs because the amount needed can fluctuate
depending on productivity. For example, during peak travel season, a hotel might need to hire
more hotel employees as well as purchase more supplies to restock rooms because of the
increased demand for its services. In this case, its variable costs will increase during peak travel
seasons relative to off-peak seasons. Effective managers most concerned with maximizing profit
margins while maintaining acceptable organizational standards will attempt to keep its variable
costs at a ratio that is most commensurate to the organization’s output.
Within the scholarly literature, most articles have been interested in controlling
traditional fixed and variable costs like the aforementioned examples rather than variable costs
such as public utility resources (electricity, water, gas, etc.) (cf. Deng & Yano, 2006; Kohli &
Mahajan, 1991; Lenox, Rockart, & Lewin, 2006; Nunes, Hsee, & Weber, 2004; Rhim & Cooper,
2005). In fact, I found no results within the academic search engine PsycINFO using the search
terms electricity expense, utility expenses, or electricity cost. In order to find organizational
efforts to increase efficiency and control variable costs such as utility expenses, one must look to
the mainstream outlets. For example, a USA Today news article reported that U.S. companies
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waste $2.8 billion a year for not cutting off unused machines, including computers, after office
hours (Swartz, 2009). The report goes on to state that these unused machines emit nearly 20
million tons of carbon dioxide which is almost equivalent to 4 million cars (Swartz, 2009).
Motivated by recent economic woes, many school districts have abandoned a five-day week in
favor of a four-day week in order to significantly cut operational costs. In another news article,
Superintendent James Notter reported that his school district, which is the sixth-largest in the
nation, spends $63 million annually on electricity and hopes to save about 10% to 15% after
implementing this measure (Associated Press, 2009). The article goes on to report that some
school districts in over 17 states have already made the switch to a four-day school week.
The purpose of this example is not to encourage organizations to adopt a four-day work
week, but rather the example highlights school districts paying attention to non-traditional
variable costs and being creative in its efforts to reduce those cost while appropriately fulfilling
its mission. In relation to office loafing, employees remaining in work spaces longer than
necessary needlessly use resources such as lights, computers and other office equipment, heat/air
condition, etc. (provided that these items are turned off, or in the case of heat/air condition scaled
back, when the building/room is not in use) . Furthermore, organizations are capitalizing on their
going green campaigns and have found increasing support and loyalty from some customers
through these efforts (Deutsch, 2006). Recently, citizens around the world participated in Earth
Hour 2009, an hour where lights were powered off or dimmed at popular tourism landmarks,
governmental agencies, businesses, and homes to highlight the importance of conserving energy
and protecting the environment (Boyle, 2009). I am unaware of anyone empirically testing how
much office loafing costs organizations through unnecessary use of utilities and earlier
depreciation of office equipment, but conceptually, one can see that office loafing costs
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organizations more money than necessary which ultimately affects the bottom line (Swartz,
2009). It is likely that the male lawyers who were office loafing in Ely’s (1995) study cost their
organizations to spend more money than necessary on controllable variable costs.
To this end, instead of supervisors admiring employees who work long hours under the
assumption that they must have high organizational commitment, they might find it useful to
investigate whether the late night employee is merely office loafing as an impression
management strategy or is working more inefficiently than others because of his or her poorer
performance. For either reason, an appropriate diagnosis might save the organization money by
controlling variable costs. In fact, if poor performance is the culprit, the manager can provide
the employee with the necessary interventions in order to assist him or her in working more
productively and efficiently which benefits the organization two-fold.
Job Performance
Research has shown that employees do not always recognize when they are performing
poorly. In fact, Silverman, Pogson, and Cober (2005) state, “an individual who is unaware of
his/her actual performance and capabilities may underestimate the time it takes to perform
certain tasks, which can reduce work quality” (p. 136). Following this rationale, it is reasonable
that employees who constantly work past five could do so because of their inefficiency.
People’s motivation to control how others view them varies depending on the circumstances
(Leary & Kowalski, 1990). Employees’ motivation to engage in impression management
strategies should be high when they face unfavorable circumstances such as inefficient job
performance. As such, employees might be highly motivated to hide, or at the very least, reduce
the severity, of any performance deficiencies they have from their supervisor. Silverman et al.
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define feedback-avoiding behavior (FAB) as strategies that employees use to divert their
supervisor’s attention away from their negative performance in order to maintain a positive selfimage. In fact, London and Smither (1995) proposed that improvement is less likely to occur
among those employees who focused on impression management.
Focusing on impression management instead of improvement might buy the employee
more time with the organization and in the good graces with his or her supervisor, but it
inadvertently diminishes organizational returns based on the employee’s work input. A
supervisor would be wise to investigate whether working long hours are being used as an
impression management strategy to cover some performance inefficiency. If it is an impression
management strategy to cover some performance inefficiency, the supervisor can intervene and
provide the employee the necessary training or guidance needed in order to bring his or her upto-par. Such an intervention, might lead to greater organizational returns from the employee’s
input and perhaps increase the employee’s dedication to the organization and his job because less
cognitive resources will be needed to maintain impression management strategies and employee
frustration might be thwarted because of not being able to perform as expected.
Employees’ acceptance of performance feedback varies greatly. Various individual and
organizational factors affect whether a poor performing employee is likely to accept or reject
performance feedback (Silverman et al., 2005). What’s more, some employees will not
necessarily improve significantly even when they receive multi-source performance feedback
(Smither, London, & Reilly, 2005). Nonetheless, Silverman et al. have identified five individual
precursors to individual change: 1) Awareness; 2) Sense of Necessity; 3) Confronting Change;
4) Willingness for Feedback; and 5) Development Orientation (p. 138-39).
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Awareness is the degree to which an employee knows there is a need to change. If an
employee is aware that he or she is performing poorly, he or she will be more likely to engage in
impression management to avoid punishment from his or her supervisor. Sense of necessity is
how urgent an employee feels a change is needed. If an employee feels that a change is needed
sooner than he or she can reasonably make the change, he or she will be likely to engage in
impression management to buy more time in hopes that he or she can find a way to make the
change before his or her supervisor takes punitive actions against him or her. Confronting
change is an employee’s understanding of the problem and how to change it. Similarly, an
employee who does not know what is needed to change will be more likely to engage in
impression management. Willingness for feedback is an employee’s receptiveness to
performance feedback. An employee who has a low receptiveness for feedback is likely to
engage in impression management because his or her concern for co-workers to view him or her
positively might overshadow his or her need to improve job performance. On the other hand, an
employee who has a high receptiveness for feedback will seek out and act on co-workers’
feedback of his or her performance when possible and would not need to engage in impression
management to cover a performance deficiency. Development orientation is the degree to which
an employee feels an obligation to improve. An employee who feels his or her obligation to
change is low is more likely to engage in impression management because he or she will not feel
compelled to change his or her performance. In sum, employees are unlikely to improve if he or
she is unaware he or she needs to change, does not see a need to change, does not know how to
change, resist getting feedback from others, and has a low learning goal orientation (Silverman et
al., 2005). Taken together, an employee who is working past five to cover a performance
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deficiency should score lower on the Siverman et al. Individual and Organizational Precursors
Scale (IOPS) than employees who are not trying to cover a performance deficiency.
H1: Employees who engage in impression management strategies to cover a
performance deficiency will score lower on the Individual and Organizational Precursors
(IOPS) scale than employees who are not trying to cover a performance deficiency.
Silverman et al. (2005) also noted that different organizational environments will affect
the readiness of employees to receive performance feedback. Organizational precursors include:
1) Organizational Alignment; 2) Organizational Feedback Environment; 3) Formal Individual
Growth Opportunities; 4) Accountability; and 5) Compensation Systems (Silverman et al., 2005,
p. 139). Organizational alignment is the degree to which the organization’s vision, mission,
value system, and individual expectations are clearly articulated and in agreement throughout the
organization. Employees who engage in impression management to cover a performance
deficiency should perceive their organizations to have low alignment. Organizational feedback
environment relates to the mechanisms through which performance feedback is rendered within
organizations. Employees who engage in impression management to cover a performance
deficiency should perceive that their organization has vague performance-related practices.
Formal individual growth opportunity is the degree to which employees are encouraged and
provided opportunities to engage in continuous learning opportunities. Employees who engage
in impression management to cover a performance deficiency should perceive their organization
to have a non-supportive environment for continuous learning and development. Accountability
deals with the consequences employees face for not changing. Employees who engage in
impression management to cover a performance inefficiency should perceive that the
consequences for them not changing is not particularly harsh. The compensation system
determines how employees’ performance and pay are related and affected. An employee who is
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able to maintain effective impression management strategies that cover his or her performance
inefficiency is more likely to work for an organization that does not have a clear pay for
performance system. Therefore, an employee who uses impression management strategies to
cover performance inefficiencies is more likely to score his or her organization lower on the
Silverman’s et al IOPS scale than employees who do not try to cover performance inefficiencies.
H2: Employees who use impression management strategies to cover performance
inefficiencies are more likely to score their organization lower on the Silverman et al.
IOPS scale than an employee who does not attempt to cover performance inefficiencies.
Burn-out and Work-Family Conflict
Burnout is another reason organizations should be concerned with employees working
past five. Scholars perceive burnout to be the negative end of the burnout-engagement
continuum (Maslach & Leiter, 2008). Workplace burnout is a psychological syndrome that
appears to result from job stress (Maslach & Leiter, 2008). Engagement is “an energetic state of
involvement with personally fulfilling activities that enhance one’s sense of professional
efficacy” (Maslach & Leiter, 2008, p. 498). Research shows that Individuals and organizations
are concerned with the effects of burnout (Malash & Goldberg, 1998). Some researchers believe
that the principal antecedents of burnout are role ambiguity, the complexity of modern
organizations, the increasingly rapid rate of organizational change, and restrictive managerial
policies that thwart information sharing (Kahn, Wolfe, R.P. Quinn, & Snoek, 1964). Burnout
related to job stress might lead to poor physical health, diminished psychological well-being, job
dissatisfaction, low organizational commitment, absenteeism, turnover, and decreased job
performance (Kahn & Byosiere, 1992; Maslach & Leiter, 2008; Sauter & Murphy, 1995).
Higher levels of exhaustion and increased workloads have also been related to burnout.
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The effects of burnout on organizational performance have been well documented in the
literature. In one study, scholars have attributed burnout being the reason that the longer mental
health workers worked in the field, the less they liked working with their patients, the less
success they perceived they were having with them, and the diminished humanistic attitudes the
workers had toward mental illnesses (Pines & Maslach, 1978). Similar detachment and burnout
outcomes have been found in research using daycare workers, counselors, educators (Pines &
Maslach, 1980), and law enforcement officers (Gaines & Jermier, 1983).
Higher work-family conflict (WFC) has also been linked to increased emotional
exhaustion, which is a key determinant of burnout (Thompson, Brough, & Schmidt, 2006). An
employee experiences WFC when pressures from work and family responsibilities conflict with
one another (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). WFC has been found to be positively related to the
number of hours an employee works. As employees worked longer hours, they reported more
problems with WFC (Grzywacz & Marks, 2000). Other scholars have found WFC to be
negatively related to flexible scheduling and managerial support (Bernas & Major, 2000). In
contrast, flexible scheduling was found to be positively related to WFC for teachers (Cinamon,
Rich, & Westman, 2007). As a result, the authors concluded that the effect of flexible
scheduling on WFC differs across occupations. In another study, nurses who worked longer
hours as a result of downsizing reported significantly higher levels of emotional exhaustion,
cynicism, and WFC than before the downsize and increased workloads (Burke & Greenglass,
2001).
Constantly engaging in impression management might drain psychological resources
(Vohs, Baumeister, & Ciarocco, 2005). This can lead to perceptions of higher levels of
exhaustion and work overload. Whether or not an employee’s workload is actually greater than
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his or her co-workers, if he or she is working past five as an impression management strategy, he
or she might perceive that his or her workload is greater. Likewise, he or she is likely to report
higher levels of exhaustion. In addition, an employee who spends longer hours than most at
work will naturally have less time to devote to familial responsibilities. Therefore, it is likely
that employees who spend longer hours at work will report greater WFC than employees who do
not spend long hours at work. To this end, impression management strategies that an employee
use to cover a performance inefficiency might increase the likelihood that the employee suffer
from burnout and/or WFC which will also have negative impacts on an organization. Such a
scenario presents another reason why a supervisor might be wise to investigate why some
employees are staying at work longer than others.
H3a: Employees who work past five as an impression management strategy to cover a
performance inefficiency will perceive their workload to be greater than their co-workers.
H3b: Employees who work past five as an impression management strategy to cover a
performance inefficiency will report higher levels of exhaustion/burnout than employees
who do not.
H3c: Employees who work past five as an impression management strategy to cover a
performance inefficiency will report higher levels of WFC than employees who do not.
Methodology
Participants
The sample will consist of professionals in the teaching, legal, managerial, and
accounting fields. Professionals in these fields will be asked to participate in a study dealing
with burnout and work-family conflict. Organizational leaders within each field will be asked
permission to survey its employees. For example, a superintendent will be asked if teachers,
principals, and guidance counselors can be survey across a certain number of schools that would
be chosen randomly. The same procedure will occur at law firms, companies, and accounting
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firms. Demographic variables such as age, race, sex, educational level, and organizational tenure
will be collected from the participants.
Measures
Participants will fill out Silverman et al. (2005) Individual and Organizational Precursors
Scale that comes with a scoring guide. The five individual and organizational precursors are
scored on a 5 point Likert-type scale. A sample item for awareness on the Individual Scale for a
1 is “Little awareness of areas that need to be changed” and a 5 is “Highly aware of areas that
need to be changed.” A total score of 6-14 will indicate an unaware employee, 15-22 a
developing employee, and 23-30 (the best) and enlightened employee. A sample item for formal
individual growth opportunities on the organizational precursors scale for a 1 is “Provides few
development and learning opportunities for employees” and a 5 is “Organizational priority is one
of creating a culture of continual development and learning opportunities.” A total score of 6-14
will indicate a static organization, 15-22 a developing organization, and 23-30 a learningoriented organization.
For supervisors and employees in the same workgroup, they will be given a list of codes
that correspond to their subordinates and co-workers and will be asked to identify and rate up to
3 employees in their workgroup whom they feel works longer hours than most other employees
using the IOPS (Individual) scale. Official supervisor performance data will also be collected on
each employee.
Participants will be asked to write down how many hours they work a week. Participants
will also write down how many extra hours they spend at work (that is not compensated).
Participants will also be asked to write down how many more or fewer hours he or she spends in
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the as opposed to his or her co-workers. Participants will also be asked on a 5 point Likert-type
where 1 is strongly disagree, 2 is disagree, 3 neither agree nor disagree, 4 is agree, 5 is strongly
agree. “I spend little time at work.” “I spend a lot of time at work.” “I spend more time at work
than my co-workers.” “My co-workers spend more time at work than I do.” “I am always the
last person to leave the office.” “My co-workers leave the office before I do.” “I remain at work
longer than necessary.” “My co-workers remain at work longer than necessary.” “I leave work
as soon as possible.” “I leave work as soon as I finish my work.” “My co-workers leave work as
soon as possible.” “My co-workers leave work as soon as they finish their work.” “I remain at
work often even after I have finished my work.” “My co-workers remain at work often even
after they have finished their work.” Participants will rate on the following 5 point Likert-type
scale where 1 is a lot fewer, 2 a little fewer, 3, same, 4, a little more, 5, a lot more the following
questions: “Compared to my co-workers, I would rate the number of hours I spend at work to
be.”
Burnout-engagement will be measured with the MBI-GS that measures the three
dimensions of the burnout-engagement continuum: exhaustion—energy, cynicism—
involvement, and inefficacy—efficacy (Schaufeli, Leiter, Maslach, & Jackson, 1996). This is a
16-item scale with example items include, “I feel burned out from my work.” “I feel confident
that I am effective at getting things done” that are rated on a 6-point frequency scale (ranging
from never to daily). Burnout is determined from higher scores on exhaustion and cynicism and
lower scores on efficacy while the reverse is true for engagement.
The six items from the Areas of Worklife Scale (AWS) measure will be used to measure
work overload (Leiter & Maslach, 2000). The scale contains 29 items that provide distinct
scores for each area of worklife: workload (6), control (3), reward (4), community (5), fairness
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(6), and values (5). Example items include, “I have enough time to do what’s important in my
job.” Respondents will rate their degree to agreement with the statements on a 5-point Likerttype scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree), through 3 (hard to decide), to 5 (strongly agree).
The Cronbach’s alpha for workload is .70.
WFC is measured using a four-item scale with responses made on a 5-point Likert-type
scale where 1=strongly agree, 3=neither agree nor disagree, 5=strongly agree (Parasuraman,
Purohit, Godshalk, & Beutell, 1996). The Cronbach’s alpha is .73. A sample item is, “My work
takes up time that I would like to spend with family and friends”.
Organizational commitment will be measured using a 6-item commitment scale (Meyer,
Allen, & Smith, 1993). The scale ranges from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree). A
sample item from the scale is, “This company has a great deal of personal meaning to me.”
Analysis
I will use hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to analyze my data since I have data that is
nested. HLM is a multi-level regression analysis (Osbourne, 2000). Also for the questions that I
made up, I will perform an exploratory factor analysis using maximum likelihood and a direct
oblimin rotation to determine which questions load on each factor. Questions that load highly on
the correct factor will be kept while questions that load lowly will be dropped. A reliability
assessment will be conducted on all scales as well.
Experimental Design
Based on the nature of the research questions, the appropriate design for this model is a
correlational research design. Correlational research involves observing two or more variables
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and determining if a relation exists between them (Bordens & Abbott, 1999). Because I am not
using an experimental design and am not using an experimental design nor experimental
manipulations, causal inferences cannot be made using my results. This design also presents
itself to a number of problems such as not being able to rule out alternative explanations and
failing to know the direction of the relationship (Bordens & Abbott, 1999). However,
correlational research has been found useful in exploratory studies, when manipulating
variables of interests are impossible or unethical, and when one wants to know how naturally
occurring variables relate in the real world (Bordens & Abbott, 1999). It can also be strengthen
if measures are taken at different times. As such, I will survey my respondents three different
times: once at the beginning of the study, another six months into the study, and again after a
year.
In addition, correlational designs suffer from a variety of threats to internal validity such
as history, maturation, testing, instrumentation, statistical regression, biased selection of subjects,
and experimental mortality.
I will attempt to control for history by asking respondents to state, if any, important
events—out-of-the-ordinary could have happen to them either in their personal life or work life
that may have altered their responses. If any are present, I will compare them to co-workers to
see if others have also experienced those events. I will do the same as a method of controlling
for maturation. In addition, however, I will ask employees to write down any additional training
they or co-workers have obtained that directly relates to their doing their job within 6 months of
starting the study and throughout the study. To control for instrumentation, the same measures
will be used at all times. Statistical regression and bias in selection will be controlled by
surveying all employees from a work area and then taking a random sample of those employees
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and evaluating their data. To control for experimental mortality, employee data will only be
included if survey data are completed at all three times of the study.
External validity will be enhanced by sampling professionals across different occupations
such as teaching, legal, and managerial so that generalizability can be established.
Conclusions
Provided that I find significant results for my hypotheses, I feel that this paper will
advance researchers’ and practitioners’ knowledge of reasons why some employees work longer
hours than others. Many regard working long hours as a positive contribution to a company
citing behaviors such as high organizational commitment, good work ethic, and loyalty. This
paper seeks to reveal occasions when impression management strategies are used to hide
performance inefficiencies as the reason why some employees work longer hours than others.
Future research can address how working longer hours as an impression management strategy
relate to organizational justice perceptions in teams, organizational citizenship behaviors, and
counterproductive work behaviors.
Commitment or Inefficiency
21
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