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1
How Can We Get Employees to Work By Themselves?
The Effects of Autonomous Work Environment and Positive
Psychological Ca...
2
A TENSION BETWEEN SUBORDINATE AND
SUPERVISOR
Subordinates want
more autonomy to
address frontline or
local demands.
Supe...
3
A REAL VOICE FROM FIELD
“You can lead a horse to water,
but you can’t make him drink.”
(A quote from a manager at a Kore...
4
ENGINEER ‘HAN’ CASE
• In depth telephone interviews with 9 engineers at a R&D team of a large Korean manufacturing compa...
5
DEMAND FOR SELF-DIRECTED EMPLOYEE
Self-directed employees are the key resource to make
continual organizational successe...
6
RESPONSES TO THE DEMAND
Recently many corporations introduce and implement
‘Autonomy Supporting Human Resource Practices...
7
PROBLEM
Work Environment or Person Problem?
Motivating employees to have high self-
directed behavior (SDB)?
Work enviro...
8
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
According to the Kurt Lewin’s Field theory, human behavior is a
function of environment and person...
9
RESEARCH QUESTION
Overarching research question:
To what extent do employee perceived autonomous
work environment (E) an...
10
HYPOTHESES
H1: Employees who perceive a high level of autonomous
work environment exhibit a high level of self-directed...
11
NEED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL STUDY
Need to know SDB in various
work contexts
1. Standard work processes
(little work flexi...
12
POPULATION & SAMPLE
Method
The target population for this study was employees in large Korean
automotive parts manufact...
13
Method
MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENT
Measure
Variable/
Instrument
# of items
(total 105+)
English Version Reliability
(Cronbac...
14
DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURE
Two written surveys (Subordinates, Supervisor) printed,
packed, distributed, collected, codif...
15
DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY
Multiple statistical analysis techniques were used to
test proposed hypotheses.
Method
Confirmat...
16
MEASUREMENT AND VALIDITY ISSUES
Prior to conducting further analyses, measurement
validity was examine.
Autonomous Work...
17
DEMOGRPHIC INFORMATION OF SAMPLE
Participants were generally highly educated and
experienced male technical experts in ...
18
A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA ANALYSIS
Subordinate Dependent Variable (SDB) Supervisor Dependent Variable (SDB)
SubordinateIndep...
19
SUMMARY OF DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS RESULTS
Result
 Supervisors had higher PsyCap and SDB than subordinates. But there
was...
20
SUMMARY OF HYPOTHESIS TEST RESULTS
Domain 1 Domain 2 Domain 3 Domain 4
H1 (AWE®SDB) S S S NS
H1a (Autonomy
supporting)
...
22
Domain 1: Domain 2:
Domain 4: Domain 3:
MEDIATION EFFECT ANALYSIS
According to the Sobel test results, PsyCap mediated ...
24
GENERAL CONCLUSIONS
Providing a high level of AWE is not sufficient to get employees to
have a high level of SDB becaus...
25
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS
• Give a clear goal, and Delegate more decision powers to
employees (Leadership than Micromanage...
26
FUTURE RESEARCH
Extensive work
environment
factors
• Macro level:
sociopolitical conditions,
labor market changes,
nati...
27
FINAL REMARKS
Discussion
Without nurturing the positive psychological capital, the
autonomy supporting management pract...
28
29
MEASUREMENT AND VALIDITY ISSUES
Prior to conducting data analyses, data validity was
examined by using CFA. A few measu...
30
VALIDITY ISSUES
Result
31
DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS (4/7)
MEAN, SD, CORRELATIONS, AND RELIABILITIES OF OBSERVED
VARIABLES OF SUBORDINATES (DOMAIN 1 & ...
32
DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS (5/7)
MEAN, SD, CORRELATIONS, AND RELIABILITIES OF OBSERVED
VARIABLES OF SUPERVISOR (DOMAIN 3 & 4)...
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Research on "How can we get employees to work by themselves?".

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Award winning research (The Best Paper Award, BAASANA International Conference 2014 @ New Jersey).

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Research on "How can we get employees to work by themselves?".

  1. 1. 1 How Can We Get Employees to Work By Themselves? The Effects of Autonomous Work Environment and Positive Psychological Capital on Self-Directed Employee Behavior Jeonghwan Choi, PhD, MBA, ME Human Resource Development University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 2014
  2. 2. 2 A TENSION BETWEEN SUBORDINATE AND SUPERVISOR Subordinates want more autonomy to address frontline or local demands. Supervisors demand more self-directed employee behavior. • Email interviews & Telephone interview with 33 employees from 18 companies in 6 different countries. • Interview protocol: What is the most important thing to achieve a high performance? • Computer Aided Qualitative Data Analysis System (CAQDAS, Atlas.ti) technique was applied to draw a theme. • Self-directed employee participation/engagement in work emerged as a critical theme. What is the most important thing for you to achieve a high performance?
  3. 3. 3 A REAL VOICE FROM FIELD “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” (A quote from a manager at a Korean Automotive Manufacturing Company) “Employees’ self-directed participation in work is the most important thing to achieve a high performance.” (A quote from a director at a Korean Automotive Parts Manufacturing Company) Introduction How can we get employees to work by themselves?
  4. 4. 4 ENGINEER ‘HAN’ CASE • In depth telephone interviews with 9 engineers at a R&D team of a large Korean manufacturing company • Interview protocol: “How to get people work to address a technical problem by themselves?” • Engineers indicated “Han” as the most self-directed employee. Bring new ideas Taking initiative Redesigning tasks even if it is not required Going against general procedures if he think it helps achieving team/org goals
  5. 5. 5 DEMAND FOR SELF-DIRECTED EMPLOYEE Self-directed employees are the key resource to make continual organizational successes in recent quickly changing business environments. Work nature change Technology advancement Globalization Continual Organizational Successes Introduction
  6. 6. 6 RESPONSES TO THE DEMAND Recently many corporations introduce and implement ‘Autonomy Supporting Human Resource Practices’ (Google 20% rule, 3M 15% rule, Result-Only-Work-Environment). Google employees can spend one day a week working on their own projects that are not necessarily in the job description. In ROWE system, employees can decide how they work, when they work, and where they work, all by themselves. 3M allows employees to spend 15% of their time on individual research or initiative. But not all business organizations have been able to reap the benefits of the management practice! Why? Introduction
  7. 7. 7 PROBLEM Work Environment or Person Problem? Motivating employees to have high self- directed behavior (SDB)? Work environment? Personal characteristics? Introduction
  8. 8. 8 THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK According to the Kurt Lewin’s Field theory, human behavior is a function of environment and person. Bandura’s social learning theory indicated that human behavior changes through the self- regulation process that comes from continual interactions with personal factors and environmental influences. Introduction [P] Developable Personal Factor [E] Environmental Influences at Work [B] Human Behavior B = f (E, P) Perception of Autonomy from Self-determination theory PsyCap from Positive Organizational Behavior theory Self-directed behavior from Self-leadership theory
  9. 9. 9 RESEARCH QUESTION Overarching research question: To what extent do employee perceived autonomous work environment (E) and personal psychological capital (P) relate to self-directed behavior? Four hypotheses were formulated and tested. Introduction Self-determination Theory Positive Organizational Behavior theory Self-leadership Theory
  10. 10. 10 HYPOTHESES H1: Employees who perceive a high level of autonomous work environment exhibit a high level of self-directed behavior. H2: Employees who have a high level of positive psychological capital (PsyCap) exhibit a high level of self- directed behavior. H3: Employees who perceive a high level of autonomous work environment have a high level of positive psychological capital (PsyCap). H4: The level of employee’s personal psychological capital (PsyCap) mediates the relationship between employee’s perceived autonomous work environment and self-directed behavior. Hypothesis for individual level study H3 H1 H2 PsyCap AWE SDB H4 Introduction
  11. 11. 11 NEED FOR AN INTERNATIONAL STUDY Need to know SDB in various work contexts 1. Standard work processes (little work flexibility): Manufacturing. 2. Hierarchical, collective, risk avoidant culture: Asian countries. A study was necessary to cultivate new knowledge and better understanding about SDB in terms of autonomous work environment and psychological capital in the non-western workplace. Introduction
  12. 12. 12 POPULATION & SAMPLE Method The target population for this study was employees in large Korean automotive parts manufacturing companies. 670 surveys were distributed at six large Korean automotive parts manufacturing companies. 489 (73%) employees participated in the study. 331 datasets (288 subordinates; 43 supervisor) were analyzed after matching and screening. Highly collectivistic, hierarchical, and uncertainty avoidant culture Equivalent work structure and work process (e.g. QS-9000 or ISO-9001 Certificated) Korean automotive parts manufacturing industry has sustainably grown in global economy Individualistic and uncertainty tolerate culture Flexible and flat organizational structure US service industry (Bank, Education, Healthcare) A B C D E F Confidential Confidential Confide ntial Confide ntial Confide ntial Western/US
  13. 13. 13 Method MEASUREMENT INSTRUMENT Measure Variable/ Instrument # of items (total 105+) English Version Reliability (Cronbach ‘s alpha) Sources Korean Version Reliability of this study (Cronbach ‘s alpha) Autonomy supporting WCQ 15 .92 ~ .96 Baard et al. (2004) .83 ~ .86 Psychological safety PsySafe 7 .82 Edmondson (1999), Kim (2007), Zhang (2011) .84 ~ .86 Supervisor perspective Leader- member exchange SLMX- MDM 12 .90 Greguras and Ford (2006) .86 Subordinate perspective Leader- member exchange LMX- MDM 12 .92 Greguras and Ford (2006) .83 Psychological Capital (PsyCap) PCQ-12 12 .88 Luthans et al. (2007), Park (2010) .81~.86 Self-directed behavior SDB 4 .90 Stewart (1996), Bono et al. (2003) .82~.87 Demographic information Age, gender, job, education tenure 5 - - - AWEPsyCapSDB
  14. 14. 14 DATA COLLECTION PROCEDURE Two written surveys (Subordinates, Supervisor) printed, packed, distributed, collected, codified, input, and stored. Method IRB approval [ UIUC #5094, 46.101(b)2] Recruiting organizations 6 companies gave agreement letters Survey distribution Supervisors put the information Supervisors seal the survey in an envelope Supervisor return the sealed envelope to researcher Codify supervisor information Codify subordinate information Subordinates return the sealed envelope to researcher Subordinates seal the survey in an envelope Subordinate put the information Destroy all identifiable data Store code book and consent letters in a secure place Data matching & screening Confidential Confidential Researcher Organization Supervisors Subordinates
  15. 15. 15 DATA ANALYSIS STRATEGY Multiple statistical analysis techniques were used to test proposed hypotheses. Method Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), Cronbach’s alpha Descriptive analysis (Mean, Standard deviation, Pearson’s correlation coefficient) Simple OLS, Sobel Test, Structural Equation Modeling Measurement validity & reliability Characteristics of respondents? Effects of AWE and PsyCap on SDB?
  16. 16. 16 MEASUREMENT AND VALIDITY ISSUES Prior to conducting further analyses, measurement validity was examine. Autonomous Work Environment Measure : • Applied short version of autonomy supporting (6 items from 15) • Removed four items from psychological safety (originally 7 items measure) • Four dimensional (Affect; Loyalty; Contribution; Professional respect) LMX-MDM measure showed a good validity. Psychological Capital Measure : • Four dimensional (Self-efficacy; Hope; Resiliency; Optimism) PsyCap measure showed a good validity. Self-directed Behavior Measure : • Item 4 (Going against established rules, policies and procedure if you can draw a better performance) was removed for low factor loading. Remark: Personality (Big Five) measure also showed a good validity (factor loading ranged .584 - .708) Result
  17. 17. 17 DEMOGRPHIC INFORMATION OF SAMPLE Participants were generally highly educated and experienced male technical experts in automotive part manufacturing industry. Subordinate (N=288) : • Average age: 34.7 years old • Average tenure years: 5.8 years • 90% are males • 65% graduated four- year or graduate college Supervisor (N=43) : • Average age: 44.7 years old • Average tenure year: 14.2 years • 100% males • 64% graduated four- year or graduate college Result Remarks: CAN THIS SAMPLE REPRESENT THE POPULATION? YES, BUT… Automotive parts manufacturing industry takes the largest proportion (39.9%) of employment in the S. Korean automotive industry. Demographic characteristics of the sample resembled the Korean automotive industry population (N = 721,368). However, the high education level of the sample might indicate a potential non-respondent bias (office workers rather than line workers because of limited accessibility to unionized line workers).
  18. 18. 18 A FRAMEWORK FOR DATA ANALYSIS Subordinate Dependent Variable (SDB) Supervisor Dependent Variable (SDB) SubordinateIndependent Variable(AWE,PsyCap) Domain 1 (n=233): Subordinate self-reported SDB = f (Subordinate AWE, PsyCap) Domain 2 (n=233): Supervisor rated subordinate’s SDB = f (Subordinate AWE, PsyCap) SupervisorIndependent Variables(AWE,PsyCap) Domain 4 (n=43): Subordinate rated (aggregated) supervisor’s SDB = f (Supervisor AWE, PsyCap ) Domain 3 (n=43): Supervisor self-reported SDB = f (Supervisor AWE, PsyCap, Big 5) Four study domains were constructed by roles (subordinates vs. supervisor) and data sources (self- reported vs. counterpart rated). Result
  19. 19. 19 SUMMARY OF DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS RESULTS Result  Supervisors had higher PsyCap and SDB than subordinates. But there was no mean difference of perception of AWE between subordinates and supervisors.  High correlations among key variables were found in Domain 1 and 3 (Self-reported data) while weak or non-significant correlations were found in Domain 2 and 4 (Counterpart-rated data). This finding might reveal the common method variance issue – overlapping variability due to data was collected from a single source (Podsakoff et al, 2003).  Control variables (Demographic and Personality variables) were not included in further statistical analyses because no significant correlation was found in counterpart rated SDB (Domain 2, 4). Key Findings from Descriptive Analysis
  20. 20. 20 SUMMARY OF HYPOTHESIS TEST RESULTS Domain 1 Domain 2 Domain 3 Domain 4 H1 (AWE®SDB) S S S NS H1a (Autonomy supporting) S S S S H1b (Psychological safety) S NS S NS H1c (LMX) S S NS S H2 (PsyCap ®SDB) S S S NS H2a (Self-efficacy) S S S NS H2b (Hope) S S S NS H2c (Optimism) S NS S NS H2d (Resiliency) S NS S NS H3 (AWE ® PsyCap) S S S S H4 (Mediation of PsyCap for AWE) S NS S NS Result  Overall, positive effects of AWE and PsyCap on SDB (H1-H3) were found in Domain 1 and 3 while the effects were weak or none in Domain 2 and 4.  The positive PsyCap significantly mediated the relation between AWE and SDB in Domain 1 and 3, but not in Domain 2 and 4 Key Findings from Hypotheses Testing
  21. 21. 22 Domain 1: Domain 2: Domain 4: Domain 3: MEDIATION EFFECT ANALYSIS According to the Sobel test results, PsyCap mediated the relationship between AWE and self-rating SDB (Domain 1 & 3). But mediation effects of PsyCap were not found when counterpart rated SDB were used (Domain 2 & 4). Subordinate Self-SDB PsyCap AWE = .586** p <.001 = -.139 p =.053 = .875** p <.001 Supervisor rated SDB PsyCap AWE = .586** p <.001 = .086 p = .336 = .130 p = .144 Subordinates (team) rated SDB PsyCap AWE = .697** p <.001 = .209 p = .378 = .202 p = .357 Supervisor self SDB PsyCap AWE = .697** p <.001 = -.003 p = .988 = 1.01** p <.001 Note: Coefficients are unstandardized values. * p < .05; ** p < .01 Coefficient p Indirect effect (Sobel) .513** < .001 Direct effect - .139 .053 Total effect .374** < .001 Coefficient p Indirect effect (Sobel) .076 .147 Direct effect .086 .336 Total effect .163* .025 Coefficient p Indirect effect (Sobel) 704** < .001 Direct effect -.003 .988 Total effect .700** < .001 Coefficient p Indirect effect (Sobel) .141 .364 Direct effect .209 .378 Total effect .350 .053 Result
  22. 22. 24 GENERAL CONCLUSIONS Providing a high level of AWE is not sufficient to get employees to have a high level of SDB because employee’s personal PsyCap significantly mediates the relationship between AWE and SDB. Personal PsyCap The effects of AWE and PsyCap on SDB differ by roles (Subordinates < Supervisor) Data source variation The effects of AWE and PsyCap on SDB differ by data sources. (Self-reporting >> Counterpart evaluation). This results indicate the perceptual incongruence about SDB between subordinate and supervisor. Data Source Need to consider the cultural and industrial variation of SDB (i.e. The measurement item of Going against established rules failed in showing sufficient validity) Culture / Industry Discussion
  23. 23. 25 PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS • Give a clear goal, and Delegate more decision powers to employees (Leadership than Micromanagement). • Institutionalize the self-directed behavior as a key performance index (KPI) in performance appraisal system. • Provide the PsyCap training program or intervention. • Be skillful in giving positive and developmental feedback or performance appraisal to their subordinates. • Take responsibility in developing and sustaining personal positive PsyCap (Participating training programs and Self- directed learning). The researcher suggests several practical implications to promote self- directed employee behavior for organizational leaders, HR managers, Supervisors, and Subordinates to promote self-directed employee behavior. Discussion
  24. 24. 26 FUTURE RESEARCH Extensive work environment factors • Macro level: sociopolitical conditions, labor market changes, national culture, organizational culture • Micro level: work types, customer characteristics, non-work social interactions Extensive person factors • Demographic characteristics (age) • Personality (conscientiousness?) Extensive multilevel studies • Team level effects (two-level) • Organizational effects? (Three levels) Extensive generalizabilit y • Industrial comparative study (MFG, ICT, Services, NPO) • International comparative study (Korea, US, Germany?) This study Discussion
  25. 25. 27 FINAL REMARKS Discussion Without nurturing the positive psychological capital, the autonomy supporting management practice would not work well in promoting self-directed employee behavior. This study is a stepping stone for further research aiming to develop self-directed employees. Clear goal and more decision powers to supervisors Institutionalize self-directed behavior Provide autonomous work environment Develop positive psychological capital
  26. 26. 28
  27. 27. 29 MEASUREMENT AND VALIDITY ISSUES Prior to conducting data analyses, data validity was examined by using CFA. A few measurement data were modified. Measure Validity issue Solution Autonomy supporting Not surpassed fit criteria (RMSEA, CFI, TLI) Item 13 had a poor factor loading (.467) Used the short version of measurement instrument Psychological safety Not surpassed fit criteria (CFI, TLI) Item 1, 3, 6, 7 had poor factor loadings (< .60) Removed problematic items Self-directed behavior Item 4 had significantly poor factor loadings ( .185~.480) Removed the item 4 Result
  28. 28. 30 VALIDITY ISSUES Result
  29. 29. 31 DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS (4/7) MEAN, SD, CORRELATIONS, AND RELIABILITIES OF OBSERVED VARIABLES OF SUBORDINATES (DOMAIN 1 & 2) All observed variables had acceptable ranges of reliability. Seven independent variables are significantly correlated to subordinate self- reported SDB (Domain 1). But the correlations between subordinates’ perceptions and supervisor-rated SDB are weak or not statistically significant (Domain 2). Result
  30. 30. 32 DESCRIPTIVE ANALYSIS (5/7) MEAN, SD, CORRELATIONS, AND RELIABILITIES OF OBSERVED VARIABLES OF SUPERVISOR (DOMAIN 3 & 4) Result All observed variables had acceptable ranges of reliability. Seven independent variables are significantly correlated to supervisor self- reported SDB (Domain 3). But the correlations between supervisors’ perceptions and supervisor-rated SDB are weak or not statistically significant (Domain 4).

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