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J Appl Psychol. 2003 Oct;88(5):836-51.

Which comes first: employee attitudes or organizational financial and market performance?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Employee attitude data from 35 companies over 8 years were analyzed at the organizational level of analysis against financial (return on assets; ROA) and market performance (earnings per share: EPS) data using lagged analyses permitting exploration of priority in likely causal ordering. Analyses revealed statistically significant and stable relationships across various time lags for 3 of 7 scales. Overall Job Satisfaction and Satisfaction With Security were predicted by ROA and EPS more strongly than the reverse (although some of the reverse relationships were also significant); Satisfaction With Pay suggested a more reciprocal relationship with ROA and EPS. The discussion of results provides a preliminary framework for understanding issues surrounding employee attitudes, high-performance work practices, and organizational financial and market performance.

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