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DESIGN, VALIDITY, AND USE OF STRATEGICALLY FOCUSED EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEYS

B. Schneider, Steven D. Ashworth, A. Higgs, L. Carr
Published 1996 · Psychology

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This paper presents logic, procedures, validity, and use of employee attitude surveys targeted on strategic objectives of the firm. The logic is that employees at the front line are in an optimal position to report on the degree to which strategic initiatives are being carried out. The procedure is to design survey questions that focus on the initiative rather than on employees' personal feelings or satisfaction. To validate employee reports, the relationships between those reports and customer satisfaction over four quarters of the use of the survey are shown. Evidence shows that the logical and empirical keying of employee surveys to strategic initiatives and objectives of the firm provide data of immediate use to management, in the present case to both marketing and human resources management. By the 1930s employee attitude surveys were being frequently used in business to assess and document employee morale. History shows that, with the advent of the Thurstone procedure for attitude assessment (Thurstone & Chave, 1929), the large scale assessment of attitudes, both at work and elsewhere, took hold. Tiffin in 1942 noted that (p. 318): Until recently, management attempted to keep in touch with the morale of the working force only through such factors as chance remarks by employees, appearance and behavior of men [sic] at work, and occasional reports by supervisors. These methods were none too satisfactory.... [I]f morale is to be gauged or measured, means must be found to encourage employees to express their honest feelings and reactions. The most satisfactory method of doing this is by means of an anonymous attitude survey or labor audit.
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