THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING AND CHANGING EMPLOYEE OUTCOME EXPECTANCIES FOR GAINING COMMITMENT TO AN ORGANIZATIONAL GOAL

Authors


  • Preparation of this paper was funded in part through a SSHRC grant. Portions of this paper were presented to the XXVII International Congress of Psychology, Stockholm, Sweden, 2000.

and requests for reprints should be addressed to Gary P. Latham, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3E6; latham@rotman.utoronto.ca.

Abstract

Senior management and the union executive committee of a forest products company set an organizational goal to reduce theft from approximately a million dollars a year to zero. Salaried and hourly employees, selected at random, were interviewed regarding their outcome expectancies for honest and dishonest behavior. The responses were categorized within a 2 × 2 empathy box (honest/dishonest behavior vs. positive/negative outcome expectancies) to allow the organization's leadership to understand from the employee's perspective why there was so much theft. This information was subsequently used to alter employee outcome expectancies which, in turn, changed behavior. Theft dropped to near zero.

Ancillary