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my topic is communication in Business/Management, and this is a Literature Review Project.

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The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 24, No. 2, January 2013, 352–371 Employee performance management culture and system features in higher education: relationship with employee performance management satisfaction Adelien Decramer*, Carine Smolders and Alex Vanderstraeten Faculty of Business Administration and Public Administration, University College Ghent, Ghent, Belgium Little is known about the satisfaction with employee performance management systems in higher education institutions. In this study, we contribute to this field by focussing on the alignment features of employee performance management systems, on communication related to these systems and on control tightness in the academic unit. An important contribution to the literature is the adoption of an integrated approach to employee performance management in higher education institutions. Employee performance management system features and satisfaction result from a survey to which 589 employees of a Flemish University contributed. Separate estimations are done for different tenure types of academics. The estimation results show that a higher level of internally consistent employee performance management systems, more communication and tighter control are associated with higher academic employee performance management satisfaction. The study also reveals that employee performance management satisfaction depends on the tenure type, suggesting that a diversified employee performance management policy should be considered in universities. Keywords: communication; control tightness; employee performance management systems; higher education; internal consistency; satisfaction; vertical alignment Introduction This article focuses on employee performance management systems in a university context. The study explores the relationships between the characteristics of an employee performance management system for research activities in higher education institutions and the perceived satisfaction of academic employees with this system. This study aims at contributing to the understanding of the outcomes of employee performance management systems in the particular context of higher education. In the last decade, the climate of higher education has been described as a ‘turbulent environment’ (Middlehurst 2002). Several economic and political crises have had an impact on higher education institutions. Higher education institutions have been confronted with issues of expansion, decentralisation and financial pressures (Smeenk, Teelken, Eisinga and Doorewaard 2009). In addition, these issues have been accompanied by societal demands of accountability, efficiency and effectiveness (Chan 2001; Pollitt and Bouckaert 2004). The changing environment has pressured higher education institutions to seek ways to more actively manage their employees in order to meet with these requirements. *Corresponding author. Email: ISSN 0958-5192 print/ISSN 1466-4399 online q 2013 Taylor & Francis The International Journal of Human Resource Management 353 At the same time, ‘managerialism’ has permeated into the management of universities (Deem 1998; Ferlie, Musselin and Andresani 2008). As a response, many higher education institutions have attempted – either voluntary or under pressure – to adopt new management systems originally designed to meet the needs of business or private sector organisations (Smeenk et al. 2009). Among these new management tools, employee performance management systems are adopted by many higher education institutions in Europe (Brennan and Shah 2000; Middlehurst 2004; Ferlie et al. 2008; Decramer, Smolders, Vanderstraeten and Christiaens 2012). Employee performance management is a ‘continuous process of identifying, measuring and developing the employee performance of individuals and teams and aligning employee performance with the strategic goals of the organisation’ (Aguinis and Pierce 2008, p. 139). There is a clear link between human resource management (HRM) and employee performance management. Taking an employee performance management approach involves aligning HRM practices in such a way that they maximise current as well as future employee performance, which in turn is expected to affect organisational employee performance (den Hartog, Boselie and Paauwe 2004). There is a consensus in the literature that strategic HRM has a significant positive impact upon an organisations’ employee performance (Delery and Doty 1996; Ichniowski, Kochan, Levine, Olson and Strauss 1996). HRM scholars have examined this relationship between HRM and organisational employee performance. According to the causal model commonly accepted in the literature, employee performance management practices are thought to lead to the development of a skilled workforce, which engages in behaviour functional for the organisation (Wright, Dunford and Snell 2001). This results in increased operating employee performance, which ultimately should result in higher output (Boselie, Paauwe and Jansen 2001; Boxall, Purcell and Wright 2007). More specifically, research points out that HR practices and systems have been positively associated with employee well-being and organisational performance (Veld, Boselie and Paauwe 2010; Van de Voorde, Paauwe and Van Veldhoven 2011), also in public sector organisations (Gould-Williams 2004). HRM policies and systems, and as such employee performance management systems, should ultimately result in lower employee absence, higher satisfaction, greater willingness to stay with the organisation and higher effort. These HRM outcomes have been emphasised in many of the main HRM – employee performance models that have been presented, developed and tested in the literature over the past 20 years (Paauwe 2009). Satisfaction of academic employees could mediate the relationships between HRM practices, antecedents and the quality of job employee performances (Paauwe and Richardson 1997). The reason why we choose to examine the HRM outcome ‘satisfaction’ is fivefold. The HRM outcome ‘satisfaction’ explains most of the variance in the academic unit’s (research group or department) employee performance (Stolte-Heiskanen 1979). Second, there is general consensus among researchers and practitioners that the assessment of employee performance management reactions is important (Kuvaas 2006). It is argued that the knowledge of perceptions towards employee performance management can improve the understanding of effectiveness of employee performance management (Wright and Boswell 2002; Liao, Toya, Lepak and Hong 2009). Research has primarily focused on managerial reports of the use of HRM and employee performance management ignoring individual employees’ actual experiences with these systems (Lepak, Liao, Chung and Harden 2006). Paauwe (2009) argues that employee perceptions have to be considered when examining the relationship between HRM and various kinds of both 354 A. Decramer et al. individual- and organisational-level outcomes. Third, strategic HRM research has predominantly taken a macro-level approach and focused on the establishment or firm-level outcomes. To date, there is a ‘dearth of research aimed at understanding how multiple (or systems of) HRM practices impact individuals’ (Wright and Boswell 2002, p. 262). Fourth, the traditional research agenda was based on employee performance appraisal, which is only one element of the system (Murphy and Cleveland 1995). This study widens the concept and uses the employee performance management system as dependent variable, which includes planning, monitoring and evaluation. Finally, much of the foregoing employee performance appraisal studies has been conducted in laboratory settings. This study will widen the concept of employee performance management and tries to link integrated employee performance management systems with the HRM outcome satisfaction in the ‘real-life’ context of higher education institutions. In the next section, we review the literature and present the hypotheses to be tested regarding the relationships among employee performance management systems and perceived satisfaction. This is followed by a discussion of the dataset, the methods of analysis, the results, and some concluding observations concerning the implications of the research for the study and practice of employee performance management in higher education institutions. Theory The study primarily builds on strategic HRM literature (Guest, Conway and Dewe 2004) and employee performance management literature (Fletcher 2001; Armstrong and Baron 2004; den Hartog et al. 2004; DeNisi and Pritchard 2006). In addition, we elaborate on the goal-setting theory (Locke and Latham 1990; Lee, Bobko, Earley and Locke 1991) and the expectancy theory (Vroom 1964). There are many definitions of employee performance management, but in general it is associated with ‘creating a shared vision of the purpose and aims of the organisation, helping each individual employee to understand and recognise their part in contributing to them, and in so doing to manage and enhance the employee performance of both individuals and the organisation’ (Fletcher and Williams 1996, p. 169). Employee performance management has moved from a single HRM practice (employee performance appraisal) to a variety of (HRM) activities through which organisations seek to assess employees and develop their competences, enhance employee performance and distribute rewards (Fletcher 2001; Aguinis and Pierce 2008). Over the past two decades, these systems converted into strategic and integrated processes (Aguinis and Pierce 2008). Proponents of employee performance management assume that this strategic and integrated approach is necessary to achieve sustained organisational success and to develop the capabilities of individuals and wider teams (Bach 2000; Fletcher 2001; Armstrong and Baron 2004; Aguinis and Pierce 2008). This evolution reflects broader trends in HRM (Bach 2005). The alignment between HRM or employee performance management practices and the organisation’s strategy has been labelled ‘vertical fit’ (also strategic fit). The emphasis is on linking individual employee performance appraisal to corporate objectives, ensuring that there is a clear line of sight between organisational and individual requirements (Boswell 2006). In addition to alignment with strategy, researchers in this area have also highlighted the importance of intertwining HRM practices (Arthur 1994; Delery 1998). Goal-setting, monitoring and evaluation (Storey and Sisson 1993) are to be incorporated into a unified and coherent framework meant to align individual employee performance goals with the The International Journal of Human Resource Management 355 organisation’s wider objectives (Williams 2002; Aguinis and Pierce 2008). This horizontal type of alignment (Aguinis and Pierce 2008) indicates the presence of an internally consistent employee performance management system. Our research questions are summarised below. Note that the presumed mechanisms linking employee performance management system features with employee performance management satisfaction are elaborated after these questions. The study concentrates on employees’ satisfaction with the employee performance management system. It investigates whether specific features of this employee performance management system influence the satisfaction with this system in universities. In addition, we examine the relation between the tenure status of the respondents and the satisfaction with the employee performance management system. Four hypotheses were tested. To assess the system approach, (1) we are interested in the impact of the perceived internal consistency of the system on satisfaction (e.g. the integrated approach or horizontal alignment). (2) Next, we measure whether academic employees see how employee goals fit in with organisational planning and objectives (e.g. the strategic feature or vertical alignment) and how this influences their personal appraisal of employee performance management systems. (3) In addition, this study focuses on effective internal communication about employee performance management systems. (4) Are academics more satisfied with employee performance management systems when there is a shared understanding of and continuing dialogue and communication (Tang and SarsfieldBaldwin 1996; Erdogan 2002) about the goals of the academic employee and the standards expected and the competencies needed? Next, satisfaction with the employee performance management system is related to the control tightness of the academic unit of the academic employee (4). In the next paragraphs we further develop the tested hypotheses. Internal consistency of the employee performance management system Strategic HRM research (Boxall and Purcell 2011) argues that it is important to analyse the HRM practices as a coherent system (Guest et al. 2004). The argument for the latter is that HRM practices often complement each other (Ichniowski and Shaw 1999). MacDuffie (1995) has shown that the systemic consideration of practices has a greater impact on different employee performance indicators (outcomes) than the individual, isolated HRM practices. The importance of a system approach is related to the need of employees to have a clear understanding of what the targets are they have to achieve and how these are related to employee performance indicators and rewards. Evaluating employee performance on criteria or achievements that were not made explicit ex-ante will result in employees’ resentment towards employee performance management systems. This was clearly pointed out by the expectancy theory (Vroom 1964). In contrast, goal-setting theory stresses on the need for acceptance by employees of the goals in themselves, so that motivation is more intrinsically based (Latham, Almost, Mann and Moore 2005). Scholars (Bowen and Ostroff 2004) have labelled this as the ‘instrumentality’ feature of HRM systems, which refers to establishing an unambiguous perceived cause – effect relationship in reference to the HRM system’s desired content-focused behaviours and associated employee consequences. Consequently, we consider a set of employee performance management practices, namely goal-setting (i.e. planning), monitoring (i.e. feedback) and evaluation (i.e. appraising). This three-step configuration is recommended by several authors in the field 356 A. Decramer et al. (Ainsworth and Smith 1993; Torrington and Hall 1995; DeNisi 2000; Aguinis and Pierce 2008). Levy, Cawley and Foti (1998) found that knowledge of the system was a significant and positive influence on fairness perceptions. Knowledge of the system can be seen as consisting of a number of elements: clarity about the role of appraisals, understanding of employee performance objectives and acceptance of those objectives. Each of these three dimensions of knowledge adds to an employee’s feelings of process control: employees are aware of why the appraisal is taking place, what they are required to do in order to be successful in the appraisal and the consequences of the appraisal. There will be ‘no surprises’ for the employee during the evaluation, which is likely to contribute to perceptions of fairness (Erdogan 2002). Therefore, we hypothesise that: H1: Academic employees who report a higher level on internal consistency of the employee performance management system will achieve higher employee performance management satisfaction. Vertical alignment of the employee performance management system Employee performance management has shifted from an operational focus to a more strategically oriented concept, i.e. where it plays an integral role in the formulation and implementation of strategy (Armstrong and Baron 2004). Employee performance management seeks to align employee goals and organisational objectives (Fletcher 2001). The alignment of employee and organisational interests, which is defined as vertical or strategic alignment/integration, has recently been examined by authors (Boswell 2006; Claus and Briscoe 2009; van Riel, Berens and Dijkstra 2009). Aligning employees with the organisation’s larger strategic goals is critical if organisations hope to manage their human capital effectively and ultimately attain strategic success (Becker, Huselid and Ulrich 2001). Recent literature has found that an important component of attaining and sustaining this alignment is for employees to have ‘line of sight’ with their organisation’s strategic objectives or ‘strategic aligned behaviour’ (Boswell and Boudreau 2001; Boswell 2006; van Riel et al. 2009). Employees with greater understanding of their organisation’s strategic objectives, and how to contribute to them, should report higher satisfaction with their job, feel greater affective commitment towards the organisation and ultimately desire to stay with the organisation. Line of sight considering the organisation’s strategic objectives should facilitate HRM satisfaction (Boswell 2006). Hence, H2: Academic employees who report a higher level on vertical alignment of the employee performance management system will achieve higher employee performance management satisfaction. Communication The line managers’ discussion of objectives and clarification of employee performance duties with employees is part of the planning or goal-setting phase of the employee performance management system (Findley, Giles and Mossholder 2000). When line managers outline criteria for employee performance and give appraisal notice in advance of employee performance completion, employees feel respected (Findley et al. 2000). Next, managers are encouraged to establish a two-way communication system; identify needs, desires and expectations of employees; assist in achieving their goals; recognise The International Journal of Human Resource Management 357 achievements; give regular feedback; and allow employees’ input. Reinke (2003) reported a positive correlation between the two-way communication: the willingness to improve employee performance and the perceived fairness of the employee performance appraisal. Employee appraisal system satisfaction was correlated with the quality of the appraisal discussion and the degree to which the rating form facilitated feedback (Roberts 2003). Beliefs about fair employee performance management evaluations are based on the procedures by which the evaluations are conducted. This procedural justice (Reinke 2003) perspective on the fairness of the evaluation procedures has been related to several process variables, and many laboratory studies have shown the importance of procedural variables on the perceived fairness of the appraisal (Greenberg 1986). Communication about procedures will have a positive impact on the employee performance management satisfaction (Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin 1996; Cawley, Keeping and Levy 1998). H3: Academic employees who report a higher level of communication about employee performance management will achieve higher employee performance management satisfaction. Control tightness ‘Tight versus loose control’ relates to the emphasis on control of activities. Hofstede (1998) described units that have a tight control culture as being extremely cost conscious. Tight control is also seen as involving extensive and continuous flows of information and ‘an extremely detailed planning, budgeting and reporting system’ (Merchant and Van der Stede 2003, p. 133). In literature, there has been doubt about the extent to which managerialism and control can be imposed on academic employees (Stiles 2004). Some have stressed the difficulties of bringing order into the chaos of collegial control, while others would point to the resistant academic employee ‘whose identity has traditionally been constitute through the twin discourse of academic freedom and professional autonomy’ (Harley and Lee 1997, p. 1430). Within the environment of higher education institution, professionals are at work who are resistant to change (Middlehurst 2004). Management and the implementation of management systems seem to be viewed by them as interference. Pressures from within the university and external sources have been resisted by academics in various ways. In reacting to processes of managerial change, academics have sometimes accommodated, for example to peer review, ignored or circumvented pressures to increase workload and act in autocratic ways, and (re)negotiated, mediated and moderated the harsher effects of the recent managerial changes (Barry, Chandler and Clark 2001). Academic employees with lower academic rank and academic employees without tenure seem more positive about the introduction of ‘Management By Objective’ programmes than those of higher rank who are tenured (Shetty and Carlisle 1974). As such, we assume that the tenure status of the respondents is related to the satisfaction of the employee performance management system. Non-tenured faculty are expected to score a higher level of employee performance management satisfaction than tenured faculty. The significance of tenure to one’s perception of satisfaction can reflect the fact that once an academic employee acquires tenure, his resistance to controls of any type increases. Academic employees with tenure and higher academic rank might feel that they have already passed evaluation hurdles, and any new system of evaluation represents a threat to and a reflection on their established identity and reputation (Shetty and Carlisle 1974). We 358 A. Decramer et al. assume that the tenure status of the respondents will be related to the satisfaction of the employee performance management system. H4: Academic employees with lower academic rank who experience tight control are more likely to be satisfied with the employee performance management system than those with a higher academic rank. Methods This study focuses on the actual and perceived satisfaction with HRM practices. The data were gathered using a structured questionnaire addressed to 4700 academic employees involved in academic teaching and research (technical and administrative employees are not included) from a Flemish public university in 2009. The questionnaires were distributed using a web-based tool (Qualtrics) using e-mail addresses provided by the HRM departments of the university. The survey instrument resulted from multiple discussions and brainstorming sessions. The questionnaire was subjected to pre-testing and pilot testing. After a period of intensive follow-up (mail and telephone), the survey resulted in data from 1322 employees, representing a response rate of approximately 28%. This is consistent with the mean response rate found in a meta-analysis of web-based survey response rates, which was 34.6% with a standard deviation of 15.7% (Cook, Heath and Thompson 2000). Some of the questionnaires were not finished by the respondents. Unit or item nonresponse was checked (Sax, Gilmartin and Bryant 2003). Item non-responses related to the dependent variables (last items in the questionnaire) were deleted from the analysis, resulting in an overall loss of 733 cases, leaving us with 589 cases, representing 13% of the population invited to fill in the survey. SPSS Software was used to tabulate the results. Measures To achieve high levels of content validity, most of the measures used in the survey were already verified in earlier research. Unless noted otherwise, all items were measured using a five-point Likert response scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Factor analysis (principal component analysis with varimax rotation) was performed on all multiple scale items to determine item retention (Kuvaas 2008). The questionnaire was constructed to focus on the four specific aspects of employee performance management systems (internal consistency, vertical alignment, communication and control tightness) listed earlier, along with the outcome, namely employee performance management satisfaction. Dependent variables: employee performance management satisfaction In this study, we measure the satisfaction (SATi) with the employee performance management system (goal-setting, monitoring and evaluation). As such, employee performance management satisfaction is measured by asking about subject satisfaction with three employee performance management practices (i.e. goalsetting, monitoring and evaluation). For each practice, binary responses were collected, 0 indicating ‘not satisfied’ versus 1 ‘satisfied’. A count variable was constructed for satisfaction with the system where 0 ¼ if the respondent was not satisfied with 1, 2 or 3 The International Journal of Human Resource Management 359 employee performance management practices; 1 ¼ for each practice within the system the respondent was satisfied. Independent variables We focus on several aspects of employee performance management. The specific aspects of employee performance management that were the main sources of interest are the degree to which employees perceive the internal consistency of the system; the extent to which employees are able to see how employee goals fit in with organisational planning and objectives; effective communication and the reported academic unit control tightness. (1) The internal consistency of the employee performance management system. To investigate whether planning, monitoring and evaluation were seen as being linked in a consistent way, we developed a scale with three items. We asked the academic employee: ‘to what extent is there a link between monitoring and formal evaluation of research; between goal-setting and formal evaluation of research and to what extent are research goals, monitoring of research and research evaluation linked?’ Higher scores represent higher internal consistency (a ¼ 0.90). Factor analysis revealed 1 factor (principal components analysis): HOR (horizontal alignment or internal consistency of the employee performance management system). (2) The vertical alignment of the employee performance management system. To assess whether the academic employees could see the relationship between their goals and organisational and departmental goals, a scale developed by Fletcher and Williams (1996) was used. We adapted this scale to the context of our study and asked the respondent: ‘to what extent do your research goals fit in with the goals of the academic unit?’ and ‘to what extent do your research goals fit in with the goals of the university?’ and last, ‘to what extent do the research goals of the academic unit fit in with the goals of the university?’ Higher scores represent higher vertical alignment (a ¼ 0.83). We explored whether underlying factors could be identified for data reduction purposes. Principal component analysis (varimax rotation) was used to construct one new factor: VER (vertical alignment). (3) Communication. We use the two-way communication variable constructed by Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin (1996). This is a six-item scale that measures the level of communication between the employee and the supervisor during an employee performance management cycle. A score of 5 on the two-way communication scale represents a high level of two-way communication. Two-way communication comprises six items in the ‘Distributive and Procedural Justice Scale’ (a ¼ 0.90) (Tang and Sarsfield-Baldwin 1996). We explored whether underlying factors could be identified for data reduction purposes. Principal component analysis (varimax rotation) was used to construct 1 new factor: COM (communication). (4) Tight control. Tight control is measured with an eight-item summated scale ‘tight versus loose control’ developed from Merchant and Van der Stede (2003). We adapted the scale to the context of higher educations. Respondents will be asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed that each statement in the scale reflected practices within their academic unit. Each item was scored on a seven-point scale, anchored on 1 for ‘strongly disagree’ and 7 for ‘strongly agree’, so that higher scores represented tighter control (a ¼ 0.92). We explored whether underlying 360 A. Decramer et al. factors could be identified for data reduction purposes. Principal component analysis (varimax rotation) was used to construct the factor: COT (control tightness). Control variables We ask how much time the respondent spends on research (TIME), which was measured as a percentage of the total working time allocated by the respondent to research (Van Der Weijden, De Gilder, Groenewegen and Klasen 2008). Next, information including gender (SEX) (0 ¼ male, 1 ¼ female), position tenure (POSITION) (0 ¼ tenure, 1 ¼ nontenure)1 and Discipline (DISCIPLINE) (0 ¼ alpha sciences, 1 ¼ beta and gamma sciences) were integrated in the estimation. Analyses The sample population Various demographic characteristics were assessed to describe the study’s sample population. They are described in Table 1. More than half of the respondents reported in Table 2 not being satisfied with the employee performance management system. Given the dichotomous nature of the dependent variable, logistic regression analysis (Gujarati 1995) was used to test the hypotheses. Separate equations were estimated for the pooled sample and for each group of academic employees. Estimation model The logit models are estimated from   Pi SAT Li ¼ ln 1 2 Pi SAT ¼ a þ b1 ðHORi Þ þ b2 ðVERi Þ þ b3 ðCOTi Þ þ b4 ðCOMi Þ þ b5 ðTIMEi Þ þ b6 ðSEXi Þ þ b7 ðPOSITIONi Þ þ b8 ðPOSITIONi £ COTi Þ þ Ui where Pi is the probability that the dependent variable satisfaction equals 1, 1– Pi is the probability of it being 0 and Li is the log of the odds ratio. Since the log of the odds ratio is linear in the parameters, the logit model can be estimated in the linear form (Gujarati 1995). Table 1. Demographic characteristics. Gender Type position Discipline Female Male Not notified Professor Specific statute PhD students Other Alpha Sciences Beta/Gamma Sciences Not notified Frequency Percent 219 362 8 128 104 336 21 158 427 4 36.2 61.5 1.4 21.7 17.7 57 3.6 26.8 72.5 0.7 The International Journal of Human Resource Management 361 Table 2. Satisfaction with performance management practices and systems. Satisfaction with . . . . . . planning . . . monitoring . . . evaluation . . . system (SATi) No Yes Missing No Yes Missing No Yes Missing No Yes Missing Frequency Percent 229 356 4 251 325 13 263 326 – 294 278 17a 38.9 60.4 0.7 42.6 55.2 2.2 44.7 55.3 – 49.9 47.2 2.9 a These missing values are respondents who are due to recently recruiting at the university, not yet subjected to planning, monitoring and evaluation. Results The correlation matrix for the variables comprising our estimation model is presented in Table 3. These correlations underpin the link between system features and satisfaction. Multicollinearity is not a problem, as none of the pair-wise correlation coefficients depasses 0.80 (Gujarati 1995). The results of the logistic regression are presented in Table 4. Collinearity diagnostics indicated no multicollinearity (VIF , 2) (Hair, Black, Babin, Anderson and Tatham 2005). The first three models contain the equation for the whole group of academic employees. Column 1 provides the initial estimation: all the key explanatory variables are included. The second model adds the interaction variable and the third column reports the results for the significant variables in the model only. Models IV and V report the results for the PROF group (tenured respondents); the next two models are the estimations for the non-tenured group (PhD students and academic employees with a specific statute). There is considerable variation in the explanatory power of the models. F-tests reveal that the explanatory power of all regression models is significant. The regression explains a large percentage of the variation in the NON-TENURE group, specifically some 0.418% if we take as reference the Cox and Snell coefficient and 0.557% if we consider the Nagelkerke coefficient (Model VII). The (pseudo) R 2 Figures (Nagelkerke R 2) for the TOTAL, TENURE and NON-TENURE regressions are 0.460, 0.326 and 0.512, respectively. Although we have to be cautious given the small number of questionnaires for the specific categories, the fit of the TENURE regression is notably weaker than NONTENURE regressions. We found evidence of employee performance management satisfaction with the predicted features. The significant variables are horizontal alignment (Models I, II, III, IV, V), tight control (Models I, VI, VII) and communication (Models I, II, III, VI, VII). We included POSITION in the pooled sample, in order to examine the assumption about the tenure status of the respondents and the relations with satisfaction. We observe – as predicted in Hypothesis 4 – an interaction effect between control tightness and the nontenure position of the academic employee (Model II: odds ratio ¼ 2.815, p , 0.05). For that reason, we then estimated four models, two for each group of academic employees. Models IV and V report the results for the PROF group (tenured respondents); the next two 9. VER 10. COT 11. COM 1. SATISFACTION 2. TIME 3. SEX 4. PROF 5. SPECIAL 6. PHD 7. DISCIPLINE 8. HOR 2 3 4 5 6 0.207** 0.577** 0.541** 0.067 2 0.044 0.171** 2 0.075 0.296** 0.031 0.081 0.024 20.054 0.022 20.300** 2 0.012 1 20.055 1 7 8 9 2 0.088 0.051 0.292** 1 0.036 20.041 0.673** 0.297** 0.261** 20.035 0.544** 0.098 1 0.178** 1 20.048 0.111** 1 20.113** 2 0.415** 2 0.157** 1 0.004 2 0.016 0.014 20.244** 1 0.092* 0.443** 0.126** 20.607** 2 0.534** 1 20.019 0.014 2 0.085* 0.012 2 0.005 2 0.004 0.506** 0.094* 2 0.051 20.029 0.003 0.029 1 *Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (two-tailed) **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (two-tailed). ALIGNMENT FEATURES CONTROLS Variable Table 3. Correlations. 1 0.580** 10 1 11 362 A. Decramer et al. 0.345 0.460 127.704 0.000 290.109 76.8% 0.858*** (0.216) 0.796*** (0.198) – 0.466** (0.221) 0.131 (0.161) 0.358 0.478 0.121 (0.343) 0.798*** (0.200) 1.035** (0.405) 133.847 0.000 283.966 77.2% 0.468** (0.222) 0.152 (0.162) 0.008 (0.007) 2 0.018 (0.316) 2 0.343 (0.339) 2 0.016 (0.394) 0.073 (0.821) Model II 0.405 0.541 0.979*** (0.179) 1.215*** (0.245) 200.204 0.000 332.873 80.8% – 0.573*** (0.181) – – – – 0.242 0.326 15.771 0.027 61.112 71.9% – 20.115 (0.456) 0.601 (0.386) – 0.210 0.285 26.182 0.000 122.017 72.1% – – 1.092*** (0.253) – – – – – 2 0.467** (0.223) Model V 0.971* (0.542) 20.022 (0.358) 0.017 (0.017) 20.004 (0.805) 20.354 (0.834) – 20.613 (2.290) 20.131 (0.136) – Model IV Model III TENURE 0.382 0.512 113.081 0.000 209.598 77.4% 1.192*** (0.267) 0.872*** (0.242) – 0.329 (0.253) 0.187 (0.189) 0.009 (0.009) 20.061 (0.355) 20.495 (0.399) – 0.281 (0.932) Model VI 0.418 0.557 200.140 0.000 312.616 80.3% 1.503*** (0.204) 1.030*** (0.145) – – – – – – – 20.106 (0.145) Model VII NON - TENURE Note: Significant at 0.000 (***); , 0.05 (**) and , 0.100 (*); S.E. values in brackets. Dependent variable: Satisfaction with employee performance management system. Model x Model x2 significance 2 2 log likelihood Overall predictive accurancy Cox & Snell R 2 Nagelkerke R 2 2 INTCOT*POSITION COM COT VER ALIGNMENT HOR POSITION DISCIPLINE SEX 0.006 (0.007) 20.004 (0.312) 20.392 (0.339) 0.230 (0.408) 0.023 (0.833) CONSTANT CONTROLS TIME Model I TOTAL Results of logit regression predicting employee performance management satisfaction. Variables Table 4. The International Journal of Human Resource Management 363 364 A. Decramer et al. models are the estimations for the non-tenured group (PhD students and academic employees with a specific statute). Hypothesis 1 predicts that academic employees reporting a higher level of internal consistency also report higher employee performance management satisfaction. The evidence in Table 4 supports this hypothesis. Academic employees in the pooled sample (Model I: odds ratio ¼ 1.594, p , 0.05; Model II: odds ratio ¼ 1.597, p , 0.05; Model III: odds ratio ¼ 1.774, p , 0.000) and in the tenure sample (Model IV: odds ratio ¼ 2.641, p , 0.100 and Model V: odds ratio ¼ 2.980, p , 0.100) reporting higher internal consistency are more like to be satisfied about the employee performance management system. Next, the results show clear support for Hypothesis 3. Academic employees in the pooled sample (Model II: odds ratio ¼ 2.221, p , 0.000) and in the non-tenure sample (Model VI: odds ratio ¼ 2.391, p , 0.000 and Model VII: odds ratio ¼ 2.801, p , 0.000) who report that higher level of communication about employee performance management coincides with more employee performance management satisfaction. In Model II, we can observe an interaction effect between control tightness and the non-tenure position of the academic employee (Model II: odds ratio ¼ 2.815, p , 0.05). Academic employees experiencing tight control in the non-tenure group (Model VI: odds ratio ¼ 4.497, p , 0.000; Model VII: odds ratio ¼ 2.801, p , 0.000) and in the pooled sample (Model I: odds ratio ¼ 2.358, p , 0.05) are more likely to be satisfied than those who experience loose control cultures in their academic unit. This is no surprising for the SPECIAL group within the non-tenure group were these employees are appointed for a period of several years. At the end of this period, a tenure decision will be taken, depending on an overall evaluation. Academic employees’ expectations concerning research within this group are specified in detail, and the desired research results are explicitly defined. No influence was found with respect to the variables of vertical alignment. Therefore, Hypothesis 2 cannot be supported. In addition, discipline and gender have no influence on the dependent variable. Last, the proportional amount of time spent on research has statistically little or no influence on the satisfaction of the academic employee. Discussion The purpose of this study was to examine academic employees’ perceptions regarding the employee performance management systems in use and to determine if their perceptions about alignment features and communication were related to their reported employee performance management satisfaction with the system. Our overall proposition was inspired by the HRM literature implying that a system is more than single practices. We therefore concentrate on the employee performance management process (Aguinis and Pierce 2008), and widened the concept of employee performance management by using a set of employee performance management practices. The results of the study stress the importance of the internal consistency of employee performance management practices. Horizontal alignment being related to the employee performance management satisfaction raises a series of important implications for policy and theory development. The results of the study suggest that a comprehensive approach to performance management brings better results. If there is not a linkage between the different elements of employee performance management, then problems arise. The findings are consistent with other studies that demonstrated a relationship between other The International Journal of Human Resource Management 365 aspects of HRM procedures and attitudes (Giles and Mossholder 1990; Fletcher and Williams 1996) demonstrated that the degree of complexity of the appraisal system and the implementation features are strongly related to satisfaction with employee performance management. The results indicate that the effect of employee performance management systems on satisfaction with the system varies between the different employee groups in academic institutions. Different groups have different needs and the utility of particular HRM practices varies accordingly. These results largely support the configurationally approach as proposed by Delery and Doty (1996). The use of different combinations of HR practices has a positive impact on performance (Delery and Doty 1996). Higher level of formalisation and tight control seems to be ‘rewarded’ with a high level of employee performance management satisfaction among non-tenured academic employees. Finally, it is surprising that in the tenured group we do not find higher levels of vertical alignment leading to employee performance management satisfaction. After all, since tenured track are more involved in strategy issues, it could be expected that the line of sight of the employee performance management system would increase their employee performance management satisfaction. This is not confirmed by our results. We give a methodological and a contextual possible explanation for these particular findings. There is a lot of criticism on the measurement of vertical ‘fit’ in SHRM (Boon, Paauwe, Boselie and den Hartog 2009). The current operationalisations do not do justice to the complexity of the alignment or fit concept, according to several scholars (Gerhart 2004). To measure the vertical alignment feature of employee performance management systems, we rely on the work of Boswell. More specifically, we use the LOS (‘line of sight’), which refers to an employee’s understanding of the organisation’s strategic goals as well as the actions necessary to accomplish the goals (Boswell 2006). In accordance to several scholars (Boswell 2006; Buller and McEvoy 2012), we acknowledge the limitations of the used construct and formulate some recommendations for the measurement of this vertical alignment feature. Our measurement can be widened by the broader concept of strategic aligned behaviour (Gagnon, Jansen and Michael 2008; van Riel et al. 2009) and the strategic consensus (Veld et al. 2010) concept that are broader measures. Literature also emphasises the need for multi-level research in order to more fully examine the relationships among various contextual variables, HRM practices, employee behaviours and performance outcomes (Paauwe 2009). Last, in the future we could use a more analytical and multilevel approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to take the context into account (Veld et al. 2010). More multilevel research is needed to examine how levels are connected in terms of HRM, wellbeing and performance; and more longitudinal research is needed to clarify the dynamic interplay between HRM, employee well-being and performance (Van de Voorde et al. 2011). A next explanation for the lack of vertical alignment can be found in the context. Is it possible to align individuals in higher education institutions to the goal of the organisation? It seems that academic employees are aligned to their field of research rather than to their university’s strategy. The alignment to the institution that happens to employ them is of secondary importance. Yet, employee performance management systems could be a tool to assure academic units’ and employees’ vertical alignment in accordance with the organisational goal. Given that research production is perceived to be crucial to the regions’ or country’s competitiveness, it is more dominantly present in the mission statements of universities (Connell 2004). Vertical alignment features of employee performance management then would be expected to be an important instrument to 366 A. Decramer et al. streamline these strategies. However, our study revealed that the line of sight does not determine academic employees’ satisfaction. The total absence of vertical alignment seems not to fit in a good HRM. Universities might consider budget allocation as a tool for guiding academic units. Budgets could create and ensure a direct line from the organisation’s goals to departments to individuals. The results of the present study suggest that the non-tenure position may be critical for employee performance management satisfaction. The positive relationship between tight control and employee performance management satisfaction for non-tenured staff indicates that these academic employees are feeling the need for clear procedures concerning planning, monitoring and evaluation. The literature suggested that effective employee performance management systems require alignment of individual goals with organisational objectives, which represents, on the one hand, the vertical alignment issue or the ‘line of sight’ issue (Boswell 2006) and therefore goals should be cascaded down from the top of the organisation. However, no association can be made between vertical alignment and employee performance management satisfaction. This idea of cascading objectives top-down does not meet with the approval of academics, according to a UK study. Academics in a UK higher education context, for example, continue to assimilate the meaning and purposes of employee performance management primarily in terms of how the concept applies at the individual level and to neglect the organisational aspect as espoused in the policy (Tam 2008). The lack of support for the relationship between the perception of vertical alignment and employee performance management satisfaction may be due to the absence of clear mission statements and goals for the university and faculty. This study can give some managerial comments and suggestions for higher education institutions, leaders and HRM departments. First of all, the study clearly points out the need for a tight and internally consistent employee performance management system. Communication with the supervisor is hereby put forward as a necessary prerequisite. The role of the supervisor is emphasised by several authors who state that HRM and employee performance management is owned and driven by line management rather than by the Human Resource (HRM) function (Purcell and Hutchinson 2007; Wright and Nishii 2004). However, adopting and using an employee performance management system is challenging. The role of the line manager is crucial but has to be well supported (Purcell and Hutchinson 2007). Because HRM practices communicate messages on what management expects, supports and rewards, higher education institutions and their management need to improve communication and prevent well-intended HRM practices from being misunderstood by employees (Bowen and Ostroff 2004). A practical implication that results from these findings is that practitioners in the field of university HRM should be cautious when applying one generic employee performance management system for all employees. This is a confirmation of the study of Lepak and Snell (2002) who sought to examine how different HR configurations are used for different groups of employees. They demonstrated that different HR configurations tend to be used to manage workers in different modes of employment. These scholars stated the most likely form of HR investment varies for different types of human capital (Lepak and Snell 2002). Future research could examine the relationship between employee performance management configurations, the employee performance indicators used and confront performance management intensity and satisfaction with the research employee performance of academic groups and individual employee performance. An understanding The International Journal of Human Resource Management 367 of the determinants of research employee performance is a prerequisite for designing effective micro- and macro-research policies (Van Der Weijden et al. 2008). Effectiveness of the employee performance management systems in higher education institutions could ultimately be examined by exploring or linking the outcome at stakeholder level to the implementation of employee performance management systems: to what extent can stakeholders – university administrators, faculty, funding organisations, accrediting bodies, governors, state legislators, students, alumni, unions and local community members – benefit from the implementation of employee performance management systems for the academic employee? Finally, we point to a number of limitations of the study. First, the data were gathered at one point in time, making it impossible to draw inferences of causality or rule out the possibility of reverse causality. The most scientific way to examine the impact of employee performance management systems is to develop a pre- and post-test type of study. We could as such examine the employee performance management satisfaction of the academic employees prior to the implementation of the employee performance management system and then after a sufficient amount of time reexamine their perceptions regarding the employee performance management system and the associated satisfaction. Second, the reliance on self-reported questionnaire data causes concern about possible mono-method variance. Third, the most serious threat against generalisability is that the data were obtained only from employees from one Flemish university, since employee performance management systems may differ in universities and in other countries. On the other hand, this large research university represents an ideal field for studying the relationship between employee performance management system features and satisfaction, due to the large scale of the university, the presence of different kinds of academic employees and the different disciplines within the university who all use different kind of employee performance management systems for their employees. A last possible limitation in our study is the fact that there is no relationship, or proved relationship, between the employee performance management system and the actual job employee performance of the academic employee. Accompanied with the foregoing limitation, it is important to note that even though academic employees perceive employee performance management as satisfactory; this may not always translate into higher work employee performance. Conclusion In conclusion, this study developed and tested a model of satisfaction with employee performance management system for academic employees in higher education institutions. A higher level of internally consistent employee performance management systems, tight control and a positive perception of two-way communication lead to a higher level of satisfaction of employee performance management systems. A relation between the line of sight between goal-setting and organisational goals and employee performance management system satisfaction was not found in this study. These findings support goal-setting theory and theories concerning HRM satisfaction. The results about communication and tight control were consistent with findings of prior studies in other settings, further validating that research. In addition, this study expands our understanding by focussing on the alignment features of employee performance management systems in higher education institution. Future research should examine whether satisfaction with these employee performance management systems has an impact on organisationally relevant outcomes. Furthermore, the applicability of the concept of employee performance 368 A. Decramer et al. management systems in other settings should be explored. The findings contribute to our understanding of how an employee performance management system influences individual satisfaction and highlight the importance of incorporating the employee perspective into the examination of performance management. HRM literature scholars have examined ‘why’ HRM practices lead to sustainable competitive advantage. This study has added our knowledge on the strength of the HRM or employee performance management system that can help us explain ‘how’ HRM systems lead to outcomes the organisation desires. Note 1. 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Copyright of International Journal of Human Resource Management is the property of Routledge and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Public Relations Review journal homepage: The role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and internal CSR communication in predicting employee engagement: Perspectives from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Gaelle Duthler, Ganga S. Dhanesh T ⁎ College of Communication and Media Sciences, Zayed University, United Arab Emirates A R T IC LE I N F O ABS TRA CT Keywords: Internal communication Corporate social responsibility CSR CSR communication Perceptions of CSR Employee engagement This study examined relationships among employees’ perception of CSR, three models of internal CSR communication and employee engagement. The findings, based on 516 valid survey responses from employees across different sectors in the United Arab Emirates, revealed that internal communication of CSR, both one-way and two-way symmetrical, predicted employee perceptions of CSR, with two-way asymmetrical communication being a negative predictor; perceptions of CSR predicted employee engagement; social and sustainable dimensions of CSR most strongly predicted social and affective dimensions of employee engagement; and both twoway symmetrical communication of CSR and employee perceptions of CSR strongly predicted employee engagement. Implications for theory and practice are discussed. 1. Introduction One of the entrenched approaches to examining corporate social responsibility (CSR) and its communication within public relations, in addition to the critical and the interpretive, is the functionalistic approach, wherein organizations actively engage with and communicate their socially, environmentally, ethically and economically responsible policies and actions because they engender positive public relations outcomes such as stronger organization-public relationships, and legitimacy and reputational capital (Dhanesh, 2014; Ihlen, Bartlett, & May, 2011). However, most of the work generated in this area has focused on external stakeholders (e.g., David, Kline, & Dai, 2005; Wigley, 2008), although employees have been identified as an important stakeholder group with respect to CSR, who could become highly engaged advocates and ambassadors of a responsible organization (Dhanesh, 2014; Gill, 2015). Employee engagement is pivotal to organizational success and generates multiple benefits such as increased productivity, decreased attrition and increased internal reputation (Albrecht, Bakker, Gruman, Macey, & Saks, 2015; Jiang & Men, 2017; Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá, & Bakker, 2002). Key drivers of employee engagement include corporate social responsibility (Wollard & Shuck, 2011), perceived organizational support (Mahon, Taylor, & Boyatzis, 2014; Saks, 2006; Wollard & Shuck, 2011), procedural justice (Saks, 2006), organizational climate (Albrecht et al., 2015), work-life balance (Hewitt, 2015; Wollard & Shuck, 2011) authentic leadership (Jiang & Men, 2017) and internal communication (Jiang & Men, 2017; Kang & Sung, 2017; Karanges, Johnston, Beatson, & Lings, 2015; Mishra, Boynton, & Mishra, 2017; Ruck, Welch, & Menara, 2017; Vercic & Vokic, 2017). However, most research on antecedents of employee engagement has examined individual level variables, with less focus on examining the effect of organizational/contextual-level variables such as clarity of organizational purpose and organizational climate (Albrecht et al., 2015). ⁎ Corresponding author. E-mail addresses: (G. Duthler), (G.S. Dhanesh). Received 28 February 2018; Accepted 1 April 2018 Available online 10 April 2018 0363-8111/ © 2018 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 G. Duthler, G.S. Dhanesh Accordingly, adopting and extending Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) theoretical conceptualization of CSR practices and its communication as an internal marketing instrument that could strengthen employee related outcomes such as organizational commitment and esprit de corps, this study empirically examined employee perceptions of their organizations’ CSR practices and internal CSR communication as two crucial organizational level variables that could foster employee engagement. We chose to conduct the study in the UAE for multiple reasons. First, the enactment of CSR is context dependent, and based on the cultural, economic, and political contexts of the United Arab Emirates, the practice of public relations and CSR is quite different from Western contexts. This rich, politically stable, multicultural Arab country (with only around 10% of UAE nationals and 90% expatriates) is continuing to grow and develop its own public relations industry standards. Also, the diverse, multicultural environment would assume cultural differences in how CSR is practiced and perceived or how employee engagement is understood. For example, in the UAE, CSR is strongly influenced by the Islamic religion (Ronnegard, 2011). Philanthropy is a major part of the religion and so, often CSR is perceived the same as philanthropy (Katsioloudes & Brodtkorb, 2007). Managers often regard the modern concept of CSR to be a corporate form of Zakat, the charitable percentage of wealth that Muslims are expected to give. Indeed, the government has declared CSR as one of the three pillars of the Year of Giving, 2017. In June 2017, to implement the Year of Giving, the UAE government mandated for over 400,000 companies to allocate funds to be used for philanthropy (Zakaria, 2017). These CSR funds will be audited and reported to the government. There is a total of 11 initiatives such as “National Corporate Social Responsibility Index” that will list the ranking of companies involved in philanthropy, “Social Responsibility Label” that will help market companies and reflect the extent of their contributions, and financial privileges will be granted to companies with high social responsibility contributions. In addition, in many countries the division between the public and the private is clearly defined. However, in the UAE, the economic structure does not clearly define whether employees work for the public, private, or semi-private sector, as many government officials own private companies. It is common for government entities to engage in CSR activities, and hire CSR managers. Similarly, non-governmental organizations (NGO) and charities in the UAE are not clearly defined and do not have an official legal status. For example, Red Crescent Society (Islamic version of Red Cross) is a state run organization. Other private charities are run by members of the ruling families, which makes it hard to define an NGO (Selvik, 2013). This study contributes to the public relations body of knowledge in multiple ways. First, it offers much needed empirical support to establish theoretical connections among CSR practices, its internal communication and employee engagement. Second, it expands Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) theoretical conceptualization of CSR as an internal marketing instrument by adding the outcome of employee engagement. Third, it augments literature on the relationship between CSR communication and employee engagement by focusing on different dimensions of both CSR and employee engagement. Finally, it enhances understandings of these connections in the cultural context of a Middle Eastern country, a contribution that is important as understandings of CSR, its communication and outcomes are context dependent. 2. Literature review 2.1. Corporate social responsibility Multiple terms such as CSR, corporate citizenship, corporate social performance, creating shared value and conscious capitalism refer to businesses meeting their economic, social and environmental responsibilities (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Carroll, 2016). However, the term that has been most synonymously used with CSR has been sustainability, further strengthened by the United Nations’ adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets that build on the Millennium Development Goals and focus on the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. Although businesses often adopt the terms CSR and sustainability synonymously, especially in their non-financial annual reports, and although other terminologies might be preferred by different organizations, CSR continues to be the most popular of these frameworks (Carroll, 2016). Hence, this study has chosen to use the term CSR and has adopted one of the most widely cited definitions by Carroll (1979). According to Carroll (1979), “the social responsibility of business encompasses the economic, legal, ethical and discretionary expectations that society has of organizations at a given point in time” (p. 500). The first domain of responsibility − economic − states that society expects businesses to produce goods and services and sell them at a profit. Legal responsibility refers to how society expects businesses to be economically viable within the confines of the law. Ethical responsibility represents the kinds of behaviours and ethical norms and practices that society expects business to follow, even though they have not yet been codified into law. Discretionary responsibility addresses the voluntary aspect of the social responsibilities of businesses and encapsulates businesses’ response to society’s expectations that corporations should be good corporate citizens. In addition to Carroll’s four dimensions, related concepts such as sustainable development draw attention to the environmental aspect. Accordingly, additional questions on the environment were added to the research instrument, under a sustainability dimension, drawn from Turker (2009). One of the most entrenched approaches to examining CSR in theory and practice has been the strategic approach that argues for engaging in CSR because it engenders mutual benefit for publics and organizations (Carroll & Shabana, 2010; Du, Bhattacharya, & Sen, 2010). Although findings have been mixed, research across multiple fields seems to have established positive organizational outcomes derived from CSR such as stronger relationships between organizations and their publics, and legitimacy and reputational capital (Dhanesh, 2014; Ihlen et al., 2011). However, most of this research tends to focus on effects on consumer publics rather than on other important publics such as employees. Within public relations scholarship too, research has focused on external publics and found that CSR can drive reputational and financial returns (David et al., 2005; Wigley, 2008). A handful of studies have found 454 Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 G. Duthler, G.S. Dhanesh evidence for the benefits of CSR vis-a-vis employee performance indicators (Chen & Hung-Baesecke, 2014; Dhanesh, 2012, 2014). However, prior to deriving benefits from being socially responsible, organizations need to communicate their socially responsible actions to stakeholders, in the case of this study, to employees. Before elaborating the importance of communicating the socially responsible practices of organizations, it is imperative to note that communication must be grounded within action, reflecting the notion of the good organization communicating well (Coombs & Holladay, 2012; Heath, 2001). Dissonance between action and communication regarding an organization’s claims of social and environmental performance could lead to perceptions of corporate hypocrisy; and deliberate, conspicuous communication of CSR could trigger skepticism from key publics and stakeholders, thus damaging capitals of relationships, trust, reputation, and legitimacy (Coombs and Holladay, 2012; Coombs and Holladay, 2012, 2013; Morsing, Schultz, & Nielsen, 2008). Accordingly, this study presumes that robust action underpins CSR communication. 2.2. Internal communication The academic area of internal communication has found itself at the heart of a turf war, with multiple camps such as organizational communication, corporate communication, employee communication and public relations vying for a piece (e.g. Cheney & Christensen, 2011; Christensen & Cornelissen, 2011; Vercic, Vercic, & Sriramesh; 2012). Cheney and Christensen (2011) argue that as organizational boundaries become increasingly fuzzy and blurred, it is unproductive to maintain clear demarcations between external and internal communication directed outside and inside the metaphorical concept of the organization as a container. Communication that is directly externally could be auto-communicative and influence stakeholders within the organization. Without repudiating the postmodern concept of the coexistence of multiple symbolic articulations of organizational identity through public relations, marketing, corporate communications etc., they propose the notion of integrated communication (Christensen, Firat, & Torp, 2008). Although Christensen and Cornelissen (2011) continue this line of thought integrating organizational communication and corporate communication, with internal communication subsumed under corporate communication; and although in practice, there is a trend towards integrated communication, with even the pioneer agency in public relations shifting towards integrated communication (, empirical studies have found that multiple areas are associated with internal communication such as human resources, public relations, marketing and general management, with corporate communication as the most logical partner (Vercic et al., 2012). Vercic et al. (2012) also found that internal communication, often equated with employee communication, is seen to encompass all forms of intra-organizational communication. However, Welch and Jackson (2007) identified four dimensions of internal communication according to stakeholder groups: internal line management communication, internal team peer communication, internal project peer communication and internal corporate communication. While the first three dimensions refer to predominantly two-way communication between line managers and employees and among employees, the fourth dimension of internal corporate communication refers to predominantly one-way communication between strategic managers and all employees. The content of internal corporate communication includes organizational/corporate issues such as goals, objectives, new developments, activities and achievements. Welch and Jackson (2007) defined internal corporate communication as “communication between an organization’s strategic managers and its internal stakeholders, designed to promote commitment to the organization, a sense of belonging to it, awareness of its changing environment and understanding of its evolving aims” (p.186). We have adopted this definition because employees’ perceptions of their organization’s socially and environmentally responsible actions are dependent on the information they give and receive about their organization’s CSR initiatives and such information is usually disseminated through internal corporate communication. Public relations practitioners consider internal communication vital for building transparency between managers and employees, engaging employees in the organization’s priorities and in the process, fostering employee engagement (Jiang & Men, 2017; Kang & Sung, 2017; Karanges et al., 2015; Mishra et al., 2017; Ruck et al., 2017; Welch & Jackson, 2007). Ruck and Welch (2012) proposed that to engender behaviours associated with engagement, organizations should, among other factors, provide information that helps employees to understand corporate goals and strategy, help employees identify with the organization, and give employees voice, or give employee regular opportunities to have a say and to have that taken seriously. As far back as when Excellence Theory was proposed, Grunig (1992) argued that excellent symmetrical internal communication could lead to supportive employee behaviours toward the organizations. 2.3. Internal communication and corporate social responsibility Although employees receive both internal and external communication regarding their organization’s CSR activities, they are more likely to receive and process internal communication messages (Maignan & Ferrell, 2001). This study has borrowed from corporate marketing literature, Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) theoretical framework that conceptualizes corporate citizenship as an internal marketing instrument. We use the terms corporate citizenship and CSR interchangeably because in this theoretical framework the notion of corporate citizenship is operationalized using Carroll’s (1979) definition of CSR. According to this framework, internal communication can affect employees’ perception of their organization’s CSR. It can also moderate the relationship between employee perceptions of CSR and outcomes such as organizational commitment and esprit de corps. While Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) framework considered the role of intensity, accuracy and value congruence of internal communication, public relations scholars have pointed out the need for stakeholder involvement strategies based on dialogic, twoway symmetrical communication (Morsing & Schultz, 2006). Based on Grunig and Hunt’s (1984) models of public relations, Morsing and Schultz (2006) suggested three ways in which companies can strategically engage in CSR communication with multiple 455 Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 G. Duthler, G.S. Dhanesh stakeholders: the stakeholder information strategy built on the public information model or the one-way communication model, the stakeholder response strategy based on the two-way asymmetrical communication model; and the stakeholder involvement strategy built on the two-way symmetrical model of communication. Companies adopting the stakeholder information strategy focus on disseminating information to their publics. The information flow is unidirectional where organizations attempt to give sense to their audiences. In this strategy, the main aim is to ensure that favourable CSR information is communicated effectively to the company’s stakeholders to help them create positive impressions of the organization. Stakeholder response strategies, built upon the two-way asymmetrical communication model, are two-way in the sense that it seeks feedback from stakeholders. However, it is asymmetric as that feedback is mostly intended only to better the outcomes for organizations, not for their stakeholders. So, while the stakeholder response strategy gives the impression of listening to an organization’s stakeholders, in effect, it is a one-sided method of reinforcing an organization’s viewpoint. Finally, the stakeholder involvement strategy, grounded in the two-way symmetrical communication model, argues that CSR communication is based on a dialogue between organizations and their stakeholders. Involvement by both parties implies that both might be susceptible to change because of the dialogic interaction. Morsing and Schultz (2006) suggested that while companies may adopt all three models for CSR communication, it is increasingly important to develop two-way communication processes between organizations and their stakeholders. Indeed, Lim and Greenwood (2017) found that CSR engagement strategy had a positive effect on achieving CSR goals. This review of literature, along with Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) theoretical framework leads us to the following hypotheses: H1. There will be a positive relationship between two-way symmetrical CSR communication and employee perceptions of CSR H2. There will be a negative relationship between one-way/two-way asymmetrical CSR communication and employee perceptions of CSR RQ1: How will the different models of internal CSR communication predict employee perceptions of CSR? When the organization and its internal stakeholders enact communicative strategies, studies point to several benefits. One such outcome is the increase in employee engagement, a crucial affective, cognitive and behavioral construct that leads to multiple organizational outcomes such as increased productivity, decreased attrition and increased internal reputation (Schaufeli et al., 2002). 2.4. Employee engagement A thorough and extensive review of the literature in human resource management, psychology, management, and public relations revealed that most definitions of employee engagement draw from theories in psychology and organizational behavior to conceptualize engagement with three dimensions: cognitive, affective and behavioral. Kahn (1990) defined personal engagement as “the harnessing of organization members’ selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances” (p. 694). Similarly, Rothbard (2001) defined engagement as psychological presence but added two critical components of attention and absorption. Saks (2006), building on Kahn’s and Rothbard’s work, argued that the two most dominant roles for most organizational members are their work role and their role as a member of an organization. Following this logic, Saks (2006) built and tested a model of employee engagement that includes two types of engagement: job engagement and organization engagement. In public relations research, a review of the literature on engagement revealed that most research on engagement has focused on digital engagement, followed by work on employee engagement and theoretical conceptualizations of engagement (Dhanesh, 2017). Within the area of employee engagement, Welch (2011) has defined organization engagement as, “a dynamic, changeable psychological state, which links employees to their organizations, manifest in organization member role performances expressed physically, cognitively and emotionally, and influenced by organization-level internal communication” (p. 337). To summarize, the idea of employee engagement visualizes an employee who is cognitively, affectively and behaviorally ‘present’, absorbed and dedicated while performing an organizational role. Synthesizing the various dimensions of employee engagement, Soane et al. (2012) identified three dimensions of employee engagement: cognitive, emotional and social. The cognitive dimension of employee engagement has been defined as intellectual engagement, “the extent to which one is intellectually absorbed” (Soane et al., 2012, p. 532). The emotional dimension of employee engagement has been defined as affective engagement, “the extent to which one experiences a state of positive affect relating to one’s work role” (Soane et al., 2012, p. 532), and the physical dimension of employee engagement has been defined as social engagement, “the extent to which one is socially connected with the working environment and shares common values with colleagues” (Soane et al., 2012, p. 532). This study has adopted Soane et al.’s (2012) definition of employee engagement. A large portion of the scholarly work on employee engagement drawn from human resources, management and communication literatures has focused on identifying the antecedents and drivers of engagement that include corporate social responsibility (Hewitt, 2015; Wollard & Shuck, 2011), perceived organizational support (Mahon et al., 2014; Saks, 2006; Wollard & Shuck, 2011), job characteristics, procedural justice (Saks, 2006), human resource management practices that influence organizational climate (Albrecht et al., 2015), company practices such as communication, diversity and inclusion (Hewitt, 2015), work-life balance (Hewitt, 2015; Wollard & Shuck, 2011), corporate storytelling and internal communication (Gill, 2015; Vercic & Vokic, 2017). Most of the empirical work testing the antecedents of employee engagement has focused on individual level variables following the Job Demands-Resources model or Social Exchange Theory. Scholars have called for more research on examining the effect of organizational/ 456 Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 G. Duthler, G.S. Dhanesh contextual-level variables such as clarity of organizational purpose and organizational climate on engagement (Albrecht et al., 2015). Hence, this study has adopted Maignan and Ferrell’s (2001) theoretical conceptualization of CSR and its communication as an internal marketing instrument to examine these two variables as organizational level drivers of employee engagement. Initial empirical research has found positive correlations between CSR and employee engagement (Chaudhary, 2017; Gupta & Sharma, 2016). Some research has also found that employees exposed to internal CSR are more engaged than those exposed only to external CSR practices (Ferreira & de Oliveira, 2014; Gupta & Sharma, 2016). Internal CSR practices refer to CSR practices that are related to internal stakeholders, including practices that ensure the well-being of employees, invest in their training and development, and policies that enable work-life balance. It also refers to the innate norms and values that drive an organization’s behavior. External CSR practices refer to investment in stakeholders beyond the boundaries of the organization such as local community partners, government entities, business partners, charities and NGOs (Ferreira & de Oliveira, 2014; Gupta & Sharma, 2016). However, CSR has been theorized to have multiple dimensions beyond just internal and external and this study hopes to add to this emergent body of literature by examining the relationship among multiple dimensions of CSR and employee engagement. Hence, the following hypothesis and research question: H3. There will be a positive relationship between CSR perception and employee engagement. RQ2: Employee perceptions of which dimensions of CSR are most significantly related to the different dimensions of employee engagement? Gill (2015) proposed that corporate storytelling could be used to narrate an organization’s CSR commitment to employees, thus engendering meaning making for employees and increasing employee engagement. Employees, thus engaged, could become CSR champions for the organization, enhancing internal and external CSR reputation. Corporate storytelling can be considered a part of internal communication and thus Gill’s (2015) argument could be extended to make theoretical connections among internal communication, CSR and employee engagement. Despite robust theorizing of the relationship between internal communication and engagement, relatively little empirical research has yet been done (Karanges et al., 2015; Ruck et al., 2017; Vercic & Vokic, 2017). The few studies that have empirically addressed the relationship between internal communication and employee engagement have addressed various aspects of internal communication such as satisfaction with internal communication (Vercic & Vokic, 2017), symmetrical internal communication (Kang & Sung, 2017), transparent organizational communication (Jiang & Men, 2017), information flow, information adequacy and interaction supportiveness of employee communication (Walden, Jung, & Westerman, 2017) and organizational and supervisor communication (Karanges et al., 2015). There has not been a comprehensive examination of the relationship between the three models of internal communication and employee engagement. That leads us to the last set of hypotheses and research question: H4. There will be a positive relationship between two-way symmetrical CSR communication and employee engagement. H5. There will be a negative relationship between one-way/two-way asymmetrical CSR communication and employee engagement. RQ3: How will employee perceptions of CSR and two-way symmetrical CSR communication predict employee engagement? 3. Methodology Although the issue of relationships among variables can be studied from multiple ontological and epistemological perspectives, keeping in sync with the functionalist tradition within which the study is situated, we chose a quantitative research strategy over a qualitative strategy as quantitative research is best suited to investigate associations and examine theoretical relationships amongst key constructs (Bryman, 1988; De Vaus, 2002). Data for this survey were collected by distributing a paper and pencil survey to employees in organizations in the United Arab Emirates. As part of a research course assignment, students recruited respondents from their extended families’ professional network to participate in a research project and sign a consent form. The use of student-recruited sample in organizational research is quite common and is not substantially different than non-student recruited sample (Wheeler, Shanine, Leon, & Whitman, 2014). However, the use of a convenient non-probability sample presents disadvantages, which will be discussed when addressing the limitations. This convenient sample cannot represent the overall population of UAE employees but does reflect the diverse nationalities living in the United Arab Emirates and the various employee categories. However, one main difference from the UAE population is in term of gender. Due to a high number of male laborers, there is a gender imbalance of two men for each woman, whereas this sample includes an almost equal gender balance. Respondents were required to be 18 years old or older and to work in an organization. In total, 544 surveys were returned, and 516 surveys were considered valid for analysis. The gender of the respondents was closely split with 268 women (51.9%) versus 248 men (48.1%). The majority of the respondents were between the ages of 25–34 (50.5%), followed by 35–44 years old (28.7%), and 18–24 years old (11.5%). Fifty-one different nationalities were represented in the sample, which reflects the diversity of the UAE in terms of nationality. However, the majority of the sample was Emirati (29.3%) as Emirati students had assisted in the recruitment the participants. The other nationalities represented included Indians (12.2%), Philipinos (11.8%), Egyptians (6.4%), and Jordanians, Moroccans, and Nepalese, all at 3.1%. Westerners were represented with participants from the United States (2.7%), the UK (1. 7%), Canada (1.6%) and other European countries. The rest of the sample went from Afghanistan to Yemen. One advantage of using a paper and pencil survey compared to an online survey is to have a more diverse sample. This sample includes many employees who do not have access to a computer as the majority of the sample was comprised of employees/staff 457 Public Relations Review 44 (2018) 453–462 G. Duthler, G.S. Dhanesh (56.2%). Management was split between mid level managers (36.9%), top managers (5.1%) and executives (1.8%). These participants represented the private sector (38%), the public sector (33.3%), and the semi-private sector (26.9%). The various industry sectors were represented as well such as consumer goods (10%), food and hospitality (9.6%), finance and insurance (9.4%). Sectors with the least representation were automotive (.2%), manufacturing (.6%), construction (.8%), and real estate (.8%). As the UAE government strongly encourages or mandates CSR programs for companies, the assumption was that all companies would have some type of CSR program (Zakaria, 2017). The questionnaire contained 5-point Likert Scale questions to measure the three main variables of employee engagement, CSR perception and internal communication. Employee engagement was measured using the ISA engagement scale (Soane et al., 2012). It measured three dimensions of employee engagement: Intellectual Engagement (e.g., “I concentrate on my work;” α = 0.90), Social Engagement (e.g., “I share the same work goals as my colleagues;” α = 0.89), and Affective Engagement (e.g., “I feel positive about my work;” α = 0.90). Employees’ pe...
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Communication in business




Communication refers to the act of relaying or exchanging information from one
person or group to another by the use of a mutually understood medium. Communication can
be through speaking, writing, signs, and symbols and a medium such as a telephone,
television, and radio. Management is the process of organizing and controlling people or
things within an organization to achieve specific goals. Communication in business is very
vital because achieving goals is dependent on how one uses the information they have to plan
on the best course of action that is to be taken.
Employee engagement
A lot of work in terms of research has been done about employee engagement, and
business scholars agree that employee engagement is not a stand-alone subject because it is
drawn from psychology and organizational behavior. There are multiple ways in which
employee engagement can be looked at. The forms include; behavior, cognition, and
effectiveness. According to Kahn (1990), personal engagement refers to "the harnessing of
organization members' selves to their work roles; in engagement, people employ and express
themselves physically, cognitively, and emotionally during role performances." When
information is shared with the right people, and within the period in which that information is
relevant, then it is inevitable that measures can be put in place to adjust to the situation that
the information is intended to address. According to research done by Chaudhary (2017),
there exists a positive correlation involving em...

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