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Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies-2012-Martinez-17-24

Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies-2012-Martinez-17-24

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Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies

http://jlo.sagepub.com/ Fuzzy Attribution Styles
Arthur D. Martinez, Mark J. Martinko and Gerald R. Ferris Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 2012 19: 17 originally published online 18 November 2011 DOI: 10.1177/1548051811425677 The online version of this article can be found at: http://jlo.sagepub.com/content/19/1/17

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g.. career success and outcomes According to fuzzy logic. Contributions of this study. then the employee could concentrate on improving his or her own shortcomings. and strengths and limitations were discussed. belonging to the set “external” to some degree. FL. we propose that fuzzy attribution styles will be positively correlated with avoidant decision styles and job tension.com/journalsPermissions. attribution theory. Tallahassee. Furthermore. Martinko2. To illustrate. political skill.g. Martinez. because individuals with more fuzzy attribution styles would typically be less certain of a cause (or unwilling to commit to the most likely cause). 1995).sagepub. whereas the more conventional crisp sets are characterized by membership functions that can only have values of 0 or 1 (Mendel. USA Florida State University. occupational self-efficacy and political skill).Fuzzy Attribution Styles Arthur D. the more likely he or she is personally maladjusted (Lewin. 1995.edu Downloaded from jlo.e. according to his or her group’s expectations). directions for future research. For example.e. and career satisfaction. for the example given. as though an informal gathering was a formal business meeting. Contributions of this study.” In this study. 1999). external attribution). We suggest that fuzzy attribution styles will be negatively related to occupational self-efficacy. “an element can reside in more than one set to different degrees of similarity” (Mendel. Ferris2 Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(1) 17­–24 © Baker College 2012 Reprints and permission: sagepub. Campus Box 5580.. IL. IL 61790-5580. 349). Maladjusted people tend to create unfavorable settings for 1 2 Illinois State University. Field theory was used to explain how fuzzy attribution styles might arise.com Abstract This study introduced. then the employee could direct his or her own efforts to respond appropriately. Department of Management and Quantitative Methods. and provided the first evidence for. Thus.com by guest on April 8. their responses to these situations would likely be inept (e. crisp sets would necessitate a person’s attribution to belong to either “internal” or “not internal” and to either “external” or “not external. its practical implications. 2013 . Illinois State University. and this has important implications for work outcomes. an employee might be more uncertain if an unfavorable performance evaluation was because of personal shortcomings (i. Theory and Hypotheses Fuzzy Attribution Styles: A Field-Theoretic Explanation The more a person lacks the capacity to behave appropriately in various social situations (i. If the employee was convinced that it was because of personal shortcomings. or conversely.. and Gerald R.. 250 College of Business Building. p. In this study. For example..sagepub.1177/1548051811425677 http://jlos. However.e. Martinez1. simultaneously accusatory and apologetic). the notion that people possess more or less fuzzy attribution styles and that the degree of fuzziness affects important work variables (e. a personally maladjusted person might behave as though a formal business meeting was an informal gathering. whereas if the employee was convinced that it was because of rater biases. Normal. Mark J. we argue that employees who possess more cognitively unstructured psychological environments are more likely to possess fuzzy attribution styles. USA Email: admartinez@illinoisstate. internal attribution) or to rater biases (i. For example. simultaneously. a person’s attribution may belong to the set “internal” to some degree while. and strengths and limitations were discussed. employees with more fuzzy attribution styles may have more difficulty handling feedback. when making an attribution about an event. USA Corresponding Author: Arthur D. College of Business. we argue that a person’s attribution style can be more or less fuzzy. Keywords attribution styles. its practical implications. directions for future research. 1]. Fuzzy sets are characterized by membership functions that take on values within the interval [0.nav DOI: 10. Normal.

Schyns. avoidant decision styles. we investigated the effects of fuzzy attribution styles on three important work capabilities: occupational self-efficacy. In other words. thereby making them less able to view things realistically (Lewin. In other words. There are many potential factors that promote personal maladjustment. 39-40). we suggest that felt job competence is based on more definitive attributions for job successes and failures (i. 40). and political skill.e. p. whereas personally maladjusted people would be unlikely to make crisp attributions because their psychological regions are indistinct or separated by fuzzy boundaries. and unbalanced behavior (Lewin. For example.18 themselves.sagepub. Gist & Mitchell. In other words. Personal maladjustment is associated with outcomes such as emotional instability. so they are driven to attribute causes to the events they perceive (Heider. the region “informal gathering” blurs with the region “formal business meeting. Persistent psychological conflicts make it difficult to establish clear boundaries between psychological regions. which heightens their emotional tensions. 1944). 39).g. things that caused past successes are typically preferable to things Fuzzy Attribution Styles and Work Outcomes Fuzzy attribution styles. Attributional dimensions are basically psychological regions within the cognitive structure. e. 1944. Indeed. if one were unsure whether a failure at work was because of an internal or external cause. racial minorities may become personally maladjusted if they possess unhealthy relations with their racial groups (Lewin. including what causes successful or unsuccessful job performance. People with more developed cognitive structures would possess clearer boundaries between what is considered self and what is considered non-self. e. Harvey. as examples. 1944. Attribution styles in this study were based on the internal–external attribution dimension. Employees with high occupational self-efficacy believe that they can successfully perform their job tasks. then he or she would probably focus on self-improvement. & Hankin. 1944. On the other hand. and Mohr (2008) described occupational self-efficacy as an employee’s felt job competence. 1941). Avoidant decision styles are characterized by persistent attempts to avoid decision making (Scott & Bruce. The conceptual dimension “cognitive structure” refers to “spatial relations of a multitude of psychological regions” (Lewin. more perceived certainty with regard to the causes of job successes and failures). In this study. see. and adolescents who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood may experience degrees of personal maladjustment (Lewin.. For example. 1958). Taking the previous example. Martinko (2002) made a persuasive case for the importance of the differences between attributions made for successes versus those Downloaded from jlo. 2013 . Hyde. One reason humans make attributions is to use them to control their environments (Heider. The “overlapping of at least two force fields” is viewed as a psychological “conflict” (Lewin. 1958). they included both successes and failures). 1939). Fuzzy attribution styles would likely inhibit the cultivation of felt competence as fuzzy attributions inhibit the perceived understanding of the job. if one were convinced that a failure at work was because of an internal cause. When causal attributions are clearer. one can take more decisive actions. Mezulis. whereas failure to have a clear understanding of the causal mechanisms at work likely results in unclear goals and a lack of understanding of how to achieve desired rewards. A set of three distinct fuzzy attribution styles were investigated in this study: fuzzy attribution styles associated with successes.com by guest on April 8. attributions facilitate adaptive behavior.. and composite fuzzy attribution styles (i. Therefore. 1992. 1995). Abramson. 1941). One reason people might avoid decision making is because of uncertain preferences. As an example. 1939).g. A key factor related to personal maladjustment is how opposing goals affect one’s overall cognitive structure (Lewin. Felt job competence is a perception of personal control that likely derives from a sufficient understanding of the job.” thus leading to increased chances of inappropriate behavior in either setting. In other words. 1941). having a clearer understanding about cause and effect in a work environment allows a person to develop a course of action that is likely to secure desired rewards. the literature suggests that those who tend to make more internal and stable attributions for successes also tend to possess more self-efficacy (for a review. According to field theory (Lewin. then he or she would not be able to respond in a confident manner. Martinko. Rigotti. p. a “goal” or “force field” has the conceptual dimension of a “distribution of psychological forces in psychological space” (Lewin.. It follows that people who are more personally adjusted will be more likely to commit to clearer attributions because they possess more clearly distinct psychological regions. Humans need to understand their environments before they can control them. pp. 2007). the self-serving bias (see. & Douglas. we offer the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 1: Fuzzy attribution styles are negatively related to occupational self-efficacy. Work capabilities.e.. decreased wellbeing. Fuzzy attribution styles bring about uncertain preferences because preferences are based on attributions of past successes and failures. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(1) for failures. 2004) is a widespread tendency to attribute internal causes for successes and external causes for failures. “internal” and “external” are psychological regions that pertain to self versus nonself. fuzzy attribution styles associated with failures.

and 2% earned a doctoral degree. obtaining organizational rewards (Martinko et al. therefore.” “You have a great deal of difficulty getting along with your coworkers.” The three failure items were as follows: “You recently received a below average performance evaluation from your supervisor. The vendor compensated all participants who completed the online survey. Roughly 45% worked for private employers. 7). 25% Hispanic. The average income was $50. 2007). 1941). People who possess fuzzy attribution styles might view their careers as being less predictable and. 20% Asian. Ferris and colleagues reasoned that political skill is associated with four dimensions: social astuteness. Davidson. undoubtedly affects how and whether they are successful in achieving social influence and. By design.” “You have a great deal of success getting along with your coworkers. Career satisfaction is a person’s attitude about his or her career. The 7-point response format included anchors of “Completely because of me” at 1 and “Completely because of other people or circumstances” at 7. we investigate the impacts of fuzzy attribution styles on two important affect-related work outcomes: job tension and career satisfaction. We argue that attitudes are 19 informed by past attributions of successes and failures. 30% had only 4-year college degrees. higher values corresponded with more external attribution styles.000 per year. If attributions of past successes and failures are fuzzy. 25% Black.  Items from the Organizational Attribution Style Questionnaire (Kent & Martinko. Hypothesis 3: Fuzzy attribution styles are negatively related to political skill.” and “All of the feedback you have received lately from your boss concerning your performance has been negative. Roughly 22% were members of a labor union. For these reasons.Martinez et al.3 years. less favorable. Fuzzy attribution styles reflect personal maladjustment. We contend that people who possess fuzzy attribution styles are generally more uncertain about their job environments. Ferris. we offer the following hypothesis: Hypothesis 4: Fuzzy attribution styles are positively related to job tension. Hence. partly a function of individual attributions. Measures Internal–external attribution style measures. About 88% of the respondents were full-time employees. 45% for public employers. 1). then chances that the person will form confident preferences diminish. p. and 5% other. Attitudes are “psychological tendencies expressed by evaluating entities with some degree of favor or disfavor” (Eagly & Chaiken. to some extent. Approximately 30% were high school graduates (or less). Method Sample The study sample consisted of working adults across the United States (N = 347). thus.000 to more than $100. The average job tenure was about 4. The degree to which one represents causes.sagepub. 1995) were used to measure internal–external attribution styles for both successes and failures. hence. and apparent sincerity. We contend that fuzzy attributions are likely causes of perceived job stressors.. Affect-related work outcomes. The average company tenure was 6. and personal maladjustment is associated with affect-related outcomes such as emotional instability and decreased well-being (Lewin. Responses were purchased from an online survey panel vendor. 1979).” and “All of the feedback you have received lately from your boss concerning your performance has been positive. 1993. the respondents were racially/ethnically diverse: 25% White. In this study. If perceived job demands outweigh perceived control. and Perrewé (2005) defined political skill as the “ability to understand others at work and to use that knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s personal or organizational objectives” (p. Hypothesis 2: Fuzzy attribution styles are positively related to avoidant decision styles. Political skill relies strongly on perceptions of personal control in dealing with others. interpersonal influence.000 per year and ranged from $16. in sure and positive ways. Hypothesis 5: Fuzzy attribution styles are negatively related to career satisfaction. The mean age was approximately 40 years and ranged from 18 to 72 years. The three success items were as follows: “You recently received an above average performance evaluation from your supervisor.2 years. Perrewé and Zellars (1999) argued that perceived job stressors are. 10% possessed only master’s degrees. and more uncertain environments may be experienced as being more demanding as well as less controllable. it also relies on unambiguous assessments of social successes and failures. and 10% were self-employed. About 65% of the respondents were female. networking ability.com by guest on April 8. 28% possessed only 2-year college degrees. Therefore. then unresolved job strain will be high (Karasek. fuzzy attribution styles are likely positively related to avoidant decision styles. that caused past failures. for their successes and failures. 2013 .” The instruction was as follows: “To what extent would the major causes of the following hypothetical situations be Downloaded from jlo. Also.

” The Cronbach alpha for this study sample was .” A 5-point Likert-type response format was used with anchors “not at all true” to “completely true. The 3-item subscale for fuzzy attribution styles for failures had a Cronbach’s alpha of .61. p < .35. Then. p < . Typical items are “I am satisfied with the success I have achieved in my career” and “I am satisfied with the progress I have made toward meeting my overall career goals. The composite fuzzy attribution style correlated significantly. with 1 representing the completely crisp case (i. political skill (r = −.90) tended to be less fuzzy (i.g. avoidant decision style (r = . p < . & Douglas. Typical items include “I postpone decision making whenever possible” and “I put off making many decisions because thinking about them makes me uneasy.. SD = 0.  The 7-item scale developed by House and Rizzo (1972) was used to measure perceptions of job tension. p < .05). The 6-item composite scale for both successes and failures had a Cronbach’s alpha of . Job tension.13. Political skill.” The Cronbach alpha was . The Cronbach alpha was . correlations.” A 5-point Likert-type response format with anchors “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” was used.  The same Occupational Attributional Style Questionnaire items were used with a recoded response scheme: Responses 1 through 4 remained the same. Correlation Analyses The correlations provided compelling preliminary support for all hypotheses as fuzzy attribution styles for successes correlated significantly with all five outcomes in the predicted directions: occupational self-efficacy (r = −.01). & Hanusa.20 because of something about you or about other people or circumstances?” The 3-item subscale for internal–external attribution styles for successes had a Cronbach’s alpha of .93.05).13.76.90.” A 5-point Likert-type response format was used with anchors “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree. Δ = 0. fuzzy successes. 1995). Representative items include “I feel prepared for most of the demands of my job” and “When I am confronted with a problem in my job. The 5-item avoidant decision style subscale from the General Decision Making Style scale was used (Scott & Bruce. The 6-item composite scale for both successes and failures had a Cronbach’s alpha of . routine correlation analyses were performed. job tension (r = . with 1 being 18 to 21 years.81. Fuzzy attribution styles for successes (M = 2. standard deviations. the 6s to 2s. and career satisfaction (r = −. hierarchical regression analyses (e.12. Age and gender were controlled as these factors are thought to influence attribution biases (see.80.... Francis. each category covered 4 years).29. The 3-item subscale for fuzzy attribution styles for successes had a Cronbach’s alpha of . e. p < . SD = 0. Gundlach. Gender was measured via one question (male = 1 and female = 2).e. p < . see Schwab. fuzzy attribution styles associated with failures only correlated significantly with two outcomes: occupational self-efficacy (r = −. Downloaded from jlo. Control variables.92). Martinko. 2013 .01). Results Descriptive Statistics Table 1 provides means. The Cronbach alpha was . and in expected directions.” A 5-point Likert-type response format with anchors “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree” was used. 1983.15.” The Cronbach alpha was . Occupational self-efficacy. (2005) was used. Data Analyses Techniques First. and 12 being 62 years or older.84. and fuzzy composite) accounted for incremental variances after internal–external attribution styles.. with the 7s were recoded to 1s. The 3-item subscale for internal–external attribution styles for failures had a Cronbach’s alpha of . I can usually find several solutions. Age was measured via 12 equally spaced categories (i. fuzzy failures.g. Albeit.77.83. Frieze.25. and the 5s to 3s.01) than fuzzy attribution styles for failures (M = 2. age. and gender were considered. Also noteworthy.sagepub.26. p < . for each outcome variable. with all outcomes except career satisfaction: occupational self-efficacy (r = −.23. 11 being 58 to 61 years. completely uncertain).90. 2002).e. However. 1988). Typical items are “I have felt fidgety or nervous as a result of my job” and “I work under a great deal of tension. and Wormley (1990) Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(1) was used. Career satisfaction.. 2005) were used to determine if the fuzzy attribution styles (e.  The 18-item political skill inventory developed by Ferris et al. The 5-item career satisfaction scale developed by Greenhaus. (2008) was used to measure occupational selfefficacy.g.e.93. p < . completely certain) and 4 representing the completely fuzzy case (i. this difference corresponds to a Cohen’s d of about .” A 7-point Likert-type response format was used with the anchors “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.27.01).05) and political skill (r = −. Representative items include “I am able to make most people feel comfortable and at ease around me” and “I always seem to instinctively know the right things to say or do to influence others.  The 6-item scale developed by Rigotti et al.11.. Parasuraman.92. fuzzy attribution styles for successes appeared to be more strongly correlated with the outcomes than fuzzy attribution styles for failures.e. which is considered a small effect size (Cohen. Avoidant decision style.05). and reliabilities for the variables used in the study.com by guest on April 8. Fuzzy attribution style measures. The recoded responses produced a new scale that ranged from 1 to 4.

In sum. minimally (β = .65 2.03 .77 2. p < . Political skill 12.09 −.30** −.02 −.76** .12 0.40** −. except career satisfaction.86** . hierarchical regression analyses provided full support for the hypotheses pertaining to occupational selfefficacy and political skill.79 0.08 −. Avoidant decision style 11.23** . Occupational self-efficacy and political skill appeared to be the most affected by fuzzy attribution styles. Occupational self-efficacy 10. Hierarchical Regression Analyses Table 2 summarizes the results of the hierarchical regression analyses. As external attribution styles for successes increased.36** .14. Avoidant decision styles were only associated with fuzzy attribution styles for failures.01 −.50** −.95 1 (na) −.10             (.58** −.93) (.35 2. all hypotheses received at least partial support in this study.01 level (2-tailed).92) −..25** −.11* −. Both age and external attribution styles were significantly related to avoidant decision styles. The hypotheses regarding avoidant decision style and career satisfaction received partial support.09 .22.81** .11* −. avoidant style increased (e. avoidant decision style (r = . The hypotheses concerning avoidant decision style.09.g.02 −. respectively.28** −. Also. Discussion Overall.14** −. As age increased.84 0.26** .76) . these two outcome variables were highly correlated (r = . 2013 . p < . The hypotheses concerning occupational self-efficacy and political skill received full support. which might explain why they possessed similar results with regard to their relations with fuzzy attribution styles.14** . **Correlation significant at .49** (. p < .58.19 SD 3. Means.02 .13* . All outcome variables.02 .22. job tension.05). Interestingly.37** .01). p < .07 −.15** .01). p < .11.78 3.25** . Incidentally. Specifically. Internal–external (composite)   6.28 2.01 −.01 .11* .90) −.13* .04 −.05 level. political skill (r = −.17 0. Downloaded from jlo.23** .93) −. Career satisfaction was only affected by fuzzy attribution styles for successes (β = −.00 −. the magnitude of the incremental variance explained for successes was twice that for failures.48 3. External attribution styles had a small effect on job tension (e. Occupational self-efficacy and political skill were both influenced by fuzzy attribution styles for successes and failures. p < .04 . p < .77 3. avoidant decision style was only related to fuzzy attribution styles for failures. Internal–external (successes)   4.03 (.11* −. as external attribution styles increased. and Reliabilities for the Fuzzy Attribution Style Study Variables M   1.01).12* −.03 −.10).83) .95 0.58** .28** . p < .81) −.15** .51 1.04 .73 3. Fuzzy (successes)   7. decreased—(β = −. had significant correlations with the composite fuzzy attribution style.36** −. Fuzzy (failures)   8.77) .90 0.01 −. Hence. Career satisfaction 6. Cronbach’s alphas bolded in parentheses on diagonal.06 .34**       (.04 .01 (.35 1.00 . For example. and career satisfaction was only related to fuzzy attribution styles for successes.27. and career satisfaction received partial support.13. Age   2.12* . Gender   3.01).05).Martinez et al. p < . p < .06 −.84) . p < .12* .16. In sum. p < .07 (.10.com by guest on April 8.31** . Fuzzy (composite)   9. avoidant decision style decreased (β = −. p < .09 −.08 −. Internal–external (failures)   5. Correlations. *Correlation significant at .07 . for composite: β = .27** −.01). this study provided initial evidence for our thesis that fuzzy attribution styles are valid cognitive phenomena associated with meaningful consequences.40** .06 .11* −.15** .02 (. N = 347.92 0.01) for both occupational self-efficacy and political skill. and in the expected directions.48 1.32 2.04 Note.95 0.01).36 1.sagepub.g.06 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 21 13       (. Standard Deviations. Specifically.61 2.06 (.05).02 2 (na) −.80) .01).90) −.49 5.04..14.87** −.01) and (β = −. these three variables only correlated with fuzzy attribution styles for successes. both occupational self-efficacy and political skill. for composite: β = .01 (. and job tension (r = . Job tension was essentially unrelated to fuzzy attribution styles. Table 1. albeit.08 .71 0. the correlation analyses provided at least partial support for all hypotheses. The job tension hypothesis was unsupported in this set of analyses.23** . Job tension 13. composite fuzzy attribution styles predicted incremental variances (ΔR2 = .22** .

00 −.14*** .08 .08 .02* −. As another example.06 .01 −. Implications of Study and Future Research One possible (and potentially important) implication of this research is that strong attribution biases may be healthy and adaptive.04*** −. Field theory was used to explain how some might develop fuzzy attribution styles.01 . Making fuzzy attributions for work-related successes and failures likely diminishes these important work capabilities.01 −.02* .04*** −.02 −. Despite a thorough search of the extant literature and research. The primary contribution of this research was the introduction of an influential attribution style: the fuzzy attribution style.22*** .06 .06 .01 .01 .01.02** −. Another implication of this research was that fuzzy attribution styles for successes are probably more important than fuzzy attributions for failures.08*** .06 −.00 .13** .09* .04*** −.01 .15*** .01 −. prior conceptualizations of attribution theory did not appear to address or discuss the notion of attributional fuzziness.29). it seemed imperative (in our sample) to attribute work successes and failures to either internal or external causes.03** −. political skill.00 .10 (two-tailed).16** . Not only were fuzzy attribution styles for successes more strongly correlated with the outcome variables but the sample tended to possess less fuzzy attribution styles for successes (Cohen’s d = . 2013 .14*** −.14*** . ***p < .08 .13*** .13** .01 . and job tension.11* .09 .10* .02 .01 −.sagepub.01 −. This research also contributed to other topic areas in the organizational sciences. albeit only in certain cases.09 . we found that occupational self-efficacy and political skill were strongly correlated to each other and were also significantly affected by fuzzy attribution styles. avoidant decision style.02 .00 *p < .08 .02 −.00 −.07 −.05 .03*** −.06 −.02*** −.07 .02* .02** −.00 −. we found that internal–external attribution styles were significantly related to occupational self-efficacy.10* −.23*** −.22*** .10* .22*** −. β Political Skill. We also showed that fuzzy attribution styles were related to important work variables.10* .21*** −. Downloaded from jlo.01 .07 .03 .com by guest on April 8.12* . In the case of political skill or occupational self-efficacy.05.02 . For example.00 .07 . β .07 .28*** .00 .28*** .11** .00 . therefore. β Job Tension.00 .02 −.02** . **p < .27*** .26*** .05*** −.01 .09* . our extension of attribution theory into the domain of certainty/fuzziness is a unique and potentially important theoretical and practical contribution. β Avoidant Decision Style.09* .22 Table 2.08 −. managerial efforts to clarify the work culture and procedures so that causes and effects are clearer should reduce ambiguity and decrease the tendencies toward fuzzy attributions and their negative effects. Hierarchical Regression Analyses for Fuzzy Attribution Style Study Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(1) Dependent Variables   Successes   Step 1     Age    Gender    Internal–external     R2   Step 2    Fuzzy     ΔR2 Failures   Step 1     Age    Gender    Internal–external     R2   Step 2    Fuzzy     ΔR2 Composite   Step 1     Age    Gender    Internal–external     R2   Step 2    Fuzzy     ΔR2 Occupational Self-Efficacy. β Career Satisfaction. Hence.01* .06 −.

Role conflict and ambiguity as critical variables in a model of organizational behavior.com by guest on April 8. CA: Davies-Black. In other words. fuzzy attribution styles for controllability. L. J. 23 and external.. R. B. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. S. M. Defining success in classroom settings. New York. The development and evaluation of a scale to measure organizational attribution style. CN: Greenwood Press. Field theory in social science (pp. H. A.. DC: American Psychological Association. (1958). 285-308. & Mitchell. Westport. multidimensional fuzzy attribution style models could be devised and tested. Attribution theory: An organizational perspective (pp. so the sample strengthened the study. 467-505. job performance evaluations. Frieze. job decision latitude. the internal–external dimension was probably a good place to start. S.. Funding The authors received no financial support for the research. Hillsdale. M. 33. and capabilities was appropriate. W. Eagly. & Chaiken. J. J. Self-efficacy: A theoretical analysis of its determinants and malleability. D. However. R. mental health.e. this notion can be tested empirically in future research.. Levine & M. The complete social scientist: A Kurt Lewin reader (pp. Greenhaus. 64-86. and/or publication of this article. I. Heider. Effects of race on organizational experiences. In M. Also. R. In other words. (1993). 327-332). (2005). (1972). including job attitudes and behaviors. H. R. self-reports were appropriate in this study as the central phenomenon of interest was human cognition. Academy of Management Review. Parasuraman. and/or publication of this article. (1988). such as voting behavior. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. expected to relate to fuzzy attribution styles. Finally. The psychology of attitudes. Gold (Ed.). M. K. and career outcomes. Perhaps this explanation accounts for a part of the general tendency to make more crisp attributions for successes. it is considered more adaptive and less threatening than attributing work failures to self or others. Declaration of Conflicting Interests The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research. (1995). H. Davidson. E. R. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed. Karasek. Delray Beach. However. Administrative Science Quarterly. Attributing work successes to self or others is probably viewed as being more related to positive reinforcement. Washington.. (1979). & Perrewé. Lucie Press. 53-75).sagepub. somewhere between internal Downloaded from jlo... Personal maladjustment can lead to undesirable work outcomes. House. 24. M. Cartwright (Ed. 7. 1938). With regard to learning behavior. Strengths and Limitations of Study The national sample of working adults made the study more ready to generalize. Hillsdale. & Rizzo. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance. Martinko (Ed. Researchers could look at other important outcome variables in the work domain.). 17. considering five relatively diverse outcome variables (i. K. Francis. Teacher and student perceptions: Implications for learning (pp. The measurement and analyses of styles for both successes and failures added another dimension of complexity that enriched the study. W. Fort Worth. The psychology of interpersonal relations. NY: Wiley. for example. there could be potential mediators and moderators of these relationships to investigate. Lewin. Much more research needs to be done to understand more about the origin and consequences of fuzzy attribution styles. In J.. Personal adjustment and group belongingness.Martinez et al. self-confidence could mediate the relationship between fuzzy attribution style and political skill (and occupational self-efficacy). One could also consider multiple dimensions simultaneously. Ferris.. J. Academy of Management Journal. (1983). and mental strain: Implications for job redesign. 183-211. for example. (1941). Wang (Eds. 2013 . We argued that fuzzy attribution styles might be symptoms of personal maladjustment. authorship. positive reinforcement has generally been found to be more influential than negative reinforcement (Skinner.) (reprint 1975). and general well-being. 3-28). attitudes. (1939). A. intentionality. G. There was an important difference in the results between success and failure conditions that strengthened the study. P. Mountain View. For example. Political skill at work: Impact on work effectiveness. H. Of course. TX: Harcourt. 130-154). F. Conclusion Fuzzy attributions are located somewhere between attribution dimension poles. having people assess their own thought. Gist. global versus specific. R. S. Job demands.). An obvious limitation of the study was the reliance on one attribution dimension. Perhaps this gap is because of the power of positive reinforcement. Field theory and experiment in social psychology. (1992). & Wormley.. or stability dimensions. The research design relied on the self-reporting of all variables in a one-time cross-sectional situation that might have introduced common method biases. J. Kent. hence.) (reprint 1999). Lewin. researchers in other domains could consider fuzzy attribution styles to investigate phenomena beyond the workplace. capabilities and affect-related variables) also strengthened the validity of the study. L. authorship. & Martinko. FL: St. In D. Other fruitful areas of future research include the investigation of other attribution dimensions for fuzziness. References Cohen.. Finally. J. & Hanusa. (1990). T.

abusive supervision. 238-255. emotions. Mendel. G. D. & Douglas. J. In D. (2002). Educational and Psychological Measurement. Bios Arthur D. and Dean of Fellows for the Southern Management Association. CN: Greenwood Press. Ferris has research interests in the areas of social influence and effectiveness processes in organizations. He is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Organizational Behavior. S. Mahwah. T. 30-42). Tallahassee. International Journal of Selection and Assessment. (2005). 561-585.. J. 55. (2004). (1999). M. Division Chair for the Managerial and Organization Cognition Division of the Academy of Management. Harvey. M. Ferris is the Francis Eppes Professor of Management and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University.D. 2013 . Schyns. and contribution of attribution theory to leadership: A review. 711-747. Schwab.. F. Perrewé. and cultural differences in the self-serving attributional bias. Constructs in field theory.com by guest on April 8. K. leadership.. Gerald R. J. FL: Gulf Coast Publishing. C. (1995). 83.. C.. An examination of attributions and emotions in the transactional approach to the organizational stress process. The behavior of organisms. His research investigates social power in organizational contexts. B. Toward an integrative theory of counterproductive workplace behavior: A causal reasoning perspective. M. His research focuses on attribution theory which he has applied to the areas of motivation. Leadership Quarterly. Mezulis. G. and the role of reputation in organizations. P. Research methods for organizations studies. & Zellars. PhD.sagepub. 20. Field theory in social science (pp. New York. 130. Abramson. A. H. NY: Appleton-Century-Crofts. J. S. 18. (2008). Martinez is Assistant Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. R. Journal of Organizational Behavior. work relationships. Martinko. Fuzzy logic systems for engineering: A tutorial.24 Lewin. Cartwright (Ed. M. impression management. (2007). Skinner. Martinko. Proceedings of the IEEE.. & Douglas. Journal of Career Assessment. is the Bank of America Professor of Management at Florida State University. 10(1/2). Westport. 16.) (reprint 1975). He received his PhD in Management from Florida State University.. Downloaded from jlo. Gundlach. He received a Ph. (1944). 345-377. P. P. and entitlement. Psychological Bulletin. & Hankin.. 36-50. L. Martinko. 818-831. K. Y. (2002). S. function. Thinking like a winner: A guide to high performance leadership. Martinko. J.. S. Hyde. L. L. Is there a universal positivity bias in attributions? A meta-analytic review of individual.. A. & Bruce. Decision-making style: The development and assessment of a new measure. B. Rigotti. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The role. & Mohr. L. B. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 19(1) Scott. whistle-blowing. (1995). developmental. organizational deviance. A short version of the occupational self-efficacy scale: Structural and construct validity across five countries. Mark J. J. 739-752. (1938)..

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