A Matter of Reputation and Pride: Associations between Perceived External Reputation, Pride in Membership, Job Satisfaction and Turnover Intentions

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<ul><li><p>A Matter of Reputation and Pride:Associations between Perceived ExternalReputation, Pride in Membership, JobSatisfaction and Turnover Intentions</p><p>Sabrina HelmRetailing and Consumer Sciences, University of Arizona, PO Box 210078, Tucson, AZ 85721-0078, USA</p><p>Email: helm@email.arizona.edu</p><p>This study investigates how job satisfaction and turnover intentions are related toexternal reputation as perceived by employees and their pride in membership. Based ona cross-sectional survey including 439 employees, it also provides insights into externalreputation as a possible source of collective pride. Study results indicate that, in agree-ment with social identity theory, outsiders views of the organization are closely associ-ated with employees pride in organizational membership as well as job satisfaction. Bothpride and job satisfaction mediate the relationship between perceived external reputationand turnover intentions. Hence, a favourable reputation matters in managing turnoverintentions and is closely related to employee pride and satisfaction. Tenure of employeesis positively associated with pride while intensive customer contact is negatively relatedto perceived external reputation and pride. Implications pinpoint the need for alignmentof reputation management and human resources management. Furthermore, managersneed to focus on new staff and employees with frequent customer contact and shouldimplement pride-building strategies according to the tenure of employees and intensity ofcustomer contact.</p><p>Introduction</p><p>Employee turnover is a major source of losses inproductivity and the cost per leaving employeehas a considerable negative impact on thebottom line (Shaw et al., 2005; Smith et al.,2012; Wright and Bonett, 2007). Also, firms donot necessarily lose undesirable employees andretain desirable ones (Ahr and Ahr, 2000;Branham, 2000). Improved understanding of thepsychological processes underlying withdrawalfrom the organization is therefore of continued</p><p>academic and managerial interest (Van Dicket al., 2004).</p><p>Job satisfaction and turnover intentions arecommonly investigated predictors of turnover(Griffeth, Hom and Gaertner, 2000; Van Dicket al., 2004). Other factors such as external repu-tation have received less research attentiondespite an increasing focus on reputation as anindicator of organizations adherence to com-monly expected rules (Adams, Highhouse andZickar, 2010; McWilliams and Siegel, 2001). Inan era of declining public trust in companies(World Economic Forum, 2010), working fororganizations that have a positive external repu-tation (i.e. those that are trusted and assessedfavourably by outsiders) is important. Since out-siders tend to identify employees of a company</p><p>This study was made possible with a research grantfrom the German Research Foundation. The authorwould also like to thank Dr Anubha Mishra for herinvaluable insights regarding the data analysis.</p><p>bs_bs_banner</p><p>British Journal of Management, Vol. , (2012)DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8551.2012.00827.x</p><p> 2012 The Author(s)British Journal of Management 2012 British Academy of Management. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd,9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA, 02148, USA.</p></li><li><p>with what their organization stands for (Ash-forth and Mael, 1989; Cable and Turban, 2003),employees form meta-stereotypes based on theirimpressions of these outsider views. Being partof an organization with a favourable externalreputation is likely to instil pride in employees(Carmeli, 2004), potentially strengthening thebond between the employee and the organiza-tion. Working for an ill-reputed organization,however, can lead to embarrassment, discomfortand decreased self-esteem (Cable and Turban,2003), potentially triggering the decision to leavethe employer. The reputation-pride linkage maybe amplified because it is the most qualified anddesirable employees who are particularly selec-tive, demanding and sensitive to their employersreputation and who want to be able to take pridein their employer (Pruzan, 2001).</p><p>This study investigates how employees per-ceptions of their organizations external reputa-tion are associated with turnover intentionswhilst also accounting for the roles of pride inmembership and job satisfaction. The findingsof the study are relevant for both academicsand practitioners. In the management literature,studies on perceived external reputation (PER)have been confined to analysing individual orsmall sets of organizations (see, for example,Bartels et al., 2007; Smidts, Pruyn and van Riel,2001); pride in membership (PIM), a collectiveform of pride, has also received little attention(Katzenbach and Santamaria, 1999). Cable andTurban (2003) provide the only empirical studyon the linkage of the two constructs in theirinvestigation of jobseekers perceptions of orga-nizational reputation and anticipated PIM. Todate, no study has extended their findings withregard to established employee relationships.</p><p>Theoretically, this study sheds much-neededlight on the consequences of organizational repu-tation (Walsh et al., 2009) and can be extended(1) conceptually to include alternative forms ofpride and corporate associations such as internaland external reputation (Davies, Chun andKamins, 2010) or (2) methodologically to buildcausal models of the linkages between PER, PIMand employee productivity and profitability ofthe firm. Practically, the findings should helpmanagers reduce turnover intentions in the faceof a brilliant or blemished reputation and usereputation and pride enhancement as a differen-tiated employee retention strategy.</p><p>Theoretical backgroundPerceived organizational reputation</p><p>Organizational reputation is a sociocognitiveconstruct based on the knowledge, beliefs andimpressions residing in theminds of external stake-holders regarding the organization (Musteen,Datta andKemmerer, 2010; Rindova,Williamsonand Petkova, 2010) and can be an importantsource of competitive advantage (Fombrun andShanley, 1990; Zyglidopoulos, 2005). The stand-point of the beholder internal or external to theorganization determines conceptual nuances.Although reputational assessments among stake-holders are often aligned (Highhouse et al., 2009),there can be differences between organizationalinsiders perceptions of organizational outsidersviews of the reputation of the organization (PER)and how outsiders actually see it (organizationalreputation) (Brown et al., 2006). Studies on repu-tation in workforce-related contexts have includedvarious perspectives, such as interpreting organi-zational reputation as a signal jobseekers use todetermine attractiveness of employers (e.g. Cableand Graham, 2000; Cable and Turban, 2003;Gatewood, Gowan and Lautenschlager, 1993;Lemmink, Schuijf and Streukens, 2003; Riordan,Gatewood and Bill, 1997) or as a factor aiding inincreasing employee identification (Bartels et al.,2007; Smidts, Pruyn and vanRiel, 2001), employeecompliance (Kreps and Spence, 1985) andemployee commitment (Jones, 1996). Whatremains ambiguous in extant literature is howorganizational reputation might serve in bondingemployees.</p><p>The current study uses social identity theory toexplain reputational bonding effects on employ-ees. Social identity refers to ones perception ofbelongingness or oneness with a group, where theindividual defines himself or herself in terms of theorganization(s) in which he or she is a member(Ashforth and Mael, 1989). This natural tendencyis a function of how one evaluates the groups onebelongs to, as well as how others evaluate thosegroups (Luhtanen andCrocker, 1992; Smith et al.,2012; Tajfel and Turner, 1979). Consequently, theemployees of a firm share a meta-sterotype theset of impressions members of a group expectothers to hold about the group (Owuamalam andZagefka, 2011; Vorauer, Main and OConnell,1998). Outsiders tend to identify employees withwhat their organization stands for based on the</p><p>2 S. Helm</p><p> 2012 The Author(s)British Journal of Management 2012 British Academy of Management.</p></li><li><p>organizations reputation (Carmeli, 2004; Dutton,Dukerich and Harquail, 1994; Lemmink, Schuijfand Streukens, 2003; Lievens, Van Hoye andAnseel, 2007; Riordan, Gatewood and Bill, 1997;Walsh et al., 2009). Organizational reputation,then, may partly define organizational out-siders view of the organizations employees and,subsequently, determine organizational insidersmeta-stereotype. This meta-stereotype, or howemployees think outsiders see them, may be perti-nent when considering employment concernsgiven the public focus on, and declining trust in,companies (Adams, Highhouse and Zickar, 2010;McWilliams and Siegel, 2001).</p><p>Pride in membership</p><p>Pride is an emotion exceptionally important indriving both everyday and life-changing socialbehaviour (Tracy and Robins, 2007). In work-place settings, two forms of pride have been iden-tified. Personal pride is intrinsically motivated andrelies on personal achievements such as thequality of ones work and a sense of ones ownproper dignity or value and self-respect for workaccomplishments (Bouckaert, 2001; Lea andWebley, 1997). Collective pride, often overlookedin research, describes pleasure taken in beingassociated with ones employer (Bouckaert, 2001).Unlike conceptualizations of pride in group per-formance (Berkowitz and Levy, 1956), grouppride (Zander and Armstrong, 1972) or pride ingroup (Nadler, 1979) examined in contexts ofachievement from team member contributions,collective pride results primarily from relation-ships or affiliation, such as gender, race, nation-ality or organizational memberships (Lea andWebley, 1997; Tracy and Robins, 2007). Employ-ees take collective pride if an organization receivesrecognition in the outside world for being impor-tant, meaningful, effective, and [. . .] a worthwhilepart of the community (Arnett, Lavarie andMcLane, 2002, p. 90). In support of the currentstudys emphasis on collective pride, Bouckaert(2001) suggested that employees pride affects per-formance more strongly if based extrinsicallyinstead of intrinsically, such as through associa-tion with a reputable employer. While exactappraisal and determinants of pride have yet to beresearched (Lea and Webley, 1997; Tracy andRobins, 2007), authors seem to agree that pride isderived from both self-appraisals and others</p><p>opinions (Arnett, Lavarie and McLane, 2002;Verbeke, Belschak and Bagozzi, 2004). Thus,employees pride in organizational membershipmay be enhanced by a favourable meta-stereotypeof the organization (Lievens, Van Hoye andAnseel, 2007; Ogbor, 2001), in accordance withsocial identity theory.</p><p>Development of hypotheses</p><p>Affiliation with an employer widely known for itspositive achievements boosts organization-basedself-esteem. This is supported by social identitytheory which posits that ones collective identitymay be positive or negative according to the meta-stereotype manifested in the appraisal of onessocial group, rather than ones personal attribu-tions or achievements within the group (Tajfeland Turner, 1986; Vorauer, Main and OConnell,1998). Working for an organization with afavourable reputation (reflected in a positivemeta-stereotype) enhances social identificationand is therefore likely to instil PIM (Bartels et al.,2007; Cable and Turban, 2003; Carmeli, 2004;Smidts, Pruyn and van Riel, 2001). This leads to</p><p>H1: Perceived external reputation is positivelyassociated with pride in membership.</p><p>While there have been no prior studies onemployees PER and their job satisfaction,Riordan, Gatewood and Bill (1997) analysed theeffect of corporate image (the overall perceptionthe employees themselves have of the organi-zation) on job satisfaction. The current studyextends these authors findings in focusing onPER which is specifically relevant from a socialidentity perspective. The recognition that theorganization has among external stakeholderscontributes to employees evaluation of theirworkplace by instilling a positive meta-stereotype.Working for an organization with a good reputa-tion should therefore be more satisfying thanworking for one with a bad reputation, leading to</p><p>H2: Perceived external reputation is positivelyassociated with job satisfaction.</p><p>Gunter and Furnham (1996) surveyed employ-ees of four public sector organizations finding thatmost were satisfied with their job but did not nec-essarily experience pride. A direct positive rela-tion between the two variables has been identifiedby Arnett, Lavarie and McLane (2002) as well as</p><p>Reputation and Pride 3</p><p> 2012 The Author(s)British Journal of Management 2012 British Academy of Management.</p></li><li><p>Jitpaiboon, Park and Truong (2006); however,these studies were limited in genera-lizability by the sole use of hotel and casinoemployees. The current study expands beyond anexclusive focus on front-line employees in directcustomer contact. In addition, this study suggestsa positive relation between pride and job satisfac-tion based on the theoretical argument that prideenhances self-esteem (Tracy and Robins, 2007)and provides reassurance in liking ones work-place. This leads to</p><p>H3: Pride in organizational membership is posi-tively associated with job satisfaction.</p><p>Pride is regarded as a mechanism ensuringconsistency (Lea and Webley, 1997). Therefore, ifemployees perceptions and attitudes toward theorganization are positive, such as with increasingPIM, they are likely to remain with it (Maertz andGriffeth, 2004), leading to</p><p>H4: Pride in organizational membership isnegatively associated with turnover intentions.</p><p>Employees with a favourable impression oftheir organizations external reputation may beless inclined to articulate turnover intentions(Mignonac, Herrbach and Guerrero, 2006).Unlike when an employee disassociates due to anunfavourable reputation, if perceptions of thecompany are positive the favourable meta-stereotype may cause psychological comfort. Thiscould positively affect social identification which,in turn, may reduce turnover intentions. Thus, amechanism for attachment is created which moti-vates staying (Maertz and Griffeth, 2004;Riordan, Gatewood and Bill, 1997).</p><p>However, employees might differ regardingtheir sensitivity to their employers reputation.</p><p>With reference to Cable and Turban (2003), whoargued that job applicants would be willing toaccept lower wages if only they could join organi-zations with favourable reputations, Mignonac,Herrbach and Guerrero (2006) pointed out thatsuch an effect might not last, specifically if otheraspects of the job are less advantageous. Thisargument can be extended to current employees ofan organization who would not necessarily leavetheir employer because of a deteriorating repu-tation and a subsequently unfavourable meta-stereotype as long as they find other reasons to beproud of their employer or are satisfied with theirjob. This reasoning would explain why organiza-tions with unfavourable reputations still havesome leeway in retaining employees. It may there-fore be expected that the relation between PERand turnover inte...</p></li></ul>