Leadership can reduce employee cynicism, increase engagement, study finds

December 13, 2012, University at Buffalo

(Phys.org)—Management efforts to reduce cynicism and enhance employee empowerment can have a large impact on employee engagement, according to a study from the University at Buffalo School of Management.

The study, recently published in , investigated officer attitudes and organizational climates at 14 state prisons and found that proactive leadership can reduce cynicism toward change for both individual employees and across an entire organization.

"In prisons, employees face an array of very real and challenging circumstances which can create commitment problems," explains study co-author Paul Tesluk, PhD, Donald S. Carmichael Professor of Organizational Behavior in the UB School of Management. "Past research has shown that there are extraordinarily high turnover rates of 50 percent in the first year of service and 38 percent overall."

Tesluk said the study's findings are useful to managers in a variety of organizational settings beyond prisons.

"Senior leaders should be aware of the potential development of a cynical culture in their organizations, which may amplify employees' toward change," says Tesluk. "By addressing the issue, management can foster employees who are more committed, leading to reduced turnover and disengagement."

Leaders can limit the development of these negative cultures by making sure that their words are backed by specific actions, such as regularly asking for and acting on employee feedback, or providing ways for employees to participate in organizational change efforts, according to the study.

" who feel empowered in their jobs will feel confident in attempting new ways of performing their jobs, especially during change efforts, and thus be less likely to experience towards change in for-profit and public organizations alike," Tesluk says.

Explore further: Want to improve employee engagement? Make it part of the performance management process

Related Stories

Recommended for you

New ancestor of modern sea turtles found in Alabama

April 18, 2018

A sea turtle discovered in Alabama is a new species from the Late Cretaceous epoch, according to a study published April 18, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Drew Gentry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, ...

New study improves 'crowd wisdom' estimates

April 18, 2018

In 1907, a statistician named Francis Galton recorded the entries from a weight-judging competition as people guessed the weight of an ox. Galton analyzed hundreds of estimates and found that while individual guesses varied ...

Team discovers mysterious head of a pharaoh

April 17, 2018

Swansea University Egyptology lecturer Dr Ken Griffin has found a depiction of one of the most famous pharaoh's in history Hatshepsut (one of only a handful of female pharaohs) on an object in the Egypt Centre stores, which ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

AWaB
not rated yet Dec 18, 2012
http://mgt.buffal...rankings

The above link shows UofB as being AASCB accredited. So much for that accreditation being worth more than the paper it's printed on with studies like this. I bet the sun will rise in the east tomorrow!

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.