Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Member

Dr. Marissa L. Shuffler, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Robert Sinclair

Committee Member

Dr. Patrick Rosopa

Abstract

Although performance is a major interest in most organizations, it has more salient implications in the healthcare industry, in which changes in performance can have a significant effect on patient care. As such, it is important to determine what factors may result in performance increments or decrements. This study focused on how interpersonal justice climate may have an effect and how leaders influence its level. Specifically, it assessed how leaders impact the interpersonal justice climate of their unit by accounting for their political skill and the similarities in leader-member exchange relationships within clinical healthcare units. Additionally, the effect of interpersonal justice climate on affective commitment and performance within these units was analyzed. By using longitudinal data from different referents (i.e., employees as a whole vs. leaders identified by the organization), this study accounted for the strength of these relationships, specific to clinical healthcare units. The results of this study largely supported the hypothesized relationships. Specifically, there was a significant effect of the leader's political skill on the similarity in leader-member exchange relationships within units. However, it did not have a significant effect on the level of the unit's interpersonal justice climate. Additionally, the similarity in leader-member exchange relationships was significantly related to interpersonal justice climate, indicating the effect of the leader's political skill on interpersonal justice climate was fully mediated by the similarity in leader-member exchange relationships within the unit. Finally, interpersonal justice climate was significantly related to the unit's affective commitment, which in turn had a positive impact on the unit's performance, as rated by their leader. As such, four of the five hypothesized relationships had support in this data. Overall, this study accounted for both a leader trait (i.e., political skill) and behaviors (i.e., quality of leader-member exchange relationships) in relation to interpersonal justice climate in their units. It also found that one way interpersonal justice climate influences performance is through improvements in the unit's affective commitment. Limitations of this study are discussed and multiple directions for future research and practical implications for organizations are provided.

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