Political spillover theory and internal political efficacy

In order to determine the relationship between workplace participation and political involvement, it is important to understand what constitutes the political spillover theory, as well as internal political efficacy (IPE), both developed by Carole Pateman in 1970 (Jian & Jeffres, 2008). According to the political spillover theory, "one's experience of participation in the workplace will influence his or her participation in a democratic political system outside of the workplace" (Jian & Jeffres, 2008, p. 37). In regards to politics outside of the workplace, participation consists of behaviors such as community involvement, political voting and participation in political party and campaign activities in a democratic political system (Greenberg, Grunberg, & Daniel, 1996). In terms of internal political efficacy, Acock, Clark, & Stewart (1985) acknowledged two types: internal efficacy and external efficacy. Internal efficacy "indicates individuals' self-perceptions that they are capable of understanding politics and competent enough to participate in political acts such as voting" (p. 1,064). External efficacy, on the other hand, "measures expressed beliefs about political institutions," in that political parties are only interested in votes of people and not in their opinions (Acock et al., 1985, p. 1,064). While external political efficacy shares no relation to workplace participation, IPE and political participation have been directly associated with workplace participation (Jian & Jeffres, 2008).

Referring back to workplace participation, Pateman (1970 explained job autonomy and decision involvement at work as the most significant contributors to the development of an individual's IPE, which then positively influences political participation (Pateman, 1970). Higher levels of job autonomy and participation in decision making at work increase the sense of being able to control work and its environment, which translates into a sense of political effectiveness (Jian & Jeffres, 2008). Stemming from this relationship, IPE therefore leads to increased political participation.

An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual's degree of like or dislike for an item. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event- this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they simultaneously possess both positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question.

Attitudes are judgments. They develop on the ABC model (affect, behavior and cognition). The affective response is an emotional response that expresses an individual's degree of preference for an entity. The behavioral intention is a verbal indication or typical behavioral tendency of an individual. The cognitive response is a cognitive evaluation of the entity that constitutes an individual's beliefs about the object. Most attitudes are the result of either direct experience or observational learning from the environment.


Attitude can be defined as persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards some objects, persons, or events. It is a predisposition to respond in a positive or negative way to someone or something in one's environment.

Change of Attitude

Attitudes affect behaviour: Hence, it is in the interest of the organization to try for the favourable change in the attitudes. The following are some important ways that can be used for changing attitudes :

1. Filling in the Information Gap : Unfavourable attitudes are mainly formed owing to information gap or inadequate supply of information. Then, providing information to fill in the gaps can change attitudes. For example, workers may be anti-management because of the ignorance about the good intentions of management. If they are made known about the same, they may change their attitudes to pro-management.

2. Use of Fear : Researches report that attitudes can also be changed by giving fear. However, both low and high degree of fear arousal do not cause attitude change. The reason is while the former is often ignored, the latter makes the people stubborn in their held attitudes. In fact, only moderate level of fear arousal makes the people aware of the situations and induces to change their attitudes.

3. Resolving Discrepancies : Resolving discrepancies between attitude and behaviour, if any, is yet another way to change attitudes. For example, people try to have good attitude about the job they have held and negative ones about the jobs they did not choose to work.

Attitude and Belief

Though closely related with the each other, a difference can be made between attitude and belief.

Belief is a hypothesis concerning the nature of the objects, more particularly, concerning one's judgement of the probability regarding their nature. Belief reveals what one suppose to be true. Belief may also be explained as the cognitive component of attitude which reflects the manner in which an object is perceived.

For example, a boss may believe his subordinate to be very hard working. But in fact, he may or may not be hard working. The attitude of the boss towards the subordinate reveals whether he likes him or not. The positive attitude and the consequent liking may rather make the boss condone all the bad qualities in the subordinate and consider him hardworking.

Attitude and Values

The values of an individual generally reveal the moral side of his nature. These include his ideas about what is good or bad, what should be done and what should not be done. These are some of the things which are inculcated in the individuals since childhood. "Honesty is the best policy". "A worker must be honest to his work" are statements of value. It is an evaluative statement that "Honest workers are good" and reveals the attitude of a person towards honest workers. It can be said that values are one of the determinants of one's attitudes. An individual consider an honest worker to be good because of his values that "A worker must be honest to his work".

Sources of Attitudes

Attitudes refer to the feelings and beliefs of individuals or groups of individuals. But the question is how are these feelings and beliefs developed? The point which has been stressed by many people are that attitudes are acquired, but not inherited. A person acquires these attitudes from several sources. The important sources of acquiring attitudes are as discussed below :

1. Direct Personal Experience : A person's direct experience with the attitude object determines his attitude towards it. The personal experience of an individual, whether it is favourable or unfavourable, will affect his attitude deeply. These attitudes which are based on personal experience are difficult to change. For example, an individual joins a new job, which is recommended to him by his friend. But when he joints the job, he finds his work repetitive, supervisors too tough and co-workers not so co-operative, he would develop a negative attitude towards his job, because the quality of his direct experience with the job is negative.

2. Association : Some times on individual comes across a new attitude object which may be associated with an old attitude object. In such a case, the attitude towards the old attitude object may be transferred towards the new attitude object. For example, if a new worker remains most of the time in the company of a worker, who is in the good books of the supervisor and towards whom the supervisor has a positive attitude, the supervisor is likely to develop a favourable attitude towards the new worker also. Hence, the positive attitude for the old worker has been transferred towards the new worker because of the association between the old and the new worker.

3. Family and Peer Groups : Attitudes like values, are acquired from parents, teachers and peer group members. In our early years, we begin modelling our attitudes after those we admire, respect or may be even fear. We observe the way our family and friends behave and we shape our attitudes and behaviour to align with theirs. We do so even without being told to do so and even without having direct experience. Similarly, attitudes are acquired from peer groups in colleges and organizations. For example, if the right thing is to visit "Hot Millions", or the "Domino's, you are likely to hold that attitude.

If your parents support one political party, without being told to do so, you automatically state favouring that party.

4. Neighbourhood : The neighbourhood in which we live has certain cultural facilities, religious groupings and ethnic differences. Further, it has people, who are neighbours. These people may be Northerners, Southerners etc. The people belonging to different cultures have different attitudes and behaviours. Some of these we accept and some of these we deny and possibly rebel. The conformity or rebellion in some respects is the evidence of the attitudes we hold.

5. Economic Status and Occupations : The economic status and occupational position of the individual also affect his attitude formation. Our socio-economic background influences our present and future attitudes. Research findings have shown that unemployment disturbs our religious and economic values. Children of professional class tend to be conservatives.

Measurement of Attitude

We have maintained that attitudes affect behaviour. Changes in attitudes make behaviour unpredictable. But, the managers need to know the dimension of attitude so as to anticipate employees' behaviour at work. One way to know the attitudinal dimension is attitude measurement.

Measurement in its broadest sense is the assignment of numerals, to objects or events according to rules. There are many methods of attitude measurement. All methods are classified into four types :

1. Self-report

2. Indirect Tests

3. Direct Observation Technique

4. Psychological Reaction Technique.

However, attitude measurement of employees in organizations is most commonly carried out with Self-report Method. Self-report usually elicits responses from employees through questions dealing with their feelings about their work and related matters. Self-reports is carried out through the use of attitude surveys.

Attitude surveys contain a set of statements or questions to be answered by the employees. A definite scale is assigned to each answer. Scaling-terms assigned are tailored to obtain the information what managers actually want. Table 13.1, illustrates what an attitude scaling might look like.

Table 13.1: Attitude Scaling for the Statements

Strongly Agree








Strongly Disagree


Statement in the questionnaire is : My job makes the best use of my abilities'. There are three types of attitude scaling commonly used in attitude measurement of employees in the organizations. These are :

1. Equal Appearing Intervals Scales (L.L. Thurstone Scale)

2. Summated Rating Scales (Rensis Likert Scale)

3. Semantic Differential (C.E. Osgood et al. Scale). These are briefly discussed in the following paragraphs:

1. Linda P. Thurston Attitude Scale : This method consists of questionnaires which are filled out by the employees. To develop an attitude scale the following steps are involved:

(i) The first step is to write out a large number of statements, each of which expresses a view point of some kind towards the company.

(ii) Each of these statements is typed on a separate slip of paper and the judge is asked to place each statement in one of several piles (usually 7, 9 or 11) ranging from statement judged to express the least favourable view points to statements judged to express the most favourable view points (7, 9 or 11).

(iii) Statements judged to express varying degrees of favourableness in between these extremes are placed in the piles that are judged best to characterize their relative degree of favourableness.

(iv) Many judges are used in the process, sometimes are many as 100 or more. These judges are assisting the construction of the scale. They are not having their attitudes measured. The allocation of statements to the several piles is a part of the process of constructing the scale.

The purpose of allocation is to determine the scale value of the various statements. If all judges tend to place a statement in piles towards the favourable then we can conclude that the statement expresses a favourable, attitude towards the company. If the statement is placed by the judges in piles towards unfavourable end of the series, then we may conclude that an unfavourable attitude is expressed by that particular statement. So we can determine the average location of the statement by the judge. Statements that are scattered by the judge over several categories are eliminated.

The use of different statements in scales measuring the same attitude helps in checking results by a repeat test in order to be sure of conclusion reached and to measure the effectiveness of systematic company effort to improve employee morale.

2. Likert Scale : Likert's method is simpler than Thurstone method and does not require the use of judges in scaling the statements. While a number of different procedures were tried and compared but the simplest method described by Likert was found to give results that correlated very highly with more complex methods. Each statement has five degrees of approval and ask the person taking the scale to check one of the five degrees :

- Strongly approved

- Approved

- Undecided

- Disapproved

- Strongly disapproved.

There are three principal methods of establishing the validity of a measuring device :

(i) Comparing the results obtained from it with those of another device, the validity of which has been established.

(ii) Judgement of experts.

(iii) Internal consistency.

The validity of the Likert scale established by a comparison of the same with an already established scale of Thurston is an example of judgement technique adopted.

Attitude and Opinion

Attitude and opinion are used closely with each other. But there is a basic difference in these terms. According to Thurston "opinions are expressions of attitudes". Attitudes tend to be generalised predisposition to react in some way towards objects or concepts. Opinions, on the other hand, tend to be focused on more specific aspects of the object or the concept.

E.J. McCormick and Joseph Tiffin (1965) : Observe that the measurement of attitudes is generally based on the expressions of opinions. But we should distinguish between attitude scale which, like a thermometer or barometer, reflects the generalised level of individual's attitudes towards some object or concept and opinion surveys, which typically are used to elicit the opinions of people toward specific aspects of, for example, their work situation.

Opinion's Surveys : Attitude scales help to measure the attitudes of individuals by summarizing data for all employees within a group, such scale can be used to quantify 'morale' of employee groups. Attitudes scales can be useful in indicating the relative level of morale of employees group, but these do not enable the management to identify specific factors that may be sources of employee's unrest or unsatisfaction. This specific information can be obtained by the use of questionnaire that provides for giving opinions about specific matters such as working conditions, future prospects, company policies, perquisites etc.

The usual practice in opinion questionnaire is that of obtaining a single response to each question in either 'yes' or 'no'. In particular, the employees may be asked to check each item in one of the three boxes.

He should also check each item as being of great importance. It is possible to develop a questionnaire that can serve the purposes of obtaining opinions of employees and measuring their attitudes. The data collected by the questionnaires can be compiled, tabulated and analysed to know about the attitude of workers towards management and the organization.

Interviews : Still another method of obtaining information about personnel reaction is the use of interviews. The workers should be interviewed by the representatives of some outside organizations such as a consistency firm or a university department. The employees are given assurance that the information furnished will not be used for any administrative function. In a guided interview, the interviewer asks a series of questions so that each of which may be answered by a simple Yes or No or by some other words or phrases. In the unguided interview, the interview asks more general questions to encourage the employee to express himself and solicit information about his job satisfaction, job involvement and job commitment.

1. Cognitive-Consistency Theories

2. Functional Theories

3. Social Judgement Theories.

Though there is a frequent discontinuity between various groupings because related approaches have focused on different sets of phenomena but still such classification is valid from practical point of view.

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