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How Employees and Organizations Manage Uncertainty: Norms, Implications, and Future Research
Unformatted Document Text:  10 The type of organization also appears to be an important variable. As seen in Figure 3, a higher percentage of employees in non-profit organizations work in the Status Quo Climate (37%) than in other types of organizations. As might be expected, the information technology (36%), financial (34%), and industrial organizations (32%) have a higher percentage of employees in the Dynamic Climate. These organizations have more dynamic and rapidly changing environments than non-profit organizations. Thus, their employees and organizational practices may reflect that reality. Additional results indicate that proportionately more females (78%) work in non-profit organizations compared to males (23%). Since more non-profit organizations are in the Status Quo Climate and since this climate includes employees who are less inclined to embrace uncertainty, an interesting question to consider is whether females seek out non-profit organizations or whether non-profit organizations tend to create in females a disposition to avoid uncertainty. Figure 3 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Status Quo Unsettling Stifling Dynamic Climates by Types of Organizations NonProfit Service Financial Info. Tech Industrial Mediating and Outcome VariablesA traditional view of organizations suggests that communication practices act as mediating variables. Issues like job satisfaction, productivity and employee commitment are viewed as outcome, or end-result variables (Likert, 1967; Downs, Clampitt, & Pfeiffer, 1988). This schema provides a convenient way to report the results of the analyses. A number of single-scale items (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree) underscore the role of communication in cultivating different climates (see Table 3). For example, employees in the Dynamic (M = 4.70) and Unsettling (M = 4.52) climates tend to be more satisfied with “communication in my organization” than those in the Status Quo (M = 3.64) and Stifling (M =3.48) climates, F (3, 1042) = 31.25, p <. 000. A similar pattern emerges with an item about satisfaction with supervisor communication. Employees in the Dynamic (M = 5.18) and Unsettling (M = 5.29) climates tend to express more agreement with the statement than those in the Status Quo (M = 4.00) and Stifling (M = 4.11) climates, F (3, 1042) = 36.94, p <.000. These finding suggest that communication practices are intimately linked to the types of uncertainty management climates cultivated in organizations. The analysis of the relationship between the climates and outcome variables produced some surprising findings (see Tables 2 and 3). In particular, the Dynamic and Unsettling climates

Authors: Williams, M.. and Clampitt, Phillip.
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10
The type of organization also appears to be an important variable. As seen in Figure 3, a higher
percentage of employees in non-profit organizations work in the Status Quo Climate (37%) than
in other types of organizations. As might be expected, the information technology (36%),
financial (34%), and industrial organizations (32%) have a higher percentage of employees in the
Dynamic Climate. These organizations have more dynamic and rapidly changing environments
than non-profit organizations. Thus, their employees and organizational practices may reflect
that reality. Additional results indicate that proportionately more females (78%) work in non-
profit organizations compared to males (23%). Since more non-profit organizations are in the
Status Quo Climate and since this climate includes employees who are less inclined to embrace
uncertainty, an interesting question to consider is whether females seek out non-profit
organizations or whether non-profit organizations tend to create in females a disposition to avoid
uncertainty.
Figure 3
0%
10%
20%
30%
40%
Status Quo
Unsettling
Stifling
Dynamic
Climates by Types of Organizations
NonProfit
Service
Financial
Info. Tech
Industrial

Mediating and Outcome Variables
A traditional view of organizations suggests that communication practices act as mediating
variables. Issues like job satisfaction, productivity and employee commitment are viewed as
outcome, or end-result variables (Likert, 1967; Downs, Clampitt, & Pfeiffer, 1988). This schema
provides a convenient way to report the results of the analyses.

A number of single-scale items (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree) underscore the role
of communication in cultivating different climates (see Table 3). For example, employees in the
Dynamic (M = 4.70) and Unsettling (M = 4.52) climates tend to be more satisfied with
“communication in my organization” than those in the Status Quo (M = 3.64) and Stifling (M =
3.48) climates, F (3, 1042) = 31.25, p <. 000. A similar pattern emerges with an item about
satisfaction with supervisor communication. Employees in the Dynamic (M = 5.18) and
Unsettling (M = 5.29) climates tend to express more agreement with the statement than those in
the Status Quo (M = 4.00) and Stifling (M = 4.11) climates, F (3, 1042) = 36.94, p <.000. These
finding suggest that communication practices are intimately linked to the types of uncertainty
management climates cultivated in organizations.

The analysis of the relationship between the climates and outcome variables produced some
surprising findings (see Tables 2 and 3). In particular, the Dynamic and Unsettling climates


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