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How Employees and Organizations Manage Uncertainty: Norms, Implications, and Future Research
Unformatted Document Text:  4 Measuring Uncertainty Management In 1999, we began developing an instrument, the Working Climate Survey, which measures how employees as well as organizations embrace uncertainty. Two separate studies reviewed theoretical constructs related to uncertainty, selected a pool of items for analysis, and refined the instrument (Clampitt, Williams, & Korenak, 2000). Employees (n=200 and n=239) from a wide variety of organizations across the United States completed two measures on the Working Climate Survey. The Personal Uncertainty Scale asked employees to indicate how they individually managed uncertainty in their organization. The Work Environment Uncertainty Scale assessed employees’ perceptions of how their organization managed uncertainty. Following principal components factor analysis, reliability assessments, and validity investigations, three factors were discovered for each scale (Clampitt, Williams, & Korenak, 2000). The three factors for the Personal Uncertainty Scale were: (1) Perceptual Uncertainty which addressed the individual’s willingness to actively look at different perspectives, new ideas, or signs that the situation is changing, (2) Process Uncertainty which addressed the employee’s comfort in making a decision on intuition or a hunch, and (3) Outcome Uncertainty which assessed the degree to which the employee needed detailed plans or a specific outcome before starting a project. The items on this scale were summed so that a high score indicated a greater tendency for the person to embrace uncertainty. The three factors for the Work Environment Uncertainty Scale were: (1) Perceptual Uncertainty which assessed the degree to which the organization was willing to actively look for new ideas to address problems or signs that the situation is changing, (2) Expressed Uncertainty which assessed the degree to which the organization encouraged employees to express doubts or misgivings, and (3) Outcome Uncertainty which assessed the degree to which the organization needed detailed plans or a specific outcome before starting a project. The items on this scale were summed so that a high score indicated a greater tendency for the organization to embrace uncertainty. Additional data were drawn in 2000, 2001, and 2002. New items were tested and further refinements were made to the instrument. The latest version of the Working Climate Survey, along with scoring procedures, is located in Appendix 1. The “final” form of the instrument has 47 items, which includes 12 personal uncertainty items, 12 work environment uncertainty items, and 7 demographic items. The remaining items are a mix of process-type items (e.g., “I’m satisfied with the communication in my organization” and end-product items (e.g., “I’m satisfied with my job”.) The survey can be easily administered, tabulated and completed in less than 7 minutes. Respondents can take the survey on-line and have their results immediately tabulated (see www.iMetacomm.com/eu under the Working Climate tab). The 12 items on the Personal Uncertainty dimension of the Working Climate Survey have a potential range from 12 to 84 with a mean score of 57.19, and a median score of 57 (n=1046). The 12 items on the Work Environment Uncertainty dimension have a potential range from 12 to 84 with a mean score of 51.41, and a median score of 51. A median split of the Personal Uncertainty Scale scores and a median split of the Work Environment Uncertainty Scale scores was carried out to divide respondents into high or low categories on each scale. It was then possible to place subjects into the four quadrants of the Uncertainty Management Matrix.

Authors: Williams, M.. and Clampitt, Phillip.
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4
Measuring Uncertainty Management
In 1999, we began developing an instrument, the Working Climate Survey, which measures how
employees as well as organizations embrace uncertainty. Two separate studies reviewed
theoretical constructs related to uncertainty, selected a pool of items for analysis, and refined the
instrument (Clampitt, Williams, & Korenak, 2000). Employees (n=200 and n=239) from a wide
variety of organizations across the United States completed two measures on the Working
Climate Survey
. The Personal Uncertainty Scale asked employees to indicate how they
individually managed uncertainty in their organization. The Work Environment Uncertainty
Scale assessed employees’ perceptions of how their organization managed uncertainty.
Following principal components factor analysis, reliability assessments, and validity
investigations, three factors were discovered for each scale (Clampitt, Williams, & Korenak,
2000). The three factors for the Personal Uncertainty Scale were: (1) Perceptual Uncertainty
which addressed the individual’s willingness to actively look at different perspectives, new ideas,
or signs that the situation is changing, (2) Process Uncertainty which addressed the employee’s
comfort in making a decision on intuition or a hunch, and (3) Outcome Uncertainty which
assessed the degree to which the employee needed detailed plans or a specific outcome before
starting a project. The items on this scale were summed so that a high score indicated a greater
tendency for the person to embrace uncertainty.

The three factors for the Work Environment Uncertainty Scale were: (1) Perceptual Uncertainty
which assessed the degree to which the organization was willing to actively look for new ideas to
address problems or signs that the situation is changing, (2) Expressed Uncertainty which
assessed the degree to which the organization encouraged employees to express doubts or
misgivings, and (3) Outcome Uncertainty which assessed the degree to which the organization
needed detailed plans or a specific outcome before starting a project. The items on this scale
were summed so that a high score indicated a greater tendency for the organization to embrace
uncertainty.
Additional data were drawn in 2000, 2001, and 2002. New items were tested and further
refinements were made to the instrument. The latest version of the Working Climate Survey,
along with scoring procedures, is located in Appendix 1. The “final” form of the instrument has
47 items, which includes 12 personal uncertainty items, 12 work environment uncertainty items,
and 7 demographic items. The remaining items are a mix of process-type items (e.g., “I’m
satisfied with the communication in my organization” and end-product items (e.g., “I’m satisfied
with my job”.) The survey can be easily administered, tabulated and completed in less than 7
minutes. Respondents can take the survey on-line and have their results immediately tabulated
(see
www.iMetacomm.com/eu
under the Working Climate tab).
The 12 items on the Personal Uncertainty dimension of the Working Climate Survey have a
potential range from 12 to 84 with a mean score of 57.19, and a median score of 57 (n=1046).
The 12 items on the Work Environment Uncertainty dimension have a potential range from 12 to
84 with a mean score of 51.41, and a median score of 51. A median split of the Personal
Uncertainty Scale scores and a median split of the Work Environment Uncertainty Scale scores
was carried out to divide respondents into high or low categories on each scale. It was then
possible to place subjects into the four quadrants of the Uncertainty Management Matrix.


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