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How Employees and Organizations Manage Uncertainty: Norms, Implications, and Future Research
Unformatted Document Text:  6 relatively equal: Status Quo Climate (n=298, 28.5%), Unsettling Climate (n=232, 22.2%), Stifling Climate (n=236, 22.6%), and Dynamic Climate (n=280, 26.8%). A variety of analyses of variance were run on the data. In one set the independent variable was work climate, with the levels being the four separate climates (i.e., Status Quo, Unsettling, Stifling, and Dynamic). In another analysis, the independent variable was job position with three levels of top management, management, and non-management. The independent variable in an additional analysis was gender of the subject. The final analysis used type of organization as the independent variable, with the five levels being non-profit, service, industrial, financial, and information technology. In each analysis, the dependent variables were items 15-22, 36-39, and demographics identified on the survey (see Table 3). Because of the large n-size in the databank, results were considered most meaningful if the level of statistical significance reached p < .001. Results The results are divided into three sections: a) confirmatory findings, b) demographic tendencies, and c) mediating and outcome variables. Each section presents a slightly different slant on the nature and features of the four Uncertainty Management climates. Confirmatory FindingsAs expected, employees in the Stifling (M = 4.09) and Dynamic (M = 4.37) climates reported greater “comfort with uncertainty” than those in the Status Quo (M = 2.84) and Unsettling (M =3.19) climates, F (3, 1042) = 55.16, p < .000. Comfort with uncertainty was measured using a single item scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). Also in line with expectations, the data revealed that employees classified in the Dynamic (M = 4.11) and Unsettling (M = 3.89) climates were more inclined to agree with the statement, “My organization is comfortable with uncertainty” than those in the Status Quo (M = 3.18) and Stifling (M = 3.37)climates, F (3, 1042) = 21.32, p <.000). Both findings bolster the argument regarding the integrity of the category system. Demographic TendenciesA number of intriguing demographic findings emerged from the database (see Tables 2 and 3). Age, for instance, was not related to the type of climate, F (3, 1020 = 2.79, p < .04). However, there was an indication that more managers (top managers and managers combined) were in the Dynamic and Stifling climates (where employees indicate they embrace uncertainty) but more non-managerial employees in the Status Quo and Unsetting climates (where employees indicate they do not embrace uncertainty) F (3, 985) = 4.08, p < .007. Tenure in the organization also appeared to be related to the work climate. Those who had worked in their organization the longest were in the Stifling climate (M = 8.45 yrs.) compared to those in the Dynamic (M = 6.81yrs.), Status Quo (M = 6.73 yrs.), and Unsettling (M = 6.10 yrs.) climates, F (3, 1030) 4.01, p <.008. In addition, gender was related to the type of climate, F (3, 1040) = 6.49, p <.000, with more females located in the Status Quo (70%) and Unsettling (67%) climates than in the Stifling (58%) and Dynamic (55%) climates. Females (M = 3.44) also indicated they were less “comfortable with uncertainty” than males (M = 3.88), F (1, 1042) = 15.67, p < .000. These findings reflect a general tendency for females to report less willingness to personally embrace uncertainty than males.

Authors: Williams, M.. and Clampitt, Phillip.
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relatively equal: Status Quo Climate (n=298, 28.5%), Unsettling Climate (n=232, 22.2%),
Stifling Climate (n=236, 22.6%), and Dynamic Climate (n=280, 26.8%).

A variety of analyses of variance were run on the data. In one set the independent variable was
work climate, with the levels being the four separate climates (i.e., Status Quo, Unsettling,
Stifling, and Dynamic). In another analysis, the independent variable was job position with three
levels of top management, management, and non-management. The independent variable in an
additional analysis was gender of the subject. The final analysis used type of organization as the
independent variable, with the five levels being non-profit, service, industrial, financial, and
information technology. In each analysis, the dependent variables were items 15-22, 36-39, and
demographics identified on the survey (see Table 3). Because of the large n-size in the databank,
results were considered most meaningful if the level of statistical significance reached p < .001.
Results

The results are divided into three sections: a) confirmatory findings, b) demographic tendencies,
and c) mediating and outcome variables. Each section presents a slightly different slant on the
nature and features of the four Uncertainty Management climates.

Confirmatory Findings
As expected, employees in the Stifling (M = 4.09) and Dynamic (M = 4.37) climates reported
greater “comfort with uncertainty” than those in the Status Quo (M = 2.84) and Unsettling (M =
3.19) climates, F (3, 1042) = 55.16, p < .000. Comfort with uncertainty was measured using a
single item scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7). Also in line with
expectations, the data revealed that employees classified in the Dynamic (M = 4.11) and
Unsettling (M = 3.89) climates were more inclined to agree with the statement, “My organization
is comfortable with uncertainty” than those in the Status Quo (M = 3.18) and Stifling (M = 3.37)
climates, F (3, 1042) = 21.32, p <.000). Both findings bolster the argument regarding the
integrity of the category system.

Demographic Tendencies
A number of intriguing demographic findings emerged from the database (see Tables 2 and 3).
Age, for instance, was not related to the type of climate, F (3, 1020 = 2.79, p < .04). However,
there was an indication that more managers (top managers and managers combined) were in the
Dynamic and Stifling climates (where employees indicate they embrace uncertainty) but more
non-managerial employees in the Status Quo and Unsetting climates (where employees indicate
they do not embrace uncertainty) F (3, 985) = 4.08, p < .007. Tenure in the organization also
appeared to be related to the work climate. Those who had worked in their organization the
longest were in the Stifling climate (M = 8.45 yrs.) compared to those in the Dynamic (M = 6.81
yrs.), Status Quo (M = 6.73 yrs.), and Unsettling (M = 6.10 yrs.) climates, F (3, 1030) 4.01, p <
.008. In addition, gender was related to the type of climate, F (3, 1040) = 6.49, p <.000, with
more females located in the Status Quo (70%) and Unsettling (67%) climates than in the Stifling
(58%) and Dynamic (55%) climates. Females (M = 3.44) also indicated they were less
“comfortable with uncertainty” than males (M = 3.88), F (1, 1042) = 15.67, p < .000. These
findings reflect a general tendency for females to report less willingness to personally embrace
uncertainty than males.


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