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I Got Your Back: The Effect of Environmental Support for the Public Manager
Unformatted Document Text:  Melton 2 Well established in the field of organizational theory is the idea that support – no matter the type of organization – is advantageous and indicative of organizational success. The logic here is simple: support for the leader, manager, or goals of the organization leads to greater employee morale and improved overall performance. Organizational support theory (OST) suggests that in order to assess the benefits of increased work effort, employees form a general perception concerning the extent to which the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being (Eisenberger et. al 2005). Randall et. al (1999) test this theory in part by investigating the relationship between organizational politics and support on primary indicators such as job satisfaction, employee turnover, and goal commitment. They conclude that only employee support for the organization is directly related to job performance, suggesting employees who perceive that they are supported by their respective organizations are likely to perform their jobs well. Eisenberger et. al (1997) attempt to unearth the factors that employees consider when evaluating how much their organization supports them. They suggest that employees consider issues of organizational discretionary power; they evaluate the organization based on what is deemed to be under its direct control versus those facets of the organization that are controlled by external actors (e.g., legal- governing bodies, unions, etc.). The authors find that once such distinctions are made, perceived organizational support is a function of favorableness of job conditions. Conversely, public management scholars have attempted to evaluate the indicators of environmental support for the public manager. In their analysis of the relationship between environmental support and organizational performance, Meier and O’Toole (2003) find that network management style increases support for the superintendent from parents, the community, and school board. This study was instructive in that subsequent analyses of organizational performance have included measures of support from these actors as control variables. Albeit informative, this analysis 2

Authors: Melton, Erin.
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Melton 2
Well established in the field of organizational theory is the idea that support – no matter the type
of organization – is advantageous and indicative of organizational success. The logic here is simple:
support for the leader, manager, or goals of the organization leads to greater employee morale and
improved overall performance. Organizational support theory (OST) suggests that in order to assess the
benefits of increased work effort, employees form a general perception concerning the extent to which
the organization values their contributions and cares about their well-being (Eisenberger et. al 2005).
Randall et. al (1999) test this theory in part by investigating the relationship between organizational
politics and support on primary indicators such as job satisfaction, employee turnover, and goal
commitment. They conclude that only employee support for the organization is directly related to job
performance, suggesting employees who perceive that they are supported by their respective
organizations are likely to perform their jobs well.
Eisenberger et. al (1997) attempt to unearth the factors that employees consider when evaluating
how much their organization supports them. They suggest that employees consider issues of
organizational discretionary power; they evaluate the organization based on what is deemed to be under
its direct control versus those facets of the organization that are controlled by external actors (e.g., legal-
governing bodies, unions, etc.). The authors find that once such distinctions are made, perceived
organizational support is a function of favorableness of job conditions.
Conversely, public management scholars have attempted to evaluate the indicators of
environmental support for the public manager. In their analysis of the relationship between
environmental support and organizational performance, Meier and O’Toole (2003) find that network
management style increases support for the superintendent from parents, the community, and school
board. This study was instructive in that subsequent analyses of organizational performance have
included measures of support from these actors as control variables. Albeit informative, this analysis
2


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