Recruitment and screening are very common places for people to get initial impressions of organizations. The main focus for this discussion is to learn from each others’ recruiting and screening experiences and identify how we can make the organization more attractive to applicants.First, why is it important to care about applicant perspectives in the recruiting and screening process (and really in the whole selection process in general)? Let’s make sure we know why this is a salient issue for both researchers and practitioners.Next, think about one very positive and one very negative experience you have had looking for a job (you don’t have to name names here). Subsequently you did not take the job because of your negative experience. Describe these experiences, and how recruiting or screening practices influenced your impression.If you have no such experiences, think about what types of things you would look for in a job and how important these various job attributes are or would be for you to accept the job. Think about how your job preferences have changed over time. That is, have you always valued certain organizational characteristics or have they changed as you have changed (i.e. as you’ve started a family, aged, gained experience, etc…).Now, think about how you will conduct a future job search. When you look for a new job, what kind of organization are you personally going to target, in terms of its staffing strategy, recruiting sources, etc.? What kinds of screening devices are you more likely to encounter there? How are you (or other applicants) likely to react to these devices?Finally, think about some ways that you, as a hiring manager, can increase the likelihood of positive reactions among applicants (whether or not you offer them the job). What would you do and why would you do it? Please note that there are several parts to this discussion and I want you to address each one of them in order to receive full credit. I think that we all have experiences we can share that pertain to the subject at hand, so I don’t think this will be a difficult discussion topic to address.TO TUTOR:Please cite all the sources you use for this.At least 600 words
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Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 17, No. 1, Fall 2002 (2002)
REACTIONS TO ORGANIZATIONAL
AND TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Donald M. Truxillo
Talya N. Bauer
Matthew E. Paronto
Portland State University
ABSTRACT: We used organizational justice theory to explore reactions to employer-sponsored alcohol testing and alcohol treatment policies among a sample
(N = 1,777) of the employed public in a western state. Level of alcohol use and
safety-sensitivity of the job were related to the perceived fairness of alcohol testing. In addition, voluntary treatment policies were rated more positively than
coerced or monitored policies in terms of fairness and organizational attractiveness. Alcohol use moderated the effects of treatment policy on perceived fairness
and organizational attractiveness, although the effect sizes were small. These
results support the use of organizational justice theory to explain reactions to
organizational alcohol testing and treatment and provide a basis for future research in this area.
KEY WORDS: alcohol testing; alcohol rehabilitation; organizational justice.
Employee alcohol use at work creates many problems for organizations, and the relationship between work and alcohol use has been increasingly recognized (e.g., Grunberg, Moore, Anderson-Connolly, &
Greenberg, 1999; Lehman & Simpson, 1992; Mangione et al., 1999). AcA version of this study was presented at the 15th Annual Conference of the Society
for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, New Orleans, LA, April 2000.
Data reported in this study were collected as part of contract number 270-98-7063
under the State Treatment Needs Assessment Program administered by the Center for
Substance Abuse Treatment, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. We thank William Feyerherm and Caitlin Campbell for their help in this project.
Address correspondence to Donald M. Truxillo, Department of Psychology, Portland
State University, P.O. Box 751, Portland, OR 97207; e-mail: [email protected].
0889-3268/02/0900-0031/0 2002 Human Sciences Press, Inc.
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY
cordingly, alcohol testing is becoming more common in organizations and
is required for certain safety-sensitive jobs (e.g., Allison & Stahlhut,
1995; Howland, Mangione, Lee, Bell, & Levine, 1996; Smith, 1998). Furthermore, employer-sponsored programs are becoming recognized as important venues for alcohol prevention and treatment (e.g., Link, 1993;
Roman & Blum, 1999). However, alcohol treatment programs can involve
a range of policies, from voluntary programs to ones that entail compulsory treatment (Walsh et al., 1991; Weisner & Morgan, 1992).
Recently, the importance of employee reactions to organizational
processes has gained greater recognition. With the advent of applicant
reactions models (e.g., Gilliland, 1993), research has demonstrated that
personnel screening procedures can affect perceptions of fairness and important organizational outcomes such as organizational attractiveness
(e.g., Bauer, Maertz, Dolen, & Campion, 1998; Macan, Avedon, Paese, &
Smith, 1994; Truxillo & Bauer, 1999). Furthermore, there is a substantial literature on applicant and employee reactions to drug testing, which
indicates that applicants and employees react to drug testing in predictable ways (e.g., Konovsky & Cropanzano, 1991; Tepper, 1994). However,
despite the greater availability and use of alcohol compared to illegal
drugs, reactions to employer alcohol testing and treatment programs
have remained unexplored. Such reactions could also be important in
exploring the utilization of different types of alcohol treatment programs.
The present study filled this gap in the literature. Specifically, we
explored reactions of employed members of the general public to organizational alcohol testing. Second, we compared reactions to three employer-sponsored alcohol programs: Voluntary, coerced, and monitored.
Finally, we explored some potential moderators of these relationships,
specifically, level of alcohol use and safety-sensitivity of the job. Borrowing from the drug testing (e.g., Konovsky & Cropanzano, 1991) and applicant reactions (e.g., Gilliland, 1993) literatures, we used an organizational justice framework.
ALCOHOL TESTING AND TREATMENT
IN WORK ORGANIZATIONS
Workplace alcohol testing is required for many hazardous jobs (Allison & Stahlhut, 1995; Smith, 1998). Although alcohol testing at work
is not yet routine, it is becoming more common (Howland et al., 1996).
Moreover, some authors argue that alcohol testing may be more important to work organizations than testing for illegal drugs, since alcohol
use may actually be more costly to organizations than illegal drug use
(McDonald, 1997). However, alcohol testing at work has received little
in-depth scrutiny in the literature. For example, one of the few studies
D. M. TRUXILLO, T. N. BAUER, AND M. E. PARONTO
published in this area (Howland et al.) used very simple measures (single items, yes/no response format) and also lacked a theoretical basis. A
greater understanding of the issues underlying employee reactions to
alcohol testing is needed to understand employees’ reactions to alcohol
testing and thus provide solid recommendations to organizations about
the implementation of testing programs. Moreover, a theory-based exploration of these issues is needed to guide future research efforts. The present research will use organizational justice theory to explore factors related to employee reactions to alcohol testing.
In addition, employer-sponsored programs are becoming increasingly recognized as important venues for alcohol prevention and treatment (e.g., Link, 1993; Roman & Blum, 1999). These treatment programs
can involve a range of approaches, from voluntary programs to ones that
entail compulsory treatment (Walsh et al., 1991; Weisner & Morgan,
1992). Control of treatment options by employees is an important issue,
and research suggests that employees may be capable of determining
what treatment is best for them (e.g., Bayer, 1995). However, how employees react to different treatment programs and the organizations that
use them remains unexplored. The present research will use organizational justice theory and the supporting research to explore reactions
to different employer alcohol treatment programs in terms of perceived
fairness and a key employee outcome, organizational attractiveness.
REACTIONS TO ALCOHOL TESTING
Organizational justice theory (e.g., Folger & Cropanzano, 1998;
Greenberg, 1986; Lind & Tyler, 1988) has been used to explain a number
of organizational processes such as performance appraisals (Greenberg,
1986) and distribution of rewards (Greenberg, 1987). Theories of organizational justice focus on three dimensions of fairness. Specifically, procedural justice (process fairness) refers to the perceived fairness of organizational processes. Distributive justice (outcome fairness), on the other
hand, focuses on the fairness of outcomes for individuals. Relevant to the
issues of employee screening, Gilliland (1993) proposed a model based in
organizational justice theory to explain reactions to organizational selection and promotion systems. In Gilliland’s model, which has become the
dominant model in the applicant reactions literature, individuals base
their determinations of process and outcome fairness on several justice
rules. Violation of these rules causes negative perceptions of fairness
which in turn negatively affect important outcomes such as organizational climate and self-esteem. Research has generally supported the
model for predicting fairness perceptions and outcome variables such as
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY
organizational attractiveness (e.g., Bauer et al., 1998; Gilliland, 1994;
Ployhart & Ryan, 1998; Truxillo & Bauer, 1999).
Gilliland’s (1993) model cites job-relatedness as a key procedural justice rule that affects the perceived fairness of selection systems. That is,
the more that a selection or screening program is seen as being necessary
to the job, the more fair it is perceived to be by employees. Research in
the drug testing literature has supported the importance of job-relatedness, such that drug testing is perceived as more fair and acceptable
when it is needed to reduce danger (e.g., Cropanzano & Konovsky, 1995;
Murphy, Thorton, & Prue, 1991). Similarly, Tepper (1994) found that
safety-sensitivity, or the degree to which impaired performance would affect the safety of the worker or others, was related to perceptions of drug
testing. However, within the context of alcohol testing, only one study
(Howland et al., 1996) has explored this issue, finding that those in hazardous jobs reacted more positively to alcohol testing than those in nonhazardous jobs. However, that study did not explore the theoretical underpinnings of these reactions.
In the present research we explored the issue of safety-sensitivity
on the perceived fairness of alcohol testing. We believed that the organizational justice concept of job-relatedness (justification for testing) would
be central to explaining the perceived fairness of alcohol testing. That is,
alcohol testing programs should be perceived as more fair to the extent
that they are justified by the safety-sensitivity of the job in question.
This leads to the following hypothesis:
Hypothesis 1: Safety-sensitivity of the job will be positively related
to the perceived fairness of an alcohol testing program.
Self-interest approaches to organizational justice predict that organizational phenomena that result in negative outcomes for the individual
will be perceived more negatively (Thibaut & Walker, 1975). For example, those who are currently using drugs or alcohol should tend to perceive testing programs as less fair than those who are not, since testing
could lead to their losing (post-hire testing) or not getting (pre-hire testing) a job. Accordingly, research on reactions to drug testing has found
that higher levels of drug use are related to negative reactions to drug
testing (e.g., Moore, Grunberg, & Greenberg, 1998; Murphy, Thornton, &
Reynolds, 1991; Rosse, Miller, & Ringer, 1996). Similarly, Howland et al.
(1996) found a relationship between alcohol use and reactions to alcohol
testing. In the present study, therefore, we hypothesized that, due to
self-interest, alcohol use would be related to the perceived fairness of
Hypothesis 2: Level of alcohol use will be negatively related to the
perceived fairness of an alcohol testing program.
D. M. TRUXILLO, T. N. BAUER, AND M. E. PARONTO
PERCEPTIONS OF ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROGRAMS
Although alcohol testing is less frequent in organizations, alcohol
treatment is common, and employers spend large amounts of money on
such programs. However, employee reactions to these potentially costly
programs have received little scrutiny.
In the present study, we used the organizational justice concept of
voice or process control (e.g., Lind & Tyler, 1988) to understand reactions
to different types of treatment programs. According to this approach to
fairness, fairness perceptions are largely determined by the degree to
which people feel that they have control over the process or that their
input into the process is considered. The importance of both process control and choice (control over decisions; Folger & Cropanzano, 1998; Thibaut & Walker 1975) in explaining reactions to organizational processes
has been cited in the organizational justice literature.
Empirical support has been found for the importance of control in
judgments of fairness. For example, Kanfer, Sawyer, Early, and Lind
(1987) found that participants who were allowed input into evaluations
of their performance rated the process as more fair than participants
given no voice. Cropanzano and Folger (1989) found that participants
who had less control over which of their performances would be used to
determine if they would receive a reward reacted more negatively to the
process than those given a choice. Accordingly, Gilliland (1993) cites
voice in terms of opportunity to perform as an important determinant of
applicants’ perceptions of selection processes.
Support for the importance of process control has also been found in
the drug testing literature. For example, Gomez-Mejia and Balkin (1987)
found that managers considered a drug screening program to be more
fair to the degree that employees had input into its implementation. Cropanzano and Konovsky (1995) found that voice, in terms of how much
employees believed a drug testing process incorporated employees’ ideas
and allowed them to express why they should not be tested, was related
to the perceived fairness of the program.
Within the alcohol treatment literature, research suggests that allowing some control of the process may be related to treatment outcomes
(Bayer, 1995). However, little published work has examined the relationship between control and reactions to treatment policies. We believed
that employee reactions to employer alcohol treatment policies should
also be affected by whether employees feel that they have some input into
the treatment process. That is, treatment programs that are voluntary in
nature should be perceived to be more fair than those that require employees to receive treatment. In addition, programs that monitor employee
compliance should be perceived more negatively than voluntary programs
because the former shift control of the treatment process from the employee to the organization. Therefore, we made the following hypothesis:
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY
Hypothesis 3: Employer-sponsored alcohol treatment programs in
which participation is voluntary will be perceived more positively in
terms of fairness and organizational attractiveness than programs
in which participation is coerced or monitored.
Moderating Effects of Safety-Sensitivity
As noted, Gilliland’s (1993) model cites job-relatedness as a key procedural justice rule that affects the perceived fairness of selection systems. That is, the more that a selection or screening program is seen as
being necessary to the job, the more fair it is perceived to be by employees. Accordingly, research has found that safety-sensitivity of the job is
a key determinant of perceptions of drug testing (e.g., Cropanzano & Konovsky, 1995; Murphy, Thorton, & Prue, 1991; Tepper, 1994). Furthermore, Cropanzano and Konovsky found that perceptions of safety-sensitivity moderated the effects of drug testing outcome negativity (the
degree to which a positive drug test was perceived to lead to a negative
outcome such as termination) on perceptions of drug testing fairness.
In the present study, we examined the moderating effects of safetysensitivity on the perceived fairness of voluntary, coerced, and monitored
alcohol treatment programs. Specifically, we believed that coerced and
monitored treatment would be perceived as more fair than a voluntary
policy for safety-sensitive jobs.
Hypothesis 4: Safety-sensitivity will moderate the perceived fairness
of type of alcohol treatment program (coerced, voluntary, monitored). The difference between coerced or monitored treatment and
voluntary treatment will be less pronounced for safety-sensitive
Moderating Effects of Alcohol Use
Finally, we explored the moderating effects of alcohol use on reactions to voluntary, monitored, and coercive alcohol treatment programs.
Although this interaction has not been explored in the drug testing or
alcohol literatures, the nature of this interaction can be predicted based
on organizational justice theory. Self-interest approaches to procedural
justice (e.g., Thibaut & Walker, 1975) would predict that those most affected by treatment programs (i.e., those with high levels of alcohol use)
will have stronger reactions to it than those with low levels of alcohol
use. Specifically, the relationship between type of treatment program
(voluntary, coerced, and monitored) and fairness perceptions and organizational attractiveness will be stronger for those with high levels of alco-
D. M. TRUXILLO, T. N. BAUER, AND M. E. PARONTO
hol use than for those with low levels of use. We therefore make the
Hypothesis 5: The relationship between type of alcohol treatment
program (voluntary, monitored, coerced) to fairness perceptions and
organizational attractiveness will be stronger among those with
higher levels of alcohol use than among those with low levels of use.
Participants and Procedure
Data were collected as part of a state-wide drug and alcohol prevalence survey conducted by telephone in a Western state. Participants
were selected using Random Digit Dialing (RDD) technology to ensure
that participants from all areas of the state, including those with unlisted telephone numbers, were included. Participants were first given
the name of the interviewer and his/her affiliation with the university
where the research was conducted.
Although data were collected from 3,358 respondents, the sub-sample
in the present study (n = 1,777) included only those employed full-time
(n = 1,387), part-time (n = 364), or on leave (n = 26). The average age was
39.81 (SD = 11.91), 58% were female, and 88.2% were White. Although
the response rate for the present study was not available, a prior study
in the same state using identical methodology resulted in a response rate
of 69% (Feyerherm & Skokan, 1997).
The primary purpose of the telephone interview was to determine
the level and nature of drug and alcohol use within the state. Toward
the end of the survey, respondents were asked about the primary study
variables. First, respondents were asked about the fairness of employer
alcohol testing for a job like theirs and their general perception of alcohol
treatment (which was to be used as a control variable). Then, respondents were presented with one of three prototypical employer-sponsored
alcohol treatment programs. They were asked about the fairness of the
treatment program for a job like theirs and the attractiveness of organizations using the program. The description of the voluntary program
(n = 587) stated, “Some employers offer and pay for voluntary treatment
programs for workers with alcohol abuse problems. Please give me your
opinion of a policy where the employer pays for a voluntary treatment
program for workers.” The description of the coerced program (n = 613)
stated, “Some employers require that workers get treatment for alcohol
abuse. Please give me your opinion of a policy where employers require
that workers get treatment for alcohol abuse.” The description of the
JOURNAL OF BUSINESS AND PSYCHOLOGY
monitored program (n = 577) stated, “Some employers check on whether
employees are staying in treatment for alcohol abuse. Please give me
your opinion of a policy where the employer checks on whether workers
are staying in alcohol treatment.” Although the three types of treatment
program are not mutually exclusive (i.e., it would be possible to have a
treatment program that was both coerced and monitored), these scenarios were based on a review of the literature and discussions with experts
in organizational alcohol treatment. As such, the scenarios were an accurate and realistic representation of three prototypical EAPs commonly
used by organizations.
General perception of alcohol treatment (to be used as a control variable) was measured by a four-item scale (e.g., “In general, alcohol treatment programs are effective in helping people stop drinking;” alpha =
.87). Safety-sensitivity of the respondent’s job was measured using Tepper’s (1994) one-item measure (“Impaired performance in my job could
create a danger or a safety hazard for me, my coworkers, or the public”).
The perceived fairness of alcohol testing for their job was measured by
two items (e.g., “Testing for alcohol us …
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