Employee Perceptions of Organizational Quality and Learned Helplessness Attributes in Higher Education. Noel Landuyt 1998
A growing public skepticism of state colleges and universities has brought about demands from critics for heightened quality and effectiveness standards in post-secondary education. To address critics, university administrators must be able to define quality, measure effectiveness, and demonstrate efforts of continuous improvement which are meaningful to constituents. Enhancing organizational quality requires both establishing improvement initiatives, and identifying employee learned helplessness attributes. Learned helplessness attributes are employee attitudes or behaviors which deter a worker from effectively performing job responsibilities. But how can improvements in quality and employee attitudes be measured and, is there a relationship between perceptions of organizational quality and learned helplessness attributes?
Researchers in organizational development suggest that the internal assessment of employee attitudes provides an excellent vehicle for identifying detrimental employee learned helplessness attributes and for measuring an organization’s progress towards achieving quality (Cameron & Whetton, 1983; Uehling, 1987; and Kraut, 1996). The literature demonstrates that learned helplessness attributes in the work environment deter quality initiatives and decrease worker productivity (Kankus, 1995; McGrath, 1994; Marsick & Watkins, 1993; and Martinko & Gardner, 1982). Through the use of employee surveys, university administrators are able to identify the presence of employee learned helplessness attributes, ascertain the relationship between learned helplessness and quality, design appropriate interventions to lessen or eliminate negative attributes, and potentially enhance the overall quality of the organization.