Unintended Consequences of Organizational Error Culture: Does the Strive for Perfection Cause Employees to Put on a Façade and Consider Leaving?
Author ORCID Identifier
Date of Award
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Dr. Wesley Johnston
Dr. Kris Byron
Dr. Likoebe Maruping
In an increasingly digital world, and further amplified over the last two years by COVID, customer expectations have never been higher. Facing intense competition, B2B technology providers are under growing pressure to deliver a frictionless customer experience to their clients (Baliga et al., 2021). Striving for perfection, organizations naturally operationalize how they manage their customers and how they handle errors as they occur. But as organizations work through their cultural error practices, are they considering the well-being of their employees and how their error culture practices may inadvertently influence the ways that employees look at their organizations?
In this study, I examined organizational error culture through the strategies of error management and error aversion cultures. I then examined how these error culture types could impact an employee’s tendency to surface internally and influence his/her turnover intentions. To gather data, I conducted an online survey of 270 customer-facing employees working for B2B organizations that provide technology services.
Ultimately, this study’s findings suggest that both turnover intentions and the level of surface acting exhibited by employees have a direct relationship with the type of error culture that their organization employs. Further, I tested whether an employee’s organizational tenure and hierarchal role within the firm would moderate the relationships between error aversion culture and intra-organizational surface acting. The results for organizational tenure were statistically significant, while role hierarchy did not produce a conditional effect.
This research should be of interest to practitioners. Understanding how error culture can impact employee well-being and turnover intentions is useful and especially timely during this era of the ‘Great Resignation’ and ‘Quiet Quitting’ phenomena. Further, focusing this study on customer-facing employees working for IT organizations adds further relevance as IT companies have been combatting high employee attrition.
Crumpton, Scott, "Unintended Consequences of Organizational Error Culture: Does the Strive for Perfection Cause Employees to Put on a Façade and Consider Leaving?." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2023.
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