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Organizational climates for task direction and relational support: A contingency-based framework

Benzer JK, Young GJ, Charns MP, Mohr D. Organizational climates for task direction and relational support: A contingency-based framework. Presented at: Academy of Management Annual Meeting; 2011 Aug 12; San Antonio, TX.


The authors tested a theoretical model that explains the relationship between organizational climate and performance using task complexity. Task direction and relational support were conceptualized as moderating the effectiveness of task complexity. Two clinical tasks were selected that differ markedly along several criteria for distinguishing between high and low complexity tasks. Direct and indirect relationships between climate and performance were tested with job satisfaction as a mediating variable. To test the model, several sources of data on the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system were obtained. Outpatient clinics were the unit of analysis. Administrative data were used to assess each clinic's level of accomplishment with respect to both tasks. Structural equation modeling was used to test the proposed direct and indirect relationships. Study results supported a mediated model with regard to the relationship between organizational climate and low complexity performance, but no mediation was observed for high complexity performance. Task direction climate was indirectly associated through job satisfaction with the accomplishment of the low complexity task, whereas relational support climate was directly associated with the accomplishment of the high complexity task. Overall, study findings indicate that the relative effectiveness of organizational climate for predicting accomplishment of organizational goals does differ based on task complexity and that relational approaches are necessary for accomplishing highly complex tasks.

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