Exploring the utility of comments from employee opinion surveys in developing organisation-specific questionnaires

Goh, Hong Eng and Olliver, Sue and Silvonen, Sari (2011) Exploring the utility of comments from employee opinion surveys in developing organisation-specific questionnaires. In: 46th Australian Psychological Society Annual Conference 2011, 4-8 Oct 2011, Canberra, Australia.


An employee opinion survey (EOS) is intended to provide employees with a safe space to express their views of the workplace and allows an upward communication to management. Hence, employees have expectations of positive change as a result of being surveyed. If this does not occur due to inadequate survey design leading to inadequate interpretation of results, employees are likely to judge that management has not listened, with consequences that are beyond discouragement from future participation in surveys. It may breed ambivalence or even mistrust in management. Inherent within a high quality EOS is its ability to provide organisational insights. The characteristics of high quality EOSs as identified by Cotton involve constructs which: (a) are relevant to issues of concern; (b) have strong reliability and validity; (c) are based on a recognised, evidence-based model; and (d) have good face validity. The challenge, therefore, is in developing surveys that incorporate all four characteristics. Survey participants are frequently asked to provide comments in a survey. The space given to participants for comments is a way of capturing neglected issues that employees feel strongly about. Comments are
elicited from employees in opinion surveys, however, comments as a valuable source of data for developing organisation-specific inventories has yet to be explored. This study examined the utility of comments from an organisational survey in developing organisation-specific inventories, which are relevant for internal benchmarking and action plans. One hundred items were written from thematic categorising of comments obtained from an organisation employee opinion survey. Responses were
obtained from 512 participants in a pilot study. An exploratory factor analysis using principal component
extraction method and parallel analysis revealed a four component solution, namely, (a) horizontal and vertical communication, (b) competencies of managers, (c) practices of upper management, and (d) opportunities to train and be trained. Results indicated that the components were internally consistent, measuring concepts currently not measured by the generic survey. As the inventories are organisation specific, their use may be limited to the organisation, and due to the exploratory nature of this pilot project, validation is necessary.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Poster)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This is a poster paper. The author/s will retain copyright of their abstract, in addition to the moral rights they are entitled to as author/s of the abstract. The Australian Psychological Society Ltd does not hold copies of any papers presented at conferences. A formal paper was not produced for publication in the conference proceedings as the APS conference organisers decided not to offer this in 2011.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology (Up to 30 Jun 2013)
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2012 07:43
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2017 02:50
Uncontrolled Keywords: employee surveys; workplace issues; satisfaction; survey design; interpretation; management
Fields of Research (2008): 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150305 Human Resources Management
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/21333

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