A Tale of Two Studies: Equal Opportunity Climate and Mission Readiness
DEFENSE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY MANAGEMENT INST PATRICK AFB FL Patrick AFB United States
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Workplace discrimination and strain are both linked to mission readiness, as they yield decreased job performance Cropanzano, Rupp, and Byrne, 2003 Goldman, Gutek, Stein, and Lewis, 2006. Together, they cost US organizations over a billion dollars per day American Institute of Stress, 2012 Center for American Progress, 2012. Surprisingly, despite these high costs and associations with important organizational factors, little is known about how the two constructs are related. Whereas research suggests that individuals who directly experience harassment are prone to some forms of strain Goldman et al., 2006, there is a paucity of empirical investigations examining the impact of workplace discrimination on burnout among individuals who simply work in environments where harassment is present. We conducted two studies investigating aspects of equal opportunity climate as predictors of emotional exhaustion among Department of Defense personnel. The first study focused on the leader in terms of task-oriented leadership and leader equal opportunity behaviors and on the unit in terms of unit cohesion. The results of this study indicated that being a good leader in terms of simply focusing on mission accomplishment is insufficient to prevent emotional exhaustion. The second study presents a conditional process model that describes a psychological process in which equal opportunity climate leads to emotional exhaustion indirectly through perceptions of organizational support. Hence, it 1 describes how an equal opportunity climate impacts emotional exhaustion, and 2 identifies personality traits that determine for whom this process is most important. Both studies suggest opportunities for the development of leaders in the Department of Defense.