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Schedule preferences, congruence and employee outcomes in unionized shift workers

Jenell L.S. Wittmer (Department of Management, College of Business and Innovation, University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio, USA)
Agnieszka K Shepard (Department of Management and Information Systems, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA)
James E. Martin (Department of Management and Information Systems, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 7 April 2015

744

Abstract

Purpose

Employees working nonstandard schedules outside the daytime hours of the Monday-Friday work week are increasing. Using Social Exchange Theory (SET), the purpose of this paper is to hypothesize relationships between scheduling preferences, attitudes, and retention indicators.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 343 US Postal Service mail processors (day, evening, or night shift; all shifts working weekends) from three cities. Multivariate analysis of covariance and multiple linear regression were used to test hypotheses related to participants’ perceptions of scheduling preferences and attitudes.

Findings

The authors found that preferences and attitudes toward shift worked had stronger relationships with each other and employee retention indicators for the night and evening shifts than the day shift, and these same relationships were stronger for the day shift when focussing on days of the week worked.

Research limitations/implications

Although limited by generalizability concerns, this study provides a distinctive application of SET to work schedules and offers a unique perspective on how working nonstandard days and nonstandard times, individually, impact the employment relationship.

Practical implications

Better work schedule management, with increased flexibility and control, may be one way of reducing negative employee reactions to nonstandard schedules.

Originality/value

This study goes beyond the typical examinations of standard vs nonstandard shifts, to study multiple nonstandard shifts and examines the relationships of these schedules on employee retention variables, focussing on both shift and weekend work.

Keywords

Citation

Wittmer, J.L.S., Shepard, A.K. and Martin, J.E. (2015), "Schedule preferences, congruence and employee outcomes in unionized shift workers", American Journal of Business, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 92-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJB-01-2014-0001

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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