ACSPRI Conferences, RC33 Eighth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

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Different Worlds: A Status Group Point of View Approach to Studying Assessments of Social Environments: The Case of Organizational Climate.

Miles Edward Simpson

Building: Law Building
Room: Breakout 1 - Law Building, Room 024
Date: 2012-07-11 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2011-12-22


This paper describes a method for describing disparities in the views of groups, with different status configurations or situses, of their common environment. Rather than employing the individual as the unit of analysis, the situs method uses the situs group's average response of individuals in the same environment. The data are from the United States Department of Defense's Military Equal Opportunity Climate Survey (MEOCS). From 1990 and 1997, the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity I administered these surveys to 3036 units and over 29,000 military personnel. The status profile for this study includes gender, race, and rank. In a given military unit, each combination of status profiles, situs, had to have at least three members for the unit to be included in the study. Only 1276 units qualified. The MEOCS consisted of twelve scales. Nine were EO behaviors and attitude, and three were organization, organizational- effective, organization- commitment and job- satisfaction. The group-scales were then factor analyzed. The items to be factored include eight situses times twelve scales for a total of 96 items.

The majority of each status group's EO scale loaded one separate factors. While they used the scales roughly the same, each status group's responses to the EO scales loaded on their separate factor. Hence, military personnel agree on what EO behaviors and attitudes are, but while they are reporting on the same organization, they see remarkably different EO climates. One item stood out as an exception. Six status group's responses to organizational effectiveness loaded on the same factor. These groups did agree on the battle readiness of their units but not the EO climates.
The situs method can easily work for social environments other than military organizations. Subjective estimates of a city's or neighborhood's crime rate or economic conditions are prime candidates for situs analysis. In comparative research involving reactions or assessments of local conditions when situs groups have different views, geo-coded data would allow situs groups to be studied.