Perceived organizational support as social validation: Concept clarity and content validation

2020-06-29T18:58:14Z (GMT) by Andrew T Jebb
Perceived organizational support (POS) is an important construct in organizational science that describes employees’ degree of perceived support from their organization. However, in the academic literature, no paper has openly consulted real employees for how they understand and experience organizational support. The goal of the present dissertation was to conduct a qualitative,
person-centric study to from the employee’s perspective investigate the meaning of POS. To do this, techniques based on current best-practice recommendations were used, including examining incidents of the phenomenon and collecting lay definitions from key informants. It was found that a wide range of organizational behaviors can count as support; in the data, 25 distinct support forms were identified along with 27 lack of support forms. Through thematic analysis, these forms were aggregated into six themes of organizational support (e.g., “Organization helps the employee perform their job effectively”) and ultimately formed a single higher-order theme that represented
the meaning of POS. That ism POS is the holistic perception of whether or not an employee is
valued by their organization. This aligns with the classical academic definition of POS (perceptions of how much the organization values one’s well-being and work contributions) but also suggests the construct should be considered more broadly.
Because how a construct is conceptualized determines its essential content, the second half of this dissertation performed a systematic content validation of the Survey of Perceived Organizational Support (SPOS) and its short forms. Little formal content validation had been done
for this scale, but it was found that all four aspects of content validity examined (content deficiency, relevance, distinctiveness, and balance) were satisfactory in the SPOS and of its short forms. Thus, researchers using these scales can be confident of content validity, although there is a need to improve content validation processes and reduce the number of SPOS short forms in current use.