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Growth or security? Regulatory focus determines work priorities

  • Purpose ‐ Regulatory focus theory (RFT) can successfully predict and describe organizational behaviour and managerial decision making. However, no empirical study has tested its central assumption in an organizational context. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship between employee's regulatory focus and their work priorities. Design/methodology/approach ‐ In total, 307 employees from the public and private sectors in Germany participated and three organizational priorities were confirmed in a confirmatory factor analysis: growth, existence, and relatedness aspects. Their relationship with employee's regulatory focus was analyzed using multi-level modeling. Findings ‐ It was found that employees' promotion and prevention focus were related to specific work priorities: the higher a person's promotion focus, the more the person valued growth aspects. The higher the prevention focus, the more the person valued existence-related work aspects. Both regulatory foci increased the importance of good relationships at work. Research limitations/implications ‐ The findings provide new insights into previous research on the impact of personality traits, especially regulatory focus, on job-related attitudes like job satisfaction or job commitment. Practical implications ‐ The results are useful for leaders and human resource managers aiming to understand the driving forces behind employee's job motivation and decisions. Originality/value ‐ This is the first study to address the central question of different priorities associated with promotion and prevention focus in the organizational field. Results provide insight into previous findings on the impact of regulatory focus on job-related attitudes and offer practical implications for practitioners interested in job motivation and decision making.

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Author:Anna Steidle, Christine Gockel, Lioba Werth
Parent Title (English):Management Research Review
Place of publication:Bingley
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2013
Date of first Publication:2013/01/31
Release Date:2023/11/17
First Page:173
Last Page:182
Als Nationallizenz frei verfügbar.
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt