Attribution, its application to job satisfaction and problem solving : a thesis completed in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University

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Massey University
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In the present study, unresolved issues associated with the meaning and measurement of causal attribution are addressed, and the implications for application to organisational behaviour are considered. Causal attributions, made by 233 New Zealand managers, about occupational success and failures, were measured with the Occupational Attributional Style Questionnaire (OASQ), (Furnham, Sadka and Brewin, 1992). Those attributions were examined in terms of their relationships to Problem Solving (as measured by the Social Problem Solving Inventory - Revised, D'Zurilla and Nezu, 1990) and Job Satisfaction, which was assessed with the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (Weiss, Dawis, England and Lofquist, 1967). As predicted, managers who had a more positive attributional style reported greater job satisfaction (r = .22, p < .01), and better problem solving attitudes (r = .39, p < .001) and problem solving skills (r = .32, p < .001). In accordance with the urging of Carver (1989), both a single score and the individual components of causal attribution were assessed in determining those relationships. It is concluded that a single score of attribution is both a superior predictor and at an appropriate level of abstraction. However, it is also concluded that the comparison between a single score and the components is necessary to enhance understanding. There is evidence that in naturalistic settings, the importance of an event to the individual may moderate relationships between attribution and other variables but the present study concludes that this is not the case in responding to measures such as the OASQ. It is concluded that causal attribution may be a useful construct in predicting organisational behaviour but refinement is required of its measure and its conceptual meaning. Implications for further research and theory development are noted.
Attribution (Social psychology), Job satisfaction, Problem solving