Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology, Industrial and Organizational

Date of Defense

9-15-2017

Graduate Advisor

John Meriac

Committee

Therese Macan

Alice Hall

Mark Tubbs

Abstract

Work ethic is continually cited as a top factor in hiring new employees (Flynn, 1994; Shimko, 1990; VanNess, Melinsky, Buff, & Seifert, 2010). Research on the relationship between work ethic and job performance has typically shown positive results in a variety of contexts (Meriac & Gorman, 2017; Miller et al., 2002). The purpose of this study was to examine dimensions of work ethic and its relationship with turnover and contextual performance in an often-neglected segment of the workforce: entry-level employees. Data were collected from a large fast food franchise, including work ethic, turnover data, and supervisor-rated job performance. In Study 1, the relationships between the work ethic dimensions and turnover were examined. In Study 2, the relationships between work ethic dimensions and performance outcomes were examined through the mediating mechanism of job involvement. Turnover results indicated that dimensions of work ethic, including self-reliance, leisure and morality/ethics are potential predictors of avoidable and involuntary turnover. Wasted time, morality/ethics and leisure were significant predictors of manager-rated performance outcomes and counterproductive behaviors. Implications and future research directions are discussed.

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