Behavioral Plasticity Theory-Pierce 1993

7135 Words Jun 6th, 2011 29 Pages
' Academy of Management Joumai 1993. Vol. 36, No. 2. 271-288.

^MODERATION BY ORGANIZATION-BASED SELF-ESTEEM OF ROLE CONDITION-EMPLOYEE RESPONSE RELATIONSHIPS
JON L. PIERCE University of Minnesota at Duluth DONALD G. GARDNER University of Colorado at Colorado Springs RANDALL B. DUNHAM University of Wisconsin at Madison LARRY L. CUMMINGS University of Minnesota at Minneapolis
Behavioral plasticity theory is offered as an explanation for the moderating effects of self-esteem on role perception-employee response relationships. According to this theory, hecause individuals with low self-esteem are more reactive than their counterparts with high selfesteem, they are more susceptible to adverse role conditions, such as role conflict, ambiguity,
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He argued that individuals with high ability are better equipped than those with low ability to deal with the demands of role conflict and ambiguity and better able to cope with demands because they are more adaptable. When faced with problems at work, high-ability individuals are better able to develop effective solutions than low-ahility individuals. As a result, the negative impact of problems associated with role conflict and ambiguity will be greater for individuals with low ability levels than it will be for those with high ability levels. Because competence in handling problems on the job can prevent deleterious effects of role difficulties, Schuler hypothesized that ability is a "buffer" against role stressors. Building on this hypothesis, Mossholder and his colleagues (Mossholder, Bedeian, & Armenakis, 1981, 1982) proposed that self-esteem will indicate employee ability in organizations. They theorized that an individual's self-perceived ability—or self-esteem—is a function of that individual's actual task-specific ability, so that the higher an individual's job-related ability, the higher that individual's level of self-esteem. They went on to

Pierce, Gardner, Dunham, and Cummings

273

hypothesize that "[to] the extent that self-esteem can he conceptualized as a psychological surrogate for employee ahility, the same huffering effect that was found for ahility could he anticipated to occur
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