Unraveling the minds of survey participants: A respondent-centered approach to understanding response behavior in employee attitude surveys

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Title: Unraveling the minds of survey participants: A respondent-centered approach to understanding response behavior in employee attitude surveys
Authors: Schumacher, Svenja Kristina
ORCID of the author: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7158-3309
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Karsten Müller
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Nick Lin-Hi
Abstract: In the context of organizational development, surveys are important tools for learning about employees’ experiences in the organization. Organizational practice is faced with two main challenges to the successful implementation of surveys. First, the increasing use of surveys may lead to survey fatigue potentially negatively impacting employees’ motivation to engage in surveys. Second, survey results serve as a basis for strategic decision-making in organizations and thus need to be adequate for linkage research or benchmarking practices. The presented research aims to address these two challenges by taking a respondent-centered approach focusing on motivational and cognitive aspects of employees’ experiences while taking surveys. First, it introduces the new construct of survey experience as a respondent- centered criterion of successful survey design (Paper 1). A short-scale is theoretically developed based on user experience theory (Hassenzahl, Platz, Burmester, & Lehner, 2000) and empirically tested and validated in two studies. It, therefore, contributes to the understanding of survey design influences on participant’s motivational processes of survey response. Additionally, the short-scale equips practitioners with a reliable and economic lever to counter possible effects of survey fatigue by creating enjoyable and usable surveys tailored to specific target groups. Second, the presented research addresses cognitive and motivational aspects of survey processing and potential implications for the comparability of results. It, specifically, examines item-wording effects on response behavior on the example of intensifiers in Likert-type item stems of employee attitude surveys (Papers 2 and 3). It, further, considers the role of the organizational setting in determining employees’ response behavior (Krosnick, 1991) in the response process (Tourangeau & Rasinski, 1988) of employee attitude surveys (Paper 3). It, thereby, contributes to the understanding of employees’ response processes in this particular setting and provides practical advice for item-wording practices in organizations. Overall, the three papers bridge the previous literature by considering the survey itself, participants’ motivational and cognitive processes of survey response, and the survey setting in the context of employee attitude surveys together. The results of the presented research highlight the need for a contextual approach to researching and designing surveys that considers interactions between the survey, the participants, and the setting. It, thereby, contributes starting points to enable a more sophisticated approach to understanding survey response in employee attitude surveys.
URL: https://repositorium.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-202009183540
Subject Keywords: employee attitude surveys; intensifier; survey experience; survey response process; survey setting
Issue Date: 18-Sep-2020
License name: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Germany
License url: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/de/
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB08 - E-Dissertationen

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