“Toward Effective Supervision” Article by Komaki

APA Formatted Reference: Komaki, J. L. (1986). Toward effective supervision: An operant analysis and comparison of managers at work. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(2), 270-279.

Purpose of the study: This research investigated three hypotheses regarding effective supervisory behavior to determine what managers should do in order to encourage employees to achieve goals at the workplace. The study employed Operant Supervisory Taxonomy and Index (OSTI) to examine supervisory behavior’s specific categories among managers, some of whom performed better at work than others.

Participants: 24 managers from two different divisions in terms of supervising others

Setting: A medical insurance firm from the Midwest with 2600 employees

Dependent Variable and Measurement: Behavior category and subcategory scores collected during observations. The research was based on seven main categories, and each manager was observed up to 20 times during 30-minute observations over a seven-month period.

Assessment and Findings: The observations were completed on various occasions, including the managers’ everyday interactions, job interviews, and relations with subordinates, peers, and superiors. Some participants were observed less than 20 times due to a transfer, a recordkeeping error, and a voluntary termination.

Independent Variable: The timing and placement of the observations

Experimental Design: An extreme or contrasted groups design

Results: Two of the three hypotheses were confirmed, and the last one was partially supported. The participants’ results did not vary concerning the time spent to provide consequences. However, the managers who initially were perceived to be effective paid more attention to utilizing a distinct monitoring method when obtaining information about performance. Nonetheless, all participants were equally inclined to provide consequences regardless of the sign, which could be positive, negative, or neutral. Overall, effective and ineffective managers conducted similar activities and spent practically the same amount of time interacting with other employees, but the former concentrated more on performance information.

Write one interesting point of discussion about the study that could be used in class.

It was interesting that the observations were at different times during the workday. How would the results vary if the participants were observed at a particular time during all seven months?

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