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Insufficient Bureaucracy: Trust and Commitment in Particularistic Organizations

  • Author(s): Pearce, JL;
  • Branyiczki, I;
  • Bigley, GA
  • et al.

Many employees in the world are evaluated and rewarded at work based on who they are ("particularism") rather than based on impersonal judgments of their performance ("universalism"). Yet the field of organizational behavior has been virtually silent on how employees react to workplaces dominated by particularism. In an effort to understand the role of particularistic organizational practices, several ideas from comparative institutions theories are applied to questions of organizational behavior, and the model is tested in samples of large manufacturing and service organizations in the United States and Hungary. It was found that employees in a modernist political system (United States) did echo social scientists' claims by reporting that their employers' personnel practices were comparatively more universalistic than those in organizations operating in a neotraditional polity (Hungary). This perception of differences in personnel practices mediated the relationship between political system and employees' trust in one another, their perceptions of coworker shirking, and their organizational commitment.

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