The Effect of Job Involvement on Correctional Staff
Eric G. Lambert
The driving force of corrections is the staff of correctional facilities. It is important to understand how the work environment shapes the attitudes of correctional staff; yet, the effect of job involvement on correctional employees has received little, if any, attention. Most of the research to date has focused on job stress and job satisfaction among correctional staff. Only recently has there been research on other important work attitudes, such as job involvement. Job involvement may have important effects on salient work outcomes. Therefore, there is a need to explore how job involvement may influence correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, turnover intentions, family-on-work conflict, and work-on-family conflict. By using data acquired from a survey of staff of a state-run correctional facility in the Midwest, the researcher examined the effects of job involvement on correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, turnover intentions, family-on-work conflict, and work-on-family conflict. After controlling for gender, age, tenure, position, educational level, race, and supervisory status, the researcher conducted a multivariate analysis, which indicated that job involvement had a statistically significant positive relationship with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and both forms of work-family conflict. Job involvement was observed to have non-significant direct effects on correctional staff job stress, life satisfaction, and turnover intentions.
Work in corrections is often a hard, demanding job that usually holds little prestige in society, but it also can be a rewarding experience. “Few other organizations are charged with the central task of supervising and securing an unwilling and potentially violent population” (Armstrong & Griffin, 2004, p. 577). Armstrong and Griffin further contend that “correctional institutions are unique work environments in both context and purpose” (2004, p. 577). Further, corrections occupies an important place in the criminal justice system as well as in society (Goodstein & MacKenzie, 1989). Due to the importance of corrections in society and the criminal justice system, a growing body of research involves correctional officers. This research is required to understand how correctional staff influence the organization and, in turn, how the correctional organization affects the workers. Correctional staff are the heart and soul of any correctional organization. Staff are responsible for myriad tasks and responsibilities that ensure that the organization meets its goals of providing a safe, humane, and secure environment. Correctional organizations succeed (or fail) based on their employees. Archambeault and Archambeault point out that “correctional workers represent the single most important resource available to any correctional agency or institution in attempting to accomplish its mission, goals, and objectives” (1982: xxii). Correctional staff are the driving force of any correctional organization. The correctional staff literature to date has focused mainly on the effects of work environment on the attitudes and behaviors of correctional staff, particularly on the antecedents of job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. While many studies have focused on antecedents of work factors involving correctional staff, not all possible antecedents have been examined. The concept of job involvement has received very little attention in the correctional literature. This oversight is salient. Job involvement has been
theorized to be the force that helps shape many employee and organizational outcomes. Diefendorff, Brown, Kamin, and Lord argue that job involvement is “a key factor influencing important individual and organizational outcomes” (2002, 93). Furthermore, Brown contends...
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