Date of Award

Spring 1985

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Albert S. Glickman

Committee Member

Russell Leonard

Committee Member

Donald davis

Committee Member

Glynn D. Coates


The purpose of this study was to develop an integrative theoretical approach to the study of individuals' behavior in organizations, and to present an application of the approach to understanding the performance of Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets. Individuals' perceptions of the environment were proposed to exist at three levels of analysis: (1) psychological climate (i.e., individual); (2) group climate; and organizational climate. Further, climate perceptions were proposed to result from the simultaneous influence of objective (i.e., actual) situational characteristics, and individuals' needs and characteristics. The underlying dimensions that linked climate perceptions operationalized at the three levels of analysis with objective situational characteristics were referred to as life space dimensions and used in a causal model of three forms of affective responses: (1) a valence-instrumentality-expectancy motivation composite; (2) organizational commitment; and (3) general satisfaction, intention to remain in the service, and performance. Performance was examined both with self-ratings and with supervisor ratings.

Army (N = 456) and Navy (N = 132) ROTC cadets from three universities in the Southeast participated in the study. The results provided support for the existence of aggregate climate perceptions and their relationship both to objective situational characteristics and to individual needs and characteristics. A causal model of life space dimensions, affective responses, intention to remain, and performance was proposed and tested with the Army sample. The hypothesized model was disconfirmed by the observed correlations of the Army sample using either self or supervisor performance ratings.

Revised causal models for both self and supervisor rated performance were developed from the observed correlations of the Army sample and the earlier developed theory. The revised models were assessed using the Navy sample. The Army sample revised supervisor rated performance model exhibited a reasonable fit with the Navy sample. The revised self rated performance model failed to generalize to the Navy sample. Several differences between, and similarities among the findings from the two samples were highlighted.

The results were discussed in terms of their application to the recruitment, selection, and training of ROTC cadets. In addition, limitations of the study were identified and an agenda for future applications of the theoretical approach to the study of individuals' behavior in organizations was offered.


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