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What Is Perceived Organizational Support?

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  • Written By: Rebecca Harkin
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 30 March 2014
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Perceived organizational support (POS) is a workplace environment that fosters feelings in workers that their company or institution cares for them and can be trusted. When perceived organizational support is in place, the benefits for the employer and the employee are reciprocal. Employees benefit from perceived organizational support by receiving better wages and benefits for hard work, enjoying supervisor’s support with work issues and working conditions, and feeling their work is meaningful and helpful to the company. The benefits of POS for the company is that it produces hard working employees who are willing to make sacrifices for the company and will push to improve the company as well as decrease absenteeism and apathy.

The key to POS is organizational identification, or conformity between the values of the company and the values of the employee. To begin with, a company must have and show high esteem for the employee by caring for their physical and emotional needs. When this is done, it will in turn foster feelings of high esteem in the workers for the company or institution, creating an overall congruency of values.

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POS primarily lies in the hands of the supervisors of workers. Employees often assign human like qualities to the companies or institutions they work for, and those qualities are often related to the way they are treated by their supervisors. When a worker is praised, rewarded, and supported, there is perceived organizational support and the employee will typically praise and reward the company by working hard. Conversely, when a supervisor is derogatory or does not address problems or complaints, the employee feels the company does not care about or value them. The skills to build and enhance perceived organizational support need to be taught to supervisors.

The idea of POS sounds simple enough, but this idea can become complicated and difficult to apply unless a company makes business decisions with POS in mind. For example, high paid workers with excellent benefits who had to battle to get those rewards, either personally or through a union, will not necessarily have perceived organizational support once they get the better wages and benefits. These workers may actually feel undervalued by the fight. In this case, the company gave in to the high demands but lost the benefits they may have gleaned from the positive organizational support.

POS has been growing in popularity because its value in the workplace is being recognized. Many POS studies have found perceived organizational support improves an employee’s work ethic and loyalty to the company as well as reduces absenteeism. Making and keeping workers happy is apparently good for business.

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