Response Design Corporation:Creating the Uncommon Call Center
Kathryn's Uncommon Call Center Blog
August 5, 2008 10:51 AM
Categories: Management 
Manager Integrity Linked to Profitability

According to a study conducted by Simons, Walsh, & Sturman (2001) "employee perception of their managers' integrity - both keeping promises and demonstrating espoused values-were strongly linked to hotel profitability." In this study approximately 7500 employees at 84 hotels completed employee surveys that were then matched with the results from approximately 25,000 customer surveys and with financial records. The study showed that small changes in employee perceptions of manager integrity led to big changes in profitability (defined as EBIT divided by total revenues). According to the study if a hotel were to increase its management's integrity score by 1/8th of a point (on a 5 point scale) then the hotel could project an annual increase in revenues of 2.5 percent.

Interestingly, the researchers also found that employee commitment was more of a driver of customer satisfaction than was employee satisfaction.

The study defines "behavioral integrity" as how well a manager's deeds align (or misalign) to his words. In some ways this represents the older version of "walking the talk." When a manager's actions are not aligned to what he or she says then the employee does not consider the manager to have behavioral integrity.

While the study only involves the hotel industry, I think we can ask ourselves some important questions.

Are we, as contact center professionals, unaware of misalignments between our own words and deeds? How many of us examine whether or not we do what we say or ask how our employees perceive us? How many of us have considered how our integrity affects employee commitment and ultimately the success of our organization?

Do we teach any of these concepts to our managers or directors? Do we train our management team about integrity? Is it part of our performance appraisals?

What do you think about this link? Have you ever worked for someone with great integrity and found your commitment was better than when working for someone you perceived as lacking integrity? Or how about your commitment level when your witnessed a lack of behavioral integrity in your manager or management team? Did one infraction cause your commitment to wane or did it take multiple instances? We'd love to hear about this topic from your perspective / experience.

Simons, Walsh, Sturman (2002). Service from the heart: The relative influence of job satisfaction and affective commitment on service quality and employee turnover. Organization Science, 13(1). 18-35.

Entry logged at 10:51 AM


You have summarized and applied my reasearch well -- but I fear you track some of the articles wrong. Simons, Walsh and Sturman did not appear in org. science -- that was the simons (2002) theory paper. and the bottom-line consequence of BI would be Simons and Mclean Parks (2000). the paper with walsh and sturman talked about commitment versus satisfaction.

Anyway, I am totally supportive of your work, and would love to help out with the precise citations you need. My own blog is due to go up in a few weeks, and we should cross-link.

You can get around these detail problems simply by describing it as the body of my research and sending interested readers to my website. if you like, i can send you the correct citations for all three articles.

And I have a book for managers due out in October, called The Integrity Dividend.


--Tony Simons

Posted by: Tony Simons [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2008 01:26 PM
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