COB Research Spotlight: Integrating Organizational Climate Theory

A Domain-independent explanation for climate formation and function

Publication Name: Journal of Applied Psychology

Authors: Jeremy M. Beus, Jacob H. Smith, and Erik C. Taylor (COB)


Study Summary: Climate is one of the most studied contextual phenomena in the organizational sciences, but climate research to date has developed without a unified theory. Rather, theorizing has been constrained within specific climate domains (e.g., safety, diversity, customer service), causing a silo effect where developments in one domain do not translate to another. This work provides a lingua franca for climate scholars by offering a domain-independent theory of climate formation and function. 

Key findings: We found multiple instances where scholars in one domain called for additional theorizing even though scholars in another domain had already offered such theorizing, or work that offered “new” theorizing was duplicating efforts already made elsewhere. The theory offered in this work provides predictions that are independent of theory, speak to the etiology and function of climate, and offer boundary conditions where the predicted relationships begin to break down.  

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