Alignment is not just for tires: The impact of leader-follower climate perceptions on learning and safety behaviors

Open Access
Tesler, Rachel
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
October 25, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Susan Mohammed, Dissertation Advisor
  • Susan Mohammed, Committee Chair
  • Rick R Jacobs, Committee Member
  • Sam Hunter, Committee Member
  • Stephen Erik Humphrey, Committee Member
  • organizational climate
  • safety climate
  • learning climate
  • leader follower agreement
Organizational climate has been found responsible for numerous group and individual outcomes, ranging from job satisfaction, to company profits, to injury and death. However, the research literature on organizational climate has not sufficiently explored nuances beyond climate level (i.e., the aggregated average of climate ratings). This dissertation extended existing research by investigating non-linear interactions in an attempt to resolve inconsistencies on the moderating effect of climate strength (i.e., variability of climate ratings) on outcomes, as well as by investigating the alignment (i.e., similarity) of leader and follower climate perceptions instead of solely relying on follower ratings. Two specific climate facets (climate for learning and climate for safety) in two separate studies were investigated. Study 1 consisted of learning climate perceptions from 41 instructors and 1,232 students in 69 university classes, while Study 2 examined safety climate perceptions from 395 managers and 5,232 nurses in 254 hospitals. Support was found for a linear interaction between learning climate level and strength, but not for safety climate level and strength. A curvilinear interaction was not found in either study, and thus was unable to explain the conflicting results. Finally, the data tentatively suggested that alignment of leader and follow climate perceptions could predict relevant outcomes for both climate types, but data restrictions prevented more definitive conclusions. Practical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research on curvilinear interactions and leader-follow alignment are discussed.