Organizational climate, relative psychological climate and job satisfaction: The example of supportive leadership climate

Purpose – Organizational climate has been shown to predict job satisfaction and other employee attitudes. Using the concept of organizational climate strength has shown mixed success. However, diversity in psychological climate at the individual level has not been explored. We introduce a new individual-level concept: relative psychological climate. Design/methodology/approach – Using the example of supportive leadership climate, we assess the significance of this concept for predicting job satisfaction. We use data from a large national British survey (the Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004) of 19,993 employees within 1,593 workplaces. Findings – Workplace supportive leadership climate quality, climate strength, and individual relative leadership climate position are shown to be significantly associated with job satisfaction. So is the interaction of climate quality and climate strength. When all three variables are assessed simultaneously, only the individual relative position and the climate quality are substantially related to job satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – Individual relative climate has been shown to be a useful alternative to other climate assessments, especially when climate quality and climate strength are highly related making the use of both in one regression not feasible. Practical implications – The newly introduced concept of individual relative position is a climate factor that is very relevant in terms of predicting job satisfaction. Therefore, we recommend that leaders take into account that differentiation between followers negatively influences those that perceive less supportive leadership. Originality/value – We introduce individual relative climate and show that this new concept is related to job satisfaction, thereby demonstrating its usefulness in climate research.