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

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journal contribution
posted on 24.10.2012, 09:11 by B. Schyns, M. van Veldhoven, Stephen J. Wood
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.


This survey is jointly sponsored by the UK's Department of Trade and Industry, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, the Economic and Social Research Council and the Policy Studies Institute.



Leadership and Organization Development Journal, 2009, 30 (7), pp. 649-663

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Leadership and Organization Development Journal



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The paper is based on data from the WERS (WERS98 and WERS2004). The National Centre for Social Research was commissioned to conduct the survey fieldwork on behalf of the sponsors. WERS is deposited and available from the Data Archive at the University of Essex, UK.