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EXPLORING POTENTIAL ANTECEDENTS

OF JOB INVOLVEMENT
An Exploratory Study Among Jail Staff

ERIC G. LAMBERT
Wayne State University
EUGENE A. PAOLINE, III
University of Central Florida

Jail staff are the heart and soul of any jail. Jails rely on staff to complete a myriad of tasks and duties in order to maintain a
safe, secure, and humane jail facility. One area of importance is job involvement (i.e., the psychosocial bond between the
staff member with his or her job). The current study examined the job characteristics model to explain job involvement among
staff at a large county correctional system in Orlando, Florida. The job characteristic variables were formalization, instrumen-
tal communication, relations with coworkers, input into decision making, job variety, perceived dangerousness of the job,
role strain, and administrative support. It was found that formalization, input into decision making, and administrative support
all had positive associations with job involvement. The implications of these findings for correctional researchers and prac-
titioners are discussed.

Keywords: jail staff; job involvement; job variety; formalization; input into decision-making; administrative support

J ails are a critical element of the criminal justice system. Jails confine a wide variety of
individuals, including pre-trial detainees who are pending judicial outcome of their
cases, those sentenced to a period of confinement in the jail, those sentenced awaiting
transfer to prison, those being held in contempt of court, those temporarily transferred from
a prison to testify in court, and parole and probation violators (Clear, Cole, & Reisig, 2009).
Millions of people pass through jails each year, far more than adult prisons. There are cur-
rently more than 3,300 jails in the United States that house an average daily population of
almost 750,000 detainees and employ over 200,000 staff members (Pastore & Maguire,
2009). Tremendous amounts of financial resources are needed to operate jails across the
nation. Moreover, jails are labor intensive, and the majority of financial resources allocated
to jails are used for funding of staff. Staff are responsible for the myriad of tasks and
responsibilities that are necessary to ensure that the jail meets its goal of providing a safe,
humane, and secure environment.

AUTHORS NOTE: Eric G. Lambert and Eugene A. Paoline, III, equally contributed to the article and are
listed in alphabetical order. The authors thank Janet Lambert for proofreading and editing the article.
Additionally, the authors thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their comments and suggestions in
improving the article. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to: Eugene A. Paoline, III,
University of Central Florida, Department of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, P.O. Box 161600, Orlando,
FL 32816-1600, USA; phone: 407-823-4946; email: epaoline@mail.ucf.edu.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND BEHAVIOR, Vol. 39 No. 3, March 2012 264-286
DOI: 10.1177/0093854811433533
2012 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology

264
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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 265

Staff are, therefore, a valuable resource for any jail. It can be argued that jails succeed
or fail based on their staff. Despite their importance, jail staff do not receive the empirical
attention they deserve (Lambert, Reynolds, Paoline, & Watkins, 2004). Most of the
research on how the workplace affects staff has focused on prisons (Castle, 2008; Castle &
Martin, 2006). There has been far less research on how the work environment affects jail
staff (Griffin, 1999; Lambert & Paoline, 2008). Hemmens, Stohr, Schoeler, Sanders, Laky,
and Batt (1999) accurately point out that while there is a tremendous amount of research
on attitudes and perceptions of [prison] correctional officers, there is relatively little
research on the attitudes and perceptions of jail staff (p. 16).
While there is a growing body of literature on how the work environment affects jail
staff, most of this research has focused on job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational
commitment. Job involvement is another job attitude that has received scant attention
among jail staff. In fact, the concept of job involvement has received little attention in the
research on prison staff, as well. Job involvement is the degree that an employee psycho-
logically identifies with his or her job (Kanungo, 1982a, 1982b). Job involvement is theo-
rized to have important outcomes for both the employee and the employing organization
and has been argued to be a measure of quality of work life (Elloy, Everett, & Flynn, 1992).
Chen and Chiu (2009) postulated that workers with high job involvement are more inde-
pendent and self-confidentthey not only conduct their work in accordance with the job
duties required by the company but are also more likely to do their work in accordance with
the employees perception of their own performance (p. 478). Hackman and Lawler (1971)
considered that job involvement led to internal motivation for employees, and Pfeffer
(1994) contended that job involvement would translate to organizational effectiveness in
the long run.
Job involvement can be linked with important work outcomes, such as being committed
to their employer, heightened satisfaction from the job, increased work effort, reduced
absenteeism, increased organizational citizenship (i.e., going above and beyond what is
required at work), and reduced turnover intent and turnover (Blau & Boal, 1989; Brown,
1996; Chen & Chiu, 2009; Diefendorff, Brown, Kamin, & Lord, 2002; Elloy et al., 1992;
Rabinowitz & Hall, 1977). Moreover, research with jail staff has shown that job involve-
ment is linked with reduced turnover intent and job stress, and increased levels of job sat-
isfaction and organizational commitment (Lambert & Paoline, 2010; Paoline & Lambert,
2010). While job involvement may be an important factor influencing the views and behav-
iors of jail staff, there has been little research on its antecedents.
Before scholars can recommend ways to improve the job involvement of jail staff, the
variables that influence job involvement need to be identified. The job characteristics
model, under the person-environment fit theory, holds that work environment factors can
either positively or negatively affect the level of job involvement among workers.
Moreover, from a situational perspective, not only are work environment variables stronger
predictors of job involvement than personal characteristics (e.g., gender, age, and educa-
tional level), the effects of different work environment variables on job involvement varies
across organizations (Brown, 1996; Elloy, Everett, & Flynn, 1995); therefore, exploring
how different aspects of the work environment influence jail staff job involvement is
important.
In this exploratory study, the effects of formalization, instrumental communication, rela-
tions with coworkers, input into decision-making, job variety, perceived dangerousness of

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266 Criminal Justice and Behavior

the job, role strain, and administrative support on jail staff job involvement were examined,
while controlling for the personal characteristics of gender, age, tenure, educational level,
race, and position.

LITERATURE REVIEW

JOB INVOLVEMENT

Early in the development of the concept of job involvement, there was confusion over
how to define it (Kanungo, 1979). Job involvement was first introduced by Lodahl and
Kejner (1965), who conceptualized it as the degree to which a person is identified psycho-
logically with his work, or the importance of work in his total self-image (p. 24). In addi-
tion, Lodahl and Kejner (1965) also saw job involvement as the result of how work
performance affects a persons self-esteem (p. 25).
The conceptualization of dual dimensions of job involvement caused confusion on
how to measure it in the beginning stages of research on the concept (Brown, 1996).
Lawler and Hall (1970) contended that job involvement was the psychological identifi-
cation with ones work and the degree to which the job situation is central to the person
and his identity (pp. 310-311). The published works of Kanungo (1979, 1982a, 1982b)
helped solidify the conceptualization of job involvement as a cognitive identification
with the job. Kanungo argued that the lack of conceptual clarity derived from the fact that
Lodahl and Kejner (1965) included two different concepts in their definition. Kanungo
(1982b) saw job involvement as only the cognitive identification with the job. The view
of job involvement as job performance affecting the self-esteem of workers has fallen out
of use (Brown, 1996).
Among contemporary researchers, the job involvement definition proposed by Kanungo
(1982b) is generally utilized. For example, Parasuraman (1982) conceptualized job
involvement as the level of the persons ego involvement with their work. Elloy et al.
(1992) saw job involvement as a generalized cognitive state of psychological identifica-
tion with the job (p. 162). Paullay, Alliger, and Stone-Romero (1994) defined job involve-
ment as when an employee is cognitively preoccupied with, engaged in, and concerned
with ones present job (p. 224). All these and other current definitions of job involvement
focus on the cognitive identification a person has with his or her job. Job involvement,
therefore, is the degree of psychological identification a person has with the type of work
that he or she is doing (Brown & Leigh, 1996; Kanungo, 1982a, 1982b; Lawler & Hall,
1970). In other words, job involvement focuses on the degree of central interest the job
plays in a persons life (i.e., the importance the person places on the job in his or her life)
(Dubin, 1956; Kanungo, 1979; Paullay et al., 1994). As pointed out by DeCarufel and
Schaan (1990), an individual with a high degree of job involvement would place the job
at the center of his/her lifes interests. The well-known phrase I live, eat, and breathe my
job would describe someone whose job involvement is very high (p. 86).
Kanungo (1979) contended that the opposite of job involvement is job alienation. Job
alienation is the feeling of being detached from the job and feeling that the job is unimport-
ant in ones life. DeCarufel and Schaan (1990) pointed out that persons with low job
involvement would place something other than their jobs (e.g., family, hobbies) at the

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center of their lives (p. 86). For this study, the conceptualization of job involvement was
the cognitive identification with the job proposed by Kanungo (1982b).
In the early research stages, there was criticism that job involvement overlapped with
other workplace concepts, such as work ethic, job satisfaction, and organizational commit-
ment (Brown, 1996; Rabinowitz & Hall, 1977). Theoretically, we assert that these are
distinct concepts.
Work ethic (formerly referred to as the Protestant work ethic) is the belief that work is
important in the moral development of a person, and work will help make an individual
better, as well as improve the character of the person. Thus, work ethic is a belief that work
is important in the positive development of people (DeCarufel & Schaan, 1990) or the
belief that work is important and that a person should work as hard as possible (Elloy et al.,
1992; Kanungo, 1982b). Work ethic does not mean that a person psychologically identifies
with his or her job but rather focuses on the general view that work is important for the
development of human beings. It is, therefore, possible for a person to hold the belief that
it is important to work but does not psychologically identify with the particular job held at
the time.
Conversely, a person who identifies with his or her job (e.g., shapes his or her identity
as being a correctional officer) may have a low level of work ethic and not put forth much
effort toward his or her job; thus, it is also possible to have a low level of work ethic but a
high level of job involvement. Besides being seen theoretically as distinct concepts, work
ethic and job involvement have been empirically shown to be distinct concepts (Gorn &
Kanungo, 1980, Kanungo, 1982a; Misra, Kanungo, Von Rosenthal, & Stuhler, 1985).
Lawler and Hall (1970) were among the researchers to theorize that job involvement was
different from job satisfaction. Locke (1976) defined job satisfaction as a pleasurable or
positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of ones job or job experiences (p.
1300). To Muchinsky (1987), job satisfaction was an emotional, affective response result-
ing from the extent a person derives pleasure from his or her job (p. 396). Spector (1996)
contended that job satisfaction was simply the extent to which people like their jobs (p.
214); therefore, job satisfaction is the emotional satisfaction from the job, while job
involvement is the cognitive identification with the job (Kanungo, 1982a; Rabinowitz &
Hall, 1977). As Brooke, Russell, and Price (1988) pointed out, job satisfaction is the emo-
tional state of liking ones job, while job involvement is the cognitive belief state of
psychological identification with ones job (p. 139). It is therefore possible for an indi-
vidual to identify with the job, regardless if he or she derives pleasure from the job
(Kanungo, 1982b). For example, a person could build his or her core self-view around
being a correctional officer, but do not gain satisfaction from being assigned to work in a
security tower.
Likewise, a person could find satisfaction from the job because of pay but not cogni-
tively identify being a correctional officer. This individual might be willing to switch occu-
pations if another job met his or her emotional needs, such as taking a job at a new
manufacturing plant that paid a higher salary. Finally, a person could identify with the job
of correctional officer and gain satisfaction from the job. Hence, theoretically, job satisfac-
tion and job involvement are separate concepts. In addition, research has empirically dem-
onstrated that they are separate concepts. Using factor analysis, Lawler and Hall (1970)
found that work ethic, job satisfaction, and job involvement were empirically distinct

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268 Criminal Justice and Behavior

concepts. Other studies have also found that job satisfaction and job involvement are dis-
tinct concepts (Blau, 1985; Brooke et al., 1988).
Organizational commitment and job involvement are also unique concepts. Organizational
commitment is the bond between the employee and the agency (Mowday, Porter, & Steers,
1982). It is a bond with the entire employing organization and not with the job itself or a
particular part of the organization (Lambert, Barton, & Hogan, 1999). Organizational com-
mitment is generally defined as having the core elements of loyalty to the organization,
identification with the organization, and involvement in the organization (Mowday, Steers,
& Porter, 1979). Thus, organizational commitment is the identification with the overall
employing organization, and job involvement is the identification with the job. Organizational
commitment, therefore, focuses on bond at the organizational level and job involvement
focuses on the attachment at the job level (Brown, 1996; Kanungo, 1982a). Both Morrow
and McElroy (1986) and Blau (1987) empirically demonstrated the discriminant validity
of the concepts of job involvement and organizational commitment. Additionally, using
factor analytic procedures, Brooke et al. (1988) empirically demonstrated that job involve-
ment, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment were distinct concepts from one
another. Moreover, they observed that different aspects of the work environment affected
each of the concepts at differing degrees, again empirically indicating that they were
separate concepts.

PAST STUDIES ON JOB INVOLVEMENT AMONG JAIL AND PRISON STAFF

There is a growing body of literature that has focused both on jail and prison staff. This
research has focused mainly on the causes and consequences of job stress, job satisfaction,
and organizational commitment. There has been far less research on job involvement
among jail and prison staff. To date, only two studies on jail staff job involvement could be
found. In a study on turnover intent among staff at a Southern jail, job involvement had a
negative impact on turnover intent (Lambert & Paoline, 2010). In another study based on
Southern jail staff data, job involvement had statistically significant effects on job stress,
job satisfaction, and organizational commitment among jail staff. Specifically, job involve-
ment had negative effects on job stress and positive effects on job satisfaction and organi-
zational commitment (Paoline & Lambert, 2010). Because there are so few studies on job
involvement among jail staff, it was necessary to explore the literature on job involvement
among prison staff.
With respect to prison staff, four published studies that included job involvement were
located. In an examination of turnover among staff at Midwestern state prison, job
involvement had no effect on turnover intent (Lambert, 2006). Similarly, Lambert (2008)
reported no association between job involvement and turnover intent among Midwestern
prison staff, as well as job involvement having a nonsignificant relationship with both
job stress and life satisfaction. On the other hand, Lambert (2008) observed that job
involvement had significant positive effects on work-on-family conflict, family-on-work
conflict, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment. Among private prison staff,
job involvement was positively linked with the emotional dimension of burnout, but job
involvement had no effect on the burnout dimensions of perceived ineffectiveness at
work and treating others in a depersonalized manner (Griffin, Lambert, Hogan, Tucker,
& Baker, 2009). In another study of private prison staff, no significant relationship

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between job involvement and organizational citizenship behaviors was observed (Lambert,
Hogan, & Griffin, 2008).
Overall, the limited research to date on job involvement of jail and prison staff has
focused on the consequences of job involvement. This research indicates that job involve-
ment has consequences that are important to both the staff member as well as the organiza-
tion. If job involvement has salient outcomes, it seems logical to explore the factors that
help shape the job involvement of jail and prison staff. Due to the scarcity of research on
job involvement among correctional staff in general and jail staff in particular, this explor-
atory study was undertaken to determine how different aspects of the work environment
affect the jail staff involvement. Specifically, the effects of formalization, instrumental
communication, relations with coworkers, input into decision-making, job variety, per-
ceived dangerousness of the job, role strain, and administrative support on jail staff job
involvement were examined.

THEORETICAL FOCUS OF STUDY

Lawler (1992) contended that job involvement is influenced by the work environment
and that redesign of the work environment can lead to increased job involvement for
employees. The literature has strongly indicated that the work environment is important in
shaping the job involvement of employees (Lawler & Hall, 1970; Lodahl & Kejner, 1965).
For example, in a study of new hires of a Midwestern police department, job involvement
decreased from the point of hire to after a year on the job (Hazer & Alvares, 1981). This
finding suggested that the work experiences of police officers influenced their level of job
involvement and that job involvement is not a static concept formed before joining an
organization. Rather, job involvement appears to be a dynamic concept that is affected by
work-related contextual factors. The person-situation fit theory was originally proposed by
Vroom (1962), who postulated that work environment factors can influence the level of job
involvement for workers. The person-situation fit is part of the person-environment fit
theory.
The person-environment fit theory is theoretically important to understand how the work
environment can help shape the job involvement of workers (Blau, 1987; Cable & Edwards,
2004). This theoretical perspective is based on a situational perspective in that the interac-
tion between a person and his or her environment helps shape various outcomes (Sekiguchi,
2004a, 2004b). The person-environment fit theory contends that if there is congruence
between the person and the environment, there will be various positive outcomes, and if
not, there will be negative outcomes (Cable & Edwards, 2004; Edwards, Cable, Williamson,
Lambert, & Shipp, 2006; Kristof, 1996). The person-environment fit is a complex theory
with many different parts. The job characteristics model falls under the person-environment
theory.
The job characteristics model holds that positive work environment variables will pro-
vide employees with positive feelings and experiences and these in turn will increase the
likelihood that employees will form job involvement (Blau, 1987; Brown, 1996; Rabinowitz
& Hall, 1977). Brown (1996) contended that enriched jobs stimulate job involvement
(p. 242). Chen and Chiu (2009) theorized that enhancement of employees psychological
job involvement occurs when employees feel that they make a significant contribution
to their work (p. 478). The job characteristics model shows that work environment

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270 Criminal Justice and Behavior

factors faced by employees in their jobs influences their job attitudes, intentions, and
behaviors (Chen & Chiu, 2009; Hackman & Oldham, 1976). Ones work environment
can either provide strains for employees, such as role ambiguity or role conflict, or pro-
vide a sense of being valued and respected, such as input into decision-making (Pearce
& Gregersen, 1991).
Thus, positive aspects of the work environment can instill a sense of the importance of
the job in a persons life, while negative work environment variables can cause a person to
realize that the job is not cognitively worthwhile in the long run. Similarly, positive aspects
of the work environment can make the job more enjoyable, such as job variety, and this can
increase job involvement. Simply stated, the quality of the work environment is important
in shaping the job involvement of employees.
There is empirical support among jail staff for the job characteristics model under the
person-environment theory. This research has focused on the job stress, job satisfaction,
and organizational commitment. Work environment variables have been found to be pre-
dictors of job stress among jail staff. Administrative support, positive relations with
coworkers, perceptions of quality training, instrumental communication, input into deci-
sion-making, and perceptions of opportunity to be promoted have been negatively linked
with job stress, while role strain (i.e., ambiguity and conflict in work role) and perceived
dangerousness of the job had a positive association with job stress (Castle & Martin, 2006;
Lambert & Paoline, 2005, 2008; Paoline, Lambert, & Hogan, 2006).
Additionally, research has found that perceived quality training, quality supervision,
positive relations with coworkers, job variety, instrumental communication, perceptions of
promotional opportunities, supervisory support, and input into decision-making are all
positively associated with increased job satisfaction among jail staff (Castle, 2008; Griffin,
2001; Lambert & Paoline, 2005, 2008; Paoline, Lambert, & Hogan, 2006; Stohr, Lovrich,
Menke, & Zupan, 1994). Both role strain and perceived dangerousness of the job have
been linked to decreased jail staff job satisfaction (Kerle, 1985; Lambert et al., 2004).
Likewise, the literature supports the position that work environment factors influence
the organizational commitment of jail staff. Research has observed that input into decision-
making, instrumental communication, formalization, job variety, and perceptions of pro-
motional opportunities were each positively related to organizational commitment, while
role strain (i.e., role conflict and role ambiguity) was linked with decreased organizational
commitment (Lambert & Paoline, 2008; Stohr et al., 1994). This past research supports the
contention by the job characteristics model of the person-environment fit theory that the
work environment has important effects on jail staff.
Based upon research on job stress, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment, jail
staff job involvement was theorized to be influenced by work environment variables. The
work environment is complex and has many different dimensions. Rather than a single
work variable, it is a mixture of work environment variables that helps shape the job
involvement of employees. Lawler and Hall (1970) contended that the job-involved per-
son is one who is affected very much personally by his whole job situation, presumably
because he perceives his job as an important part of his self-concept (pp. 310-311).
Therefore, different aspects of the jail work environment were included in the study.
Specifically, the study examined the effects of formalization, instrumental communication,
relations with coworkers, input into decision-making, job variety, perceived dangerousness
of the job, role strain, and administrative support on jail staff job involvement.

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 271

According to Taggart and Mays (1987), formalization is the use of well-defined rules
and regulations to govern the behavior of individuals so that actions within the organization
become standardized (p. 1986). Formalization is therefore the extent to which (written)
rules and procedures are established and known by organizational members (Bluedorn,
1982; Price & Mueller, 1986). Codification and observation form the concept of formaliza-
tion (Pandey & Scott, 2002). The formation and enactment of rules and regulations is the
process of codification. Observation is the enforcement of the rules and regulations
(Lambert et al., 2006).
The relationship between formalization and job involvement is not theoretically clear.
On the one hand, rules and regulations may hamper a jail staff members ability to feel free
at work and to approach the job in his or her own manner. This feeling of being constrained
in the job could reduce the level of job involvement for some staff (Brown, 1996;
Rabinowitz & Hall, 1977). On the other hand, in environments where it is unclear of how
the job should be done and there are potentially serious consequences for errors, rules and
regulations may provide a jail staff member with guidance in how to be effective at the job.
This structure could reduce the uncertainty and stress felt by staff members, allowing them
to feel more confident and successful at the job, and in the end enhancing their level of job
involvement (Lawler & Hall, 1970). Working in a jail is a unique experience. It requires
dealing with detainees who are being held against their will and are potentially dangerous.
There is an increased chance that making the wrong decision could lead to problems that
could place others in danger, resulting in the possibility of disciplinary action for the staff
member. Formalization, therefore, should provide guidance for staff on how to effectively
do their jobs. This in the end should allow staff the increased chance of being successful at
their jobs, which in turn increases level of job involvement.
Instrumental communication is the degree to which information about the job is for-
mally transmitted by an organization to its members (Agho, Mueller, & Price, 1993, p.
1009). It is the extent to which employees receive important information so they can func-
tion effectively at their jobs and in the organization (Bluedorn, 1982; Price & Mueller,
1986). Lambert, Barton, Hogan, and Clarke (2002) pointed out that instrumental commu-
nication refers to the information that employees receive not only about their job, but also
about organizational processes, issues, and concerns in general (pp. 182-183). Instrumental
communication should allow jail staff the necessary information to be effective and suc-
cessful in their jobs. In the end, this should help strengthen the psychological identification
staff members feel towards their jobs. Conversely, a lack of information is likely to cause
jail staff to feel strain and frustration at work and to hurt their self-image because of a per-
ception that they do not make meaningful contributions at their jobs. Thus, instrumental
communication should be important in shaping the job involvement of jail staff.
Good relations with coworkers should be positively linked with job involvement. Jail
staff, like most humans, are social creatures, and they desire to have positive interactions
with coworkers at work (Paoline et al., 2006). Coworkers can not only offer social support
for jail staff to deal with the strains and frustrations from working in a jail, but they can
provide technical guidance on how to be more effective at the job. Coworkers can both
buffer jail staff from the negative strains faced from the job as well as provide support,
feedback, and interaction which in the long run can enrich the job experiences of jail staff.
Poor relations with coworkers can also create a hostile job experience (Marston, 1993).
This can cause staff to psychologically withdraw from the job.

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272 Criminal Justice and Behavior

Input into decision-making is concerned with how power is distributed within an orga-
nization (Wright, Salyor, Gilman, & Camp, 1997). Input into decision-making is therefore
the degree that jail staff perceive that they have a voice in decisions at the jail, including
with their jobs. It represents providing empowerment for staff, and empowerment is a pow-
erful force for shaping the views of workers. Input into decision-making provides a sense
of importance and being respected by allowing jail staff greater say not only in their job but
also the direction of the organization. In the end, having a stake in the outcome should
allow the staff member to view the job as being important in his or her life (Bass, 1965;
Rabinowitz & Hall, 1977). Moreover, giving employees a voice in the organization pro-
vides employees with reasons to increase their level of job involvement (Brown, 1996).
Conversely, a lack of input into decision-making may signal to staff that they are not valued
and are seen as clogs in the machine. In the end, there will be less reason for staff to psy-
chologically view their job in a positive light.
Job variety is the degree of variation in the job (Price & Mueller, 1986). Some jobs are
highly repetitive, while other jobs have considerable variation. Job variety enriches the
experiences of the employee, and this in turn provides stimulation to become more involved
in the job (Brown, 1996; Hackman & Lawler, 1971; Hackman & Oldham, 1975). Repetitive
jobs are draining and do not lead to growth of the employee. As such, repetitive jobs may
lead staff to cognitively re-evaluate the degree that they should tie their identity to their job.
A stressor not found in many other fields is working in a dangerous job. Perceived dan-
gerousness of the job is based on the degree that a staff member views his or her job as
being dangerous. Working in a jail carries a risk of danger, as detainees may lash out and
cause staff physical harm (Lambert et al., 2004). In addition, staff may be required at times
to use physical force to ensure compliance by a detainee, and this increases the chance of
injury of staff. A perception that the job is dangerous is a stressor (Cullen, Link, Wolfe, &
Frank, 1985). Stressors cause strain and discomfort for employees over the long term
(Triplett, Mullings, & Scarborough, 1996). When staff are on guard and tense at work, it
erodes their sense of security and well-being (Lambert et al., 2004). This strain can cause
a person to cognitively re-evaluate his or her job, which in turn reduces the level of involve-
ment in the job. Thus, feeling unsafe at work was expected to be negatively associated with
jail staff job involvement.
Role stress is defined as the degree of incongruity or incompatibility of expectations
associated with the role [of the employee] (Miles & Perreault, 1976, p. 22) and results
from job roles. Similarly, Hepburn and Knepper (1993) defined role strain as instances
where ones responsibilities and duties are vague, ill-defined and ambiguous or when
administrative directives are inconsistent or contradictory (p. 318). Like perceived dan-
gerousness of the job, role strain is a stressor (Cullen et al., 1985). Role strain can cause
discomfort for employees, which in the end should result in cognitively withdrawing from
the job (Brown, 1996). Role strain can lead to safety concerns among staff who are unsure
of how to conduct their jobs. Role strain is a frustrating experience that can drive people
from their jobs. As with dangerousness, role strain was expected to be negatively associated
with job involvement.
Administrative support is the degree that a staff member feels that he or she is supported
by the administration of the facility (Griffin, 2002, 2006). Administrative support helps
staff carry out their many job duties successfully. Such support also sends a message to jail

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 273

staff that they are respected and valued in their jobs that they perform for the jail organiza-
tion. Additionally, administrative support allows for the job to be less demanding and tax-
ing (Lambert & Hogan, 2009; Walters, 1999). Being successful and valued increases the
likelihood that a person will identify with his or her job. Conversely, a lack of administra-
tive support can hamper the job abilities of a staff, resulting in frustration and strain from
the job (Armstrong & Griffin, 2004; Garland, 2004). In the end, this will drive the person
from his or her job, which means lower job involvement.
To summarize, the following hypotheses were proposed:

Hypothesis 1: Formalization was predicted to have a positive relationship


with job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 2: Instrumental communication was predicted to have a positive
relationship with job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 3: Relations with coworkers was predicted to have a positive
relationship with job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 4: Input into decision-making was predicted to have a positive
relationship with job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 5: Job variety was predicted to have a positive relationship with
job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 6: Perceived dangerousness was predicted to have a negative
relationship with job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 7: Role strain was predicted to have a negative relationship with
job involvement among jail staff.
Hypothesis 8: Administrative support was predicted to have a negative
relationship with job involvement among jail staff.

METHOD

PARTICIPANTS

Staff members at the Orange County Corrections Department (OCCD) were surveyed
about their perceptions, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors associated with working in a
correctional facility. Orange County contains one major city (i.e., Orlando) and 10 other
municipalities, all of which exclusively use the county jail for local detention needs. The
155-item survey instrument was created from information gathered from a series of focus
groups that involved 48 staff members, as well as established measures from correctional
and organizational literature. The survey consisted of 155 questions. All the staff members
who were available during a 5-day period were asked to complete a survey. Some staff
members were unavailable due to different types of leave, such as sick leave and vacation.
The staff members were informed that the survey was voluntary and the responses would
be anonymous. With the consent of the jail director, personnel received 2 hours of overtime
pay for participating in the survey. There were approximately 1,500 employees at the facil-
ity during the week the survey was administered. A total of 1,062 surveys were completed

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274 Criminal Justice and Behavior

TABLE 1: Descriptive Statistics

Variable Description Min Max Median M SD

Gender 54% = men (coded 1) 0 1 1 0.54 0.50


46% = women (coded 0)
Age Ordinal level measure of age were 4% = under 25 1 8 4 4.53 1.81
(coded 1), 9% = 25-29 (coded 2), 17% = 30-34
(coded 3), 21% = 35-39 (coded 4), 19% = 40-44
(coded 5), 12% = 45-49 (coded 6), 12% = 50-54
(coded 7), and 6% = 55 and older (coded 8)
Tenure Number of months working at jail 0 336 72 95.33 74.68
Educational level 38% = had a college degree (coded 1) 0 1 0 0.38 0.49
62% = no college degree (coded 0)
Race 57% = non-White (coded 0) 0 1 0 0.43 0.50
43% = White (coded 1)
Position 67% = correctional officer (coded 1) 0 1 1 0.67 0.47
33% = non-correctional officer (coded 0)
Formalization 5-item additive index 5 25 17 17.04 3.78
Instrumental 5-item additive index 5 25 17 16.96 4.37
Communication
Relations With 3-item additive index 3 15 11 10.55 3.02
Coworkers
Input Into 4-item additive index 4 20 12 12.01 3.75
Decision-Making
Job Variety 4-item additive index 4 20 12 11.94 3.54
Perceived 5-item additive index 5 25 20 18.64 4.93
Dangerousness
of the Job
Role Strain 7-item additive index 7 35 18 18.48 5.05
Administrative 5-item additive index 5 25 11 11.44 4.45
Support
Job Involvement 4-item additive index 4 20 9 9.30 3.34

Note. Min = minimum value; max = maximum value. N = 1,062 jail staff.

and returned, which is a response rate of 70%. At the time of the survey, OCCD, an ACA-
accredited institution, housed approximately 4,000 inmates.
As indicated in Table 1, about 54% (n = 493) of the participants were men, and 46%
(n = 419) were women. Age was an ordinal-level variable; approximately 4% (n = 38) of
the participants were less than 25 years old, 9% (n = 86) were between 25 and 29 years old,
17% (n = 160) were between 30 and 34 years old, 21% (n = 192) were between 35 and 39
years old, 19% (n = 180) were between 40 and 44 years old, 12% (n = 115) were between
45 and 49 years old, 11% (n = 100) were between 50 and 54 years old, and 6% (n = 58)
were 55 years old or older. Median tenure, in terms of months at the jail, was 72 months
and ranged from 0 months to 336 months (28 years). In terms of education, slightly under
a half a percent (n = 5) had less than a high school diploma, 21% (n = 191) had a high
school diploma or GED, 43% (n = 384) had some college but no degree, 15% (n = 153)
had an associates degree, 16% (n = 165) had a bachelors degree, 4% (n = 37) had a mas-
ters degree, and slightly less than 1% (n = 6) had a professional or terminal degree. For
this study, educational level was collapsed as a dichotomous variable measuring if the
participant had earned a college degree (38%) or had not (62%). Approximately 40% (n =
366) of the participants were Black, 11% (n = 98) Hispanic, 43% (n = 389) White, and 6%

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 275

(n = 56) another race/ethnic group. In this study, race was collapsed to a dichotomous vari-
able representing if the participant was White (43%) or non-White (57%). Sixty-seven
percent (n = 577) of the participants indicated that they were correctional officers (i.e., they
worked in a custody position).

VARIABLES

Dependent variable. Job involvement was the dependent variable and was measured by
using four survey questions (see the appendix for the items). The items tapped into the
importance the job had in a persons life (i.e., the degree of psychological identification)
and were adopted from Kanungo (1982a, 1982b). Those surveyed responded to the items
by using a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from strongly disagree to agree, and the
responses were summed together to form a job involvement index. Not only are the items
from Kanungo commonly used, they are seen as a desirable method for measuring job
involvement. Brown (1996) contended the items from Kanungo are based on the clearest
and most precise conceptualization of the construct (p. 236).

Independent variables. The independent variables were formalization, instrumental


communication, relations with coworkers, input into decision-making, job variety, perceived
dangerousness of the job, role strain, and administrative support. Multiple-item indices
were created, based on extant research and focus groups, to assess staffs perceptions of
each dimension. A list of each of the survey items that were used to form the additive
indices is provided in the appendix.
Five items were used to measure formalization and were based on research conducted by
Oldham and Hackman (1981) and Taggart and Mays (1987). Instrumental communication
was measured with five survey questions that were adopted from Curry, Wakefield, Price,
and Mueller (1986). The relations with coworkers index was based on three survey items
from Mueller, Boyer, Price, and Iverson (1994). Four items were used to measure partici-
pants perception of the degree on input into decision-making at the jail, based on Curry et
al. (1986). Job variety was measured with four items that were also based on the work of
Curry et al. (1986). A five-item index was created for perceptions of dangerousness of the
job that were adopted from Cullen et al. (1985). Role strain was measured using seven sur-
vey questions that were derived from Rizzo, House, and Lirtzman (1970) and Cullen et al.
(1985). Finally, jail staff members were queried regarding their perceptions of the degree of
support by the administration. The five questions that were used to form this index were
developed from the focus groups of staff that were conducted prior to the administration of
the survey.
The items for formalization, job variety, perceived dangerousness of the job, role strain,
and administrative support were answered using a 5-point Likert-type response scale rang-
ing from strongly disagree (coded 1) to strongly agree (coded 5). The items for instrumen-
tal communication were answered with the following response options: not informed at all
(coded 1), informed very little (coded 2), informed somewhat (coded 3), informed (coded
4), and very well informed (coded 5). The input into decision-making items were answered
using a 5-point response scale of not at all (coded 1), very little (coded 2), some (coded 3),
a lot (coded 4), and a great deal (coded 5). Finally, the items for relations with coworkers
were answered using the response scale of not friendly at all (coded 1), somewhat

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276 Criminal Justice and Behavior

TABLE 2: Correlation Matrix

Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

1. Gender 1.00
2. Age .15** 1.00
3. Tenure .11** .45** 1.00
4. Education .09** .14** .01 1.00
5. Race .14** .23** -.12** .02 1.00
6. Position .26** -.07 .16** -.22** .00 1.00
7. Formal -.06 -.03 -.11** -.08* .04 -.05 1.00
8. Inst Comm -.05 .08* -.07* .01 .11** -.17** .51** 1.00
9. Coworkers -.01 .04 -.05 .02 .08* -.10** .31** .42** 1.00
10. Input DM -.01 .14** .01 .07* .15** -.12** .41** .54** .38** 1.00
11. Job Variety .08* .19** .01 .04 .09** -.02 .28** .31** .26** .44 1.00
12. Danger .26** -.12** .09** -.16** -.04 .49** -.14** -.26** -.19** -.25** -.05 1.00
13. Role Strain .01 -.09** -.02 .06 -.04 .14** -.50** -.56** -.31** -.50** -.31** .26** 1.00
14. Admin Sup -.03 -.05 -.16** -.01 .00 -.17** .47** .44** .32** .42** .27** -.33** -.47** 1.00
15. Job involve -.03 .13** -.04 -.05 -.04 -.10** .25** .24** .16** .29** .34** -.16** -.28** .35**

Note. See Table 1 for a description of the variables and how they were coded. Education = educational level; Formal = formalization;
Inst Comm = instrumental communication; Coworkers = relations with co-workers; Input DM = input into decision-making; Danger
= perceived dangerousness of the job; Admin Sup = administrative support; Job Involve = job involvement. N = 1,062 jail staff.
*p .05. **p .01.

unfriendly (coded 2), uncertain (coded 3), somewhat friendly (coded 4), and very friendly
(coded 5).

Personal characteristics. The six personal characteristics of gender, age, tenure,


educational level, race, and position were included as control variables. Gender was coded
as female = 0 and male = 1. Age was measured in continuous years. Tenure was measured
as the number of months employed at the jail. Educational level represented whether the
participant had a college degree (coded 1) or not (coded 0). Race was measured as White =
1 and non-White = 0. Finally, position was measured if the participant worked in custody
(i.e., correctional officer) (coded as 1) or worked in a noncustody position (coded 0).

RESULTS

Descriptive statistics for the variables are presented in Table 1. There appeared to be
significant variation in both the dependent and independent variables. The majority of the
participants were non-White, male, and worked in custody. Furthermore, the typical par-
ticipant was in his or her late 30s to early 40s, had taken some college courses but had no
degree, and had been at their current position for approximately 6 years. There were no
problems noted with kurtosis or skewness. A principal factor analyses for the items used to
create the indices were conducted, and the items loaded (at .30 or higher) on the predicted
factor, indicating convergent validity.
Pearsons R correlation coefficients were calculated, and the results are presented in
Table 2. Among the personal characteristics, age and position had statistically significant cor-
relations with job involvement. Age had a positive correlation, while position had a negative
one. Thus, as age increased, the level of job involvement increased. Custody staff members,
in general, reported less job involvement compared to their non-custody counterparts.

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 277

TABLE 3: Ordinary Least Regression Results of the Antecedents of Job Involvement

Variable B SE

Gender -.06 .29 -.05


Age .23 .08 .13**
Tenure -.002 .002 -.04
Educational level -.31 .25 -.05
Race -.54 .25 -.08
Position -.01 .03 -.02
Formalization .08 .04 .10*
Instrumental communication -.01 .04 -.02
Relations with coworkers .03 .04 .03
Input into decision-making .09 .04 .11*
Job variety .16 .40 .18**
Perceived dangerousness of the job -.01 .03 -.01
Role strain -.02 .03 -.02
Administrative support .15 .03 .20**
R-squared F = 12.28 .23**

Note. See Table 1 for a description of the variables and how they were coded. B = unstandardized regression coefficient; SE = standard error
of the regression slope; = standardized regression coefficient. N = 1,062 jail staff participants.
*p .05. **p .01.

All the work environment variables had a significant correlation with job involvement.
As perceptions of formalization rose, job involvement also increased. Similarly, the instru-
mental index had a positive correlation with the job involvement variable. Perceived posi-
tive relations with coworkers was connected to an increase in ones identification with the
job. Greater input into decision-making was associated with heightened levels of job
involvement among the responding jail staff. The more variety there is in the job, the more
psychological identification there should be with the job. Both perceived dangerousness
and role strain had negative correlations with job involvement. Finally, increases in the
level of perceived support from the administration were correlated with increases in the job
involvement index.
An Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression equation was estimated. The dependent
variable was job involvement. The independent variables were gender, age, tenure, educa-
tion, race, position, formalization, instrumental communication, relations with coworkers,
input into decision-making, job variety, perceived dangerousness of the job, role strain, and
administration support. The results are reported in Table 3. Based upon the correlation
matrix in Table 2, collinearity was not a problem. Additionally, based on the Variance
Inflation Factor (VIF) and the tolerance statistics (not reported), there appeared to be no
issue with multicollinearity. The VIF values ranged from 1.08 to 2.10, and the Tolerance
values ranged from .48 to .92. Based on the R-squared statistic, the independent variables
explained about 23% of the variance observed in the job involvement index.
The only personal characteristic associated with job involvement in the multivariate
analysis was age. Increases in age were associated with increases in job involvement. The
other personal characteristics of gender, tenure, educational level, race, and position all had
nonsignificant effects on job involvement.
Among the work environment variables, formalization, input into decision-making, job
variety, and administrative support had significant effects on the job involvement variable.
Each had a positive effect. Thus, increases in the formalization, input into decision-making,

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278 Criminal Justice and Behavior

job variety, and administrative support were associated with increases in the job involve-
ment variable. Instrumental communication, relations with coworkers, perceived danger-
ousness of the job, and role strain each had nonsignificant effects.
While not reported in tabular format, OLS regression equations were run with only the
personal characteristics and only the work environment variables. The six personal charac-
teristics of gender, age, tenure, educational level, race, and position explained only 5% of
the variance of the job involvement index. The work environment variables accounted for
a larger proportion of the variance in the job involvement (R-squared was .21).

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Of the eight hypotheses that formed the basis for the multivariate analysis, four (i.e.,
Hypotheses 1, 4, 5, and 8) found empirical support. Formalization, input into decision-
making, job variety, and administrative support all had significant associations with job
involvement, while instrumental communication, relations with coworkers, and perceived
dangerousness of the job did not.
As predicted, formalization had a positive effect on job involvement. It appears that
providing structure and guidance through policies and procedures increases the bond
between the staff member and the job. As previously indicated, this is probably the result
of formalization providing help to staff in navigating the complex and sometimes unpre-
dictable issues that arise when working in a jail. In addition, formalization may help to
ensure that detainees are treated in a fair and consistent manner. If detainees are not treated
fairly and uniformly, perceptions of favoritism may arise and cause conflict. This conflict
can ultimately cause the job to become demanding and stressful, leading the staff member
to withdraw cognitively.
In this study, the concept for functional formalization was measured. Bureaucratic red
tape and formalization are sometimes confused, but they are not equivalent concepts
(Bozeman, Reed, & Scott, 1992; Pandey & Scott, 2002). Bureaucratic red tape is formal-
ization taken to its extreme, which results in irrational, irritating, and even harmful rules
and regulations within an organization (Bozeman & Scott, 1996). Rainey, Pandey, and
Bozeman (1995) pointed out that red tape is the result of the creation of policies, rules, and
procedures without ensuring that they are necessary, effective, and efficient in helping fur-
ther the goals and objectives of the organization. This implies that jail administrators need
to ensure that the formalization already in place and any new policies and procedures help
staff be more effective and efficient at their jobs rather than to hinder them.
While not tested, it is postulated that bureaucratic red tape would be negatively related
to jail staff job involvement. It would probably cause frustration on the part of staff, which
could drive them away from psychologically embracing their job. This is something that
should be explored in future studies. At the very least, the current results indicate that jail
administrators who are interested in improving job involvement of staff should focus par-
tially on formalization. Not only should the level of job involvement be raised but also the
levels of organization commitment and job satisfaction. As previously indicated, formaliza-
tion has been positively linked with job satisfaction and organizational commitment among
jail staff (Lambert & Paoline, 2008).

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 279

Lawler and Hall (1970) argued that control was one of the major preconditions for job
involvement. The results provide support for this contention. Vesting staff with some power
in the jail organization appears to pay off in increased job involvement. Input into decision-
making had a positive effect on job involvement in the multivariate analysis. It appears that
allowing jail staff power within the organization translates to greater job involvement. It
would also appear that people are more likely to embrace those things they helped shape
(Bruce & Blackburn, 1992). Input into decision-making may allow jail staff to see their
jobs as reflecting, in part, their own decisions, and in turn, this allows the job to be seen in
a more positive light.
At first glance, it may seem contradictory that both formalization and input into deci-
sion-making both have positive effects on job involvement. It is sometimes erroneously
thought that formalization reduces the degree of input into decision-making (Marsden,
Cook, & Kalleberg, 1994). It is possible to have both formalization and input into decision-
making. Draft (1986) contended that rules define boundaries so that decisions can be
made at a lower level without a loss of control (p. 179). Moreover, staff can be allowed
the opportunity to shape and review the rules and regulations of the jail. In this manner,
staff should see the policies and regulations as their own and should be likely to adhere to
them. In the end, both formalization and input into decision-making can go hand and hand
within a jail organization, and in the end help raise the level of job involvement among
staff. Allowing greater input by staff will not only raise job involvement, but as past
research suggests, it will also raise the job satisfaction and organizational commitment of
staff, while at the same time lowering job stress (Lambert & Paoline, 2008).
Job variety was important in helping shape the job involvement of staff in this study. Job
variety challenges employees and allows them to learn and grow. Job variety allows staff
to use creativity to address job issues that they are likely to confront. Being creative
increases psychological stimulation, and this can allow people to feel better about them-
selves. Making the job more stimulating appears to increase the level of identification with
the job. It has been said that variety is the spice of life. It appears that job variety may
enrich the job experiences of jail staff, leading to increased job involvement. This suggests
that jail administrators should explore ways to increase the job variety for staff. In the end,
not only should job involvement increase, but also job satisfaction. Job enlargement, job
enrichment, and cross-training may be ways to increase job variety, which should in turn
heighten involvement in the job. As indicated earlier, job variety has been found to have
positive effects on jail staff job satisfaction (Lambert & Paoline, 2008).
The multivariate results highlight the potential importance of administrative support in
shaping the level of job involvement among jail staff. Support by the jail administration
provides staff with a sense of being valued and respected. Likewise, administrative support
may provide confidence to staff when carrying out their job duties. A perception of admin-
istrative support reduces the fear of punishment and reprisal from administrators in meeting
challenges and overcoming job-related problems. All of this probably propels staff to be
more successful in their jobs. In the end, job involvement is enhanced. Thus, there may be
a reciprocal-exchange relationship in play between administrative support and job involve-
ment. As such, a lack of administrative support sends the message that staff are not to be
trusted. Staff may feel undervalued and even may have a sense that reprisals await them.
This leads staff to cognitively withdraw from their jobs. Those jail administrators interested
in job involvement need to also pay attention to providing support for their staff.

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280 Criminal Justice and Behavior

The only personal characteristic in this study to have a significant relationship with job
involvement in the multivariate analysis was age, which had a positive effect. The fact that
tenure had nonsignificant effects suggests that the relationship between age and job
involvement is not a function of working longer for an organization. It could be that as staff
age, they place greater importance in their jobs. It is also possible that it is a cohort effect.
Older workers may be from a generation that placed greater importance on identification
with the job than do younger cohorts. This is something that needs to be explored further.
Furthermore, the results indicate that the work environment variables explained a far
greater proportion of the variance of the job involvement variable than did the personal
characteristics. This suggests, as postulated, that work environment variables are important
in shaping the job involvement of jail staff. Hence, the job characteristics model found
support from the findings.
As with most research, this study had limitations. Much more research among staff at other
jails is needed. This was a single exploratory study involving staff at one jail. Additional
research at other jails is needed to determine whether the results can be replicated. In this
study, instrumental communication, relations with coworkers, perceived dangerousness of the
job, and role strain all had nonsignificant effects on job involvement in the multivariate
regression equation. Before these variables can be conclusively determined to be unimportant
in shaping job involvement, far more research is required. It is unclear whether the relation-
ships would vary by the type of jail being examined, such as by region or size. Moreover,
research is needed to determine whether similar or different work environment variables help
shape the job involvement of prison and juvenile correctional staff than that of jail staff. There
is not enough empirical knowledge to determine whether the effects of work environment
variables are universal or situational across different correctional settings. The literature sug-
gests that the effects of the work environment on job environment is situational and may vary
between different types of organizations (Elloy et at., 1995).
The unexplained variance of 77% suggests that other variables are important in shaping
the job involvement of jail staff. Future researchers should identify these variables and why
they are important. In this study, a job characteristics model based on the person-environment
fit theory was used. This theory holds that job characteristics are important in shaping the
job involvement of workers. Future research may wish to test an interactional model that
includes both work environment factors and personality factors. In this study, only personal
(demographic) characteristics were used. The interaction model holds that a combination
of individual background (especially personality) factors and work environment factors
shape job involvement (Lawler & Hall, 1970; Rabinowitz & Hall, 1977). Thus, from this
model job involvement is neither the result of personal backgrounds, including personality
or the work environment, but rather a function of both. It has been theorized that personal-
ity variables, such as work ethic, internal locus of control, and self-esteem, also help shape
the level of job involvement (Brown, 1996). It was not possible in the current study to test
the effects of personality variables on predicting job involvement.
In closing, staff are a driving force in any jail. They are one of the primary assets in
ensuring that the functions of the jail are carried out. They are also an expensive and valu-
able resource. Higher levels of job involvement can lead to positive outcomes for both staff
and jails. In an era of increasing detainee populations, rising costs, shrinking budgets, and
personnel shortages, increasing job involvement is paramount. Kanungo (1979) saw that
job involvement was the result of many different work environment factors. The results

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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 281

presented here support this position. In this study, formalization, input into decision-making,
job variety, and administrative support all had significant positive effects on job involve-
ment among staff at a large, Southern, urban jail; job involvement had a negative effect on
job stress and positive effects on job satisfaction and organizational commitment. This
indicates the need for scholars and jail administrators to pay attention to job involvement.
Much more research is required on the issue of job involvement among jail staff.
It is hoped that this study will generate more interest in job involvement among correc-
tional staff. There is a need for additional research on both the potential causes and conse-
quences among jail staff. Without this information, it will be difficult for both jail scholars
and administrators to understand the antecedents and consequences of job involvement. As
Brown (1996) pointed out, a deep understanding of job involvement and its antecedents
and consequent influences has the potential to enrich a fundamental aspect of human expe-
rience (i.e., work) and contribute to heightened productivity in organizations and society
by fostering greater use of human potential (p. 253). It is hoped that this study will spark
interest in job involvement, not only among jail staff, but staff in other types of correctional
organizations.

APPENDIX

SURVEY ITEM MEASURES

Job Involvement
1. I live, eat, and breathe my job.
2. The major satisfaction in my life comes from my job.
3. I am very much involved personally in my work.
4. The most important things that happen to me involve my work.

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

Formalization

1. Whatever situation arises, we have procedures to follow in dealing with it.


2. A rules and procedures manual exists and is readily available within this organization.
3. My organization keeps a written record of everyones job performance.
4. Job guidance is readily available.
5. There is no policy manual for my job (reverse coded for the index).

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

Instrumental Communication

1. How well informed are you about: what is to be done.


2. How well informed are you about: what is most important about the job.
3. How well informed are you about: how the equipment is used.
4. How well informed are you about: rules and regulations.
5. How well informed are you about: what you need to know to do the job correctly, including
computer software.
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282 Criminal Justice and Behavior

(Responses for all items: 1 = not informed at all, 2 = informed very little, 3 = informed somewhat,
4 = informed, 5 = very well informed)

Relations With Coworkers

1. To what extent are people in your immediate group friendly?


(The response for this item: 1 = not friendly at all, 2 = somewhat unfriendly, 3 = uncertain, 4
= somewhat friendly, and 5 = very friendly)
2. To what extent do the people in your work group take a personal interest in you?
(The response for this item: 1 = not interested at all, 2 = somewhat interested, 3 = uncertain,
4 = somewhat interested, and 5 = very interested)
3. To what extent do you look forward to being with people in your work group each day?
(The response categories for this item: 1 = do not look forward to being with them, 2 = some-
what do not look forward to being with them, 3 = uncertain, 4 = somewhat look forward to
being with them, and 5 = very much look forward to being with them)

Input Into Decision-Making

1. How much freedom do you have as to how to do your job?


2. How much does your job allow you to make decisions on your own?
3. How much does your job allow you to take part in making decisions that affect you?
4. How much say do you have over what happens on your job?

(Response for all items: 1 = none at all, 2 = very little, 3 = some, 4 = a lot, and 5 = a great deal)

Job Variety

1. My job requires that I do the same things over and over again (reverse coded for the index).
2. My job requires that I keep learning new things.
3. My job requires me to be very creative.
4. I get to do a number of different things on my job.

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

Perceived Dangerousness of the Job

1. In my job, a person stands a good chance of getting hurt.


2. There is not really much chance of getting hurt in my job (reverse coded for the index).
3. I work in a dangerous job.
4. A lot of people I work with get physically injured in the line of duty.
5. My job is a lot more dangerous than other kinds of jobs.

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

Role Strain

1. I know that I have divided my time properly (reverse coded for the index).
2. I feel certain how much authority I have (reverse coded for the index).
3. I know what my responsibilities are (reverse coded for the index).
4. I know what is exactly expected of me (reverse coded for the index).
5. The rules that were supposed to follow never seem to be very clear.

(continued)
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Lambert and Paoline / JOB INVOLVEMENT ANTECEDENTS 283

APPENDIX (continued)

6. The rules and regulations are clear enough here that I know specifically what I can and cannot
do on my job.
7. There are so many people telling us what to do here that you can never be sure who the real
boss is.

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

Administrative Support

1. Management supports line staff decisions.


2. Upper management is responsive to in-house problems.
3. Management is proactive and addresses day-to-day operational issues.
4. Administration supports c.o. inmate disciplinary decisions.
5. Supervisors support staff.

(Responses for all items: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree somewhat, 3 = uncertain, 4 = agree
somewhat, 5 = strongly agree)

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Eric G. Lambert is a professor of criminal justice at the Wayne State University. His research interests include organizational
issues; job and organizational effects on the attitudes, intentions, and behaviors of criminal justice employees; and the inter-
national perceptions, attitudes, and views on criminal justice issues.

Eugene A. Paoline, III, is an associate professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Central Florida.
His research interests include police culture, police use of force, and occupational attitudes of criminal justice practitioners.

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