‘I’ve Got Your Back’: HPU Professor Studies Employee Support and Job Performance

HIGH POINT, N.C., Oct. 9, 2014 – Dr. Sarah Nielsen, assistant professor of human relations at High Point University, recently published an article on the relationship between workplace support and employee performance in the Journal of Organizational Psychology.

Typically, employees look to their supervisors and co-workers for support in the workplace. In her paper titled “A Multi-Source Model of Perceived Organizational Support,” Nielsen tested the idea that employees might also draw support from their subordinates. Additionally, she looked at the impact of support on employees’ positive and negative work behaviors.

The research found that employees do draw support from their subordinates, and each employee can play an important role in the supportive environment of the workplace. The study also revealed a positive relationship between support and job performance, meaning the more supported employees felt in the workplace, the better they were at their job. Additionally, while positive work behaviors increase, there is also a decrease in negative behaviors, such as absenteeism and theft, when employees feel supported.

Nielsen’s research has practical applications for human relations teams, showing how significant each employee is to the overall climate of the workplace.

“It is incumbent upon organizations to emphasize the importance of supporting others from executives at the top of the ladder down to front-line employees,” said Nielsen. “Feeling valued and worthy by your organization, supervisors and co-workers has direct consequences on performance and work behaviors.”

Nielsen’s project directly relates to the classes she teaches in the human relations department at HPU, adding real-world value to lessons on workplace support, interpersonal relations and group dynamics, all of which, Nielsen says, are important for any graduate entering the marketplace.

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