Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts

Sponsor

Danny Arnold

Committee Member

Emmanuel Kodzi

Committee Member

Tania Warnecke, Emily Russell

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to determine if there is a relationship between sense of community within a work unit and work performance. The hypothesis of this research was that a higher sense of community score, computed from the Sense of Community Index-2 survey, would facilitate better work performance in that work unit, as indicated by a “Work Performance Rating” form filled out by the Human Resources of each company. This hypothesis was accepted because there was a positive correlation between the two factors, however there were discrepancies with a couple of the work units studied.

To achieve the purpose and objectives of this research, six work units were chosen for research: two small (seven to ten employees) real estate companies and four work units within a larger web services provider company (2,000 employees). Each work unit had a different number of employees participate, ranging from seven employees to twelve employees. Employees volunteered to fill out the twenty-four item Sense of Community Index-2, which is a reliable measure of sense of community developed by McMillan and Chavis (1986). The survey’s twenty-four questions contain six questions on each of the four components of sense of community: membership, influence, integration and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection. The average total sense of community score (sum of questions one through twenty-four) was computed for each of the six work units along with the average score for each of the four sense of community components.

An employee from Human Resources for each company was asked to fill out a “Work Performance Rating” form, which asks he or she to rate the work performance of that work unit one through five. With this information, the sense of community scores could be compared to the work performance scores to determine if the two factors were related.

Results showed that the work unit with the highest community score also had the highest work performance score, and the work unit with the lowest community score also had the lowest work performance score. The four work units in-between, however, did not have a definite trend, although there is a positive correlation amongst all six units.

Analysis indicated that the work units with the smallest number of employees had the highest participation rates and the highest sense of community scores. “Shared emotional connection” was the highest overall section of the SCI-2 across five of the six units and seems to have the largest tie to a higher sense of community.

While most of the results were consistent with expectancies of this research, there were also a couple discrepancies. For example, the work unit with the second highest work performance score also had a significantly low community score, indicating that sense of community does not always lead to better work performance and can even hinder productivity because some employees might find it a distraction.

The analysis yielded several limitations of this study. These limitations can be partially prevented if this study were to be continued on a larger scale.

Rights Holder

Ansley C. Vanover