The analysis of research in the imagology, social psychology and organizational psychology shows the interrelationship and interdependence of the social and psychological climate and the internal image of the organization. However, there are almost no any empirical research on this issue, due to the insufficient development of the empirical research methods.
The aim of our study is to identify at the empirical level the impact of social psychological climate in the internal image of the company.
Obviously, healthy social and psychological climate is one of the conditions for increasing productivity, employee satisfaction and team work. On the one hand, it occurs spontaneously, on the other one it is the result of systematic psychological work with team members, special events aimed at creating and maintaining supportive, harmonious relationships between managers and staff.
The analysis of the literature (L.P. Bueva, E.S. Kuzmin, A.N. N.N. Lutoshkin Transports, B.D. Parigin, A. Petrovsky, K.K. Platonov, A.A. Rusalinova, A.K. Ouled, V.M. Shepel, A.N. Scherban, etc.) shows that there is no certain agreement between the researchers do on a definition of the term «social psychological climate». So, along with the concept of «social psychological climate» the concept «emotional and psychological climate», «mental attitude», «psychological compatibility», «sociological climate», «collective psychology» and others are used. All of them are accompanied by differences in terms and in understanding of this phenomenon. The proposed definition is not sufficiently systematic and often they are either too narrow, reflecting only one of its sides (emotional, moral, social) or too broad, inclusive.
In our understanding social and psychological climate is the integral specific social and psychological state of the organization as a whole, which is characterized by a relatively stable psychological mood of the staff, which manifests itself in various forms of joint activity and communication in the relationship in which workers are with each other and the social environment. Formed on the basis of emotional and labor relations in the group and individual values and value orientations, social psychological climate defines a system of relations of employees to each other, their work, and all forms of life. Social psychological climate is the qualitative aspect of interpersonal relationships, which manifests itself in the form of the psychological conditions that promote or hinder the development of productive activities of the person in the group.
The main indicators of the social psychological climate of the staff are the desire to preserve the integrity of the group, compatibility, harmony, unity, sociability, openness, and responsibility.
Social psychological climate in the organization depends on the level of compatibility and harmony of the group members. Compatibility and harmony determine the degree of the interconnectedness and interdependence of people. Effectively working group is a group of psychological integrity. Instead of many «I» there is the concept of «WE». Opinions, estimates, feelings and actions of the individual «I» come closer, there are common interests and values of complementary intellectual and personal characteristics.
One of the most important tasks of the company is the creation of an adequate perception of the values and meanings of its staff. An internal image or the image of the company forms for this purpose, reflected in consciousness (and subconsciousness) of the employees.
The concept of the image is interpreted in Russian and foreign studies in different ways. The Russian authors (A.A. Bodalev, F.A. Kuzin, A. Panasiuc, E.B. Perelygina, V.M. Shepel, etc.) adhere to, as a rule, the two points of view. On one side the image is understood as formed in a mass or individual consciousness emotionally charged image of someone or something, on the other – as an opinion about a person, organization, product, service, etc.
We view the image as an opinion about someone or something which is generated by professional efforts on the basis of emotionally colored image in the minds (and subconscious) audience (recipient) image.
Internal image of the company is an opinion (view) formed by professional efforts on the basis of emotionally colored perception of the organization image. The main determinants of the internal image are the corporate culture of the organization and the social psychological climate. You can say otherwise: the internal image is the image and perception of the psychological attitude to the company by its employees, managers, owners, shareholders, boards and parent organizations that make up the internal environment of the company. In addition, the presence of a positive representation unites the team, creates a favorable social psychological climate in the organization.
Internal image is not as important as the image in the external sphere, therefore creating a positive image is more than just a good advertising campaign, it is a complex and multi-faceted plan, all the parts of which must be strictly interrelated and interdependent.
Internal image gives confidence in the future of each individual worker, encouraging them to greater degree of identification with the company, more active work and returns to the common cause, the desire to improve skills. It has a positive impact on the appearance of a stable professional organization, a good employer, etc.
In addition, it is the company’s employees who are the major informants of the potential customers about its internal atmosphere and the real work. Through friends, acquaintances, casual companions it is possible to learn a lot about the company and create or change someone’s mind about it. This is why the internal image is one of the important factors affecting the external image of the company.
The purpose and objectives of our empirical research requires to determine the structure of the internal image of the company, which elements would act as both the evaluation criteria of the image. We underlined the following elements of the internal structure of the image of the organization: a favorable emotional and psychological climate, high level of the corporate culture; well-established system of wages and non-pecuniary rewards of the employees, staff loyalty to the company; the personnel policy of the company provides the opportunity for career growth, trust of the company staff; healthy emotional and psychological relationships in the team, high level of communicative culture, adequate (healthy, positive) relationship between workers with management employees; a sense of pride for the organization, for belonging to it, the presence of team spirit in the company, a high level of transparency of company management.
The study was conducted on the basis of the «Fin Invest» – steadily growing and developing organization in the financial services of Chelyabinsk and Chelyabinsk region. The study involved the organization of branches in Miasse and Kurgan. The study involved 75 people (men and women aged 22 to 37 years) – the office workers of the head office and branches.
For the diagnosis of the social psychological climate of the company we used following methods: «Social and Psychological Self-assessment group as a collective» (Nemov R.S.) , and rapid method of studying the social psychological climate in the workplace (O.S. Mikhalyuk, A.Y. Shalyto) .
To study the internal image we specifically designed and tested a method created to determine the index of the internal image of the company. Subjects (company staff) proposed stimulus material in the form of a table, which reflects the judgment, the degree of agreement that should be expressed in points (from 1 to 10). Judgment as follows:
1) the company has developed a favorable emotional and psychological climate;
2) a high level of corporate culture;
3) the company has well established system of wages and non-pecuniary rewards of the employees;
4) staff is loyal to the company’s management;
5) human resources policy of the company provides the opportunity for career growth;
6) trust to the management be the staff of the company;
7) the team has developed a healthy emotional and psychological relationship;
8) the company is characterized by a high level of communicative culture;
9) the relationship with the management of employees are highly commendable;
10) employees feel proud for their organization;
11) high level of the team spirit;
12) the level of information transparency of the company’s management is high enough.
As you can see, all these statements reflect the image of the internal structure of terms (its criteria), as mentioned above.
Scores are summed up and interpreted as
101–120 points – the index is very high. This figure shows a very favorable opinion of the staff of the company, on a very attractive interior image. In the organization has developed a healthy emotional and psychological atmosphere, the staff are quite happy with their work, relationships with colleagues and with management, they see the real prospects of its growth, proud of belonging to the company, loyal to it. Altogether, this indicates a high motivation of the professional activities of the staff in the company.
85–100 points – the index is high (high view). High view reflects a completely positive attitude of the staff to the organization, indicating generally positive opinion about the internal image of the company. Employees are satisfied with the relations established with the leaders and colleagues, feel cared about the employees and the management of the company as a whole. The company feels the team spirit, the high level of communication and business culture.
65–84 points – the average index – an indicator of a good opinion of the staff of the organization and, consequently, a good internal image of the company. Employees are generally satisfied with their work in the company, but do not always feel cared about motivating leaders of the staff. Not quite adequate personnel and social policy is typical for the company. There are or may be prerequisites to interpersonal conflicts, while not always the steps to prevent them are taken.
55–64 points – the index is low (low opinion). The low index of internal image reflects a decline in the internal image of the company. Emotional and psychological atmosphere is complicated, relationships between staff and between staff and management are strained. Often there is a growing dissatisfaction with the staff in their work and their company as a whole, the disappointment of social policy, reduced loyalty to it, and, as a consequence, the high staff turnover.
54 points and below – the index is very low (very negative, bad opinion). This indicator internal image showing a trend of degradation of the company. The complex and intense emotional and psychological atmosphere, the lack of prospects for improvement. The company’s management is not able to manage internal resources, only concerned about themselves, there is no any interest in what is happening in the workforce. This situation requires urgent intervention (including psychological) to review, reform, both external and internal image of the company.
Mathematical treatment of the data was performed using the Spearman rank correlation.
The results of studies using this technique have found a high opinion of the organization’s offices in Chelyabinsk (85 points) and Kurgan (97,5 points). In the branch of Miass – average performance (67,5 points), indicating a good opinion of the staff of the organization.
Following the procedure of «Social and Psychological Self-assessment group as a collective» found that the scale of reliability office staff of Chelyabinsk is – 4,44; Kurgan – 4,88; Miass – 3,88. These indicators suggest that the employees of the company (head office and branches) somehow embellished social psychological situation in the collective answering the questions.
Study on rapid method allowed us to estimate the social psychological climate of the team in three areas (components): emotional, behavioral and cognitive.
The emotional component: at the head office in Chelyabinsk 1,00, a branch in Kurgan 1,00, a branch in Miass 0,67.
The cognitive component of the head office in the Chelyabinsk 0,42, a branch in Kurgan 0,83, a branch in Miass 1,00.
The behavioral component: at the head office in Chelyabinsk 0,35, a branch in Kurgan 0,83, a branch in Miass 0,33.
Average ratings falling within the range of from 0,33 to 1,00, is considered positive. The psychological climate of each component in this range is recognized as favorable.
The results of mathematical analysis using the Spearman rank correlation revealed the existence of a moderate closeness of the connection index and the internal image of the following factors of the social psychological climate: the desire to preserve the integrity of the group (0,44–0,5), cohesion (0,46–0,51) organization (0,4–0,41), awareness (0,45–0,49) and responsibility (0,41–0,5).
Thus, we put forward the hypothesis that the social psychological climate has an impact on the internal image of the company, to a greater extent was confirmed.
The practical significance of the study is to develop and test methods for determining the internal image of the company, and to develop recommendations for improving the management of socio-psychological climate and, therefore, the internal image of the company.
The company management is recommended: to carry out various actions of co-hosting non-working time, to create a healthy environment, not hostile competition between employees and to promote the professional development of employees, encouraging staff to professional achievements, inform and involve professionals for innovative projects that provide an opportunity for creative and professional development of people. Inform employees of the company about the history, standards, norms of behavior in the team, ethics and etiquette, by explaining the basic elements of the corporate culture in the relevant regulations, domestic statutes; adequately assess the performance of their employees and encourage them to work.
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The work is submitted to the International Scientific Conference «Fundamental and applied research. education, economics and law», Italy (Rome-Florence), 7-14 September 2013, came to the editorial office оn 19.09.2013.