This dissertation examined the effect of heart and head on municipal employee retention. Heart attributes were synonymous with right-brain (Theory Y) approaches to retention while head attributes were considered equivalent to left-brain (Theory X) approaches. Municipal retention was viewed as problematic, exacerbated in the early 21st century by lower birth rates yielding fewer workers.
Heart attributes included dialogue, passion, heart, balance, soul, spirituality, artistry, silence, and meditation rooms. Head attributes included shared decision making, employee recognition, flexible work, flexible leave, personal mastery, advocacy, flexible pay, flexible retirement, and flexible workplace design.
The research population was a nonprofit organization of 486 innovative cities and local governments. One hundred twenty-eight respondents completed surveys. Three sets of focus groups were held. Surveys and focus groups elicited responses on the predominance of, and desire for, heart or head attributes in an organization as well as barriers to and best practices for retention. The head and heart subcategories quantified the literature review.
Both heart and head issues are viewed as important for retention. Head attributes are indicated by 60% of responses as being of primary importance, while heart attributes are noted by 40% of responses in surveys and focus groups. However, when the literature review was quantified by heart/head attributes, a reverse of 60% referencing heart and 40% referencing head was noted. A disconnect between the literature and practice was indicated.
The literature suggests that spirituality in the workplace is an increasing phenomenon. This study indicated that spirituality was almost nonexistent in municipalities. Practitioners appeared to recognize the need to implement heart in organizations for retention. In practice, however, implementation was minimized. Barriers to implementation of heart/head included federal, state, and local legislation, retirement system rules, and the lack of an authorizing environment for risk-taking.
It is recommended that modern trained practitioners teach heart attributes through the utilization of head or left-brain language for acceptance. Other recommendations include training in heart attributes, allowing personal spiritual growth in the governmental workplace, and legislative changes. Future research is suggested for heart focused best practices and the spirituality disconnect in government.
|School:||University of Phoenix|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-A 62/10, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Management, Public administration, Occupational psychology|
|Keywords:||Head, Heart, Municipal employee, Retention|
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