3.1. The Importance of Designing Responsible Job Positions
Without underestimating other relevant issues related to the internal side of SR in any organization, and on the basis of responsible HRM, we want to highlight the relevance of a responsible job design (RJD). Unfortunately, the term RJD is not strongly embedded in academic literature at the moment, and neither is the term internal SR. Tangentially, some studies confront the good SR consideration of some companies when they have a bad reputation as employers. That has been the case with McDonald´s [57
] and France Telecom [58
], for instance. In these cases, where external SR is not balanced with internal SR, the organization is at risk of being accused of dishonesty and the SR should be considered as artificial.
Some authors have stated that job design essentially involves integrating job qualifications and responsibilities that are required to perform it [59
In line with academic literature devoted to study ethics and the meaning of work [60
], but also acknowledging the importance of traditional theories of work motivation and work design [63
], RJD covers several dimensions, such as equal opportunities, well-paid work, salary in line with functions, recognition to the best suggestions and projects, autonomy at work, positive appreciation of the employee ideas by managers, and a responsible way of determining the worth of jobs, including a fair evaluation of employee performance. Along these lines, and considering that all existing measures are somehow incomplete, the scale developed by Morgeson and Humphrey [63
], for instance, offers a set of indicators that are useful for approaching a socially responsible design.
Although there is no consensus among researchers about the particular human resource practices that are the most consistent with the sustainability approach, Thom and Zaugg [64
] have argued that performance pay is one of the essential elements. This notwithstanding, well-paid work is one of the hot issues the public and private sectors are facing in the whole world. The importance of the mentioned issue is reflected in numerous ways. For instance, wages are included in the job quality index [65
], or decent work concept, introduced by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), underlining the need for fair income. Well-paid work can reveal the level of care for employees provided by the employer, as our living quality standard is partly associated with the amount of money people earn. Moreover, a high level of pay can ensure that private and public sectors are able to attract and retain highly qualified employees [66
]. Thus, the expected care of city councils for civil servants and municipality workers in terms of well-paid work indicates a responsible work design.
Salary in line with the employee’s functions emphasizes payment according to individual performance. Without underestimating different approaches concerning pay schemes in a public sector [67
], we defend that local governments can elicit a certain level of performance from civil servants and municipal employees, by linking pay with functions and degree of responsibility. However, in this respect, Buurman et al. [68
] found that only 45% of employees in the public sector in the Netherlands considered their salary to be adequate for the work they did. These findings do not fit the internal SR and opens the avenues for improving the job design.
Recognition of the best suggestions and projects is also an essential element of an RJD. According to the work psychodynamics theory, recognition is a reward expected by the subject that is largely symbolic in nature [69
]. Mostly, recognition stems from a judgment made about various aspects. Thus, employee recognition can be expressed through four practices: personal recognition, recognition of work practices, recognition of job dedication, and recognition of results [69
]. As stated by Saunderson [70
], employee recognition in the public sector strongly correlates with good morale, loyalty, commitment, and satisfaction in the workplace. Moreover, recognition of employees serves as critical tool for their retaining. Bearing in mind that in the mentioned findings, it is supposed that the recognition of civil servants and municipal employees for the best suggestions and projects will increase the responsibility of any job design.
Morgesson and Humphrey [63
] argue that nowadays, autonomy at work reflects the extent to which a job allows freedom, independence, and discretion to schedule work, make decisions, and choose the methods used to perform tasks. Freedom of civil servants and municipal employees in three domains, namely work scheduling, decision making, and work methods, strengthens the employee voice and participation [71
Positive appreciation of employee ideas by managers is reflected in designing jobs according to the perceived manager support idea. Chughtai and Zafar [72
] have emphasised that supervisors play an essential role in the employee–employer relationship. Results from previous studies give us an idea about the importance of support by the superiors of public employees [73
]. Managers influence employee perceptions about the local government’s supportiveness. Moreover, managers have an impact on the extent to which employees can expect that the organization will look after their interests, i.e., behave in a socially responsible way.
Socially responsible organizations must attend to the fit of employees with the values of the organization [74
]. Consequently, job evaluation, as the judgment about value or worth of the jobs, might be a feature of responsible work places. A responsible job evaluation begins with the analysis of work to determine its characteristics and requirements, and then follows with fair employee performance management. Employee performance evaluation is related to goal setting and providing feedback. As stated by Verbeeten [75
], by setting clear goals and “measuring whether they are achieved, organisations reduce and eliminate ambiguity and confusion about objectives, and gain coherence and focus in pursuit of their mission”. The expected local government commitment to the fair evaluation of employee performance is reflected in designing jobs in line with the organisational justice philosophy. It is supposed that procedural, interactional, interpersonal, and informational justice dominate in a responsible work design [76
A responsible design of job positions in public institutions is expected to be linked to higher levels of organizational identification of employees with their city council. The better the jobs are designed, the higher the level of identification will be. In the same vein, the better the communication and team building efforts are, the higher the personal identification of employees will be with the city council where they work. Taking into consideration all the above, the following hypothesis emerges:
The responsible design of jobs in local governments is positively related to the employee´s identification with the city council.
3.2. The Role of Communication and Team Building
RJD is not enough for developing an effective internal SR. Communication and team building play an essential role in allowing things happen. At its simplest, communication could be defined as social interaction through messages [77
]. In a huge part of literature, the significant role of organizational communication (internal and external) is acknowledged as it persists throughout the lifespan of the organisation [79
From the perspective of the internal side of SR in any organization, internal communication is a matter of interest following evidence that the outcomes of effective internal communication are beneficial for both sides: the whole organization and employees as stakeholders. For instance, Welch and Jackson [80
] stated that effective internal communication influences employee productivity and the behaviour of the organization. Thomas et al. [81
] argued that communication plays an essential role in the development of trust within any organisation, and Martin-García and Conci [82
] highlighted that informal participation and communication are considered as frequent HPWP in countries such as Spain. Going further, we can affirm that effective internal communication enables the success of teambuilding and teamwork [83
]. Recently, teamwork has been getting more interest, assuming that integrated teamwork is more important than individual work in reaching organizational goals [84
Communication and teambuilding are very important in public institutions [85
]. Effective internal communication is crucial for success, as it affects the ability of managers to engage employees and achieve objectives [87
]. Moreover, internal communication is designed to promote commitment to the organization, a sense of belonging to it, awareness of its changing environment, and understanding of its evolving aims [80
]. Effective communication supports teamwork, and team relations appear to be an important motivator for public employees [63
]. Communication pathways and channels or teambuilding are supposed to have positive relationships with job design and the personal identification of employees. Finally, and taking into consideration all the above, the following hypotheses emerge:
The responsible design of jobs in local governments is positively related to communication and team building developments.
Communication and team building efforts are positively related to the employees’ identification with the city council.