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The COVID-19 crisis forced organizations to radically rethink how to lead their workforce. Facing an unprecedented drop in consumer demand, business leaders struggled to balance staying financially solvent with the responsibility of supporting their employees during the crisis. Early surveys found many employees did not perceive their organizations communicated a clear plan of action; others questioned whether their employers cared about workers' health and safety. While researchers have examined perceived organizational support, studies are only now starting to examine workers' perceived support during a pandemic. The study used a mixed method design to collect quantitative and qualitative data from 949 workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Results revealed employees working outside the home and furloughed workers perceived lower quality support than employees working remotely. While some employees recommended changes to create a safer work environment, others suggested more frequent communication and/or reassurance about job security/pay. The findings suggest leaders should recognize the nature of support workers need varies. Leaders should customize support to meet the needs of specific groups, especially essential employees working outside the home and furloughed workers. Beyond the pandemic, the results suggest organizational leaders should reexamine their approach to employee support to better prepare for future crises.


Original article published as:

Daniels, R. A., Miller, L. A., Mian, M. Z., & Black, S. (2022). One size does not fit all: Understanding differences in perceived organizational support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business and Society Review, 1-30.

Available for download on Sunday, March 03, 2024