Organization Management Journal


Surveys are used extensively by researchers and practitioners in organizations to measure employee attitudes and assess organizational health. Survey items can reflect a wide range of topics including employee attitudes, perceptions of management, and organizational culture. Surprisingly, the issue of whether employee focused items produce more positive employee responses (vis-a`-vis manager or organization focused items) has received little attention. Specifically, there may be self-serving biases in organizational survey responses that may lead to inaccurate diagnosing of organizational problems. We assess the impact of self-serving biases on the pattern of employee responses to organizational surveys. Results from two studies suggest that employees respond more positively to items that are self-focused and less positively to items that are other-focused. Therefore, to the extent that surveys contain both types of items, these biases may influence the diagnosis of organizational problems. In addition, results from the second study suggest that employees glorify themselves for both self-enhancement and social desirability reasons. Implications are discussed.