Organizational climate and culture: Reflections on the history of the constructs in the Journal of Applied Psychology.
We review the literature on organizational climate and culture paying specific attention to articles published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (JAP) since its first volume in 1917. The article traces the history of the two constructs though JAP has been far more important for climate than culture research. We distinguish four main periods: the pre-1971 era, with pioneering work on exploring conceptualization and operationalizations of the climate construct; the 1971 – 1985 era, with foundational work on aggregation issues, outcome-focused climates (on safety and service) and early writings on culture; the 1986 – 1999 era, characterized by solidification of a focused climate approach to understanding organizational processes (justice, discrimination) and outcomes (safety, service) and the beginnings of survey approaches to culture; and the 2000 – 2014 era, characterized by multi-level work on climate, climate strength, demonstrated validity for a climate approach to outcomes and processes, and the relationship between leadership and climate and culture. We summarize and comment on the major theory and research achievements in each period, showing trends observed in the literature and how JAP has contributed greatly to moving research on these constructs, especially climate, forward. We also recommend directions for future research given the current state of knowledge.