An examination of the relationship between level of physical activity, worksite physical fitness facilities, and employee attitudes and behavior at federal government agencies

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An examination of the relationship between level of physical activity, worksite physical fitness facilities, and employee attitudes and behavior at federal government agencies
Kirschner, Bruce Herbert
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xxv, 379 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 29 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Physical fitness ( lcsh )
Officials and employees -- Attitudes -- United States ( lcsh )
Officials and employees -- Health and hygiene -- United States ( lcsh )
Officials and employees -- Job stress -- United States ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 270-302).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Graduate School of Public Affairs.
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Bruce Herbert Kirschner.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
22874123 ( OCLC )
LD1190.P86 1990d .K57 ( lcc )

Full Text
Bruce Herbert Kirschner
B.A., State University of New York at Buffalo, 1975
M.A., University of New Mexico, 1977
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Graduate School of Public Affairs

(c) Copyright by Bruce Herbert Kirschner 1990
All Rights Reserved

This thesis for the
Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Bruce Herbert Kirschner
has been approved for the
Graduate School
of Public Affairs
Mark A. Emmert
Date ' /

Kirschner, Bruce Herbert (Ph.D., Public Administration)
An Examination of the Relationship Between Level of
Physical Activity, Worksite Physical Fitness
Facilities, and Employee Attitudes and Behavior at
Federal Government Agencies
Thesis directed by Professor Franklin J. James
This study examines the relationships between
each of two variables: 1) Federal Government employee
level of physical activity and 2) Federal agency worksite
physical fitness facilities, and several other variables
of interest to organizations: worker job stress, job
satisfaction, attitudes toward coworkers and local top
management, organizational commitment, and intent to
It was hypothesized that employees that were more
physically fit or were members of worksite physical
fitness facilities would exhibit lower job stress,
greater job satisfaction, organizational commitment,
intent to stay, and more positive attitudes toward
coworkers and local top management than employees that
were less fit or not members of such facilities.
Federal managers (n = 117), most having employee
physical fitness facilities available in their workplace,
were first surveyed for their opinions on how these
facilities affect employee attitudes and behavior. A
second survey was then used to collect data from

employees at three Federal agencies with worksite
physical fitness facilities (n = 387) on level of
physical activity, job stress, job satisfaction,
attitudes toward coworkers and local top management,
organizational commitment, and intent to stay.
Using multiple regression, the study found a
relationship between greater levels of employee physical
fitness, based on a measure of physical activity, and
reduced job stress, higher job satisfaction, greater
intent to stay, and more favorable attitudes toward
coworkers and local top management. Although worksite
physical fitness facility membership status was not found
to be of importance, employees that visited their
facility more often exhibited lower levels of job stress.
Also, workers that engaged in a greater proportion of
their exercise at the workplace had higher levels of job
satisfaction, were more favorable in their attitudes
toward coworkers and local top management, but had lower
levels of organizational commitment.
The study's principal finding that higher levels
of employee physical fitness may favorably affect certain
job attitudes has implications for organizational policy.
The establishment of physical fitness facilities in
Federal Government, public, and private sector workplace
settings was recommended as an important means toward

improving worker fitness. Additional research on the
relationship between study variables was recommended.

To the memory of my father, Arthur S. Kirschner

This study could not have been completed without
the assistance and support of many individuals.
First and foremost, I will always be grateful to
my wife, Janet P. Lowe, for her tremendous love, support
and patience throughout all my years of post-
baccalaureate education. My sons Aron and Paul also
deserve special mention. Neither of them knew a time
when their father was not working on his doctorate. They
supported their father in a gentle way that only young
children can.
My deep appreciation goes to each of my
dissertation committee members: Dr. Tim Brennan, Dr.
Frank Cesario, Dr. Mark Emmert, and Dr. Max Morton, for
serving in this special capacity. A special thanks goes
to my committee chairperson, Dr. Franklin James, for his
conscientious guidance, contribution of important
suggestions, and constant encouragement.
This study would also not have been possible
without the unsung heroes of the Federal work force who
took whatever action necessary to gain permission for
employees at their agencies to be surveyed. I would like
to especially thank John Lowe and Cathy Niccoletti of the
National Institute for Standards and Technology; Janet

Tietjen, Sue Hester, and Paula Smith of the Internal
Revenue Service; and Doug Stinchcum of the U.S.
Department of Energy. They were the individuals who
really made this study happen.
Carol Jacobson was exceptionally helpful by
instructing me in the intricacies of SPSS-X and PRIMOS on
CU-Denver's PRIME computer. I am thankful to her for
helping me produce the computer output that was so
critical to the conduct of research for the study. Jerry
Howell deserves credit by serving as expert advisor in
the area of physical activity measurement. Laura
Appelbaum assisted in the preliminary review of survey
instruments. Rollie Erickson was instrumental in
development of the spreadsheet used to determine level of
physical activity. Renee Herrera and Sandee Roth were
also of great logistical help through their conscientious
collection and delivery of hard copy computer output from
the CU-Denver Computing Center. My sincere appreciation
goes to the CU-Denver Computing Services staff, who have
succeeded in making the University's information
technology resources accessible to remotely located
doctoral students like myself.
I will always be indebted to Carla Friedli and
Mark Schroeder for performing a detailed critical review
of the first dissertation draft and for providing
valuable suggestions that were later incorporated into

the document's final version. Betty Poe and Larry Oakes
were equally helpful in their review of several early
chapter drafts.
A very special thanks goes to friends Teresa
Rotger, Fred Banta, Dave and Cindy Meyer for their kind
support during my time in school and, in particular,
during the dissertation phase.
The unflagging support of other family members
must also be acknowledged. My parents, Arthur and Miriam
Kirschner, my brother Robert, and sister Esta always had
an encouraging word for me. Edith and Jean Lowe, my
extended family by marriage, also have my thanks in the
same regard. All of them believed that doctoral work was
something I could do and do well.
Finally, a sincere appreciation to all of my
coworkers at the Western Area Power Administration. They
were of invaluable assistance in this endeavor by pre-
testing both surveys used in the study and by being a
generous form of support during the entire dissertation

INTRODUCTION........................................ 1
Purpose of the Study................................ 4
Implications of the Study .......................... 9
Summary........................................... 11
Organization of the Study.......................... 11
Notes.............................................. 13
The Concept of Physical Fitness ................... 14
The Measurement of Physical Fitness ............... 17
Historical Background ............................. 24
Physical Fitness Participation
in the United States............................... 25
Worksite Physical Fitness Facilities
and Programs..................................... 26
Employee Fitness in the Federal Workplace ... 32
Summary.......................................... 3 8
Notes ............................................. 40
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ............................ 41
Physical Fitness and Physiological Outcomes . . 42
Physical Fitness and Psychological Outcomes . 44

Employee Physical Fitness and Organizational
Outcomes......................................... 50
Job Stress ...................................... 52
Job Satisfaction................................. 56
Organizational Commitment ....................... 68
Intent to Stay or Quit........................... 75
Summary............................................ 82
Notes.............................................. 84
METHODOLOGY........................................ 8 6
Statement of Research Hypotheses ................. 86
Hypothesis 1.................................... 87
Hypothesis 2.................................... 88
Hypothesis 3 . . . ............................. 90
Methodological Approach ........................... 91
The Concepts of Reliability and Validity .... 97
Development of Survey Instruments ................. 98
Federal Manager Survey Questionnaire ............. 103
Procedures for Data Collection...................108
Response Rate for Federal Manager Survey
Questionnaire ................................ 109
Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire ............ 109
U.S. Department of Commerce....................122

Internal Revenue Service ..................... 124
U.S. Department of Energy......................126
Procedures for Data Collection...................127
Response Rate for Federal Employee Survey
Questionnaire .................................128
Data Analysis......................................129
Summary........................................... 129
Background Data....................................135
Federal Manager Opinions on the Effects
of Federal Agency Physical Fitness Facilities
on Employees.....................................145
Variations in Opinion Between Different
Categories of Respondent ..................... 148
QUESTIONNAIRE .................................... 172
Demographic Data...................................172
Perceptions of Physical Fitness Facility
Effects on Member Job-Related Attitudes
and Behavior.................................... . 175
Treatment of Data on Level of Physical

Methods for Data Analysis..........................196
Preliminary Statistical Data Analysis ............ 197
A Theoretical Model .............................. 199
Multiple Regression Analysis ..................... 202
Job Stress......................................211
Job Satisfaction................................220
Attitudes Toward Coworkers and Local
Top Management.................................228
Organizational Commitment ..................... 237
Intent to Stay..................................243
Summary........................................... 248
Notes............................................ 253
, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................... 256
Conclusions Based on Findings .................... 257
Implications of Findings ......................... 261
Recommendations for Additional Research .... 263
Limitations of the Study...........................266
BIBLIOGRAPHY ......................................... 270
A. Federal Manager Survey Questionnaire ........... 303
B. Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire .... 308
C. Cover Letter for Distribution of
Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire
at U.S. Department of Commerce.................321

D. Cover Letter for Distribution of
Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire
at Internal Revenue Service ................. 323
E. Cover Letter for Distribution of
Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire
at U.S. Department of Energy..................325
F. Responses to Attitudinal Items in
Part II of Federal Manager Survey
Questionnaire ............................... 327
G. Results of Preliminary Statistical
Data Analysis..........................

4.1 Major Issues Addressed in Each Part of the
Federal Manager Survey Questionnaire . . 104
4.2 Numbers and Percentages of Returns for
Federal Manager Survey Questionnaire . . 109
4.3 Major Issues Addressed in Each Part of the
Federal Employee Survey Questionnaire . 110
4.4 Numbers and Percentages of Return by
Agency for Federal Employee Survey
Questionnaire .............................. 130
5.1 Existence of Employee Physical Fitness
Facility at Respondent Federal Agency
5.2 Type of Physical Fitness Facility
5.3 Federal Agency Physical Fitness Facility
Years of Operation...........................138
5.4 Federal Employees Authorized as Users of
Agency Physical Fitness Facilities .... 138
5.5 Percent of Federal Employees Authorized
as Users of Agency Physical Fitness
$.6 Percent of Federal Employees that Visit
Agency Physical Fitness Facility on a
Regular Basis ....................................... 140
5.7 Type of Facility Based on Availability
of Equipment and User Services ..............141
5.8 Annual Fees Paid by Employees to Use
Agency Physical Fitness Facility ........ 141
5.9 Respondent Relationship to Federal
Agency Physical Fitness Facility ........ 143

xvi i
Tables (continued)
5.10 Respondent Status as User of Federal Worksite Physical Fitness Facility .... 143
5.11 Respondent Federal Agency 144
5.12 Location of Survey Respondent Federal Agency 146
5.13 Facility Influence on Attitudes and Behavior of Employees That Use Them 149
5.14 Variables Selected for Chi. Square Analysis 153
5.15 Association Between Respondent Availability of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on the Job Stress of Users 154
5.16 Association Between Respondent Availability of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on User Job Satisfaction 155
5.17 Association Between Respondent Availability of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on the Amount of Physical Exercise of Users . . 156
5.18 Association Between Respondent Availability of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on the Level of Physical Fitness of Users .... 157
5.19 Association Between Respondent Worksite Physical Fitness Facility Arrangement and Effects on the Job Satisfaction of Nonusers 159
5.20 Association Between Respondent Worksite Physical Fitness Facility Arrangement and Effects on Nonuser Attitudes Toward Top Management 160
5.21 Association Between Respondent Worksite
Physical Fitness Facility Arrangement
and Effects on Level of User Physical
Fitness ............................

xvi i i
Tables (continued)
5.22 Association Between Respondent Worksite Physical Fitness Facility Type and Effects on User Intent to Quit 162
5.23 Association Between Respondent Worksite Physical Fitness Facility Type and Effects on User Level of Physical Fitness 163
5.24 Association Between Respondent Status as User of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on User Attitudes Toward Top Management 165
5.25 Association Between Respondent Status as User of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on User Level of Physical Fitness 166
5.26 Association Between Respondent Status as User of Worksite Physical Fitness Facility and Effects on User Overall Personal Health 167
6.1 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Sex 173
6.2 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Ethnic Background 173
6.3 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Age Category 174
6.4 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Marital Status 174
6.5 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Level of Education 176
6.6 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Job Category 176
6.7 6.8 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Work Schedule 177 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Type of Federal Government Appointment . 177

Tables (continued)
6.9 Federal Employee Survey Respondent General Schedule Pay Grade Category . 178
6.10 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Annual Family/Household Income Category 178
6.11 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Job Tenure Category 179
6.12 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Agency Tenure Category 179
6.13 Federal Employee Survey Respondent Federal Government Tenure Category .... 180
6.14 Respondent Aware of Federal Agency Worksite Physical Fitness Facility .... 180
6.15 Respondent Status as Member of Federal Agency Worksite Physical Fitness Facility 181
6.16 Respondent Tenure as Fitness Facility Member 182
6.17 Average Number of Member Weekly Visits to Facility 182
6.18 Average Percent of Member's Exercise at Facility 183
6.19 Respondent Annual Facility Membership Dues 183
6.20 Facility Increases Respondent Job Satisfaction 185
6.21 Facility Increases Respondent Organizational Commitment 185
6.22 Facility Increases Respondent Intent to Stay with Their Organization . 186
6.23 Facility Increases Respondent Ability to Cope with Job Stress 186

Tables (continued)
6.24 Facility Significantly Contributes
to Amount of Exercise Respondent
Engages in Each Week.......................187
6.25 Facility Significantly Contributes
to Variety of Physical Activities
Respondent Engages In ..................... 187
6.26 Respondent More Positive Toward
Organization's Local Top Management . . . 188
6.27 Facility is Important Fringe
Benefit of. Working for Respondent's
Organization .............................. 188
6.28 Interacting with Other Employees
at the Facility Has Been Enjoyable .... 189
6.29 Other Employees Interacted with
at Facility Have Helped Respondent
in Performance of Job.....................189
6.30 Value Ranges for Level of
Physical Activity Measures ................ 191
6.31 Reliability Coefficients for Indexes
Used in the Study........................19 4
6.32 Independent Variables Used in
Multiple Regression ....................... 205
6.33 Definitions of Variables Used
in Multiple Regression .................... 206
6.34 Summary Statistics for Dependent
6.35 Multiple Regression With Job Stress
as Dependent Variable (Level of
Physical Activity Based on Kcal/Kg/Day) . . 212
6.36 Multiple Regression With Job
Stress as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based
on Respondent Self-Report)

xx i
Tables (continued)
6.37 Multiple Regression With Job
Satisfaction as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based on
Kcal/Kg/Day) .............................. 221
6.38 Multiple Regression With Job
Satisfaction as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based
on Respondent Self-Report) ................ 223
6.39 Multiple Regression With Attitudes
Toward Coworkers as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based on
Kcal/Kg/Day) ............................... 230
6.40 Multiple Regression With Attitudes
Toward Local Top Management as Dependent
Variable (Level of Physical Activity
Based on Kcal/Kg/Day)........................231
6.41 Multiple Regression With Attitudes
Toward Coworkers as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based
on Respondent Self-Report) ................ 232
6.42 Multiple Regression With Attitudes
Toward Local Top Management as Dependent
Variable (Level of Physical Activity Based
on Respondent Self-Report) ................. 234
6.43 Multiple Regression With Organizational
Commitment as Dependent Variable
(Level of Physical Activity Based
on Kcal/Kg/Day) .............................238
6.44 Multiple Regression With Intent to
Stay as Dependent Variable (Level
of Physical Activity Based on
Kcal/Kg/Day) ............................... 244
F-l Facility Increases User and Nonuser
Job Satisfaction.............................328
F-2 Facility Decreases User and Nonuser
Organizational Commitment .................. 329
F-3 Facility Decreases User and Nonuser
Intent to Leave the Organization

xx ii
Tables (continued)
F-4 Facility Does Not Contribute to
Ability of Users to Cope with
Job Stress..................................331
F-5 Facility Contributes to Improved
Coworker Relations ........................ 332
F-6 Facility Has Positive Effects on
User and Nonuser Attitudes Toward
Top Management..............................333
F-7 Facility Increases Amount of Physical
Exercise, Level of Physical Fitness
and Overall Personal Health of Users . . 334
G-l Association Between Level of Physical
Activity Category Based on
Kcal/kg/day and Respondent Self-Report . 336
G-2 T-tests of the Differences Between
Mean Scores on Level of Physical
Activity for Fitness Facility
Members and Nonmembers .................... 339
G-3 T-tests of the Differences Between
Mean Scores on Psychosocial Variables
for Fitness Facility Members and
Nonmembers................................3 40
G-4 Differences Between Physical Fitness
Facility Members and Nonmembers
Based on Age..............................343
G-5 Differences Between Physical Fitness
Facility Members and Nonmembers Based
on Federal Agency Tenure ......... 344
G-6 Differences Between Physical Fitness
Facility Members and Nonmembers Based
on Federal Government Tenure ..... 345
G-7 Differences Between Physical Fitness
Facility Members and Nonmembers Based
on Job Supervision Category...............346
G-8 T-test of the Differences Between
Mean Scores on Psychosocial Variables
for Level of Physical Activity . .

Tables (continued)
G-9 Difference Between Employee Levels
of Physical Activity Based on Age .... 351
G-10 Difference Between Employee Levels
of Physical Activity Based on Ethnic
G-ll Difference Between Employee Levels
of Physical Activity Based on
General Schedule Pay Grade ................ 353
G-12 Analysis of Variance for Job Stress
by Facility Membership and Physical
Activity Level ............................. 356
G-13 Analysis of Variance for Job
Satisfaction by Facility Membership
and Physical Activity Level ................ 357
G-14 Analysis of Variance for Organizational
Commitment by Facility Membership and
Physical Activity Level ............................. 358
G-15 Analysis of Variance for Intent to
Stay by Facility Membership and
Physical Activity Level . ..........................359
G-16 Analysis of Variance for Attitudes
Toward Coworkers by Facility Membership
and Physical Activity Level ................ 360
G-17 Analysis of Variance for Attitudes
Toward Local Top Management by Facility
Membership and Physical Activity Level . 361
G-18 T-test of the Differences Between
Mean Scores on Physical Fitness
and Health Values for Fitness Facility
Members and Nonmembers ............ 363
G-19 T-test of the Differences Between
Mean Scores on Physical Fitness
and Health Values for Employees
at Lower or Higher Levels of Physical

Analysis of Variance for Physical
Fitness and Health Values by
Facility Membership and Physical
Activity Level ............................. 365
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Job Stress, Facility
Membership Status, Level of
Physical Activity, and Demographic
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Job Satisfaction, Facility
Membership Status, Level of Physical
Activity, and Demographic Variables . . . 369
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Organizational Commitment,
Facility Membership Status, Level
of Physical Activity, and Demographic
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Intent to Stay, Facility
Membership Status, Level of Physical
Activity, and Demographic Variables . . . 371
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Attitudes Toward Coworkers,
Facility Membership Status, Level of
Physical Activity, and Demographic
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Attitudes Toward Local
Top Management, Facility Membership
Status, Level of Physical Activity,
and Demographic Variables .................... 373
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Facility Membership Status,
Level of Physical Activity, and
Demographic Variables ...................... 374
Pearson Correlation Coefficients
Between Level of Physical Activity,
Facility Membership Status, and
Demographic Variables

Tables (continued)
G-29 Pearson Correlation Coefficients Between
Demographic Variables ...........................

6.1 Theoretical Model for Relationships
Between Study Variables .................

Both the length of the working day and the amount
of physical labor expended have been sharply
reduced as a result of technological advances
. . . However, the blessings of these advances
can become detriments unless we as a people take
positive steps to insure that every American
takes time for sufficient exercise.
John F. Kennedy
The value of physical activity and fitness in the
promotion and maintenance of personal health has been
acknowledged as early as the ancient Greeks. Plato
quotes Socrates as asking the rhetorical question, "And
is not the bodily habit spoiled by rest and idleness, but
preserved for a long time by motion and exercise?" His
one-member audience, Theaetetus, answers, "True" (Jowett,
1937, p. 154). Concern with the healthy body/healthy
mind relationship has continued through history to the
In the United States, the interest in physical
exercise, personal fitness, and sports participation as
means toward the end of "good health" has been traced
back to the pre-Civil War period (Green, 1986). The
national preoccupation with health has endured until
today, evident with the popularity of personal fitness

development in the last several decades. This more
recent "fitness craze," as it is sometimes referred to,
may be attributed to a number of factors. These include
the transition to a service economy where most work is no
longer physically demanding; a greater public awareness
of the contribution of fitness to cardiovascular health,
physical attractiveness, and general well-being; and an
increase in leisure time for recreational activities. A
recent survey found that Americans are generally living
healthier lifestyles than ever before, with 35 percent
reporting that they engage in regular strenuous exercise
at least three days a week (Rodale et al., 1988).
There also has recently been increased interest
in how higher levels of physical fitness among workers
may have beneficial outcomes for employing organizations.
The private sector in the United States has long accepted
the positive relationship between the health and fitness
level of its personnel and certain organizational
benefits, such as lower health care costs and greater
worker productivity. For this reason, in the last decade
many companies have established worksite physical fitness
facilities, often as a component of a more comprehensive
"wellness" program, to Improve the fitness level of their
employees. This has usually entailed making available
showers, lockers, and equipped exercise areas to be used
by employees in conjunction with their participation in

running, cycling, weight training and other forms of
physical exercise. Benefits from corporate fitness
facility programs are believed to include greater ease in
recruitment of new employees and, among current
employees, a reduction in health insurance claims (by
lowering the incidence of coronary disease, back pain,
and other ailments), higher morale, lower absenteeism,
decreased turnover, greater productivity, and fewer
accidents. Therefore, many U.S. companies have sought to
establish worksite physical fitness facilities and
related programs for their employees. It is generally
accepted that these kinds of facilities make sound
business sense by providing an attractive return on
investment to the employer. Although reliable figures
are not available, it is estimated that at least 1,000
and perhaps several thousand American companies now have
worksite fitness facilities available for use by their
employees (Behrens and Weiss, 1988; Scherr Trenk, 1989).
More recently, the public sector, including the
Federal Government, has actively followed this same
approach for increasing work force productivity and cost
savings in an era of fiscal constraint. For example, a
number of Federal agencies, including the U.S. Department
of Transportation, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S.
Department of Energy, have established worksite physical
fitness facilities for their employees. Constance

Horner, former Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel
Management, the Federal agency which provides personnel
services to over 3 million Federal civilian employees,
As the nation's largest employer, the Federal
government is committed to increased efficiency
and productivity in the services it provides the
public. One of the key elements in achieving
these goals is assuring the health and well-being
of the Federal work force. Indeed, employees are
our most important resource.
There is a growing awareness that health and
fitness programs can play an important role in
employee productivity improvement efforts (U.S.
Office of Personnel Management, 1988, p. ii).
The Federal Government, which has emphasized the
relationship between employee fitness and work force
productivity, was estimated to have nearly 90 worksite
fitness facilities at the end of fiscal year (FY) 1988
(Constantine and Scott, 1989).
Purpose of the Study
A comprehensive body of published research
supports the existence of a positive relationship between
improved personal physical fitness from increased levels
of physical activity and enhanced measures on
physiological variables. A smaller body of literature
which supports the beneficial effects of an individual's
improved level of physical fitness on psychological
measures also exists. However, although available
research tends to support the common belief that physical

exercise has a favorable effect on an individual's
physiological and psychological state, relatively little
research is available on how employee physical fitness
levels may influence "psychosocial" (that is, both
psychological and sociological) factors of benefit to the
organization. Perhaps more importantly, there has been
even less research conducted on how worksite physical
fitness facilities may influence employee psychosocial
variables of interest to employers. These variables
include job stress, job satisfaction, organizational
commitment, and an employee's intent to stay with their
organization. Each of these attitudes and behaviors, in
turn, are believed to have direct or indirect effects on
turnover and productivity, which are considered to have
even greater ramifications for organizational health.
This study will explore how employee physical
fitness, based on level of physical activity, and
worksite physical fitness facilities may influence the
selected psychosocial variables of job stress, job
satisfaction, attitudes toward coworkers and local top
management, organizational commitment, and intent to
stay. Relationships between certain of the psychosocial
variables will also be examined. Federal Government
managers and employees will serve as the research
population. Survey research will be used as the method
for the collection of study data.

Through its examination of the above variables,
this study will seek to fill gaps in existing research.
For example, although physical exercise is considered to
be an effective method for the reduction of psychological
stress, there is very little available research on the
specific relationship between exercise and job-related
Similarly, job satisfaction, which has been
associated with several behaviors which affect
organizational effectiveness, has been a subject of great
interest to social scientists since the 1930s. However,
research on the relationship between employee physical
fitness and job satisfaction is relatively limited (Cox
et al., 1981). The existence of a possible relationship
between job stress and job satisfaction has also not been
adequately studied.
Organizational commitment, a work-related
attitude believed to be antecedent to important employee
behaviors such as absenteeism and turnover, has also been
studied by social science researchers. It has been
suggested that organizations that willingly provide their
employees with physical fitness facilities in the
workplace will secure greater commitment from workers
because the organization has demonstrated that it is
interested in their health and welfare (Falkenberg,

1987). However, this observation has not been the
subject of empirical research.
An employee's intent to stay with their
organization, an attitude found to be strongly related to
turnover behavior, has also been a focus for study by
behavioral researchers. Available research has indicated
that the existence of employer-sponsored physical fitness
facilities and programs at the worksite has reduced
employee turnover (Cox et al., 1981; Song et al., 1982;
Tsai et al., 1987). However, these studies did not
distinguish between the effects of improved worker
physical fitness and the mere existence of these
facilities on employee turnover.
Perhaps more importantly, a better understanding
of how employee level of physical fitness and worksite
physical fitness facilities affect certain employee
attitudes and behavior may help alleviate several
problems now facing the public sector. For example,
increasing attention is being paid to a "slowly emerging
crisis of competence" (Johnston, 1988, p. 29) in the
Federal Government, which may eventually challenge
whether the Federal labor force will be able to fulfill
its responsibility for meeting the future needs of the
American public (National Commission on the Public
Service, 1989; U.S. General Accounting Office, 1988).
Even the private sector is reported to be alarmed about

the deteriorating state of the U.S. civil service and its
effect on business (Clark, 1989a).
Concerns about the vitality of the civil service
have primarily been attributed to problems associated
with the recruitment and retention of well-qualified
personnel, with the retention of Federal workers
considered a more serious matter than that of recruitment
(Kohout, 1988). A serious and continuing Federal
Government "brain drain" is believed to exist, a
perception confirmed by a large majority of Federal
executives and workers (Clark and Wachtel, 1988; Turek-
Brezina et al., 1989). Recent research also indicates
that turnover has increased at the Federal level in the
ten years since 1976, particularly for "baby boomers,"
that is, those employees born in the 20-year period
following World War II and who are presently between the
ages of 30 and 39 (Lewis and Ha, 1988).
Compensation, primarily in the form of pay, is
considered the most important issue in government
employee retention.1 In the public sector, where budget
constraints usually dictate that employee fringe benefits
take a back seat to other spending priorities, fitness
facilities may present themselves as a job "perk" taken
less for granted by employees than by their counterparts
in the private sector. Therefore, the existence of
Federal agency worksite physical fitness facilities,

perhaps considered a form of compensatory benefit, may
increase the likelihood that employees will stay with
their organization.
Thus, this study will seek to contribute to the
existing body of organizational behavior literature by
addressing a neglected, but potentially important area in
the field. The results of this study may then influence
future institutional policies related to the promotion of
workforce physical fitness in the public as well as
private sectors.
Implications of the Study
The promotion of employee physical fitness and
the development and implementation of worksite physical
fitness facilities is usually based on a recognized need
to improve the cardiovascular functioning and overall
physical health of workers. However, the importance of
side benefits associated with worker fitness promotion
and the establishment of these kinds of facilities has
been neglected. Existing research has failed to examine
the relative importance of employee physical fitness and
the existence of worksite physical fitness facilities on
the psychosocial variables of job stress, job
satisfaction, attitudes toward coworkers and management,
organizational commitment, and intent to stay. Since
this study will address the relationships, if any,

between these selected variables, a potentially important
contribution will be made to the organizational behavior
Also, if the presence of physical fitness
facilities at the worksite for Federal employees is found
to be a factor in retention, an increase in the
establishment of these kinds of facilities may contribute
to alleviating a perceived "quiet crisis" in the Federal
In addition, this study will provide demographic
data on those workers who use and those that do not use
agency worksite physical fitness facilities. This should
yield information of value in determining how to better
attract populations less likely to belong to fitness
facilities or engage in physical activity. Finally,
results of the study should suggest areas for future
This study may have important public and private
sector policy implications related to worksite fitness
promotion and the future establishment of physical
fitness facilities for employees in the workplace if
findings indicate that they may influence psychosocial
variables often associated with worker and organizational
productivity. That is, if the value of these facilities
in terms of their influence on the important psychosocial
variables of job stress, job satisfaction, organizational

commitment, and intent to stay is recognized, a much
greater emphasis may be placed on improving levels of
employee fitness and the development of worksite fitness
This study will explore the relationships between
the level of Federal employee physical fitness, the
existence of Federal agency worksite physical fitness
facilities, and the dependent variables of job stress,
job satisfaction, attitudes toward coworkers and local
top management, organizational commitment, and intent to
stay. Federal Government managers and employees will
serve as the research population. Survey research will
serve as the method for data collection. The outcome of
this study may have important implications for Federal
Government, public, and private sector policy with
respect to the promotion of employee physical fitness and
the establishment of physical fitness facilities by
organizations for the engagement in physical exercise by
employees in the workplace.
Organization of the Study
This dissertation is organized into seven
chapters. Chapter 1 presents an introductory statement
of the research problem, the purpose of the study, and

its implications. Chapter 2 examines the concept of
physical fitness, including its measurement and history.
The past and present status of worksite physical fitness
facilities, with emphasis on those in the Federal
Government, are also discussed in Chapter 2. Chapter 3
provides a review and summary of the literature relating
to the physiological and psychological outcomes of
physical fitness. A literature review of the theories
and research associated with job stress, job
satisfaction, organizational commitment, and intent to
stay are also presented in this chapter. Chapter 4
presents the study's research hypotheses, a discussion of
the methodological approach to be used, and a description
of the surveys used for the collection of data. Chapter
5 provides an analysis of the data obtained from a survey
of Federal Government managers and a discussion of
research findings. Chapter 6 presents analysis of the
data and research findings based on a survey of Federal
employees. Chapter 7, the final chapter, presents
conclusions based on results of the study and their
implications, offers recommendations for the conduct of
future research in related areas of organizational
behavior, and addresses limitations of the study.

1. Although evidence suggests salary is not as
important to those employed in the public sector as those
in the private sector, the disparity in pay between both
sectors is still wide,, leading many to consider it as
contributing to an exodus of Federal workers,
particularly at executive levels, to the private sector
(Grimm, 1988; Holzer and Rabin, 1987; Turek-Brezina et
al, 1989).

The Concept of Physical Fitness
Defining the concept of physical fitness has been
a source of consternation to physiologists and others for
some time (Pate, 1988; Shephard, 1977). Although it has
been defined in general terms as "the ability to carry
out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue
fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time
pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies (Caspersen
et al., 1985, p. 128), various definitions of physical
fitness often reflect different orientations. For our
purposes here, Shephard (1977) has defined physical
fitness in terms of physiological capacity,
characterizing it as
the ability of a man to maintain the various
processes involved in metabolic exchange as close
to the resting state as is mutually possible
during performance of a strenuous and fully
learned task for moderate time (1-60 minutes),
with a capacity to reach a higher steady rate of
working than the 'unfit' and to restore promptly
after exercise all equilibria which are disturbed
(p. 6).
The components of physical fitness are generally
considered to fall into two groups: health-related and
skill-related. The health-related aspects of fitness

involve the cardiovascular, pulmonary, and muscular
systems. Components of health-related fitness include
cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, muscular
strength, body composition, and flexibility (Caspersen et
al., 1985). Cardiorespiratory endurance refers to "the
ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to
supply fuel during sustained physical activity and to
eliminate fatigue products after supplying fuel"
(Casperson et al., 1985, p. 129). Muscular endurance
"relates to the ability of muscle groups to exert
external force for many repetitions or successive
exertions" (Casperson et al., 1985, p. 129). Muscular
strength relates to "the relative capacity of a muscle or
muscle group for exerting force against some external
resistance" (Falls et al., 1980, p. 7). Body composition
is "the relative percentages of fat and fat-free body
mass" (Falls et al., 1980, p. 6). Flexibility is defined
as "the degree to which a joint may move through its
maximal possible normal range of motion" (Falls et al.,
1980, p. 7; Caspersen et al., 1985; Ledwidge, 1980). The
components of skill-related fitness, which are related
more to athletic ability, are agility, balance,
coordination, speed, power, and reaction time (Caspersen
et al., 1985). The concept of health-related fitness
will be the definitional focus of physical fitness used
in the context of this study.

The concept of physical fitness is distinguished
from the related concepts of "physical activity" and
"exercise." Physical activity is defined as "any bodily
movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in
energy expenditure" (Caspersen et al., 1985, p. 129).
Physical activity may then be assigned to occupational,
sports, conditioning, household, or other activity
The term "exercise," often used interchangeably
with "physical activity," is considered a subcategory of
the latter and is defined as "physical activity that is
planned, structured, repetitive, and purposive in the
sense that improvement or maintenance of one or more
components of physical fitness is an objective"
(Caspersen et al., 1985, p. 129). Physical activity and
exercise are similar in that both
involve any bodily movement produced by skeletal
muscles that expends energy, are measured by
kilocalories ranging continuously from low to
high, and are positively correlated with physical
fitness as the intensity, duration, and frequency
of movements increase (Casperson et al., 1985, p.
128) .
Although almost all sports and conditioning
activities are considered to be a form of exercise,
occupational and household tasks, if regularly planned
and performed in a labor-producing rather than a labor-
saving manner, may also qualify as exercise (Casperson et
al., 1985).

Exercise which promotes cardiovascular and
pulmonary endurance is known as "aerobic or oxygen-
consuming exercise. Running, bicycling, swimming, and
cross-country skiing are considered the most popular
forms of aerobic exercise for promoting cardiovascular
and pulmonary health. Many other forms of exercise, such
as softball, golf, and bowling, do not qualify as aerobic
exercise because they do not require the same level of
physical effort or produce the same effects.
The Measurement of Physical Fitness
The basic components of health-related physical
fitness, as discussed earlier, are cardiovascular
endurance, muscular strength, body composition, and
flexibility. However, cardiovascular endurance, the
ability of the heart and lungs to supply oxygen and
nutrients to exercising muscles over an extended period
of time and often used synonymously with the term
"physical fitness," is considered the most important
feature in the individual's physiological profile. This
is primarily due to the major role it is believed to play
in the prevention of cardiovascular disease (Falls et
al., 1980).
There are a number of methods available for
measuring each of the health-related components of
physical fitness, with the appropriateness of each method

usually dependent on its setting, such as the laboratory,
or its purpose, such as for epidemiologic study or self-
assessment purposes. The balance of this section will
briefly discuss those measures available for the
assessment of health-related fitness.
The most popular method for assessment of
muscular strength is the one repetition maximum test.
The specific muscle group identified for testing is
selected and then individuals are given a series of
trials to determine the greatest weight they can lift
just once for that particular lift (Casperson et al.,
1985; Falls et al., 1980; Pollock et al., 1978; Shephard,
1986b; Wilmore, 1977). Additional tests for muscular
strength include the use of dynamometers, cable
tensiometers and other equipment which are expensive and
"do not always provide a substantial improvement in
measurement accuracy" (Pollock et al., 1978, p. 105).
Several methods are also available for estimating
"body composition," the relative amounts of muscle, fat,
bone, and other vital parts of the body, or "fatness,"
i.e., percent body fat. These include underwater
weighing and the use of either skin calipers or the self-
administered pinch test for determination of skinfold
thickness (Casperson et al., 1985; Falls et al., 1980;
Pollock et al., 1978; Shephard, 1986b; Wilmore,

Tests that assess the actual range of motion of
the various joints are considered the most accurate for
purposes of measuring flexibility. These require the use
of equipment, such as flexometers, or can be performed as
a simple field test, such as the sit-and-reach test, a
hyperextension test for assessing lower back flexibility
(Casperson et al., 1985; Falls et al., 1980; Pollock et
al., 1978; Shephard, 1986b; Wilmore, 1977).
The best measures of cardiovascular function are
the electrocardiogram (EKG), which is a measure of the
transmission of electrical impulses that cause
contraction in the heart, and maximal oxygen consumption
(V02 max), described as both a measure of the "highest
attainable, oxygen consumption value in maximal or
exhaustive exercise" (Wilmore, 1977, p. 103) and as "the
heart's maximal capabilities for pumping blood into the
body's systemic circulation" (Falls et al., 1980, p.
128). Usually conducted as a laboratory test, V02 max is
considered the best objective measure of cardiovascular
endurance and is measured while the individual walks or
runs on a treadmill, rides a stationary bicycle
ergometer, rows on a rowing ergometer, or swims in a
swimming flume. During the test, an EKG is performed to
assess the normality of heart function and heart rate
during exercise. At the same time, the individual is
gradually brought to a state of total fatigue or

exhaustion during a period usually less than 20 minutes
while various measures of expired air are taken. Several
field tests of cardiovascular endurance are also
available, such as the Canadian Home Fitness Test and the
step test. Although these tess are much more simple to
administer than the laboratory measure, they are
generally considered to be of more limited value in the
assessment of V02 max (Wilmore, 1977; Shephard, 1986b).
Unfortunately, the costs associated with both
laboratory and field tests of cardiovascular endurance
and capacity render them impractical for application in
studies of large populations. These costs include
expenses associated with retaining experienced testing
personnel, the time required for subjects to participate,
and expenditures for specialized equipment and
For these reasons, other methods for assessing
fitness are usually used for large studies. In light of
the relationship between physical fitness and physical
activity, the measurement of activity patterns rather
than any changes in physiological status that activity
itself may produce offers a more practical methodological
approach (Shephard, 1977). Therefore, the measurement of
physical activity has become a very popular method for
assessing levels of cardiovascular endurance and physical
fitness in studies of large populations. Although the

exact nature of the relationships have yet to be
determined, it is believed that physical activity is
positively correlated and physical exercise is very
positively correlated with physical fitness (Casperson et
al., 1985; Shephard, 1977).
Over 30 different methods for the assessment of
physical activity in population studies have been
identified. These include behavioral observation, use of
mechanical and electronic instruments for the monitoring
of body movement and heart rate, and survey procedures.
However, like other methods for measuring cardiovascular
endurance, most of the methods available are not
applicable for studies of large populations "because of
the cost and time burden on both participants and
researcher" (Washburn and Montoye, 1986, p. 563).
Survey procedures have become increasingly
popular in the conduct of epidemiologic studies of
physical activity because of their ease of
implementation. They are now considered the most
practical means of measuring physical activity in large
populations (LaPorte et al., 1985; Washburn and Montoye,
1986). Survey procedures solicit information on the
nature of an individual's physical activity over a
specified period of time. Common data collection methods
include personal interview, telephone interview, self-
administration, mail survey, or a combination of these

approaches. A summary index is then used to rank order
individuals based on their level of physical activity or
on a calculated estimate of kilocalories expended
(LaPorte et al., 1985).
There are four general categories of survey
procedures: 1) "diary surveys/ which are self-
administered and use short time frames, i.e., less than
24 hours; 2) "recall surveys, which use 1 to 7 day time
frames and collect data through personal or telephone
interviews or mail questionnaires; 3) "quantitative
history surveys," which are administered similar to the
recall survey, but use a longer time frame, e.g., one
year; and 4) the "general survey," which seeks little
specific information about the nature and detail of
physical activities regardless of the time frame (LaPorte
et al., 1985).
Survey procedures for the collection of data on
physical activity are not without their limitations.
These include the capacity of an individual to remember
details of past activity and, when short time frames are
used, the likelihood of neglecting activity performed
during other seasons (LaPorte et al., 1985). In
they lack the objectivity of electronic and
mechanical monitoring. . little is known
about the dimensions of the physical activity
being measured, [they rely] on the participant's
cooperation, and . reliability and validity

of recall are often incomplete or undetermined
(LaPorte et al., 1985, p. 143).
Several researchers have also compared the
results of physical activity surveys with objective
measures of cardiovascular fitness, such as resting heart
rate and V02 max, and have found a relatively high
correlation between both measures, serving to indirectly
validate the surveys (LaPorte et al., 1985; Washburn and
Montoye, 1986). However, since hereditary is believed to
affect one's ability to perform objective fitness
measurement tests, the association between physical
activity and fitness is not considered to be as strong.
As Washburn and Montoye observe:
This relationship . can be expected to be
weakened in part because of the strong genetic
influences on physical work capacity and maximal
oxygen uptake. Therefore, the magnitude of the
relationship between a physical activity
questionnaire and a measure of cardiovascular
fitness should not, in itself, be interpreted as
strong evidence for the validity of activity
questionnaires (1986, p. 574).
Despite their limitations, the use of survey
procedures in the collection of data on physical activity
still offer the best available approach for measuring
physical activity in large populations because they
"appear to be relatively reliable and unlikely to alter
normal daily physical activity" while not producing
"major selection bias and are inexpensive to administer"
(LaPorte et al., 1985, p. 143). Thus, due to the strong

association between physical activity and cardiovascular
endurance, this methodological approach offers the most
practical means for measuring the physical fitness of
many individuals in large research studies.
Historical Background
The concept of and interest in physical fitness
has taken varied forms in history. Early man, concerned
primarily with the hunting and gathering of food, was
able to preserve a relatively high level of fitness
merely through his efforts to survive. Ancient Greek and
Roman civilizations greatly valued fitness of the
individual for purposes of sport and military readiness.
Military organizations have since continued to play a
major international role in the promotion of physical
fitness (Shephard, 1977).
In the United States, the popular concepts of
health and physical fitness have evolved since the early
19th century. Prior to the Civil War, the pursuit of
fitness was fueled by religious reformers, who saw it as
a means toward the "perfect" society they envisioned for
the future. Following the Civil War, many Americans,
particularly those in sedentary occupations, became
increasingly receptive to the idea that they could gain
more energy and improve their lives through exercise and
sport. By the 1920s, rotundity was no longer a

reflection of one's wealth. Instead, having muscles
without having to engage in physical labor indicated that
one had leisure time as well as the discipline to engage
in physical fitness training (Green, 1986). This
national preoccupation with health and fitness has
continued to the present, although the form of
participation has changed over time. The broad concept
of health, including personal fitness, is now considered
an important life concern for many people (Yankelovich
and Gurin, 1989).
Physical Fitness Participation in the United States
A recent survey on exercise participation among
Americans found that most respondents (79 percent)
indicated that they engaged in exercise on a regular
basis. However, only 35 percent of respondents reported
that they got regular strenuous exercise at least 3 days
a week (the minimum level recognized for maintenance of
fitness and good health); only 20 percent indicated that
they exercised 4 or more days a week (the minimum level
required to improve conditioning); and only 9 percent
reported that strenuous exercise was a regular and
routine feature of their lifestyle. Respondents who
reported engaging in strenuous exercise on a regular
basis were also more likely to report excellent physical

In terms of demographics, the survey also found
that more men (44 percent) than women (28 percent)
engaged in strenuous exercise on a regular basis.
Strenuous exercisers were also more likely to be between
18 and 29 years old, live in the western U.S., reside in
a central city, be a college graduate and have a higher
than average household income. Survey researchers also
concluded that although there has not been a significant
change in the number of people engaging in regular
strenuous exercise since 1983, American interest in
health has not peaked, as some have suggested (Rodale et
al., 1988). The survey's overall findings are confirmed
by the results of a review of other national surveys
conducted in the United States and Canada between 1972
and 1983 (Stephens et al., 1985).
Worksite Physical Fitness Facilities and Programs
The broad interest in the development of personal
physical fitness has extended into the workplace. The
establishment of facilities for workers to engage in
exercise activities at the worksite has become
increasingly commonplace during the last several decades.
An "employee physical fitness facility" or
"worksite physical fitness facility" refers to equipment,
space, and related accommodations made available by the
employer for its employees to engage in exercise for the

purpose of promoting personal physical fitness. Most
often this entails the provision of showers, lockers, and
equipment such as stationary bicycles, treadmills, rowing
machines, and multistation weight machines or free
weights. More elaborate facilities may include full-time
management staff, indoor running tracks, and pools. At
the very least, worksite fitness facilities include only
showers for use by workers. Facilities are usually made
available at no or low cost to employees.
Physical fitness facilities located in the
workplace for use by employees are not a recent
phenomena. The Pullman Company of Chicago is credited
with being the first company in the U.S. to establish
athletic facilities and implement an organized sports
program for its employees in 1879 (Anderson, 1951;
Kondrasuk, 1980; Shephard, 1986b). In 1894, the National
Cash Register Company in Dayton, Ohio introduced morning
and afternoon exercise breaks for its workers. The
company later installed a gymnasium and built a 325 acre
park where employees could engage in physical exercise
and sports (Caldwell, 1976; Timmons, 1981). However,
most early efforts emphasized employee participation in
recreational sport activities. Less importance was
placed on personal physical fitness development. A major
shift in emphasis from recreation to fitness in worksite
fitness programs did not occur until the 1960s.

Participation in these kinds of programs was then often
restricted to senior and top management personnel
(Shephard, 1986b).
The 1970s and 1980s brought dramatic growth in
the development and implementation of worksite physical
fitness facilities and related programs by employers for
their employees. It is estimated that perhaps as many as
several thousand private sector companies now offer some
form of employee physical fitness facility, with over 22
percent of all American worksites reported to have them
available for employees (Behrens and Weiss, 1988).
However, some companies have opted to purchase
memberships in local private health clubs for their
employees in lieu of onsite facilities.
Worksite physical fitness facilities are often
provided by employers as a component of a more
comprehensive employee "wellness" program, which caters
to the physiological and the psychological needs of
workers. "Wellness" has been defined as a "freely chosen
lifestyle aimed at achieving and maintaining an
individual's good health" (Hartman and Cozzetto, 1984, p.
108) and as
an integrated method of functioning which is
oriented toward maximizing the potential of which
individuals are capable within the environment
where they are functioning. It is the direction
in progress forward involving body, mind and
spirit (Hartman and Cozzetto, 1984, p. 109).

The wellness concept assigns much greater
responsibility to the individual for the management of
personal physical and mental health and general well-
being. The workplace is considered an ideal setting for
the promotion of wellness because most people spend about
one-third of their waking hours on the job, making
participation more convenient and accessible. It is also
usually much less expensive than participation in similar
programs offered outside the workplace, offers an
indigenous employee support network for lifestyle change,
and presents management with an excellent opportunity to
communicate with employees. Perhaps for the foregoing
reasons, studies indicate that individuals are more
likely to become involved in health programs at work than
in other settings (Brennan, 1982; Conrad, 1987; Hartman
and Cozzetto, 1984; Novelli and Ziska, 1982). Wellness
programs typically include health assessment, education,
and intervention opportunities for employees, such as
smoking cessation clinics, stress management classes, and
hypertension control programs, but differ in their
comprehensiveness from organization to organization.
Considered primarily an American phenomenon, the
popularity of worksite wellness programs and physical
fitness facilities in this country have been attributed
to the "cultural preoccupation with health and wellness;
the corporate incentive due to employer-paid health

insurance; and the policy concern with spiraling health
costs" (Conrad, 1987, p. 270). Since 1965, the overall
cost of health care has risen from an estimated $42
billion to $500 billion, over 11 percent of the Gross
National Product (Miller et al., 1989). After two
consecutive years of single digit increases, the cost of
employer-sponsored health care jumped by 18.6 percent in
1988 (Coy, 1989). The private sector is responsible for
a large portion of these costs, which are projected to
continue their upward spiral (Alaniz, 1989; Smith et al.,
1986). Therefore, the establishment of these kinds of
programs and facilities are seen by employers as a cost
containment strategy for rapidly escalating health care
Other reasons cited for the interest in worksite
wellness programs and physical fitness facilities are
their potential for reducing known coronary risk factors;
lowering the incidence of disability and mortality;
decreasing absenteeism; improving morale; and increasing
productivity (Conrad, 1987; Fielding, 1982; Novelli and
Ziska, 1982). It is also believed that once individuals
begin to participate in an exercise program, the
likelihood that they are ready to modify other health-
related behavior, such as to stop smoking, is enhanced
(Baun and Williams, 1985). According to a recent
national survey, worksite wellness activities are now

found in nearly two-thirds of U.S. worksites with 50 or
more employees, with larger organizations more likely to
offer these programs than smaller ones (Behrens and
Weiss, 1988). The cost-effectiveness and overall value
of these programs are of continuing interest to
organizations (Beck, 1982; Brennan, 1982; Collings, 1982;
Conrad, 1987; Cunningham, 1982; Peuer, 1985; Fielding,
1979; Fielding, 1982; Hartman and Cozzetto, 1984; Pyle,
1979; Rogers et al., 1981; Shephard, 1989; Smith et al.,
1986; Spilman et al., 1986).
Worksite physical fitness facilities for
employees, like wellness programs in general, owe their
success primarily to convenience. According to Haskell
and Blair (1982), their close proximity "can eliminate
many of the reasons adults have for not exercising
regularly. They do not have to locate a facility, drive
somewhere else, find a parking place, or get concerned
about transporting equipment and clothing" (p. 263).
Research has also indicated that proximity to an exercise
facility is a factor in physical fitness participation
(Falls et al., 1980) .
Although worksite physical fitness facilities are
primarily found in the U.S. private sector at companies
such as Kimberly-Clark, Xerox, and the Adolph COors

Company, the public sector has more recently recognized
the value of employee physical fitness.
Employee Fitness in the Federal Workplace
Although the history of worksite physical fitness
can be traced back to the late 1800s, the concept of
employee physical conditioning at the worksite is
considered a more recent phenomena in the public sector
and among civilian agencies of the U.S. Federal
Government. Their very beginnings in the Federal sector
may be attributed to the U.S. military, which established
a gymnasium at the West Point Military Academy in 1817.
World War II brought a resurgence in interest of the
fitness level of the armed forces (Shephard, 1986b). The
Department of Defense has continued to emphasize the
importance of physical fitness in the military. Other
government agencies, such as the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and the U.S. Department of Treasury, have
also operated physical fitness programs for many years so
that their law enforcement personnel could meet
"readiness standards (Frerking, 1987). However, similar
provisions were usually not made for Federal civilian
employees, although some agencies did eventually offer
use of their worksite physical fitness facilities to a
broader segment of their workforce.

The Federal Government appears to lag behind the
private sector in the establishment of worksite fitness
facilities. This may be attributed to a number of
reasons. First, Public Law 79-658, passed in 1946,
provided for Federal agencies to establish health
services programs to promote and maintain the level of
physical and mental fitness of their civilian employees.
But, the law only authorized, not mandated, agencies to
offer health protection and disease prevention programs.
It also did not include specific provisions for the
implementation of employee physical fitness facilities
and related programs. Second, according to several
observers, the prevalence of "bureaucratic red tape, lack
of top management commitment . fear of public
criticism for spending tax dollars on health/fitness
programs" (Smith, 1985, p. 24) for Federal workers, and
the lack of suitable space have all contributed to the
lack of support for these kinds of facilities and
programs for Federal employees (Miller et al., 1989;
Constantine and Scott, 1989).
However, the last decade has witnessed a number
of developments which have fostered the establishment of
worksite fitness facilities in the Federal sector.
First, the Reagan Administration mandated the formation
of the Federal Interagency Health/Fitness Council in
1982. Created by the President's Council on Physical

Fitness and Sports in cooperation with the U.S. Office of
Personnel Management, this Council was charged with
interagency coordination of physical fitness and sports
activities in the Federal establishment (Executive Order
12345, 1982). More importantly, in the mid-1980s,
several key Federal agencies cooperated in the removal of
legal and regulatory impediments to the establishment of
civilian employee fitness facilities in the Federal
workplace. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in
the Executive Office of the President later transferred
its authority for Federal employee health and fitness
concerns to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management
(OPM), the agency already principally responsible for
Federal occupational health programs. In April, 1986 OMB
rescinded its Circular A-72, which addressed Federal
employee occupational health programs. At the same time
OPM revised the Federal Personnel Manual System, Chapter
792, "Federal Employees' Health and Counseling Programs,"
to include the establishment and operation of physical
fitness facilities within the scope of existing
occupational health programs, although subject to
prevailing budget constraints. The revised authority did
not extend to the use of Federal funds to pay for
employee memberships in private health clubs. In early
1987, the General Services Administration (GSA), the
agency responsible for the construction and operation of

Federal buildings, issued new regulations governing the
installation of physical fitness facilities in GSA-
controlled space. These regulations, which established
building standards for exercise, locker, and shower
rooms, were replaced in March, 1989 by revised
regulations. These revised guidelines for establishment
of Federal fitness programs and facilities required that
agencies include in their plans the results of a survey
evaluating employee interest, demonstration of a long-
term commitment to employees' fitness and health, and
equal opportunity for participation by all employees.
Perhaps more importantly, under the earlier regulation,
agencies sponsoring these kinds of facilities paid for
the construction of toilets and showers. GSA would now
pay for their installation under the new regulation.1
As a result of these relatively recent regulatory
changes, the number of Federal Government worksite
physical fitness facilities has grown dramatically.
Approximately 34 facilities of this kind were in
existence in fiscal year (FY) 1987. Twenty-six (26)
fitness facilities were opened in FY 1988. An estimated
22 fitness facilities were scheduled to be opened in FY
1989 (Constantine and Scott, 1989). However, accurate
figures on the number of existing and planned Federal
facilities are difficult to determine since no one agency
is responsible for the oversight of such facilities.

Like the private sector, the nature of worksite
fitness facilities and programs may vary greatly among
Federal agencies (Division of Federal Occupational and
Beneficiary Health Services, 1989). Some agencies offer
only showers for their employees. Other agencies may
provide a wide array of equipment and services. For
example, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Fitness
Center in Washington, D.C., which is managed by full-time
fitness professional staff, offers fitness testing, a
broad range of exercise equipment, and physical
conditioning and behavior modification classes to its
estimated 1,400 members. Many Federal facilities are
managed by employee associations, but are actually
administered by contract staff, such as the DOJ Fitness
Center. Contract staff, who usually administer these
programs in whole or part, are often used for general
program management and health appraisal and
medical/physical screening testing. Agency staff and
volunteers frequently complement contract staff in the
facility's administration.
Membership and participation in all civilian
agency fitness, facilities is voluntary. User fees also
vary among Federal agencies. Some agencies provide
Federal employees free access to facilities, while others
require payment of a fixed annual membership fee or
charge participants based on their salary. However, user

fees are nearly always lower than individual memberships
available at local fitness establishments (Constantine
and Scott, 1989).
A number of Federal agencies have recently been
active in promoting the development of worksite physical
fitness facilities in the Federal Government. OPM
established the Director's Award for Outstanding
Health/Fitness Programs in 1987 with the purpose of
having agencies create and improve these kinds of
facilities and programs as well as to identify those
which could serve as models for other agencies (U.S.
Office of Personnel Management, 1987). In the same year,
OPM established an Employee Health and Fitness Training
Course for Federal agency personnel, concluded a series
of regional conferences which had begun in 1985 on Public
Employee Health and Fitness Programs, and published a
comprehensive update to the FEDERAL FITKIT, the first
guide designed specifically to assist Federal agencies in
the establishment of worksite health and fitness
facilities. The Public Health Service of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services also recently
established standards and assessment criteria to assist
Federal managers in the planning, development, operation,
and evaluation of comprehensive physical fitness programs
(U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1988).

Physical fitness, generally defined in terms of
human physiological capacity, may be measured objectively
by using one of several methods available. However, the
most practical method for the study of physical fitness
levels in large populations is through surveying
individual physical activity patterns.
The interest in cultivation of personal health
and physical fitness has evolved through history. The
establishment of worksite physical fitness facilities and
employee wellness programs for private sector workers
during the last decade reflects the popular interest in
exercise participation as well as the intent of
organizations to contain spiraling health care costs.
The Federal Government's .interest in worksite
physical fitness promotion for its own workforce is a
more recent phenomena. However, several key Federal
agencies have taken important steps to revise government
rules and regulations in order to encourage the
establishment of onsite physical fitness facilities for
Federal employees. As a result, the number of these
k'inds of facilities that are sponsored by Federal
agencies continues to grow.
The following chapter will review the literature
of physical fitness as it relates to human physiological

and psychological functioning, with emphasis on employee
job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment,
and intent to stay with the organization.

1. Recent amendments to regulations and legal
opinions indicate that Federal agencies may also now pay
for employees to use off-site physical fitness facilities
owned and operated by private commercial establishments.

Available research suggests that an individual's
level of personal physical fitness has an effect on both
physiological and psychological states. A relatively
large body of research on the physiological benefits of
regular physical exercise already exists. To a lesser
extent, there also exists a body of research on the
psychological aspects of improved physical conditioning.
However, there is very little research available on the
social psychological nature of physical exercise and
related activities. Similarly, the literature on
worksite physical fitness facilities and programs,
particularly as they relate to job-related employee
attitudes and behavior of interest to organizations, is
rather limited.
The first part of this chapter will review the
literature of physical fitness in terms of its effects on
physiological and psychological functioning. The balance
of the chapter will examine the literature of employee
job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment,
and intent to stay or quit, and how these variables may
be affected by worker level of physical fitness and the

existence of employer-provided worksite physical fitness
Physical Fitness and Physiological Outcomes
The medical literature abounds with research on
the relationship between physical fitness and
physiological variables. Much of the literature,
particularly as it relates to occupational health, has
focused on the favorable effects of regular exercise on
certain coronary risk factors, such as hypertension,
levels of blood cholesterol and triglycerides, and
percent body fat. However, regular physical exercise has
also been credited with having a beneficial effect on
obesity, pulmonary function, resting heart rate, muscular
strength, flexibility, and other measures of personal
health. Research also suggests that an increase in an
individual's level of physical fitness may offer other
health benefits to the individual, such as reducing the
incidence of lower back problems and having a mediating
influence on the aging process.
Coronary heart disease (CHD), also referred to as
cardiovascular disease, is considered by the World Health
Organization "as potentially the greatest epidemic the
world has faced" (Pauly et al., 1982, p. 457) as well as
a leading contributor to adult mortality in most
industrialized nations (Falls et al., 1980). Morris

produced the first major research showing a statistically
significant relationship between physical activity and
CHD (Morris et al., 1953). Morris and his associates
found that British bus conductors, who had to climb up
and down double-decker buses to collect fares, had
manifestations of CHD only 70 percent as much as the more
sedentary bus drivers. Also, of greater significance,
conductors had only 53 percent of the incidence of
myocardial infarction and 46 percent of the overall CHD
mortality of the bus drivers (Thomas, 1979). Subsequent
research on physical activity and coronary risk has
confirmed the early findings of Morris and his colleagues
(Cooper et al., 1976; Dannenberg et al., 1989; Dawber,
1980; Falls et al., 1980; Fogle and Verdesca, 1975;
Folsom et al., 1985; Friedewald, 1985; Haskell, 1984;
Hickey et al., 1975; Horne, 1975; Kahn, 1963; Leon and
Blackburn, 1977; Montoye, 1969; Morris et al., 1973;
Morrison et al., 1984; Pate and Blair, 1983; Shephard,
1977; Siscovick et al., 1985).
Research on public and private sector employer-
sponsored worksite physical conditioning programs for
workers has also demonstrated their value for
significantly reducing CHD risks among participants
(Barnard and Anthony, 1980; Bjurstrom and Alexiou, 1978;
Dedmon et al., 1979; Pauly et al., 1982). Other
available research, particularly that conducted in

occupational settings, has indicated the value of
physical exercise in hypertension control (Paolone et
al., 1976; Shephard, 1987; Siscovick et al., 1985);
reducing obesity and percent body fat (Cox et al., 1981;
Paolone et al., 1976; Shephard, 1987); increasing aerobic
power (Cox et al., 1981; Massie and Shephard, 1971);
promoting greater muscular strength and flexibility (Cox
et al., 1981; Falls et al., 1980; Rhodes and Dunwoody,
1980); and in the prevention and control of lower back
problems (Pollock et al., 1978), diabetes, and
osteoporosis (Shephard, 1987; Siscovick et al., 1985).
The value of physical exercise in mediating the negative
effects of the natural human aging process has also been
recognized (Ostrow, 1984; Shephard, 1987). A lower
incidence of cancer and mortality in general has also
been associated with exercise and physical fitness (Blair
et al., 1989; Ekelund et al., 1988; Kohl et al., 1988;
Severson et al., 1989; Slattery et al., 1989; Vena et
al., 1985).
Physical Fitness and Psychological Outcomes
A relationship is believed to exist between
physical fitness and certain psychological variables.
Many individuals who participate in physical fitness
activities report that they "feel better and experience
other psychological benefits, lending credence to the

age-old concept of a healthy mind in a healthy body.
But, as one observer points out, "Never have so many said
so much with so little research support" (Lion, 1978, p.
1215). However, a body of literature has continued to
grow in support of subjective observations that an
individual's participation in strenuous physical activity
also has beneficial psychological effects. Research
suggests that it may provide reduced levels of stress,
anxiety and depression; improved self-concept; and better
mental performance. Also, available research suggests
that physically fit subjects exhibit a number of
desirable personality traits. The balance of this
section will briefly address supporting research.
Physical exercise is widely considered to be a
natural and effective antidote for human "stress," a
concept defined by Hans Selye as the "non-specific
response of the body to any demand made upon it" by a
dynamic external environment (Selye, 1974, p. 14).
Although the existence of stress is an accepted part of
life, recent surveys indicate that 32 percent of
Americans report being under a great deal of stress at
least several days a week, with women and those
individuals in the 40 to 49 years old age group
experiencing the greatest stress (Rodale et al., 1988).
Stress reactions, in response to ever increasing
environmental demands placed on human adaptability by

contemporary society, have both physiological and
psychological dimensions. Physiologically, these
reactions take the form of increases in blood pressure,
sweating, faster heart and breathing rates, and greater
blood flow to the muscles. Often referred to as the
"fight-or-flight" response, stress is usually associated
with increased human performance, but only up to a point.
By contributing to high blood pressure, a heart attack,
or stroke, stress can also have deleterious effects on
the individual who cannot respond appropriately, that is,
by fighting, running, or coping in some way (Benson and
Allen, 1980).
Stress has also been often associated with "Type
A" behavioral patterns, which is described as an
overt behavioral syndrome or life style . .
characterized by extremes of competitiveness,
striving for achievement, agressiveness [sic]
. . haste, impatience, restlessness, hyper-
alertness, explosiveness of speech, tenseness of
facial musculature, and feelings of being under the
pressure of time and under the challenge of
responsibility (Pollock et al., 1978, p. 4).
Type A behavior, in turn, has been closely linked to high
CHD risk (Pollock et al., 1978).
Physical exercise is widely considered as one
proven method for countering the harmful effects of
stress. Since the physiological adjustments accompanying
the fight-or-flight response prepare the individual for
physical activity, it is believed that engaging in

exercise can "burn off" the response's negative
physiological effects by permitting the individual to
react "in the manner nature intended" (Benson and Allen,
1980, p. 87). Research supports the theory that repeated
physical exercise serves to "condition" the individual's
stress adaptation mechanism through the increased
sensitization and better adjustment capabilities of the
adrenal glands and autonomic nervous system (Falls et
al., 1980; Felts and Vaccaro, 1988; Holmes and Roth,
1988; Keller and Seraganian, 1984; Michael, 1957;
Shephard, 1986a; Shephard, 1986b; Sinyor et al., 1983).
Several studies have also suggested the value of exercise
in reducing the symptoms of coronary-prone Type A
behavior, such as anger and frustration (Taylor et al.,
1985) .
Physical exercise is also believed to alleviate
anxiety and depression, which have been characterized as
"two undesirable psychological states which have reached
pandemic proportions" and now affect much of the
population (Pollock et al., 1978, p. 3). A number of
researchers have reported that physical activity reduces
levels of anxiety (Baun et al., 1987; Felts and Vaccaro,
1988; Douglas, 1976; Labbe et al., 1988; Ledwidge, 1980;
Lion, 1978; Morgan and Horstman, 1976; Shephard, 1983;
Sime, 1984) and depression (Baun et al., 1987; Folkins,
1976; Jasnoski, 1988; Labbe et al., 1988; Ledwidge, 1980;

Morgan et al., 1970; Pollock et al., 1978; Shephard,
1983; Sime, 1984; Taylor et al., 1985).
Available research also suggests a positive
relationship between perceived or real physical fitness
and self-concept (Collingwood and Willett, 1971; Palls et
al., 1980; Heaps, 1978; Henderson, 1974; Hughes, 1984;
King et al., 1989; MacMahon and Gross, 1988; White,
1973). According to some researchers, "physical fitness
determined on the basis of perceived or actual physical
performance, seems an important aspect of the construct
of self-concept" (Leonardson, 1977, p. 62) .
Less research has been conducted on the effects
of exercise, both beneficial and deleterious, on mental
functioning. However, existing research suggests that
regular exercise improves cognitive functioning (Lichtman
and Poser, 1983; Ohlsson et al., 1975; Powell, 1975;
Sjoberg et al., 1975) and enhances learning processes and
intellectual development, perhaps through the
acceleration of psychomotor development (Shephard, 1983;
Shephard, 1986a). More recent research on physical
exercise and mental functioning has found a consistently
positive relationship between running, one of the most
popular forms of exercise, and enhanced creativity
(Hinkle and Tuckman, 1988).
Other research has examined the personality
traits of individuals as it related to their level of

physical conditioning. Researchers have reported that
physically fit individuals tend to be "more
intellectually inclined, emotionally stable, composed,
self-confident, easygoing, relaxed, less ambitious, and
unconventional" (Young and Ismail, 1976a, p. 513) than
those that are less fit (Rhodes and Dunwoody, 1980; Young
and Ismail, 1977) and that they are "significantly more
intelligent, imaginative, reserved, self-sufficient,
sober, shy, and forthright than the general population"
(Hartung and Farge, 1977, p. 541).1 Individuals
exhibiting higher levels of physical fitness have also
been found to be "self-confident, psychologically
resilient, self-disciplined, and competitive" (Hogan,
1989, p. 287).
A critical review of the literature that attempts
to relate physical fitness training to improvements on
psychological variables found that although available
research suggests improvements in mood, self-concept, and
work behavior, the empirical support for its effects on
cognitive functioning are less clear (Folkins and Sime,
1981). More importantly, the authors observed that
studies of physical fitness effects on psychological
health are, in general, poorly designed. They also
concluded that there are other significant methodological
concerns, aside from design problems, which would need to
be addressed by future researchers in this area.2

reviews of the literature on the psychological effects of
physical exercise have also confirmed the prevalence of
methodological weaknesses in research on the
psychological benefits of physical fitness training and
exercise participation (Hughes, 1984; Taylor et al.,
1985).3 Several observers also note that exercise
participation may actually have negative psychological
effects, such as addiction to exercise and its
corresponding decrease in job and marriage involvement
(Baun et al., 1987; Hughes, 1984; Taylor et al., 1985).
However, additional research needs to be conducted in
this area.
Employee Physical Fitness and Organizational Outcomes
It has long been known that by attending to the
psychological needs of workers, organizations can reap
benefits in the form of greater job satisfaction,
increased morale, and less turnover among their
More recently, the importance of the
physiological well-being of workers as a component of
organizational vitality has been recognized. The outcome
of studies conducted during the last several decades
indicate that an increase in the physical fitness level
of workers bring a number of organizational benefits.
For example, although research findings on the effects of

employee physical fitness level on work productivity and
performance are inconclusive, they suggest the existence
of a positive relationship (Bernacki and Baun, 1984;
Blair et al., 1980; Donoghue, 1977; Driver and Ratliff,
1982; Edwards and Gettman, 1980; Frew and Bruning, 1987;
Haskell and Blair, 1982; Howard and Mikalachki, 1979;
Oden et al., 1989; Shephard, 1986b; Shephard et al.,
1980a; Stallings et al., 1975). Similarly, research on
the ability of employee physical fitness to reduce
absenteeism (Baun et al., 1986; Bonilla, 1989; Cox et
al., 1981; Donoghue, 1977; Hoffman and Hobson, 1984;
Shephard 1986a; Shephard 1986b; Song et al., 1982;
Timmons and Middleton, 1986); lower employee health and
medical costs (Baun et al., 1986; Bly et al., 1986;
Herzlinger and Calkins, 1986; Shephard, 1983; Shephard et
al., 1982; Wright, 1982) and reduce the incidence of on-
the-job accidents and injuries (Barnard and Anthony,
1980; Driver and Ratliff, 1982; Shephard, 1986a; Shephard
1986b) has also been inconclusive, but suggests the
existence of positive relationships.
In recent years, organizations have sought to
integrate the psychological and physiological
perspectives of the worker through the development of
worksite health promotion or wellness programs which
emphasize the importance of individual responsibility for
personal fitness. The experience of American business

continues to suggest that there are significant benefits
to be realized by the sponsorship of worksite physical
fitness facilities as an integral component, of employee
health promotion and wellness programs.
The balance of this chapter will survey the
literature available on the relationship between level of
employee physical fitness, worksite physical fitness
facilities, and psychosocial variables of continuing
interest to organizations and which are the principal
focus of this study: employee job stress, job
satisfaction, organizational commitment, and attitudes
relating to a worker's intent to stay or quit. This
discussion will also address the effects of other
variables on these job-related attitudes and behaviors.4
Job Stress
An individual's level of overall personal stress
may be a byproduct of his job. Although no common
definition or conceptualization of job or work-related
stress is available (Schuler, 1980), Newman and Beehr
(1979), after a comprehensive review of related research,
have defined it as "a situation wherein job related
factors interact with the worker to change (i.e., disrupt
or enhance) his or her psychological and/or physiological
condition such that the person (i.e., mind-body) is
forced to deviate from normal functioning" (p. 1).

Specific sources of work-related stress may
include organizational structure, organizational change,
leader behavior, role conflict and ambiguity, work
overload, lack of autonomy, working conditions, and
inadequate group support (Hopper, 1988; Ivancevich and
Matteson, 1980; Ivancevich et al., 1983; Kahn, 1987; Katz
and Kahn, 1978; Quick and Quick, 1984; Quick et al.,
1985; Schuler, 1980; Schwartz, 1982). Research also
suggests that the organizational "environment,
particularly the frustrations and deprivations associated
with bureaucracy and the lack of power, activates the
defenses against anger and rage that in turn lead to
[stress] symptom formation" (Zaleznik et al., 1977, p.
Kets de Vries (1979) observes that chronic
disease due to job-related stress has dire consequences
for the organization, including "work below capacity,
inefficiencies on the job, output problems, excessive
absenteeism, morale problems . labor unrest. . .
[and the] premature death of highly trained executives"
(p. 4). Others also acknowledge the prevalence of stress
in the workplace and its negative effects on the
organization, such as a higher rate of accidents;
increased theft, sabotage, and vandalism; higher costs
for property, medical, and casualty insurance; more
grievances; greater job dissatisfaction; and an overall

decrease in organizational effectiveness (Benner, 1984;
Fraser, 1983; Ivancevich and Matteson, 1980; Ivancevich
et al., 1983; Voluck and Abramson, 1987; Wolf and
Finestone, 1986; Zaccaro and Riley, 1987). In addition,
stress-related disability compensation claims, filed by
workers in response to psychological job pressures, have
shown a steady increase in the last decade and now
account for 14 percent of all occupational disease claims
(West and West, 1989). Observers note that the courts
have given stress-related claims a sympathetic ear and
that employees can win them even in the absence of
physical symptoms (Adams, 1987; Voluck and Abramson,
1987). Quick and others (1985) identify the indirect
costs of job stress to the organization as the "loss of
vitality, communication breakdowns, faulty decision
making, decline in the quality of work relations, and
opportunity costs associated with sluggish responses to
changing business environments" (p. 132). Estimates of
the total cost of stress range from $75 to $150 billion a
year (Nykodym and George, 1989; West and West, 1989).
A number of personal and organizational
strategies are available for responding to job stress
(Hopper, 1988; Ivancevich et al., 1983; Kahn, 1987; Kets
de Vries, 1979; Newman and Beehr, 1979; Nykodym and
George, 1989; West and West, 1989). Personal approaches
to stress management include meditation, biofeedback,

exercise, counseling; and use of prescription drugs
(Davis, 1981; Ivancevich and Matteson, 1980; Quick and
Quick, 1984; Zaccaro and Riley, 1987). Organizational
approaches for managing stress include job redesign or
enrichment, altered reward systems, changing workflows
and schedules, the provision of career counseling,
modification of organizational structures and climates,
improvements in physical environment, and the
establishment of worksite physical fitness facilities
(Alexander, 1988; Baun et al., 1987; Hopper, 1988;
Ivancevich and Matteson, 1980; Quick and Quick, 1984;
Quick et al., 1985).
As noted earlier, physical exercise is considered
to be a natural and effective method for the reduction of
stress. Worksite physical fitness facilities are
considered to be of value in reducing employee job stress
by providing an opportunity for physical exercise.
Shephard (1986b) suggests that employee participation in
worksite fitness programs may reduce job stress through
direct and indirect mechanisms, including a
matching of physical stamina to task demands, the
relief of boredom, provision of an outlet for the
tensions associated with an excessive mental
load, and an improvement of attitudes towards the
company (p. 58).
It has also been suggested that "just the escape
from routine job-related tasks to exercise alone or in a

social setting . may provide a natural and socially
acceptable release from stress or tension" (Haskell and
Blair, 1982, p. 255). Although some research suggests
the value of worksite fitness facilities in reducing job
stress among workers (Rhodes and Dunwoody, 1980), there
is still relatively little empirical evidence to support
this common view.
Job Satisfaction
Observers have noted how the large number of
books and articles that have appeared on the subject of
job satisfaction since the 1930s demonstrate a broad
professional interest in this topic (Gruneberg, 1976;
Grurieberg, 1979; Hopkins, 1983; Locke, 1969; Locke, 1970;
Mottaz, 1985; Mottaz, 1987). The size of the research
literature also suggests the complexity of this worker
attitude as well as the relative ease in collecting data
on job satisfaction through the use of standardized
surveys. In addition, an understanding of factors
affecting job satisfaction is of value in improving the
general well-being of most people, who spend a large part
of their daily lives in the workplace (Gruneberg, 1979).
Perhaps more importantly, job satisfaction has been found
to be consistently related to certain important worker
behaviors, including absenteeism, turnover, and worker

productivity, which have a corresponding effect on
organizational effectiveness (Mottaz, 1987; Rambo, 1982).
Although a clear consensus on the meaning of the
term "job satisfaction" does not exist, a number of
different conceptual and operational definitions have
been developed by researchers in the field (Wanous and
Lawler, 1972). Locke (1969) offers one of the more
commonly referenced definitions, characterizing it as
"the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the
appraisal of one's job as achieving or facilitating the
achievement of one's job values" (p. 316). Similarly,
Mottaz defines it as "a positive affective response
resulting from an evaluation of the total work situation
(1987, p. 541). . [It exists as a] positive
orientation toward work based upon a congruency between
the worker's perception of the work situation (along a
variety of work dimensions) and his/her work values
regarding those same dimensions" (1985, p. 366).
There is some disagreement among researchers as
to what workers base their evaluation of job satisfaction
on, although it "is generally considered to be a function
of work-related rewards and values" (Mottaz, 1987, p.
542). Four general theoretical approaches to the concept
of job satisfaction have been observed in the literature
(Rambo, 1982). The first, represented by the work of
Vroom (1964), refers to the worker's evaluation of job

satisfaction being based on their reaction to job
experiences that have already taken place as well as
their expectations of events that have not yet occurred.
This theory of job satisfaction may be found in his
expectancy/valence theory. According to Vroom,
"expectancy" relates to a worker's assessment of the
probability of attaining a desired outcome and "valence"
relates to an worker's values (Lutrin and Settle, 1976;
Steers and Porter, 1975). With respect to job
satisfaction, valence relates to the nature of rewards
and punishments that could be applied to them at work.
Therefore, employees
who are satisfied with their jobs are those who,
when they think of the job, tend to anticipate
outcomes which produce positive emotions. They
think of the job as having good potential for
making them feel good. Workers who are
dissatisfied with the job are those who
anticipate negative outcomes from their work.
When these workers consider the future, they
anticipate outcomes that will make them feel bad
(Rambo, 1982).
The second approach, represented by the works of
Maslow, Herzberg, and Porter, defines job satisfaction in
terms of need satisfaction, i.e., the extent to which the
job has fulfilled the psychological needs of the
individual worker (Gruneberg, 1976; Gruneberg, 1979;
Herzberg, 1966; Hopkins, 1983; Steers and Porter, 1975).
According to Maslow's need hierarchy theory,
individuals act to satisfy an ascending hierarchy of

human needs. The satisfaction of basic physiological and
material needs (food, water, shelter, and sex) are found
at the base of the hierarchy. Needs for personal safety
and minimum job security are next in the ascending
hierarchy, followed by social needs (group acceptance and
beneficial interpersonal relationships) and then certain
psychological needs, such as ego satisfaction and
independence. "Self-actualization, feelings of personal
fulfillment from using one's creative abilities and
independence to the greatest degree possible, is located
at the top of Maslow's hierarchy (Lutrin and Settle,
Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, also
referred to as the two-factor theory of motivation, is
based on the assumption that factors related to job
satisfaction, such as the task itself, achievement
recognition, or status, are different from those related
to job dissatisfaction, such as organizational rules and
policies, peer relations, salary, and physical working
conditions. Research conducted by Herzberg also found
that the intangible aspects of jobs, such as recognition,
opportunities for initiative and creativity, were greater
contributors to job satisfaction than tangible job
features, such as salary and fringe benefits (Gordon,
1982) .

Porter contends that job satisfaction will exist
when there is little or no discrepancy between certain
need fulfilling conditions employees expect and those
they actually experience in a job. Job dissatisfaction
increases when the discrepancy between what the employee
believes should be and what actually is widens.
Therefore, Porter defines job satisfaction in terms of
the employee's "perception of deficiencies in need
fulfillment that exist in the job environment" (Rambo,
1982, p. 209).
The third approach, advanced by Locke (1969),
distinguishes between need fulfillment and value
attainment of the worker. According to Locke, an
evaluation of job satisfaction is based on the extent to
which a job yields things that are valued by the
employee. He states that "job satisfaction and
dissatisfaction are a function of the perceived
relationship between what one wants from one's job and
what one perceives it as offering or entailing" (p. 316),
with the lower the discrepancy between wants and
outcomes, the greater the level of job satisfaction
The fourth approach to the concept of job
satisfaction defines it in terms of the extent to which
employees perceive their jobs as providing a distribution
of outcomes that are seen as equitable. In other words,

the degree of equity or inequity (the ratio of what an
individual puts into a job, such as effort, relative to
what they receive, such as pay, when compared to relevant
others) is considered a major determinant of job
satisfaction (Adams, 1975; Steers and Porter, 1975).
Host of the research on job satisfaction has
focused on identification of its antecedents or
determinants, that is, those variables that influence it.
Based on the results of prior research, these
determinants of work attitudes may be classified into
three principal groups: characteristics of the
individual, i.e., personal demographics; the nature of
task or job itself, i.e., intrinsic rewards; and the work
setting, i.e., extrinsic rewards (Mottaz, 1987).
The demographic characteristics of workers, such
as age, gender, race, and level of education, have often
been studied to determine what effect, if any, they may
have on job satisfaction. In general, the outcome of
research on how individual demographic differences are
associated with job satisfaction has been inconsistent
(Gruneberg, 1976; Gruneberg, 1979; Hopkins, 1983; Nash,
1985; Rambo, 1982; Yavaprabhas, 1984). However, some
trends in research findings are evident. For example,
available research suggests the existence of a positive
relationship between age and job satisfaction. That is,
the older the worker, the higher the level of job

satisfaction (Gruneberg, 1979; Hopkins, 1983; Nash, 1985
Rambo, 1982; Rhodes, 1983; Saleh and Otis, 1976). Other
studies have shown a significant association between race
and job satisfaction, with black workers often reporting
lower levels of work satisfaction when compared to white
employees (Gruneberg, 1979; Hopkins, 1983; Rambo, 1982).
Existing research also indicates that there may be very
little or no effect of certain personal characteristics
on job satisfaction. For example, although several
studies show a significant association between gender and
job satisfaction, with males usually more satisfied than
females (Gruneberg, 1979; Hulin and Smith, 1976), other
research has demonstrated that females experience more
job satisfaction (Hopkins, 1983; Summers and DeCotiis,
1988) or that no significant differences between the
sexes with respect to this work attitude exist
(Gruneberg, 1979; Mottaz, 1986; Nash, 1985; Rambo, 1982;
Summers and DeCotiis, 1988). Similarly, although a
number of studies report a relationship between level of
education and job satisfaction (Klein and Maher, 1976),
associations have been reported to be both positive and
negative (Gruneberg, 1979; Rambo, 1982; Hopkins, 1983;
Nash, 1985).
The job-related personal characteristics of
occupational level, job status, and job and

organizational tenure, have also been studied to
determine their effect, if any, on job satisfaction.
In terms of occupational level and job status,
overall job satisfaction has been reported to be greater
among those higher in the organizational structure, such
as managers, and those higher in social status, such as
those in professional jobs (Hopkins, 1983; Rambo, 1982).
Job tenure has also been positively associated with job
satisfaction, that is, satisfaction increases with tenure
(Gruneberg, 1979; Hopkins, 1983; Nash, 1985; Rambo,
However, research on the relationship between the
job characteristics of workers and job satisfaction
continue to have inconclusive results. For example, a
meta-analysis of research on six demographic and job-
related characteristics (age, race, gender, education,
job tenure, and organizational tenure) from 21 studies on
job satisfaction found that, except for age and
organizational tenure, associations did not differ
significantly from zero, although strength and patterns
of association did differ by organization type (Brush et
al., 1987).
Intrinsic work rewards, such as task autonomy,
i.e., the degree of self-direction in task performance;
task involvement, i.e., whether work is interesting or
rewarding; task significance, i.e.,
if the task is

perceived as significant or a meaningful contribution to
the work process; and the challenging nature of the job,
are considered to be strong determinants of work
attitudes, particularly job satisfaction (Gruneberg,
1979; Mottaz, 1987).
Research has indicated that extrinsic work
rewards, such as pay, general working conditions, fringe
benefits, promotional opportunities, and relations with
supervisors and co-workers, are also important
determinants of job satisfaction, but to a lesser degree
than intrinsic rewards (Gruneberg, 1979; Mottaz, 1985;
Mottaz, 1987). Other job context factors, such as
organizational climate, structure, and size, may also
influence the degree of job satisfaction (Gruneberg,
1979; Kovach, 1977).
Job satisfaction, when treated as an independent
variable, has also been associated with the presence or
absence of other important worker attitudes, such as
organizational commitment (Bateman and Strasser, 1984;
Hopkins, 1983; Mottaz, 1987); absenteeism (Gruneberg,
1979; Metzner and Mann, 1976); turnover (Carsten and
Spector, 1987; Farrell and Rusbult, 1981; Gruneberg,
1979; Hulin, 1976); performance (Greene, 1975; Lawler and
Porter, 1976; Porter and Lawler, 1968; Schwab and
Cummings, 1973; Shore and Martin, 1989); productivity
(Katzell and Yankelovich, 1975); physical and mental

health (Gruneberg, 1979); and life satisfaction (Steiner
and Truxillo, 1989).
The nature of job satisfaction, specifically as
it relates to public sector employees, has also been
examined in the literature, although to a much lesser
extent. According to Yavaprabhas (1984) existing
research has "dealt mostly with documenting the
differences in job satisfaction across various categories
of public employees rather than explaining why it occurs"
(p. 32). Recent research on job satisfaction among
public employees has taken a number of different
approaches, including studies of municipal employees
(Arminana, 1985), State government employees (Hopkins,
1983), a comparison of State government professionals and
blue-collar workers (Cherniss and Kane, 1987), entry-
level employees (Koch and Steers, 1978), and Federal
Government employees (Yavaprabhas, 1984).
In terms of job satisfaction among Federal
Government employees, a 1986 survey conducted by the U.S.
Merit Systems Protection Board (1987) found that a large
majority of workers have positive attitudes toward their
jobs. This was considered partly attributable to the
quality of supervision, the good use made of their skills
and abilities, and the presence of meaningful work.
However, survey respondents also indicated that they
believed that they were paid less than their non-Federal

counterparts, with the higher the respondent's pay grade
level, the less likely they were to consider salary as a
reason to continue employment with the Federal
It is widely believed that a positive
relationship exists between employee levels of physical
fitness and job satisfaction and morale, although limited
research is available to support this belief. Some
contend that greater job satisfaction is the result of a
more enhanced self-concept, that is, "people who feel
better about themselves will usually have a greater
amount of satisfaction with the work they do" (Hoffman
and Hobson, 1984, p. 107). However, since the
relationship between self-concept and job satisfaction is
not addressed in the research literature, the linkage
between fitness training and job satisfaction, if it
exists, must be considered a tenuous one.
It is also presumed that a greater level of job
satisfaction has a corresponding favorable effect on
organizational productivity (Katzell and Yankelovich,
1975). However, as one observer notes, "the question
remains as to whether an increase of worker satisfaction
could improve industrial performance" (Shephard, 1986a,
p. 92).
A Canadian study of a worksite physical fitness
program measured job satisfaction, morale, and general

perceptions of work among employees. The study found
that 47 percent of the worksite exercise program
participants reported greater alertness, improved
relations with co-workers and supervisors, and found
their work less routine and more enjoyable since
beginning the fitness program. The remaining exercisers
reported no change in the same attitudinal measures.
However, no significant differences were found in job
satisfaction between exercisers and a nonexercising
control group. Significant differences in job
satisfaction also were not found between pre- and post-
tests for exercise program participants. Researchers
concluded that the finding of no significant change for
the experimental group might be due to a weakness of the
measuring instrument (Cox et al., 1981).
Another study found that participants in a
company-sponsored fitness program experienced a 50
percent increase in job satisfaction after 6 months in
the program while the nonexercising control group had a
14 percent increase during the same period (Frew and
Bruning, 1987). Results for a similar study showed a
positive relationship between an employee fitness program
and job satisfaction, but statistical significance was
not found (Oden et al., 1989).
The existence of employer-provided worksite
physical fitness facilities, considered a fringe benefit

of employment and, therefore, an extrinsic work reward,
has not been identified in the research literature as a
significant factor affecting job satisfaction. However,
the literature does not take into account the fact that
personal physical fitness has become a greater value
among the general public in the last few decades. Taking
into consideration the theory that worker job
satisfaction is based on need fulfillment consistent with
personal values (Locke, 1969), the availability of
physical fitness facilities may be important as a factor
antecedent to job satisfaction for those individuals who
more highly value the development and maintenance of a
greater level of personal physical fitness.
Organizational Commitment
Organizational commitment is another work-related
attitude often studied by researchers. The demonstrated
interest in the concept of organizational commitment may
be attributed to several reasons, including: it
increases our understanding of how individuals identify
with certain aspects of their environment; it has been
found to be a relatively reliable indicator of certain
important employee behaviors, such as turnover and
absenteeism; and its enhancement has long been a concern
to managers and researchers (Mowday et al., 1982; Welsch
and LaVan, 1981).

Like the concept of job satisfaction, there is
little consensus on the meaning of the term, with the
existence of a number of different conceptual and
operational definitions for organizational commitment
(Angle and Perry, 1981; Becker, 1960; Buchanan, 1974;
Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972; Marsh and Mannari, 1977;
Meyer et al., 1989; Mottaz, 1987; Mowday et al., 1979;
Mowday et al., 1982; Penley and Gould, 1988; Porter et
al., 1974; Reichers, 1985; Salancik, 1977; Shoemaker et
al., 1977; Steers, 1977).
Mowday, Steers, and Porter (1979) have developed
one of the most popular definitions for organizational
commitment. They define it as
the relative strength of an individual's
identification with and involvement in a
particular organization. It can be characterized
by at least three related factors: (1) a strong
belief in and acceptance of the organization's
goals and values; (2) a willingness to exert
considerable effort on behalf of the
organization; and (3) a strong desire to maintain
membership in the organization (p. 226).
According to the Mowday, Steers, and Porter,
organizational commitment is not just passive loyalty, it
is an active relationship where individuals are willing
to make personal contributions to promote their
organization's well being. Therefore, commitment may "be
inferred not only from the expressions of an individual's
beliefs and opinions but also from his or her actions"
(Mowday et al., 1979, p. 226).

The concept of organizational commitment is
distinguished from the related concept of job
satisfaction in that the former is viewed as a more
global construct, emphasizing an employee's attachment to
the employing organization as a whole, including its
goals and values. However, job satisfaction is
considered a reflection of an individual's response to
their specific task environment, i.e., their job or
certain aspects of their job. Organizational commitment
is also considered to be a more stable attitude over time
than job satisfaction (Mowday et al., 1979).
Since all workers do not develop attachments to
their employing organizations that are equally strong,
discovering the antecedents of organizational commitment
has been an important research topic. Angle and Perry
(1983) posit the existence of two general types of models
for antecedents of organizational commitment: the
member-based model and the organization-based model.
Member-based models consider the locus of
commitment to reside in the attributes and actions of the
individual. That is, certain ''foregone events have
certain cost or forfeiture implications for the present
and have therefore placed restraints on the person's
options (Angle and Perry, 1983, p. 125). Howard
Becker's (1960) theory of side-bets is considered to be
representative of this approach. This theory suggests

that an individual places side-bets, i.e., makes
investments in his organization or occupational field, by
staking something valued in it. Therefore,
organizational or occupational commitment increases with
the number of side-bets at stake. Commitment is then
primarily a matter of accrued investments. While
partly a function of personal choice, such
incremental investments are mostly a result of
passing through organizational and career
structures. Implicit is the idea that as
investments or side-bets increase over time the
attractiveness of other organizations or
occupations tends to decline (Alutto et al.,
1973, p. 448).
A number of personal characteristics are
considered to be important variables in the member-based
model, many of which qualify as side-bet investments.
These include age, sex, marital status, educational
level, organizational tenure, years of total experience,
and others.
The organization-based model is based on the
concept of commitment as a function of how the employee
has been treated by the organization. In other words, in
a reciprocal arrangement based on a "psychological
contract", the individual "brings need (sic) and goals to
an organization and agrees to supply her or his skills
and energies in exchange for organizational resources
capable of satisfying those needs and goals" (Angle and
Perry, 1983, p. 127).5

Prior research has indicated the existence of a
relationship between a number of personal characteristics
and organizational commitment. For example, it has been
positively related to age (Alutto et al., 1973; Angle and
Perry, 1981; Angle and Perry, 1983; Hanlon, 1986;
Hrebiniak and Alutto, 1972; Mowday, et al., 1982;
Shoemaker et al., 1977; Steers, 1977; Welsch and LaVan,
1981); organizational tenure (Angle and Perry, 1983;
Buchanan, 1974; Mowday et al., 1982); and years of
experience (Alutto et al., 1973; Hrebiniak and Alutto,
1972). Organizational commitment has also been found to
have positive and negative associations with education
(Angle and Perry, 1981; Angle and Perry, 1983; Bateman
and Strasser, 1984; Mottaz, 1987; Steers, 1977; Welsch
and LaVan, 1981), sex (Alutto et al., 1973; Angle and
Perry, 1981; Angle and Perry, 1983; Hrebiniak and Alutto,
1972), and marital status (Alutto et al., 1973).
However, as DeCotiis and Summers (1987) suggest, the
results of this research has been "consistently
unimpressive" (p. 449). Instead, research on
organizational commitment has demonstrated greater
support for the organization-based model (Angle and
Perry, 1983; Bateman and Strasser, 1984; Buchanan, 1974;
Eisenberger et al., 1990; Mottaz, 1987). This is
consistent with Steers' (1977) observation that people
come to organizations with certain needs,
desires, skills, and so forth, and expect to find

a work environment where they can utilize their
abilities and satisfy many of their basic needs.
When the organization provides such a vehicle
(for example, where it makes effective use of its
employees, is dependable, and so forth), the
likelihood of increasing commitment is apparently
enhanced (p. 53).
Organizational commitment has also been examined
as an independent variable with possible causal
relationships with a number of other variables of
interest to the organization, including job satisfaction
(Bateman and Strasser, 1984; Lee, 1971; Mottaz, 1987);
productivity and performance (Lee, 1971; Meyer et al.,
1989; Mowday et al., 1979; Steers, 1977); organizational
effectiveness (Angle and Perry, 1981); intent to quit
(Shore and Martin, 1989; Steers, 1977); and turnover
(Angle and Perry, 1981; Blau and Boal, 1989; DeCotiis and
Summers, 1987; Lee, 1971; Porter et al., 1974; Porter et
al., 1976; Mowday et al., 1979; Peters et al., 1981;
Steers, 1977; Williams and Hazer, 1986). In most cases,
research supports the existence of a positive
relationship between organizational commitment and other
employee psychosocial variables, but empirical work on
the specific nature of these relationships is lacking.
The existence of employer-provided worksite
physical fitness facilities may have a beneficial effect
on organizational commitment because the organization has
demonstrated an obvious interest in the health and
welfare of its employees. As part of the reciprocal or

exchange relationship suggested by the organization-based
model of organizational commitment, many employees,
especially those that value physical fitness as a
personal need and/or an individual goal, may become more
committed to their employing organization. As Falkenberg
(1987) observes:
One factor which has been identified as
influencing commitment is the extent to which an
organization is seen as dependable in carrying
out its commitment to employees. It is more
likely that an organization will be perceived as
concerned about employees* welfare if the
organization supports an identifiable activity
that is related more directly to employee goals
rather than company goals. . given the rising
participation in physical activity, employee
exercise programs address the personal needs of
many employees. Thus by supporting an employee
fitness program, a company can demonstrate
concern for employees' health and nonwork needs
(p. 516).
Also, although not addressed in the literature of
organizational commitment, workers that demonstrate the
ability to adhere to a physically demanding exercise
program may be more likely to exhibit other strong
commitment behavior, such as greater than average loyalty
to their job and employer. Additionally, an improvement
in a worker's level of physical fitness may somehow
increase his capacity for or willingness to making
organizational commitments. Additional research would be
necessary to support the existence of relationships based
on these observations.