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The Internet can be a valuable data collection tool for organizational psychology researchers. It can be less expensive than traditional paper-and-pencil survey methods, and the potential pool of participants is much larger. In addition, it can be used in situations where traditional data collection methods are not feasible, such as research involving sensitive issues such as negative employee attitudes or deviant behaviors at work. In this study, we examined the organizational attitudes of employees from various companies using (a) a snowball sample, who completed a traditional paper and pencil survey (n = 135), and (b) a sample recruited over the Internet, who completed an on-line survey (n = 220). Participants in both the non- Internet and the Internet group were asked to describe a negative incident involving their company, and answer a number of questions regarding how they felt about their company and how they behaved toward their company following the negative event. They also completed measures of organizational cynicism and job satisfaction. The two groups were compared on demographic characteristics and on their attitudes toward their organization. There were very few demographic differences between the two groups. The Internet group tended to be more cynical and to judge their organization more harshly than the non-Internet group; however, the response patterns of both groups were similar. These results suggest that, when used with caution, the Internet can be a viable method of conducting organizational research.


This article was originally published in CyberPsychology & Behavior, 5(4): 305-313. © 2002 Mary Ann Liebert