We have learnt many lessons highlighting the fact that while the impact of employees with positive mind can surely put an organization on the trajectory of success, the presence of employees with negative attitude can not only diffuse the already existing positive air but can halt the growth engine altogether and push the organization into disastrously irrecoverable state. Hence, understanding the minds of the employees is of paramount importance for initiating proactive steps to sustain the growth momentum. The authors have evolved a model, explained in a step by step tutorial manner, to read and classify employees’ attitude. The model employs K means clustering to construct an attitude reader and Rotation Forest to build an attitude classifier. Eventually, the model has been tested on a typical dataset pertaining to employees involved in train operations.
|Clustering, Classification, Attitude Classifier, Attitude Reader, Railways
|Many organizational catastrophes are created by men than the machines that do not normally fail, with proven fail
proof technologies in place. Executives of major corporations have often acknowledged the fact that the success and
failure of a company greatly relies on the attitude of the people and the worth of the people surpasses even the biggest
investment made on machines and materials. This is amply clear; when we look at the novel employee centric steps
such as flexible work hours, work-at-home, sponsored get togethers, family travel trips the top companies all over the
world adopt. These measures are directed at making the employees feel that the company is a great place to work.
Despite the fact that a lot of innovative minds work together to chalk out strategies to secure employees’ loyalty and
establish positive work atmosphere, the study and management of human dynamics in an organization evades all
approaches and continues to remain a formidable branch for study for ever, even with the availability of lot of analysis
methods. As regards the application of technologies, we come across myriad situations in which artificial intelligence
(AI) and data mining (DM) techniques are being used for fault pattern analysis through various sensor outputs, failure
predictions, solution recommendations etc. Digging into medical parameters of patients, survival predictions and
treatment recommendations are not uncommon. Applications into market analysis, customer purchase behaviour, bank
loan clearance etc. and image processing are a series of areas the researchers frequent upon. All these areas have been
visited and revisited by the scholars of computer science, each time trying to add a value in terms of algorithm,
methodology and analysis. This apart, dealing with human resources in an organization which is a herculean task has,
so far been the subject matter of social scientists and human resource managers. They resort to various analysis
techniques, mostly qualitative in nature, the efficacy of which is an ongoing debate. The supremacy of qualitative
versus quantitative methods and vice versa is also being continuously disputed, although the quantitative measurement
of any parameter brings out an objective perspective, much to the convictions of many. Not inclined to get entangled in
to the debate, the authors earnestly wish to present a DM model and say that the analysis of human dynamics can be
strengthened and validated by adopting the rich techniques available in data mining analytics. An in depth literature
survey highlights the fact that DM techniques can make greater inroads, filling many gaps, especially in analysis and
thereby mutually reinforcing the interdisciplinary element between computer and social sciences. Through this research
work, the authors specifically tend to evolve a model for study and analysis of human attitudes. The model, in its first
stage, measures the parameters quantitatively using a well designed questionnaire, transforms the model suitably to
qualitative one but carefully using numeric indices / labels with an aim of harnessing the power of DM algorithms, and progresses to analysis stage using clustering based attitude reader (AR) and finally ends up with the construction of an
attitude classifier (AC).
|A. Attitude: The Growth Driver:
|It is a proven fact that every successful organization has effectively invested on the most valuable assets-the people .
They are indispensably precious assets whose value is more than the capital or equipment. The leaders of such
organization have succeeded in creating an organizational culture that promotes positive attitude in its entire hierarchy.
A positive attitude in an organization promotes
| Team work
| Reduction of wastes
| Increased productivity
| Securing employee loyalty
|It is a matter of fact that today’s biggest problem is people problem. The people, if properly nurtured, are the valuable
assets and they become unbearable liabilities, otherwise. A Hardward university survey states that 80% of the times, the
organizations recruit the people on the basis of their attitude. If such is the importance given to the attitude, the
organizations need to read or assess the employees’ attitude on a time bound manner, in order to ensure that the attitude
level remains at its optimum and uncover potential issues even before they show up. Many factors go into shaping the
attitude of employees. The following factors broadly determine the attitude level in an organizational setup.
| Participation of employees on decision making process
| The position or designation they hold (the nature of work)
| Intra organizational interactions
| Instruction flow
| Work environs
| Employee welfare
| Grievance redress mechanism
|B. Problem Statement:
|Given the importance of attitude and its potential on productivity, every organization tends to measure the same, with
the help of human resource managers and/or social scientists, who most of the time, resort to qualitative assessment
which are relative indicators of the ground truths and also render the output of the study less appropriate for pattern
analysis. The top management will feel guided and strengthened if the outputs are provided in terms of quantitative
figures and emerging patterns. The ground truth when presented in the form of quantitative distributions and patterns
with the help of DM algorithms will equip the top management with evidence based insights and more objective
perspective of the issues under study. The authors are primarily motivated to evolve a generic model that is more
quantitative and appropriate for DM algorithms, for pattern generation and classification of the factors under study. A
secondary motivation of the authors is to confine the parameters of the study specific to an organization involved in
train operations. The organization is the largest employer having twelve lakh head counts, in the present context and is
responsible for the train operations in the country. The job demands high level of coordination, planning, execution
with many pressing constraints. The authors have chosen some of the job categories that handle sensitive operations
and try to investigate their attitude level, using the proposed model. The nature of the job with regard to the employee
categories chosen for study broadly involves
| Running trains.
| Inspection / Certification of carriages and wagons.
| Given the arduous nature, this calls for
| working at odd hours
| staying at out stations
| sustained mental concentration
| physical fitness
| Inspecting at isolated long rugged stretches, pit lines etc.
|These employees are known as safety categories of the organization. Despite slew of measures aimed at improving
their job readiness and satisfaction through subject refresher training, yoga, stress management, various benefits and
allowances, etc, their attitude seems to be low and calls for suitable intervention. It is a widely accepted fact that
managing the employees who run the trains is tougher than the others and the gamut of issues concerning these
employees is much pronounced and discussed at every managerial level and decision making process. Also the number
of these employees forms sizable chunk of the entire work force of the organization. Although the management tackles
the day to day issues by quick fix solutions, a systematic approach to study their attitude and analyse its pattern so that
their problems are addressed on a long term basis, is the need of the hour.
| Can we measure/ read their attitudes objectively?
| Can we look for any attitude pattern?
| Can we classify their attitude so that proactive steps can be initiated?
| Can we have a data mining based model more suitable for this kind of application?
|These are the pertinent issues the authors have addressed in this article. In this endeavour, they have attempted to
derive a model for reading and classifying the employees’ attitude.
|While there have been many research efforts directed at studying and bettering the performance of machineries, a
search to find relevant literature with regard to human resources, the understanding of which has always been a
daunting and challenging task even now for social scientists that too, with the abundance of analytical tools, yields
minimal results. More important, most of the studies are invariably bent on using methods such as variance, correlation
and regression for analysis. Resorting to DM algorithms for study appears to be near non existent. The following brief
account of relevant works by researchers bears evidence to this claim.
| addressed the issue of whether positive employee attitudes and behaviours influence business outcomes or vice
versa with data pertaining to regional restaurant chain, using cross-lagged regression analyses.  showed that attitude
towards pay is important for attracting employees while benefits are important for retaining them, using four years’
data with assessment done each year to examine the temporal variations in the relationships over time.  have used
machine learning techniques and a dictionary-based approach to detect comments expressing negative attitude of the
users. The data used were user generated online comments on You Tube.  attempted to answer questions about job
satisfaction and organizational commitment, by quantitative analysis of user questionnaire responses using hard Cmeans
algorithm for vectors of fuzzy sets.  analysed employee attitude data from 35 companies over 8 years using
lagged analyses and established a relationship between job satisfaction and organizational financial and market
performance (return on assets/earning per share). The relationship between personality traits and their influence on job
attitude has been studied by , using correlation and regression techniques.  used Theory of Reasoned Action
(TRA), one of the social science theories, to understand knowledge sharing behavior and how extrinsic rewards can
affect knowledge sharing attitude.  carried out correlation analysis and multiple stepwise regression analysis on
survey quantified results by SPSS software and explored the mutual relationships among the three factors namely
organizational commitment, employee satisfaction and work performance and gave recommendations to the
management, so as to establish better organizational atmosphere, improve the staffs' work attitude and enhance their job
performance.  tried to find the relationship between organizational politics, job satisfaction and organizational
commitment, using three popular instruments such as Perception of Organizational Politics Scale, Job Satisfaction
Survey and Organization Commitment Scale.  recorded significant attitude changes by subjecting the participants
to a class room simulation exercise that included answering a well constructed questionnaire.  in their study, used a
path model to analyze the so called three dimensions namely person to policy fit, person to supervisor fit and person to
coworker fit, and showed that overall person to organization fit was positively correlated to job satisfaction, and person
to supervisor fit had a direct effect on turnover attitude.  has taken workforce diversity in an organization as a
major objective and estimated employee attitudes toward diversity and compared the same with other organizations by
using survey method and statistical analysis.  analyzed the relationship among some basic demographic
characteristics of the employees such as their age, gender, level of education, work experience, EI levels, and their
work attitudes using questionnaire survey data from eight different enterprises and statistical analysis.  worked on predictor variables of college students' attitudes toward seeking professional psychological help, using regression and
variance analysis.  presented a simulation model, built on system dynamics methodology which is a mathematical
modeling technique to understand the behaviour of complex systems over time. They focused on enabling disabled
people to move from welfare to work by incorporating attitudes of disabled people and employers and bringing out key
factors that enable and encourage disabled people to take up jobs.
|A self explanatory pictorial representation of the proposed model is presented below. It shows the sequence of design
of questionnaire, dataset, construction of AR and AC and the proactive steps an organization can initiate for improved
|A questionnaire containing twenty five questions was prepared. The questions which are objective in nature are
directed at measuring the following attributes.
| Organizational commitment
| Satisfaction with work
| Satisfaction with pay
| Satisfaction with promotions
| Satisfaction with supervisor
| Satisfaction with job in general
| Intentions to quit
|Each question was based on 2-point response scale with straight “Yes” or “No”. A “Yes” response would get the
participant + 4 marks, while a “No” response, - 4 marks. The total score would be of + 100 or – 100 and is called as
attitude score. Thus the score was kept numeric in nature with an aim of making the response score amenable to
|The fields considered are presented in the Table 1. The fields were transformed so that DM tools can be applied. The
transformed fields are provided in Table 2. It can be noted that the domain of “attitude” field of the table has four
ranges that represent the intensity of attitude level. These four ranges were created by setting cut points using a free
data pre-processing tool called Data Preparator (DP).
MODEL REALIZATION AND DISCUSSION
|A. Experimental Tool:
|Weka 3.6.7 which is an Open Source Data Mining tool is considered for use. Written in Java and developed at
the University of Waikato, New Zealand, it is freely available under GNU General Public License. Weka stands for
Waikato Environment for Knowledge Analysis. Weka 3.6.7 is a collection of machine learning algorithms for data
mining tasks . It contains tools for Data pre processing, Classification, Regression, Clustering, Association rule
mining, Feature Selection and Data visualization.  gives an account of Weka interfaces.
|B. Attitude Reader:
|AR has been realized through K-means algorithm which is a rigid clusterer. Rigid clustering refers to partitioning
method in which a scheme called exclusive cluster separation is followed i.e. each data point belongs to exactly and
only one of the partitions. K means algorithm adopts such a partitioning scheme. It uses either the default Euclidean
distance or the Manhattan distance measures. If the Manhattan distance is used, then centroids are computed as the
component wise median rather than mean. K-means algorithm is applicable, when the mean of a set of objects is
defined but it is not possible to define means of nominal variables as we have transformed the data fields into ranges. In
such scenario, it outputs for each cluster, the frequency counts of the values of each nominal attribute. This feature can
be used to analyze nominal data by treating it as k way categorical variable with k different values or states and
accordingly creating data summary by either using a coding scheme for all nominal attributes or otherwise . To
understand the ground truth available in the data set in terms of frequency counts, K-means algorithm was hence
chosen and configured. The parameter configuration deals with setting the values for the important parameters of the
data mining software during experimental run. The key parameter values are set as below.
| displayStdDevs = True . This setting sends the frequency counts of the nominal variables to the output which
is the desired feature for the present context, otherwise it outputs standard deviations of numeric attributes
| distanceFunction = Euclidean distance or Manhattan distance
| number of clusters = 1. This is intentionally set so, as we are interested in generating the output of the entire
data set as one entity (cluster).
|The other values are allowed to be at their default setting. The output obtained is given in Table 3. The frequency
distributions are provided in Fig 2, 3, 4 that are self explanatory, for better understanding of the users. The ground truth
of the data set when presented in the form of frequency counts for the selected variables can better be visualized and understood by the users. It is iterated that K-means algorithm available in Weka is found to be efficient in generating
the outputs in terms of frequency counts.
|Fig 2 gives the frequency distribution of job titles available in the dataset. There were six job titles considered for this
|Fig 3 gives the frequency distribution of the measured attitude of the employees. The “attitude” was consolidated into
four ranges such as <-100_-50), <-50_0), <0_50) and <50_100>.
|Fig 4 gives the frequency distribution of the employees whose attitude falls in the range <-50_0). Similar such
distributions for other attitude ranges can be generated.
|C. Attitude Classifier:
|AC has been realized with the help of Classification algorithm which relies on inductive learning  in which a model
is developed using sufficient number of known example cases from the data tuples, often, exploiting experts’
knowledge. When class labels of the tuples are known, then, it is called as supervised learning. The set of tuples with
known class labels is used for training the learning function. The model trained on this training set is capable of
predicting future unseen cases using the previous knowledge. The aim here is to assign correct class to previously
unseen and unlabeled nominal data objects. The original dataset was given as input to the classifier algorithm “Rotation
Forest”. The field “attitude” was set as class variable. It was found that the classification accuracy was 86%. In order to
increase the classification accuracy, the data set was replicated so that sufficient tuples were made available for training
the classifier model. After data replication with help of DP, the accuracy went up to 99%. The experiments were
repeated using the other classifier algorithms. The results were found satisfactory. Rotation Forest algorithm with its
proven efficiency and accuracy  was used to classifying the employees’ attitudes. The algorithm’s out put summary
is provided below in Fig 5 and Fig 6.
|The main thrust of the article is to showcase the application suitability of DM methodologies for handling human
resource related issues. A generic model using data mining has been presented and its viability verified using
appropriate data set and algorithms. One part of the model has shown how to read attributes’ values in the form of
frequency counts, using clustering concept, resulting in the construction of Attitude Reader built on K means algorithm.
Attitude Classifier, the other part of the model built on Rotation Forest, a classification algorithm, demonstrated how it
can be used to classify human attitude for planning proactive steps, organization wide. The authors strongly feel that
data mining methodologies can go beyond just machines and sensor outputs and find DM appropriate for dealing with
human dynamics, in an organizational setup. They, through their model, stand convinced that social scientists can reap
the benefits by employing data mining for analysis and pattern generation, in addition to the traditional statistical
techniques such as variance, correlation and regression etc. Finally, the proposed model is easily implementable by
common users also.
Tables at a glance
Figures at a glance
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