An investigation of the universe and anatomy of work

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Virginia Tech

This research study investigated eight specific work characteristics (outputs, inputs, work type, discretion level, work pursuit level, level of endeavor, decision type and maturity level), on three sub-populations of workers (production personnel, office/secretarial personnel, and university engineering professors). Thirty one production personnel from two organizations (the Print Shop and ABC Corporation-pseudonyms) located in southwest Virginia were used for the first group (B group). The second group (W group) comprised five office/secretarial personnel from an engineering department of a southwest Virginia university. The third group (K group) was made up of six engineering professors from three separate universities located in the eastern and midwest United States. The Wand K groups used a self-logging data collection technique (cued by a random beeper) to record information about the work tasks being accomplished when cued. For the B group, a modified work sampling technique was used to gather the same information on work tasks as in the W and K group data collection. This information was compiled by an on-site analyst working from a random time table to cue workers for the required information.

The purpose of this research was to validate a specified work model (BIW/K). The design uses stratified sampling (homogeneity within strata and heterogeneity between strata). A modified chi-squared statistical methodology (contingency table analysis) was used to analyze the data. The work definitions postulated by the BIW IK work model are supported by the research findings of this study. Specifically, four of the eight work characteristics (outputs, inputs, work type, and discretion level) of the work definitions were strongly supported by the results (p value ≪0.001). The remaining four characteristics (pursuit level, endeavors, decision type and maturity level) showed strong results (some p values ≪0.(01), but some aspects of the sub-classifications of the work characteristics are questionable. Along with the eight work characteristics, this study provides detailed data on worker location, product I service, equipment usage, and know ledge data for all three work groups.