Date of Completion

January 1982


Business Administration, General




This field study addressed behavioral and organizational issues related to office automation technology. The objective was to determine if the manner in which office support is designed and managed makes a difference in the job satisfaction and productivity of support personnel. Two underlying philosophies of organization were identified. The "task-oriented" approach applies the scientific management principles of work specialization to office systems. It corresponds to the authoritative management style of McGregor's Theory X or Likert's Systems 1 and 2. The "people-oriented" approach is characterized by job enrichment and greater autonomy for office employees. It corresponds to the participative management style of McGregor's Theory Y or Likert's Systems 3 and 4. The study hypothesized that job satisfaction and productivity would be higher in organizations using the people-oriented approach.^ To test the hypothesis, this study analyzed the management pratices of office support systems among a national sample of 383 organizations. Management style was assessed with the Profile of Organizational Characteristics, completed by one office support manager and four office support personnel. Job satisfaction was measured by the Job Descriptive Index, completed by support personnel. Performance was reported by managers on a specifically designed instrument. Regression and multivariate analysis provided strong support for the hypothesis that satisfaction was higher among support staff in offices using participatory management practices, and provided weak, but positive, support for the productivity hypothesis.^ It was concluded that organizations employing a people-oriented approach to office design and management are likely to have personnel who express higher satisfaction with their jobs and who have maintained a level of productivity at least equivalent to those organizations which have taken a task-oriented, scientific management approach. It is recommended that organizations devote at least as much time analyzing tasks and procedures to be performed by people as they devote to those which are to be automated. ^