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Title: The information processing component of job design
Author: Buchanan, D. A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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This thesis is concerned with techniques of changing the design of jobs in organisations. Current job design theories appear to be derived from four theoretical components: a theory of motivation, a model of the situation to be changed, a statement of desirable job characteristics, and a method of identifying and implementing appropriate changes. Tho problems of current theories appear to arise from inadequate conceptualisation of the situation to be changed. Changes in job design generally begin at the interface between managerial and non-managerial tasks and it is argued that a model of the management function is required in order to identify design options. A method of organisational analysis, derived from a model of organisational information processing and control, is developed, and a general theory of job and organisational design is postulated incorporating the four basic theoretical components. Emphasis is placed on provision of continuous learning as a desirable job characteristic. This theory predicts that learning is related to involvement in organisational information processing and control. The production control systems of two manufacturing units are analysed and the value of the model in identifying design options is demonstrated. These analyses also indicate that the transfer of information processing tasks to operators may affect several levels of the management hierarchy. Behaviour of conventionally structured and autonomous unstructured groups in a manufacturing simulation game are compared. The results of this experiment suggest that learning is related to involvement in information processing and control. Unstructured groups performed better, avoided some typical production management problems, and focused participants' attention on problems of organising work. This research indicates that existing job design theories cannot fulfil their objectives without also undertaking radical organisational design.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available