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Title: Behavioural process of continuous improvement : conceptualisation, measurement and validation
Author: Samarasinghe, Jayantha Dias
ISNI:       0000 0004 2743 5354
Awarding Body: Teesside University
Current Institution: Teesside University
Date of Award: 2004
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This study conceptualises continuous improvement (Cl) as a multidimensional behavioural concept (CIB). In so doing it develops and validates a reliable scale to measure the concept. This study also examines the influence of contextual conditions on Cl behaviours and identifies a set of antecedent variables that are related to cm in order to develop a theory of CIB. Although references to Cl behaviours have been made in the literature, cm has not been conceptualised as a distinct concept. It has not been measured nor have any antecedents been previously reported. A multi-level theoretical framework was developed to study the contextual influence on CIB at macro level and the relationships between individual level antecedents and CIB at the micro level. The framework suggested 8 contextual conditions, 51 Cl behaviours and 7 Cl behavioural dimensions, which were articulated from the literature. Cl behaviours have a conceptual proximity to organisational citizenship behaviours (OCBs), and therefore several antecedents that have proven relationships with OCBs (commitment, organisational support, job satisfaction and procedural justice) were identified from organisational behaviour literature. Other proposed antecedents identified in this study included training, learning, need for achievement and empowerment. Sixteen hypotheses, arguing for direct, mediated and moderated relationships were presented for verification. A multiple case study was carried out in three organisations to examine contextual influence on Cl behaviours, to validate the literature-based Cl behaviours and to explore any additional employee Cl behaviours. The case study findings were used to develop a 63-item CIB scale, which was subsequently measured (along with 12 antecedents) in a survey of 561 respondents from six organisations. Several contextual factors, such as the level of involvement in team problem solving and the work environment have been found to influence Cl behaviours. Seven CIB dimensions were identified from a component factor analysis with varimax rotation procedure, which established the multidimensionality of the CIB concept. A 30-item reliable CIB scale was also validated in the procedure. Hypotheses testing for direct and indirect relationships revealed that relationships were largely direct, and a number of useful mediated relationships were also identified to further contribute to knowledge. In addition, seven hierarchical regression models were identified, which showed significant predictors of different CIB dimensions along with the amount of variance in each dimension that was explained by those predictors. Contrary to expectations, Cllss were better predicted by skills, personal traits and job characteristics than morale factors, which also challenge current OB literature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available