WORK-UNIT TECHNOLOGY, STRUCTURE, LEADERSHIP STYLE AND PERSONNEL: A CONTINGENCY FRAMEWORK
AuthorEisenbeis, H. Richard
AdvisorFlippo, Edwin B.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was undertaken to investigate the relationships and interdependencies of work-unit technology, structure, leadership style and attitudes of personnel at the middle and lower level of the organizational hierarchy and to determine if a correlation exists between proper alignment of these variables and overall organizational effectiveness. Six variables have been identified by contingency theorists which must be properly aligned if organizations are to operate at peak efficiency and maximum effectiveness. These variables are the firm's outer environment, its objectives and goals, the adaptation of technology to attain these goals, organizational structure to coordinate and confine the technology, and the leadership style and personnel who use the technology within individual work units to satisfy the demands of the outer environment and meet organizational goals and objectives. Previous emphasis in contingency theory has been upon determining what constitutes proper alignment of these variables on a firm by firm or industry by industry basis, neglecting the fact that complex organizations are composed of many interacting work units in which these variables must also be properly aligned if maximum effectiveness is to be achieved. Four U.S. copper mining companies responsible for over 60 percent of domestic production consented to participate in the study. The data suggest that not only is the proper alignment of contingency variables within the firm as a whole important to organizational effectiveness as indicated by prior research, but the proper alignment of these variables within individual work units may be just as important a consideration in determining overall organizational effectiveness. Results further suggest that those mining firms within the industry whose work unit technologies show the closest alignment of routine technologies with mechanistic structures, autocratic leadership styles and personnel willing to conform, and non-routine technologies with organic structures, democratic leadership styles and personnel less willing to conform are more effective than those firms in which these variables were not so closely aligned. Implications of this study are that industrial firms can improve their overall performance and effectiveness by aligning technology, structure, leadership style and personnel within work units. The greater the number or work units in which these contingency variables are properly aligned within a business firm, the greater the success that firm will experience in realizing its primary objectives.
Degree ProgramGraduate College