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Group initiative and self-organizational activities in industrial work groups
Örebro University, Department of Behavioural, Social and Legal Sciences.
2009 (English)In: European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, ISSN 1359-432X, E-ISSN 1464-0643, Vol. 18, no 3, 347-377 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Autonomous work groups are involved in goal setting and planning and hence can define their jobs and the outcome idiosyncratically. Our interest lies in how job design restricts or creates possibilities for groups to redefine their work and thus go beyond formal requirements. The aim was to test a model of the relationships between dimensions of job design, group processes, group initiative, and self-organizational activities. The results are based on work task analyses and questionnaires administered to 31 work groups at four Swedish industrial companies. The theoretical input-process-output model received substantial support. Dimensions of job design affect whether a group, through collective reflexivity, can redefine work and proactively create conditions and organize work so that uncertainty can be handled and new tasks mastered. Group processes such as cooperation and social support enhance group initiative to achieve such meaningful change. In this study, reflexivity does not impact on group initiative, but does explain the major amount of variance in self-organizational activities. Work task analyses can be a useful tool for providing groups with the prerequisites for self-organizational activities. We believe these to be essential for the groups' capacity to be involved in the innovation process from idea to finished product.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hove: Psychology Press , 2009. Vol. 18, no 3, 347-377 p.
National Category
Social Sciences Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8675DOI: 10.1080/13594320801960482OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-8675DiVA: diva2:279535
Available from: 2009-12-04 Created: 2009-12-04 Last updated: 2015-09-30Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Industrial work groups: the impact of job design, leader support and group processes on initiative and self-organization
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Industrial work groups: the impact of job design, leader support and group processes on initiative and self-organization
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

From an organizational perspective the issue of which organizational solutions will benefit productivity, efficiency and the innovation process is central. Work groups can be an effective means. The general aim of the thesis from a psychological perspective is to examine work conditions and thereafter investigate how such conditions impact on whether or not work groups redefine stipulated tasks to incorporate initiative-taking and self-organization, thus enabling them to implement meaningful change.Based on action regulation theory, detailed work task analysis is assumed to be worthwhile as it provides data that cannot be captured with interviews or questionnaires exclusively. Data is based on work task analyses and questionnaires administered to work groups at four Swedish industrial organizations. In Study I a theoretical model of the relations of job design, work routines and social routines and reflexivity and learning processes was tested. Results showed that job design and work routines strongly impacted on reflexivity and learning processes. In Study II this model was extended into a theoretical inputprocess- output model to include group initiative and self-organizational activities as outcomes of job design, mediated by group processes. The model provided substantial, but not complete, support. Job design strongly impacts on reflexivity, and reflexivity directly impacts self organizational activities. To explore the importance of leadership support and potency longitudinally for group initiative, in Study III two data collections were included. The findings showed that potency, compared to perceived autonomy and support from leader, was the best predictor of group initiative. Together the studies show that the dimensions of job design, support from leader, reflexivity, and potency as well as cooperation and social support are important for the outcomes of work groups if the organization wants groups to take initiative and engage in self-organizational activities. It is also advocated that job design contains an inherent potential for learning and the possibility to make use of one’s resources. Main findings, strengths, limitations, practical and theoretical implications, directions for future research and when it will be worthwhile to invest in group work are included in the discussion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2008. 68 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 15
Keyword
Industrial work groups, job design, support from leader, group processes, potency, group initiative, self-organizational activities
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-2453 (URN)978-91-7668-628-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-24, Omega, Hus R, Högskoleplan, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-09-19 Created: 2007-09-19 Last updated: 2011-05-05Bibliographically approved
2. Proactivity at work
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Proactivity at work
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Proactive behaviour implies taking initiative and mastering unexpected situations, and hence, is desirable in different situations. The present thesis includes three empirical studies intended to understand the consequences of proactive behaviour, as well as the factors that contribute to proactive behaviour at work and when facing unemployment. More specifically, whether job design, as measured by objective work task analysis, provides conditions conducive to proactivity in the workplace and when facing unemployment. The results of proactive behaviour during unemployment were also of interest. Study I focused on the influence of job design on individuals’ personal initiative and confidence in their ability when facing unemployment. Participants were employees at a downsizing Swedish assembly plant. Confidence in one’s ability mediated the relationship between job design and personal initiative, and personal initiative affected job search behaviour when advised to be dismissed. Study II, a longitudinal exploration, focused on the predictors of re-employment in the same group as in Study I. Men were more than nine times as likely as women to obtain jobs within 15 months. Individuals without children were more than seven times as likely as those with children to find work within 15 months. The desire to change occupation and willingness to relocate also increased the probability of being re-employed, whereas anonymous-passive job-search behaviour and work-related self-efficacy actually decreased the probability of re-employment. The number of job applications did not impact later re-employment. Study III analysed job design as a predictor of group initiative and self-organisational activities in semiautonomous industrial work groups. An input-process-output model showed that group processes such as reflexivity mediated the impact of job design on proactivity in work groups. Taken together, these studies suggest that work task analysis a useful tool, since it provides access to information that cannot be obtained with self-report measures. Job design indirectly affected proactivity both in the face of unemployment, and in industrial work groups. Further, it is worthwhile to continue identifying the antecedents and consequences of proactivity, as this seems to be an important factor regarding work and unemployment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2015. 76 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 32
Keyword
Job design, work task analysis, proactivity, unemployment, attitudes, personal initiative, job-search behaviour, group initiative, group processes
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-45644 (URN)978-91-7529-092-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-16, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Drottninggatan 12, Eskilstuna, 10:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-08-26 Created: 2015-08-26 Last updated: 2015-12-21Bibliographically approved

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