A comparative examination of the moderating effect of individual differences versus group focused factors on job design relationships



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This dissertation compared the relative importance of two categories of variables as moderators of the relationship between job design and performance, job satisfaction, absenteeism, and propensity to leave. The two moderator categories - individual difference factors and group focused variables - represent a replication and an extension, respectively, of current research in the area of job design. For several years empirical investigations have been conducted which examined individual differences that potentially moderate the relationship between job characteristics and worker responses to the job. However, a review of the literature indicates a failure of any individual difference variable to consistently moderate job design relationships across different settings. Furthermore, some researchers are now suggesting that a more productive avenue of research into moderator effects may be an examination of situational contingencies. If situational contingencies moderate job design relationships, then the degree to which an employee focuses on and is perhaps motivated by the job would be a function of situational, non-task elements of the work environment. A primary non-task element of this environment is the individual's work group. The purpose of this research was to examine the role that certain group factors may play in influencing the manner in which a person responds to his or her task. The three group factors which were examined in this research were the level of group cohesion, the performance norms the individual felt the work group enforced, and the interaction of group cohesion and performance norms. The moderating effect of these three variables was contrasted with the moderating effect of two individual difference factors - growth need strength and relatedness need strength. [...]