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The Effects of the Interaction of Technology, Structure, and Organizational Climate on Job Satisfaction

The Effects of the Interaction of Technology, Structure, and Organizational Climate on Job Satisfaction

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Published by Sunway University
Written by Ibrahim Ali & Juhary Haji Ali

Published in Sunway University College Academic Journal Vol. 2
Written by Ibrahim Ali & Juhary Haji Ali

Published in Sunway University College Academic Journal Vol. 2

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Published by: Sunway University on Jan 14, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Sunway Academic Journal 2, 23–32 (2005)
THE EFFECTS OF THE INTERACTION OF TECHNOLOGY,STRUCTURE, AND ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATEON JOB SATISFACTION
IBRAHIM ALI
a
 
Universiti Tenaga Malaysia (Uniten)
JUHARY HAJI ALI
b
Universiti Utara Malaysia
ABSTRACT
This study examines the effects of the interaction of technology, structure, and organizational climate on jobsatisfaction in power-generation plants. Correlation tests and series of hierarchical regression analyses wereperformed. The study reveals several significant correlations among these three organizational variables and withemployee job satisfaction.Key words: structure, technology, performance, interaction, job satisfaction.
INTRODUCTION
The question of whether an organization’s structure should be designed to accommodate andfacilitate technology has been addressed by management advocates in search of the bestapproaches for an effective organization to adopt. The importance of structure-technologyrelationship was evident when the issues of whether structures and technology complementeach other in successful organizations were widely deliberated in past literature.Identification of factors that predict organizational effectiveness has in fact become thecentral themes within the study of organization, and a wide range of factors had beenexamined, such as technology, structure, strategy and environmental conditions (e.g., Burnsand Stalker, 1961; Lawrence and Lorsch, 1967; Thompson, 1967; Woodward,
 
1965).
 
Most researchers seem to focus on the issues of technology and structure, with littleconsideration of organizational climate’s role and contribution to the organization. Studyingorganizational climate’s relationship to technology and structure could reveal some newinsights for managers to achieve a higher orga
n
izational performance.Technology and organizational structure have been studied mainly in manufacturing andservice organizations (e.g., Woodward, 1965; Perrow, 1967; Thompson, 1967), while littleor no work has been carried out on power-generation organizations. Previous studies weremore focused on the relationship and correlation of the contextual variables, rather thanexamining the effects of contextual variables
 
when interacting with one other.
E-mail:
a
ibrahim@kms.uniten.edu.my,
b
 juhary@uum.edu.my.
 
 Ibrahim Ali and Juhary Hj. Ali
24
Therefore, this study attempts to examine the interaction effects of these selectedorganizational contexts—structure, technology, and organizational climate—onorganizational performance, specifically job satisfaction, i.e. job attitudes that contributetowards achieving organizational goals. It is strongly viewed that the interactions of theseorganizational contexts affect job satisfaction. Investigating each pair of factors—technology and structure, structure and organizational climate, technology andorganizational climate—at the same time enables a different effect to be detected, i.e. theinteraction effect, which has been of little interest in previous research work.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Technology and structure, as aforementioned, have been studied in relation to organizationalperformance (e.g., Woodward, 1965; Perrow, 1967). Woodward (1965) found in herresearch that there was a link between technology, structure, and effectiveness of theorganization. Perrow (1967) further developed an understanding of the impact of technologyon organizational structure. In studies that examined the contribution of organizationalclimate towards organizational performance, Muchinsky (1979) found that job satisfactionand organizational climate were correlated. Other studies have also shown similar results(e.g., Johnson and McIntye, 1998).
 Job Satisfaction
Blum and Naylor (1968) defined job satisfaction as a general attitude formed as a result of specific job factors, individual characteristics, and relationships outside the job. Jobsatisfaction is an individual’s general attitude toward his job, which is also conceptualizedas a personalistic evaluation of conditions existing on the job—work, supervision, oroutcomes, that arise as results of having a job (Schneider and Snyder, 1975). Smith et al.
 
(1969) treated job satisfaction both as a general attitude and as satisfaction with five specificdimensions: pay, work, promotion, supervision, and co-workers.
Organizational Structure
Organizational structure defines how job tasks are formally divided, grouped, andcoordinated. It is defined as the hierarchical relations among members of the organization(March and Simon, 1958), and is viewed as facilitating interaction and communication forcoordination and control of the organization’s activities (El Louadi,1998). It is implementedin terms of specialization, formalization, and centralization. Specialization refers to thenumber of occupational specialties, and the length of training required by each (Hage,1965), or the degree to which highly specialized requirements are spelled out in formal jobdescriptions for various functions (Reimann, 1974). Formalization refers to rules,procedures, and written documentation, such as policy manuals and job descriptions, thatprescribe the rights and duties of employees (Walsh and Dewar, 1987). Centralization refersto the level of hierarchy with authority to make decisions (Thompson, 1967). The design of 
 
Sunway Academic Journal 2, 23–32 (2005)
25
an appropriate structure is vital in achieving performance and accomplishing organizationalgoals.
Technology
Technology has been defined in many ways. According to Little (1981), technology referseither to a practical application of science to address a particular product or manufacturingneed, or to an area of specialized expertise. A number of previous studies have shown theeffects of technology on people’s behavior, the most notable being Blauner’s (1964) study.This study revealed how changes in technology have effects on people’s behavior in theworkplace, while technology changes that did not account for human factors were likely toresult in low morale and productivity (Trist and Bamforth, 1951). These findingshighlighted the importance of technology in affecting employees’ behavior, thusdetermining performance.
Organizational Climate
Organizational climate refers to workers’ perception of events and conditions that occur intheir work place (Schneider and Snyder, 1975). The construct has evolved within theresearch tradition stemming from the Human Relations approach to organizationaleffectiveness, but little work was done on whether organizational climate predictsorganizational performance.The controversy over the conceptualization of organizational climate derived fromwhether it is redundant with other concepts and whether it is useful. Some evidence wasfound to show that organizational climate and job satisfaction are related (e.g., Johnson andMcIntye, 1998; Muchinsky,1979), whereas other evidence has shown that whileorganizational climate and job satisfaction are related, they are not of the same construct(LaFollete and Sims (1975). In the Malaysian context, Razali (1999) conducted acomparative study which supports this latter finding. In a modern organization, employeesprefer to work under the climate of flexibility, where they feel that they are part of theorganization, and are given some opportunity in decision making.
METHODOLOGYSample
The coverage of the survey was sufficiently representative as it included all the 18 powerplants in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak: 14 owned by the national powerproducer, Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), and 4 private or state-owned power plants.The population of the survey consisted of employees working in the power plants whichconsisted of rural station, hydro, and steam/gas turbine types. The survey was a simplerandom sampling as employees who were on duty were requested to respond to thequestionnaires. The respondents randomly comprised employees at all levels: lower, middle,

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