Date of Award

8-1982

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Harold Boles

Second Advisor

Dr. John Rizzo

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Roger Wallace

Abstract

In order to examine the relationship, if any, between an organization's structure and the propensity of that organization to support communication training for its employees, 16 small manufacturing firms located in southwestern Michigan were selected for study. Firms were determined to exhibit organic, mechanistic or mixed structures based on managers' perceptions of centralization, formalization, impersonalization and task specialization within the company. Each firm was also judged to exist in either an uncertain or stable environment. Support for communication training in each company was assessed from personnel directors' responses to questions concerning programs offered, employees involved, frequency of offerings and percentage of training budget devoted to communication skill improvement.

A significant correlation in the expected direction was obtained between the variables "structure" and "support of training." Organic firms, characterized by decentralized decision making processes, informal communication rules and procedures, high regard for individuals and low task specialization, tended to strongly support communication training for employees. Multiple regression analysis indicated that "structure" was a significant predictor of "support for training" at the .01 level. Environment was not a factor in predicting company support for training nor was it shown to be associated with structural type. Because organic structures tended to show strong support for programs which upgrade employee communication skills, the investigator concluded that the perceived importance of communication training was more evident in organic firms than in mechanistic firms.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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