The Open Collections website will be undergoing maintenance on Wednesday December 7th from 9pm to 11pm PST. The site may be temporarily unavailable during this time.

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation into the choice of control behaviors within organizations Haridas, Thenkurussi P.

Abstract

The objective of the present study was to examine the effects of organizational characteristics, nature of the decision problems, and the personality of the controller on the choice of control strategies within organizations. A review of the literature on control systems was conducted as a first step. The review indicated that research on control systems until now is characterized by global normative models and theories focusing on single independent variables as predictors of appropriate control systems within organizations. Depending upon the specific researcher's inclinations, various constructs such as organizational structure, technology, environment and member needs have been suggested in the past as determinants of optimal control systems within organizations. An attempt was made here to formulate a model which considers all the above variables and integrates the several (and often conflicting) past findings. One major segment of the above model was tested during the present study. For this purpose control behaviors were classified into two major categories: behaviors that influence the 'intrinsic' motivation of the subordinates and Behaviors that influence the 'extrinsic' motivation of the subordinates. Four major hypotheses were formulated. The first hypothesis suggested that members of 'organic' organizations are more likely to use 'intrinsically' motivating control behaviors than those who work in 'mechanistic' organizations. Conversely, members of 'mechanistic' organizations were hypothesized to use 'extrinsically' motivating control behaviors more frequently than those in 'organic' organizations. The second hypothesis related the controller's tolerance of ambiguity with his or her choice of control behaviors. Specifically, it was suggested that individuals with high tolerance of ambiguity are more likely to initiate 'intrinsically' motivating control behaviors than those with low tolerance of ambiguity. The third hypothesis suggested that individuals are more likely to choose 'intrinsically' motivating control strategies when they are faced with an unimportant decision problem than when faced with an important decision problem. Conversely, it was suggested that individuals are more likely to use 'extrinsically' motivating control behaviors when faced with an important decision problem than when faced with an unimportant decision problem. The final hypothesis attempted to examine the combined effects of, three independent variables; it was, suggested that individuals who have high tolerance of ambiguity working in 'organic' firms and making unimportant decisions are most likely to use 'intrinsically' motivating control strategies and least likely to use 'extrinsically' motivating strategies. Conversely, persons with low tolerance of ambiguity working in: 'mechanistic' firms and making important decisions were hypothesized to make maximum use of 'extrinsically' motivating strategies and minimal use of 'intrinsically' motivating strategies. A laboratory experiment (n = 172) was conducted to test the various hypotheses. The first and third hypotheses were sustained; the fourth hypothesis received moderate support and the second hypothesis was at best partially supported. The research methodology used in the study, the implications of the present findings and directions for future research in the area of choice of control strategies are discussed.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data

Rights

For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.