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Comparative analysis of involvement and central life interest Epps, R. Timothy

Abstract

This study was designed to increase understanding of the commitment of an individual to his job or position within an organization. Based on the test instrument designed and evaluated in Lodahl and Kejner's The Definition and Measurement of Job Involvement, an empirical study of job involvement was made. Concurrently, the central life interests of the respondents were measured by means of the questionnaire battery used by Dubin in Industrial Worker’s Worlds: A Study of The "Central Life Interests” of Industrial Workers. The investigation was conducted by means of a questionnaire that combined the involvement and central life interest instruments. The data were obtained from 258 randomly selected employees at three levels of the organizational hierarchy: 104 unskilled employees, 88 skilled tradesmen, and 66 foremen. These individuals worked in a medium-light automotive manufacturing company with plants at two geographical locations that were separated by a distance of several miles. The objectives of the study were essentially threefold. The job involvement instrument was used to determine the extent of job involvement displayed by the sample. Analysis was also conducted to study the effect of job level, age, and job seniority on the degree of involvement. The central life interest instrument was used in a similar fashion, to observe life interest influences resulting from biographical differences with the sample. In both of the above cases comparative data were available from earlier studies in which the instruments had been used, thus providing an additional facet for analysis. Finally the evidence from the study was evaluated to test the general hypothesis, that for any given level of job responsibility, job involvement is in actuality a measure of the "centrality" of life interest in that job. The general conclusion reached in this investigation found that for the present sample, job involvement exists as points distributed across a continuum. A pure work orientation on the one hand, and a preference for the social relationships occurring in the workplace on the other, provide two inversely related extremes. The socially oriented individual is likely to view work as boring and generally unimportant.

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