This study examines the impact of bureaucratic structure on morale among hospital staff. Hypotheses are drawn from Hage's axiomatic theory of organizations, including the predicted negative impact on morale of formalization, centralization and stratification, and the positive impact on morale of task complexity. Contingency hypotheses involving structure and task complexity are also examined. Results indicate morale is either positively affected or unaffected by structure, and negatively affected by process. Some evidence of contingent effects are found. The findings are discussed within the broader context of Weber's theory of bureaucracy. This paper addresses the relationship between several structural features of bureaucracy and workers' morale in a hospital setting. It examines these relationships from broadly defined theoretical perspectives. In this connection, Weber's theory of bureaucracy is treated, as was the case in his original, as part of his general theory of rationalization in modern western society. The study considers the relationship between: 1) Formalization and morale, 2) Centralization and morale, 3) Stratification and morale, 4) Complexity and morale. These structural features of bureaucracy—formalization, centralization, stratification and complexity‐are treated as the means at the command of management for attaining organizational objectives. Worker morale is often referred to as the “level of feeling” about themselves among workers or about the work they perform (Revans, 1964; Veninga, 1982; Simendinger and Moore, 1985; Zucker, 1988). In effect, the term is used in stating that morale is high or low to suggest that something is right or wrong about the organization. Surprisingly, many of these studies do not explain why they are suggesting a particular state of morale, but only that the state of morale is crucial to the performance of the organization. In essence, morale is the level of confidence of the employees. It can vary from one department to the other due to specific or overall structural conditions of the organizations; without giving it routine consideration, performance will degenerate (Nelson, 1989).
Hetherington, R. (1997), "TAKING THE MEASURE OF MORALE: STRUCTURE AND JOB SATISFACTION IN A MULTIHOSPITAL SYSTEM", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 17 No. 5, pp. 1-51. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb013306Download as .RIS
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