Technology and Organization in Manufacturing

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Using data from a study of 110 New Jersey manufacturing concerns, relationships are examined between plant technology and four dimensions of internal structure: differentiation, the size of various personnel components, supervisory spans of control, and decentralization of decision-making authority. For linear associations, Woodward's notion of a broad "technological imperative" is rejected, and the analysis verifies the general findings of the Aston studies. However, the Aston group's hypothesis of an interaction effect between size, production technology, and administrative structure is not supported, while strong curvilinear relationships, independent of size, are observed between production process type and many of the structural measures. Automation of administrative support functions through the use of computers exerts numerous influences on the organization of work which parallel those of highly mechanized "process" technologies, and it is postulated that these trends will continue with increasing automation of the manufacturing operation itself.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Study of Organizations
EditorsDaniel Katz, Robert Louis Kahn, J. Stacy Adams
Place of PublicationSan Francisco, Calif
Publication date1980
ISBN (Print)087589464X, 978-0875894645
Publication statusPublished - 1980
Externally publishedYes