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The Measurement Of Work Autonomy

J. Breaugh
Published 1985 · Psychology

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The importance of autonomy has been asserted by numerous writers in a variety of research domains, e.g., leadership, organizational climate, professionalism, and job design. In this paper, it is argued that research on job autonomy has been hindered by the way it has been conceptualized and operationalized by recent researchers. More specifically, it is suggested that the most commonly used measures of job autonomy operationally confound job autonomy with a conceptually distinct job characteristic (job interdependence/independence). Furthermore, it is suggested that for both theory development and improved organizational interventions it is important to distinguish separate areas (facets) of autonomy. This paper presents the development of a new instrument capable of tapping three distinct types, i.e., “Method A utonoly,” “Scheduling Autonomy,” and “Criteria Autonomy,” of work autonomy. Data relevant to the reliability and the validity of the instrument were gathered in two organizations. The results of several psychometric analyses suggest that the three work autonomy scales are both reliable and valid.
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