involvement, and job satisfaction, the indicators of alienation used in this and other studies (Miller, 1967; Zeffane and MacDonald, 1993; Lefkowitz and Brigando, 1980).
To test this expectation, we use data collected from the recently completed National Administrative Studies Project (NASP-II). In this study, a questionnaire was administered to managers in state health and human service agencies nationwide. The study was conducted in Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 and yielded a response rate of 53%. Multiple linear regression modeling is applied to this data to explain variance in alienation using measures of red tape, as well as organizational controls such as centralization, formalization and technology routineness.
Theory and Hypotheses Workplace alienation is conceptualized as a general cognitive state of psychological disconnection with work (Kanungo 79) driven by lack of professional autonomy (Gerth and Mills, 1946). The components of this disconnection including powerlessness, where one’s own behavior cannot determine outcomes; normlessness, a high expectancy that socially unapproved behaviors are required to meet goals; and self-estrangement, or the absence of intrinsically meaningful activity (Seeman, 1959). The notion of workplace alienation dates back to Marx’s arguments that industrialization would damage the psyche of workers by, among other things, requiring them to adapt to work processes beyond their control (Erikson, 1986). Although rooted in Marx’s work, current notions of work alienation are quite different. While Marx conceptualized alienation at a group level (collective experience of the working class), this study usesthe alienation concept in a social psychological sense , defining alienation at the level of the individual (Kanungo, 1982).
Some have asserted that bureaucratic controls have as much potential to alienate workers as any widget assembly line process (Braverman, 1974). From this perspective, controls that seek to reduce worker discretion, such as close supervision, become a type of automation that is machine-like. The reduced discretion that arises from higher organization control may separate the worker from organizational goals by removing participation in production and reducing the meaningfulness of work (Gross, 1953). Such alienation may be particularly pronounced in organizations employing professionals,