The consequences of a mismatch between employee needs and job attributes in the information systems field : an empirical survey

Master Thesis

1996

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University of Cape Town

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Abstract
The high turnover of IS staff in South Africa continues to be a source of concern to organisations relying on Information Technology. Such turnover is costly, and leads to delays in project completion; loss of valuable experience; and reductions in IS department productivity. One of the suggestions for reducing turnover that is frequently encountered in the literature is for organisations to implement a dual-career path for their IT staff. This advice is based on the assumption that IT personnel hold either a Managerial or Technical Career Orientation, and that the dual-career path will, therefore, meet the needs of all IT personnel. This study shows that such an assumption is invalid. As a group, IT professionals in South Africa are shown to have a wide diversity of career orientations. In addition, professionals with different career orientations are shown to be very different types of employee, having different needs and values, and exhibiting different levels of performance in the job. As expected, professionals also tend to occupy jobs that are most likely to fulfil their career orientations. Furthermore, IT professionals whose jobs are congruent with their orientations show significantly greater job and career satisfaction, higher organisational commitment, and less intention to leave their organisations, than their counterparts who experience a mismatch. In contrast, the matched group as a whole did not show superior perceived performance in the mismatched group, although certain orientations did exhibit such differences. It is critical that organisations take cognisance of the diversity of IT personnel in their employ, and adopt career planning and motivational strategies flexible enough to accommodate each orientation. This study has shown that the implementation of a dual-career path will satisfy a scant 10.2% of the individuals surveyed. Thus, greater focus by organisations on understanding the individual, and less on seeking to manage the IT profession as a group, will result in personnel experiencing greater satisfaction, as well as more commitment to, and less likelihood of leaving, their employing organisations. It is recommended that research is continued into the career orientations of IS personnel. Specifically, it would be valuable to improve and refine the instrument assembled in this study, the aim of producing a measure that researchers and, moreover, employers can utilise to assess how various jobs match the different career orientations known to exist. Also, it would be beneficial to examine further the performance levels of individuals in positions incompatible with their orientations, and to examine why different levels of performance between matched and mismatched individuals were exhibited by only certain of the orientations. Finally, research should be performed into the different career paths, positions and assignments most suited to the individual orientations, in order to enable organisations to achieve a better fit between the needs of the organisation, and the needs of the IT employee. It is recommended that research is continued into the career of IS personnel. Specifically, it would be valuable to improve and refine the instrument assembled in this study, with aim of producing a measure that researchers and, moreover, employers can utilise to assess how various jobs match the different career orientations known to it would be beneficial to examine further the performance levels of individuals positions incompatible with orientations, and to examine different levels of between matched and mismatched individuals were by only certain of the orientations. Finally, research should performed into the different career paths, positions and assignments most suited to the individual in order to enable organisations to achieve a between the needs of the and the needs of the employee.
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Includes bibliography.

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