Life on campus : the dynamics of a positive workplace setting as perceived by administgrative professionals in graduate studies administgrative units
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Administrative professionals are essential to the working of the university but are considered the “invisible workers” of campus (Szekeres, 2004). This study explored the dynamics of a positive workplace setting as perceived by administrative professionals in graduate studies administrative units in western Canadian universities. A qualitative multiple site case-study approach was used. Semi-structured interviews with seven administrative professionals at four universities in western Canada served as the basis for data collection. Data were compiled into a database and analyzed for themes at individual, unit, and university levels. Although the size of the universities varied, the themes identified from the administrative professionals’ perceptions were consistent. The positive organizational scholarship approach, combined with the more established organizational culture metaphor served as a framework for structuring and evaluating the information collected from the participants. However, Hertzberg’s hygiene-motivation theory (1987) offered a more satisfactory explanation of why participants perceived their environments as positive, in spite of relevant tensions. Implications for theory include the inclusion of positive organizational scholarship into the study of administrative professionals. This study also provided a Canadian context for research into the work of administrative professionals. This study could encourage university level decision makers to more deliberately consider the place and importance of administrative professionals, and how university wide policy can be instrumental in supporting a positive and to acknowledge productive work environment. Implications of this study for practice include the building of work units with a supportive culture that creates work environments in which individuals can thrive.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeBurgess, David; Prytulla, Michelle; Ralph, Edwin; Laitsch, David
Copyright DateJune 2012
Positive organizational scholarship, administrative professionals, positive work environments, graduate studies,