The form of this thesis is different from most in this field. It is not a discussion of existing theory and research nor is it a test of hypotheses derived from past studies. Much of it is the presentation of an original and prescriptive model (Generic Work Processing Model) developed to examine the work processes of the organisational unit and the ability of the organisational unit to adjust to variations in the workflow without diminishing its effectiveness nor the efficient utilisation of its human resources.
The model focuses on how work is selected, scheduled, transformed and reviewed and the behaviour, interaction and interdependence of the work unit within these systems. Environment, time, scope and form are constructs within the model used to capture the work processes and the work processing strategies. Work capacity strategies for the different and multiple workflows within an organisation at any time are framed from combinations of these constructs.
The model holds that, in the short run, the ability to alter work processing capacity depends on the degree of freedom available to enact the scope change response and five other organising responses. The five other organising responses are productivity, resources, coordination, integration and structure. Changed work capacity depends on the freedom to recognise existing work groups, add or subtract groups of the same level of organisation and add or subtract groups of a higher level of organisation, ceteris paribus.
It is also held that there is utility in classifying work groups using their potential work capacity. This is constraint by their level of organising flexibility. Work groups can be temporary or permanent.
A pilot study is then described which provides a preliminary test of the model. Twenty-five managers from two large State Government Divisions were subjected to a semi-structured interview.
The objectives of the field work were to use the model to increase our understanding of how the work processes of selected enterprises are organised and to test the assumptions that there is an ordering of actions that managers consider and use in making change; that these choice of actions are restricted by policy; and that the articulation of the ordered responses is more likely to occur when consideration of responses is not regarded as intuitive.
Data collected and analysed from the field work tended to support the underlying assumptions and theoretical framework of the model.