Types of Organizational Control and Their Relationship to Emotional Well-Being

By William G. OuchiJerry B. Johnson
1977| Working Paper No. 367

Two ideal type representations of organizational control are presented. The Type A is derived from the prototypical American work organization and is characterized by highly specialized tasks, relatively high turnover, and by contractual relations between employees. The Type Z represents a modification of the prototypical Japanese organization, but in American form, and is characterized by relatively low task specialization, low turnover, and by primary or wholistic relations between employees. It is argued that each ideal type represents a mechanism of organizational control which is adaptive to a specific social environment. Many of the ideas contained in these theoretical constructions represent a re-discovery of old ideas in macrosociology which have been largely ignored by organization theorists. We briefly sample the literature of urban sociology which, we assert, is quite germane to the main-line organization theorist. We furthermore argue that the present distinction between organization theory and humanistic social psychology, which is often quite a sharp one, is artificial and that the apparent differences disappear when macrosociological ideas are applied to organization theory. Data collected in two companies in one industry give partial support to the contention that organizational control mechanisms are related to the emotional well-being of employees. Untested but important is the further assertion that community mobility, which is held constant in this study, interacts with control type in determining the direction of its effect on emotional well being.