A Preliminary Examination of the Effects of Repeated Observation on Productivity as an Analog of Micromanagement
The current study evaluated the effect of repeated observation on work-related behavior in an analog setting. The goal was to determine the effects of repeated intrusive observation on productivity. The study was designed as an analog analysis of the effects of micromanagement in an organizational setting. Participants were 60 undergraduate psychology students at a private university in the southeastern United States. A between-subjects group design was used to evaluate the effects of observation. Participants were exposed to varying levels of observation, (nine, two, and zero instances per session), and their productivity and accuracy on a data entry task were measured. Participants also completed a social validity questionnaire, which provided a description of their preference for the conditions. A smaller group of four participants randomly selected from the two experimental groups received both levels of experimental observation, nine and two instances, and were then allowed to choose which condition they preferred for a third session. Mean rate of correct responses per minute was compared across conditions using an analysis of variance (ANOVA). Results show that increased frequency of observation did not impact performance to a statistically significant degree. However, the number of errors participants made while performing the task was significantly higher in the control condition (i.e., zero observations per session) relative to the other two conditions. These results are discussed in terms of their implications for future research on micromanagement.