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Work Preference Differences Between Bus Operators And Back Office Personnel Of Miami Dade Transit

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Special thanks to Dr. G Ronald Gilbert for allowing us to utilize the Gilbert Work Preference Indicator® to conduct this study. We would also like to give special thanks to all the participants who took the time to complete this survey. Additionally, we would like to thank Harpal Kapoor, Patricia Emard, and Richard Snedden of Miami-Dade Transit for sharing their department and facilitating the collection of this meaningful data.


Statement of Purpose

The purpose of this paper seeks to identify whether there are any work preference and organizational culture differences between bus operators and back office workers in the Miami Dade Transit Department. These differences will be analyzed in order to provide management with a comprehensive overview of their employees' work preferences. This overview can be utilized to effectively place, retain, train, and allow for individual employee development in the Miami Dade Transit Department.

The survey tool used to undertake this study was the Gilbert Work Preference Indicator® questionnaire, developed by Dr. G. Ronald Gilbert from Florida International University. The questionnaire was administered to 101 bus operators and 102 back office workers in Miami Dade Transit Department.

Bus operators and back office workers were surveyed for this study due to the substantial differences in their respective work environment. Typically, bus operators interact with final customers (passengers), while back office workers engage in internal processes in an office environment. Sampling two different work environments can provide insight into employee differences; from those who work directly with the final client and those who work in an office environment. Thorough understanding of these significant differences is imperative for management to recognize when hiring, developing, or promoting employees within their respective environments.

Review of Literature

Work preferences enhance our ability to gain insight about ourselves and others. Continuous improvement through self awareness of work preferences can result in optimized occupational aptitudes and improved understanding of organizational behavior. Although the term "work preferences" may sound as if it refers to vocational interests, there is an important difference. Vocational interests "reflect specifics regarding only one job value: "Having work tasks I like" (Prediger and Staples, 1996). Work preferences are broader than vocational interests and can make a unique contribution to the user's search for individually compatible occupations. Work preferences can be used to identify job tasks, developmental assignments, and vocational paths that are compatible with a person's work values, learning styles, temperament, and interests (Gilbert & McEachern, 2005).

The Work Preference Indicator (WPI) is a scientifically based instrument that measures a person's relative strength or preferences with 17 separate measures. This tool is based on interest theory that correlates work preference with learning and job performance. In other words, the WPI provides a multidimensional measurement of an individual's work related preferences as opposed to work interests, learning styles, temperament, or work values, per se (Gilbert's Work Preference Indicator).

Work values have been shown to be related to the way people feel about their work (Spence, 1985) and the way people behave on their jobs (England, 1967, 1975). Work values are those aspects of an occupation that give a person satisfaction (Locke, 1976). Additionally, Vroom (1966) found that individuals made job choices consistent with their work goals. Measures of work values include: Career Ladder; Job Satisfaction; Working with Others in Teams; Work Independence; Be Likeable; and Job Performance.

US Department of Commerce (2007) reports a career ladder consists of the grades ranging from the lowest level at which an employee can be hired as a trainee, up to the journeyman grade level, also known as the full performance level. It is the normal grade progression through which an employee may advance noncompetitively to reach the full-performance level (top grade of the career ladder) of a particular job.

Job satisfaction is defined as the positive emotional response to a job situation resulting from attaining what the employee wants and values from the job (Lock et al, 1983; Olsen, 1993). Additionally, job satisfaction is the extent to which employees like their work. Porter and Steers (1973) argued that the extent of employee job satisfaction reflected the cumulative level of "met worker expectations". That is, job satisfaction is the extent of employee's expectation that their job will provide a mix of features (such as pay, promotion, or autonomy), and for which each employee has certain preferential values. Working with others in teams simply recognizes the need for coordinated, cooperative efforts and also the need for certain ways of behaving in the context of the workplace (Lewis, 2001). This measure can be associated with McClelland's need for affiliation. The need for affiliation is characterized by a desire to belong, an enjoyment of teamwork, a concern about interpersonal relationships, and a need reduce uncertainty (

Work Independence is related to employee need for self direction, autonomy, and making one's own decisions in the work place (Douglas & Shepard, 2002; Rounds, Henly, Dawis, Lofquist, & Weiss, 1981). Liked by Others identifies a person's desire to be valued and respected by others, make a good impression, and be congenial in the work place (Hogan & Hogan, 1992). Job Performance identifies the degree to which a person values work related goal achievements and the accomplishment of results (Gilbert & McEachern, 2005).

Active learning or construction of knowledge entails information processing beyond passive responses to stimuli or encoding verbatim of whatever input has been provided. It also means that individuals differentially and selectively attend to and process learning materials based on their prior knowledge, understanding, values, attitudes, styles, and resultant motivation. Thus, active learning is most likely when instructional programming and design take into account developmental and individual characteristics that have a direct bearing on how individuals learn and how well they learn under a specific learning condition (Dooley, Lindner, and Dooley 2005).

Moreover, two different



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