Here’s the second in the set, from 1990. Warren probably hasn’t really looked at these for some time, and I know that he has taken things farther in documents coming out of his SIGMA Centre.
The introduction from this paper:
Thinking in terms of levels of work is a great help in designing organisations and overcoming dysfunction and discontent within them [18,42]. In a recent companion paper of ours in this Journal . a brief summary of pre-existing theory concerning work-levels was provided and a range of new applications reported. It was shown how each of the seven levels of work, defined basically in terms of the needs or expectations to be met and the responses to be provided. could also be formulated to throw vivid light on issues like the use of resources and budgets, the handling of information, the production of plans. priorities and evaluations. and the balancing of quality of care against throughput.
Our intensive and extensive studies within the U.K. National Health Service (NHS) over the past two decades have led not only to more elaborate formulations of the properties of the various levels of work (in the paper just cited), but also to successful organisational change programmes [19.24.2627.38]. Our collaborative methods of action research are described elsewhere in detail [21,43]. The approach is consistent with a new paradigm of social research which values and empowers those involved . It seeks to provide critically refined and practically validated knowledge to aid the design of action by those responsible.
This research and the associated development projects have thrown up phenomena which are puzzling in levels-of-work terms. and raise fundamental questions and issues which the pre-existing theory does not resolve. Theoretical elaboration has therefore become necessary. The need for new theory is not surprising: the NHS is not only far larger. but ferociously more complex organisationally than the industrial concerns (Jaques) and social services (Rowbottom and Billis) where levels-of work theory originated. We wish to emphasise that our reworking of the theory was not primarily speculative. It was driven by collaborative research with managers and professionals within the NHS aiming to resolve their urgent problems.
In this paper. we go on to examine all groupings of adjacent levels and indicate the benefit that such an analysis offers for appreciating a much wider range of related psychological matters. What results is no less than a new model of managing. (Earlier publications form a useful background to the new analyses to be offered here, but the present paper expects no more of readers than general familiarity with management processes in large organisations.)