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Keywords:

  • Work sampling;
  • Job analysis;
  • Work tasks;
  • Working time;
  • Research methods

Abstract

This article introduces an effective job analysis method for examining how people spend their working time, that is, the tasks they perform, the time each accounts for, and how they perceive these. Based on the principles of work sampling, it addresses several disadvantages of existing techniques. Self-report data are collected using mini portable computers (personal digital assistants; PDAs), the efficiency of which enables a more comprehensive approach to be adopted. A key feature of the method is the use of multilevel categories to examine work tasks from multiple perspectives, simultaneously, in a detailed manner. The article describes the development of the method, illustrates its procedures and analyses using sample research data, and evaluates its use as an organizational research tool. Furthermore, it provides detailed and accessible descriptions of the numerous methodological and technical procedures common to all work sampling approaches, and discusses the various associated issues. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.