Educational Works Components Study

Miskel, C. G., and Heller, L. E. (1973). The Educational Work Components Study: An adapted set of measures for work motivation. Journal of Experimental Education 42:45–50.

Comments: The Work Components Study (WCS) was developed by Borgatta (1967) for industrial settings. Miskel and Heller modified the WCS for public schools. The theoretical foundation for the WCS is the two-factor theory of motivation (Herzberg et al., 1959). The 56-item Educational Works Components Study (EWCS) contains six factors. Sample: The sample of 745 consisted of 153 seniors and 42 graduate students in a school of education as well as 118 administrators and 432 teachers from three public school districts. A stratified random sampling procedure was used.

Reliability: Alpha coefficients (Cronbach) for the WCS ranged from 0.68 to 0.83. For school personnel, alpha coefficients for the EWCS ranged from 0.73 to 0.83. The estimates of internal consistency were 0.80 (potential for personal challenge and development), 0.73 (competitiveness desirability), 0.79 (tolerance for work pressure), 0.81 (conservative security), 0.82 (willingness to seek reward in spite of uncertainty vs. avoidance), and 0.83 (surround concern).

Validity: Factor analysis was undertaken to determine the factorial stability of the EWCS.

Factor Analysis: Varimax orthogonal and max plane oblique R-factor analysis procedures were performed, yielding six factors. The six factors are: eight items on potential for personal challenge and development (13, 24, 31, 34, 39, 42, 45, and 56); seven items on competitiveness desirability and reward of success (3, 11, 21, 35, 37, 49, and 52); nine items on tolerance for work pressure (7, 12, 18, 22, 27, 28, 43, 48, and 50); 11 items on conservative security (2, 10, 14, 15, 20, 26, 33, 36, 41, 47, and 54); 10 items on willingness to seek reward in spite of uncertainty vs. avoidance of uncertainty (1, 4, 6, 9, 19, 25, 32, 40, 46, and 53); and 11 items on surround concern (5, 8, 16, 17, 23, 29, 30, 38, 44, 51, and 55).

Definition of Factors: Potential for personal challenge and development measures the desirability of a job that provides for creativity, responsibility, and measures personal ability. Competitiveness desirability and reward of success measure job situations where pay is based on merit, competition is keen, and accomplishment is emphasized. Tolerance for work pressure measures job situations where the workload may be excessive and the individual may have to take work home. Conservative security measures whether or not the person plays it safe and has job security. Willingness to seek reward in spite of uncertainty vs. avoidance of uncertainty measures the person’s willingness to do interesting work although the person could lose his/her position. Surround concern measures the individual’s concern for hygiene factors.


Borgatta, E. F., et al. (1968). The Work Components Study: A revised set of measures for work motivation. Multivariate Behavioral Research 3:403–14.

Dunton, D. D. (1983). A study of demographic characteristics and stated attitudes towards work of new and re-entry teachers in selected Illinois districts. EdD dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Fuqua, A. B. (1983). Professional attractiveness, inside sponsorship, and perceived paternalism as predictors of upward mobility of public school superintendents. EdD dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Hatley, P. R. (1991). Work motivation and job satisfaction of principals and assistant principals in Missouri public high schools. EdD dissertation, University of Missouri, Columbia.

Simms, M. W. (1981). A participant observation study of a large urban high school academic department: Profiling the staffs’ actions, motivation and climate perceptions. EdD dissertation, Boston University.

Educational Work Components Study Questionnaire

1. I could get fired easily, but the work would be very interesting.
2. The emphasis would be on carrying out clearly outlined school district policies.
3. Salary increases would be strictly a matter of how much you accomplished for the school district.

4. I could not be sure I could keep my job as long as I want it.
5. The lighting is good.
6. The school district is not stable.
7. Trouble might come up that I would have to take care of myself, even outside regular hours.
8. The community has good recreational facilities.
9. The school district has in the recent past been having a hard time holding its position.
10. The job is managing a small group of people doing routine jobs.
11. The school district is known to be involved in heavy competition.
12. The work might be excessive sometimes.
13. There is opportunity for creative work.
14. The work would be routine, but would not be hard to do.
15. I would work as a member of a more-or-less permanent group.
16. The climate would be pleasant.
17. The community would be a wonderful place to raise a family.
18. The schedule of hours might have to be flexible in response to the amount of work.
19. The work might run out, but it would be extremely interesting while it lasted.
20. The pay is not too high, but the job is secure.
21. Persons are supposed to “get the boot” if they don’t make good and keep making good.
22. I might sometimes have to take work home with me.
23. The physical working conditions would be attractive.
24. I would have a chance to really accomplish something, even if others wouldn’t know about it.
25. I could get fired easily.
26. The work is routine, but the initial salary is high.
27. The work might build up “pressures” on me.
28. The nature of the job changes because the school district changes.
29. The fringe benefits are very good.
30. The ventilation is modern.
31. There would be emphasis on individual ability.
32. There is little permanency of positions.
33. I would be under civil service.
34. The school district is located in a university center and would encourage further specialized work.
35. There are opportunities to earn bonuses.
36. Promotions come automatically.
37. Competition would be open and encouraged.
38. The community would have a good social and cultural life.
39. I would have a chance to further my formal education.
40. I could get fired easily, but the rewards would be high.
41. The work is routine, but highly respected in the community.
42. I would always have a chance to learn something new.
43. There might occasionally be some physical danger.
44. The supervisors are nice people.
45. The work itself keeps changing and I need to change to keep up with it.
46. The job is insecure.
47. The salary increases are regularly scheduled.
48. The work might come in big pushes.
49. There is emphasis on the actual production record.
50. I might be on call when there is pressure to get jobs done.
51. The retirement plan is good.
52. Salary increases would be a matter of how much effort you put in.
53. Rewards are high, and the work interesting, but if one loses his job it is very difficult to get another one.
54. There would be emphasis on satisfying superiors by carrying out school policy.
55. I would have nice people for coworkers.
56. There would be emphasis on originality.

Scoring: Respondents are asked “How desirable would you consider each of the following items in a job for you? A job in which . . . ” Extremely Undesirable. Would never take the job = 1. Undesirable. Would avoid the job = 2. Neither Desirable or Undesirable = 3. Desirable. Would favor the job = 4. Extremely Desirable. Would favor job greatly = 5.