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English: skills for learning
English: skills for learning

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3 The main features of academic style

You will now look again at Text 2 and Text 3 to identify the most common features of academic style in more detail.

As you know, before reading an academic text it is a good idea to consider the things you already know about its topic. You will do this in the next activity.

Activity 5

Timing: Allow approximately 10 minutes

Text 2 looks at the ways in which a business structure can have an effect on employees. Read it again and think about your experience as an employee or the experience of somebody you know. Then answer the questions that follow.

Text 2

Studies in organizational behavior support the position that organizational structure affects performance, employee satisfaction, and job related stress. Kerr et al. (1974) observed that rule oriented structure adversely affects employee satisfaction but improves productivity. In general, it has been observed that high autonomy and broad job scope are directly related to employees’ intrinsic job satisfaction (Fleishman, 1973; House, 1971; Hunt and Liebscher, 1973). Contradicting the mainstream trend in literature, Zeist (1983) reported a greater degree of job satisfaction in more highly structured roles since role clarity reduced anxiety and served as a basis for reward seeking activities. The size of the organization is also a factor in determining employee satisfaction. Porter and Lawler (1964) observed that although satisfaction is greater in relatively flat organizations with 5,000 or fewer employees, satisfaction was also found to be greater in large organizations with more than 5,000 employees and many hierarchical levels. Senatra (1980) observed significant relationships between organizational climate, role perceptions, job related tension, satisfaction, and propensity to leave.

(Source: Zanzo, 1995, p. 2)

How do the following factors affect your (or their) job satisfaction and productivity?

  • A highly structured role
  • Level of autonomy
  • Your job scope
  • Size of the business that employs you
  • Do any of these factors cause anxiety or stress?
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The answer is personal to you but you may be interested in reading mine.

When I first started to work I was inexperienced and anxious about my ability to be productive. I therefore needed narrow job scope (to do only a very limited range of tasks) and a highly structured role (several guidelines and rules to follow). Later I started gaining satisfaction (enjoyment) from a broader job scope and higher autonomy.


This activity has helped you to think about the topic of the two texts and to use some of the specialist vocabulary they contain to think about your own experience. You should now be ready to read the two texts in more detail.