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Highway engineers in local government : Professionals in a changing environment

Bergg, John Arthur (1985) Highway engineers in local government : Professionals in a changing environment. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94205) (KAR id:94205)


During the last decade highway engineers in Local Government have experienced major changes in their technical, social and organisational environments. The thesis examines and seeks understanding of the impact of these changes on their tasks, relationships, and motivation. The historical, functional and territorial context of their work is described, and previous writers' explanations of the behaviour of individuals and the functioning of organisations are reviewed. Following from this review a multiple-network model of organisational relationships is developed. Three-dimensional concepts are employed to portray the needs set and action space of individuals occupying nodal positions in the network. There is particular emphasis on the factors influencing means-ends chains of activity within action spaces, in the light of individual, professional and organisational objectives. With these models and concepts, the recent changes in the environment of highway engineers in the County of Kent are analysed and categorised. Consequential changes in the function, structure, and interdependence of engineering departments in District and County authorities in Kent are investigated. These investigations provide the background against which individual relationships and perceptions are set. Responses to questionnaires circulated within the authorities provide information on the function and frequency of links between individuals and groups in the multiple networks, together with reports of the perceived sources of change and job satisfaction. These responses are interpreted diagrammatically. Reports of individual interviews amplify the questionnaire replies, and enable individual perceptions of change, job satisfaction, objectives, and influence to be reported and analysed. It is concluded that the conceptual framework developed in this study, consolidated in the light of individuals' experiences and perceptions, provides fresh insight into individual and professional activity in the organisational setting, and of the process and consequences of change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Gordon, Ian
Thesis advisor: Jenkins, Bill
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94205
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: highway engineering, highway engineers, local government
Subjects: H Social Sciences
J Political Science > JS Local government. Municipal government
T Technology > TE Highway engineering. Roads and pavements
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 25 May 2023 14:22 UTC
Last Modified: 25 May 2023 14:22 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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