ALIENATION AND INSECURITY AS RELATED TO OCCUPATIONAL LEVELS D. M....
ALIENATION AND INSECURITY AS RELATED TO
OCCUPATIONAL LEVELS
D. M. PESTONJEE AND NEYAZ AHMAD
The investigation attempts to determine the pattern of relationship of alienation and
security - insecurity with two levels of occupation hierarchy. For the study 100 blue
collar workers and 50 supervisors were selected. The measuring tools which include the
Alienation Scale and Security - Insecurity Inventory were administered simultaneously to the
two groups. The data obtained indicate a significant difference between the two occupational
groups with regard to their alienation and the feeling of security. The blue-collar workers
are found to be highly alienated and insecure as compared to the supervisory group.
Dr. D. M. Pestonjee is Reader in Psychology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-5 U.P.,
and Mr. Neyaz Ahmad is Lecturer in Psychology, S. N. I. College, Azamgarh, U.P.
Personality factors in industry have been of alienation and the process of its deve-
considered important in the fields of lopment.
selection, human relations, industrial In the dictionary of social sciences Kurt
tension and attitudes (Blum, 1949;
Lang (1964) defines alienation as "an
Hoppock, 1935; Smith and Ryan, 1954; estrangement or separation between parts
Smith, 1955; Pestonjee and Singh, 1972; and the whole of the personality and
1973).
significant aspects of the world of
As early as 1919, Greenwood and Woods experience".
recognised the role of personality factors
The lexicographic definitions of the term
in causation of industrial accidents. In include, 'a transfer of title or a legal
recent years Vroom (1964) has postulated conveyance of property to another', 'the
an interactional model to study job state of being alienated', 'a withdrawal or
motivations in which the role of personality estrangement, as of the heart or affections',
variables has been highlighted. However and 'delirium, mental derangement,
the factors of alienation and security-
insanity' (Webster, 1975). Another lexicon
insecurity have not found their due place defines alienation as 'the action of
in researches of industrial psychology.
estranging, or state of estrangement', 'the
The term alienation has been assigned state of being alienated' and 'loss or
several connotations and used for describing derangement of mental faculties, insanity'.
a variety of phenomena. The concept is (The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on
characterised by powerlessness, norm-
Historical Principles, 1973).
lessness and social isolation. A scale
constructed by Dean (1961) to measure
Seeman (1959) is of the opinion that
these three factors intercorrelated .41 to .67 alienation has five components, namely,
(N=384). He found a low but statistically powerlessness, meaninglessness, normless
significant negative correlation between the ness, isolation and self-estrangement.
three components of alienation and Security and insecurity constitute very
occupational prestige, education, income, important variables effecting human
and rural background. There is a small thinking and behaviour. The concept of
positive correlation between alienation security has been characterised by an
and advancing age.
inherent striving to reduce environmental
Enrique (1974) presents an existential situations to cause and effect relationships
view of alienation and discusses the types and thus enable the individual to predict

264
D. M. PESTONJEE AND NEYAZ AHMAD
and control these situations. It is further view of the need for security (Kureshi,
suggested that security is intimately con-
1975).
nected with the individual's self-concept
Both these personality variables, namely,
(Bovel, 1964).
alienation and security-insecurity can be
The needs for security and adequacy important aspects of the worker's life and
grow together. The individual soon learns need to be probed.
that failure to meet his biological and
Industrial psychologists have believed
psychological needs generally leads to for a long time that occupational levels can
unpleasant outcomes. Feeling of insecurity affect attitudinal variables (Singh and Sri-
may have widely different effects on vastava, 1975; Gurin, Veroff and Feld,
behaviour. Insecurity typically leads to 1960; Kornhauser, 1965). The worker
tearfulness, apprehension, and a failure to meets management face to face through his
participate fully in one's world. The more first-line supervisor. His position has been
adequate a person feels and the greater his described in a number of ways. He is the
level of competence, the less aware he is key man in production; he is a man who
of his need for security and the more he always feels that he has more responsibility
may value the exploration of unfamiliar than authority; he is the pivotal factor in
paths and freedom for self-direction (Cole-
human relations; he is accepted neither by
man, 1974).
the management nor by the worker
Security represents a need which is many
(Gilmer, 1961).
faceted. It refers to a feeling of social and
The present study is probably the first of
economic well-being and also to an internal its type where an attempt is made to
feeling of satisfaction and contentment, the ascertain if first-line supervisors differ from
former being termed as 'socio-economic-
rank and file workers on such dimensions
security' and the latter as 'personal of personality as alienation and security-
security'. Need for security is, therefore, a insecurity.
combination of the desire for contentment
and the desire for being at home with one's Hypotheses
environment, and the apprehension over
the possible loss of these conditions 1. The supervisory personnel will be less
Although the two components of the need
alienated than rank and file workers.
for security, namely, socio economic secu-
2. The supervisory personnel will be less
rity and personal security are interdependent,
insecure than rank and file workers.
neverthless they are also, to some extent
mutually exclusive. A financially well-off Methodology
individual, for instance, may not necessarily
enjoy an internal feeling of satisfaction. So
This study was conducted at one of the
also a financially hardpressed individual largest diesel locomotive manufacturing
may not perhaps, always feel psychological-
units situated in northern India. The
ly insecure. No inference, therefore, can be sample has been drawn from Engine Shop
drawn about one's security or insecurity of the Plant. The total number of subjects
only on the basis of his low and high socio-
studied in the present investigation are 150
economic status. Unless the two components which include 100 workers and 50 first-line
are equally stressed, the one in the absence supervisors.
of the other will give only an incomplete
Since this study entails measurement

ALIENATION AND INSECURITY AS RELATED TO OCCUPATIONAL LEVELS
265
of such personality variables as alienation recorded in the following tables (Table
and security-insecurity two standardised I-IV):
measuring devices have been used.
The Alienation Scale {A-Scale) was
TABLE 1
developed and standardized by Dutt and
ALIENATION SCORES
Kureshi (1976). It is a 21-item, Likert type
Scale. Each statement has four response
alternatives, namely, always, mostly, some-
times and never. Its factor analyses has
revealed the following five factors: Despair,
Disillusionment, Psychological Vacuum,
Unstructured Universe and Narcissism.
The original Security-Insecurity Inven-
tory developed by Maslow has been adapted
by Ansari (1964) in the Indian context. This
75-item inventory has three response
categories for each item, namely, yes. no
and undecided. The reliability of the
inventory was determined by the split-
half method. The reliability coefficient was
found to be .90, .89, and .92 respectively in
three studies. The validity of the inventory
was determined by comparing S-I scores
of the subject who were found to score
above Q3, below QI and in between
Q3 and Q1 on a measure of self-acceptance.
It was found that the mean S-I scores of
subjects falling in between Q3 and Q1 on
the dimension of self-acceptance differed
significant from both extreme groups, i.e.,
Q1 and Q3 groups (Ahmadi, 1966).
Results obtained with the help of A-
Scale and the S-I Inventory have been
statistically treated in terms of the mean
the median and the S.D. For testing the
significance of difference the non-parametric
Kolmogorov - Smirnov test has been
applied. This test is sensitive to "any kind
of difference in the distribution from which
the two samples were drawn-differences
in location (central tendency), in dispersion,
in skewness, etc." (Siegel, 1956).
Results
Results of the present investigation are

266
D. M. PESTONJEE AND NEYAZ AHMAD
TABLE IV
KOLMOGOROV-SMIRNOV T E S T FOR DIFFERENCES ON SECURITY - INSECURITY INVENTORY
direction and also highly significant. Our
first hypothesis is, therefore, fully confirmed.
It has also been found that the super-
visory group is more secure in relation to
the workers. The mean security-insecurity
score for the supervisory group is 33.00
whereas it is 37.15 for the rank and file
Discussion
workers (Table-II). The comparative
median positions also indicate a higher
The present investigation was directed to score for the workers. On testing for
determine the relative levels of alienation significance of difference (Table IV) we find
and security-insecurity in case of two levels that there are statistically significant
of industrial personnel. It was hypothesised differences between the two sets of scores
that the supervisory personnel will be lower (x2 = 8.33; p < .02). This tends to
on measures of alienation as well as in-
confirm the second hypothesis.
security. Results contained in Table I clearly
Our results very clearly establish that
indicate that the mean alienation score of occupational hierarchy is an important
the rank and file workers (X = 51.75) is determinant of alienation as also security.
larger than the mean alienation score of Tietz and Woods (1970) had recognised the
the supervisors (X = 47.1). The median role of Socio-cultural factors present in
also indicates a similar trend. From Table-
individual clinical circumstances for a
Ill we observe that the differences between therapy to be effective. In a recent study by
the two sets of scores are highly significant Biggs, Bamhart and Bakkenist (1975) it
(X2 = 17.28; p < .001). This indicates was observed that social characteristics
that the differences are in the expected of the offices relate to staff job satisfaction.

ALIENATION AND INSECURITY AS RELATED TO OCCUPATIONAL LEVELS
267
These authors further report that the social Conclusions
characteristics of the offices and of the
department as a whole were related to job 1. Occupational hierarchy is a factor which
alienation. Since it is a matter of common
is vitally connected with alienation and
knowledge that workers and supervisors
feelings of security-insecurity in case of
perceive organizational and social character-
industrial personnel.
istics of their work environment differently 2. Education, earnings and occupational
it can be assumed that the psychological
prestige affect the personality variables
returns from their jobs also differ. These
of alienation and security-insecurity.
psychological returns are linked with
alienation and feelings of security. Dean 3. To motivate the rank and file workers
(1961) had established in his study that
it is necessary to lower their levels of
occupational prestige, education, and
alienation and also insecurity. This can
income are three of the most important
be achieved by (i) raising their levels
factors related with alienation (r = .41 to
of competence through training, (ii)
.67). Incidentally, these three factors also
raising their incomes and providing a
generally distinguish the rank and file
sense of equity, and (iii) inculcating in
workers from supervisory personnel. The
them a sense of personal worth. All
supervisors are more educated, earn better
this requires that the work environment
and by virtue of a higher position in the
should encourage to create a sense of
job hierarchy they also command a higher
identification specially in case of the
occupational prestige.
rank and file workers.
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1964
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