Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Richard L. Griffith

Second Advisor

Lisa A. Steelman

Third Advisor

Heidi Edwards

Fourth Advisor

Robert A. Taylor


Driven, satisfied, and motivated employees are crucial to an organization’s long-term success. The purpose of this research study was to examine factors that may be affecting employee perceptions of tasks as illegitimate. Utilizing a purposive, convenience sampling approach, 14 employees were recruited to participate in this study. Participants completed an interview with the researcher that lasted approximately 30 minutes and was audio recorded and later transcribed. All data was analyzed in NVivo qualitative analysis software utilizing the grounded theory method and thematic analysis approach. The following three themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) Lack of Resources, Lack of Support, Repeat Occurrences, and Environmental Conditions Influence WHEN Employees Perceive Certain Tasks as Illegitimate; (2) Unlawfulness, Unfairness, Role Boundary Violations, and Time Violations Influence HOW Employees Perceive Certain Tasks as Illegitimate; and (3) Inexperience, Role Confusion, Professional Relationships, and Trust in Abilities Influence WHY Employees Perceive Certain Tasks as Illegitimate. These findings add novel information to the small body of literature currently available on illegitimate tasks. As well, these findings provide organizations with evidence of several different antecedents that may affect their employees’ perceptions of certain work tasks as illegitimate.