Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Avery, Clarence G.

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

Department of Accountancy


Office management; Universities and colleges--Administration


The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to evaluate the effectiveness of the "Procedure Manual for Business Affairs" in use at Northern Illinois University in achieving the goal of improved communication between the business office and the faculty and administration; and (2) to analyze the manual itself in terms of content, organization and scope. Data for the study were obtained from personal interviews with members of the faculty and staff of Northern Illinois University, the manual itself, and library research. Library research was conducted in two main areas: (1) the general topic of communication between departments in colleges and universities, and (2) the design and use of policy and procedure manuals in business organizations. The significant findings which resulted from interviews with persons identified as intended manual users are summarized as follows: 1. The procedure manual is being used as a reference by a majority of those interviewed, but the degree of use is unknown. 2. Secretarial and clerical employees form the largest group of manual users; in 50 per cent of the cases sampled, the manual was located in the secretary's desk or office. 3. The manuals are being updated with new material as revisions are received by the users. The indexing system appears to work satisfactorily in the update function. 4. Interview responses disclosed that the procedure manual was being used as an aid in new employee orientation. Interviewees suggested that the manual could be of considerable value when used in this manner. 5. Other sources of information, such as personal contacts and departmental memoranda, continue to be used by nearly all persons interviewed to answer business procedural questions. The following general conclusions were drawn from an analysis of the procedure manual itself: 1. The term "procedure manual" does not appear to describe accurately the contents of Northern Illinois University's "Procedure Manual for Business Affairs." The term "administrative practice manual," or "organization manual," more nearly describes this type of manual, because in addition to procedures the manual contains general information, policies, rules, and organizational and departmental responsibilities. 2. Inconsistencies in writing style and types of information included occur between the various sections of the procedure manual. The inconsistencies appear to result primarily from the fact that each department or office in the business division was responsible for writing the section of the manual which pertained to its area. 3. The indexing system and manual design provide for easy updating of the manual. However, the method of replacing outdated material is with complete new pages, and no information is included to indicate the specific changes being made. It is suggested that revisions to the procedure manual include information which will identify the specific changes being made. During the interviewing phase of the study several persons commented that they were pleased that someone was visiting their office or department to follow up the manual distribution. On the basis of comments from interviewees about the value of personal contact follow-up, it is recommended that a program be included in the future plans for improving Northern's procedure manual involving personal contact follow-up with all departments in the university. Responses from the interviewees indicate that the following benefits could be anticipated: a. More effective feedback of information for improving the manual. b. More effective use of the manual by promoting increased interest and acceptance. c. Improved interdepartmental relationships. Criticisms by interviewees identified as users of the procedure manual would indicate that the manual could be improved in the following ways: a. By utilizing written instructions or workshop sessions to educate the manual users. b. By changing the organization of material or describing the difference between policies, procedures, philosophy and general information contained in the manual.


Includes bibliographical references.


3, vii, 87 pages




Northern Illinois University

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