Abstract This field study tested the relative efficacy of personal and organizational characteristics in accounting for employee job attitudes and then tested the utility of using the perceived work environment as an intervening variable that might contribute to our understanding of the relationship between the objective organizational structure characteristics and the employees' affective reactions. A primary contribution of this research was the development and utilization of a comprehensive measure of the perceived work environment. The 710 survey participants represented nearly 90% of the work force of a regional office of a large, multiline insurance company. The results of discriminant analyses indicated that employee job attitudes were related to both personal and organizational characteristics but most strongly to the organizational structure characteristics. Canonical correlation analyses, construing perceptions of the work environment as an explanatory intervening variable, indicated that the organizational structure characteristics were indeed referencing important employee organizational experiences. These experiences (assessed by employee perceptions of the work environment) were much more strongly related to characteristics of the employee's location in the organization than to his personal characteristics. The strong relationship between the work environment and employee reactions was even more directly and more powerfully demonstrated by the canonical correlations between perceptions of the work environment and job attitudes. This analysis also controlled for the alternative hypothesis of correlated method variance. It was concluded that employees in different locations in the organizational space perceived the work environment differently. Presumably, these different work environment experiences resulted in their using different frames of reference for evaluating the work situation and, therefore, differences in their attitudes. Therefore, perceived work environment can be construed as an intervening variable that can be used to understand the relationship between organizational structure characteristics and job attitudes.