The core dimensions and techniques of job design are important because different combinations of these core dimensions motivate different types of employees. Each of the core dimensions can be viewed as if on a continuum. You may need a high skill variety and a low task identity for a specific job.
Job design (also referred to as work design or task design) is a core function of human resource management and it is related to the specification of contents, methods and relationship of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organizational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder or the employee. Its principles are geared towards how the nature of a person's job affects their attitudes and behavior at work, particularly relating to characteristics such as skill variety and autonomy. The aim of a job design is to improve job satisfaction, to improve through-put, to improve quality and to reduce employee problems (e.g., grievances, absenteeism).
The job characteristic theory proposed by Hackman & Oldham (1976) stated that work should be designed to have five core job characteristics, which engender three critical psychological states in individuals—experiencing meaning, feeling responsible for outcomes, and understanding the results of their efforts. In turn, these psychological states were proposed to enhance employees’ intrinsic motivation, job satisfaction, quality of work and performance, while reducing turnover.
The five core job dimensions listed above result in three different psychological states.
Job rotation is a job design process by which employee roles are rotated in order to promote flexibility and tenure in the working environment. Through job rotation, employees laterally mobilize and serve their tasks in different organizational levels; when an individual experiences different posts and responsibilities in an organization, the ability to evaluate his or her capabilities in the organization increases. By design, it is intended to enhance motivation, develop workers' outlook, increase productivity, improve the organization's performance on various levels by its multi-skilled workers, and provides new opportunities to improve the attitude, thought, capabilities and skills of workers.
Hulin and Blood (1968) define Job enlargement as the process of allowing individual workers to determine their own pace (within limits), to serve as their own inspectors by giving them responsibility for quality control, to repair their own mistakes, to be responsible for their own machine set-up and repair, and to attain choice of method. By working in a larger scope, as Hulin and Blood state, workers are pushed to adapting new tactics, techniques, and methodologies on their own. Frederick Herzberg referred to the addition of interrelated tasks as 'horizontal job loading,' or, in other words, widening the breadth of an employee's responsibilities.
Job enrichment increases the employees’ autonomy over the planning and execution of their own work, leading to self-assigned responsibility. Because of this, job enrichment has the same motivational advantages of job enlargement, however it has the added benefit of granting workers autonomy. Frederick Herzberg viewed job enrichment as 'vertical job loading' because it also includes tasks formerly performed by someone at a higher level where planning and control are involved.
Under scientific management people would be directed by reason and the problems of industrial unrest would be appropriately (i.e., scientifically) addressed. This philosophy is oriented toward the maximum gains possible to employees. Managers would guarantee that their subordinates would have access to the maximum of economic gains by means of rationalized processes. Organizations were portrayed as rationalized sites, designed and managed according to a rule of rationality imported from the world of technique.
The Human Relations School takes the view that businesses are social systems in which psychological and emotional factors have a significant influence on productivity. The common elements in human relations theory are the beliefs that
Socio-technical systems aims on jointly optimizing the operation of the social and technical system; the good or service would then be efficiently produced and psychological needs of the workers fulfilled. Embedded in Socio-technical Systems are motivational assumptions, such as intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. As Bradbury and Reason (2005) state, this approach causes workers to focus less on being highly specialized, and more on becoming multi-skilled and self-directed.
Work reform states about the workplace relation and the changes made which are more suitable to management and employee to encourage increased workforce participation.
The psychological literature on employee motivation contains considerable evidence that job design can influence satisfaction, motivation and job performance. It influences them primarily because it affects the relationship between the employee's expectancy that increased performance will lead to rewards and the preference of different rewards for the individual.
Hackman and Oldman developed the theory that a workplace can be redesigned to greater improve their core job characteristics. Their overall concept consists of:
Frederick Herzberg's Two Factor Theory (Motivator-Hygiene Theory) proposes that the factors that correlate to motivation in the work environment are separate to those factors that correlate to dissatisfaction. He relates these factors to the perceived satisfaction of a set of needs as a reward for completing a task; universal necessities and expectations such as healthcare and salary do not contribute to motivation as much as factors such as achievement or recognition. Employees of a work environment therefore are motivated and dissatisfied by two sets of factors:
In economics, job design has been studied in the field of contract theory. In particular, Holmström and Milgrom (1991) have developed the multi-task moral hazard model. Some of the tasks are easier to measure than other tasks, so one can study which tasks should be bundled together. While the original model was focused on the incentives versus insurance trade-off when agents are risk-averse, subsequent work has also studied the case of risk-neutral agents who are protected by limited liability. In this framework, researchers have studied whether tasks that are in direct conflict with each other (for instance, selling products that are imperfect substitutes) should be delegated to the same agent or to different agents. The optimal task assignment depends on whether the tasks are to be performed simultaneously or sequentially.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.