Job Design

by Natasha

Job design is a systematic process to organize tasks and duties of an employee.It serves as an employee motivation tool and has become important part of human resource management.

Job design is next to job analysis. Job design involves systematic attempts to organize tasks, duties and responsibilities into a unit of work to achieve certain objectives. Job design integrates the work content and qualifications required for each job that meets the needs of employee and the organization. Job design makes the job highly specialized and well designed jobs are important in attracting and retaining a motivated work force.

According to Michael Armstrong, "Job Design is the process of deciding on the contents of a job in terms of its duties and responsibilities, on the methods to be used in carrying out the job, in terms of techniques, systems and procedures, and on the relationships that should exist between the job holder and his superior subordinates and colleagues."

Factors Affecting Job Design

Job Design is affected by 3 categories of factors:

Organizational Factors:

The organizational factors that affect job design are characteristics of task, work flow, ergonomics and work practices.

  • Characteristic of task:

    Each task consist of 3 elements, namely, planning, executing and controlling. Job design involves the assembly of a number of task into a job or a group of jobs. A job may require an employee to perform a variety of connected task. All these characteristics of jobs are taken into consideration for job design.
  • Workflow:

    The flow of work in an organization is strongly influenced by the nature of the product. This product usually suggests the sequence and balance between jobs if the work is to be completed efficiently.
  • Ergonomics:

    Ergonomics is concerned with the designing and shaping of jobs as per the physical abilities and characteristics of individuals so that they can perform their jobs effectively.
  • Work Practices:

    Work practices are the set methods of performing work. This can affect the job design as there is little flexibility in designing the job especially if the work practices are approved by employee unions.

Environmental Factors:

Environmental factors affect job design. Environmental factors include employee abilities & availability and Social & Cultural expectations.

  • Employee Abilities & Availability:

    Abilities and availability of people plays an important role while designing jobs. Due attention needs to be given to the employee who will actually perform the job.
  • Social And Cultural Expectations:

    Jobs should be designed keeping the employees in mind. Due to increase in literacy rate and knowledge, employees are now more aware and only perform jobs that are to their liking and matches their profile.

Behavioral Factors:

Behavioral factors are related to human needs and they need to be satisfied properly. Behavioral elements include the following:

  • Feedback:

    Employee should be given proper feedback about his job performance. This will enable the employee to improve his performance and complete the job in a proper manner.
  • Autonomy:

    Employee should be given proper autonomy required to perform the work. The absence of autonomy may lead to poor performance on the part of employees.
  • Use Of Abilities:

    The job should be designed in such a manner that an employee will be able to use his abilities fully and perform the job effectively.
  • Variety:

    Absence of variety in the job assigned may lead to boredom. Adequate scope to variety factor should be given while designing a job.

Techniques of Job Design

  • Job Simplification:

    In the job simplification technique, the job is simplified or specialized. A given job is divided into small sub-parts and each part is assigned to one individual employee. Job simplification is introduced when job designers feel that the jobs are not specialized enough.
  • Job Rotation:

    Job rotation implies systematic movement of employees from one job to the other. Job remains unchanged but employees performing them shift from one job to the other. With job rotation, an employee is given an opportunity to perform different jobs, which enriches his skills, experience and ability to perform different jobs.
  • Job Enlargement:

    Job enlargement means expanding the scope of the job. Many tasks and duties are aggregated and assigned to a single job. It is opposite to job simplification.
  • Job Enrichment:

    Job enrichment means making the job rich in its contents so that an employee will get more satisfaction while performing that job. Job enrichment means upgrading of responsibility, scope and challenge.

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Updated: 02/21/2012, Natasha
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