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Job design methodology

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Steps to effective job design

Key to effectively crafting a meaningful job for an employee is starting the thought process by looking at the values and strategy of the organization. By framing the job in these contexts the job design process is more likely to align potential employees with the purpose of the company.

Once you have this context the following steps will ensure both meaningful and effective job design:

• Assess skills, needs, abilities, and motivations of employees and the organization.
• Design the job to meet those needs, abilities and motivations.
• Implement the new job design.
Audit the success of the job design and begin with step one periodically as well as when problems have been identified.

Brief history of traditional approaches to job design

Taylorism, also known as scientific management, is a foundation for management and managerial decisions. Frederick Taylor developed this theory in an effort to develop a “science” for every job within an organization.

Taylorism principles
Create a standard method for each job.
Successfully select and hire proper workers.
Effectively train these workers
Support these workers.
Table: Principles of Taylorism

Brief history of traditional approaches to job design

Hertzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory attempts to uncover psychological needs of employees and enhance employee satisfaction. In regards to this theory employers are encouraged to design jobs that enhance and motivate employees beyond simply meeting a daily or weekly quota. This theory highlights the importance of rewards systems and monitoring when and how employees are rewarded. Simple recognition is often enough to motivate employees and increase job satisfaction.

More effective jobs can be created when specific goals are established. Goal setting theory as described by Edwin Locke mainly focuses on the motivational properties of task goals. Task goals can be highly motivating when set and managed properly. If a company wants to implement goal setting theory with regards to job design than a reasonable job criteria and description must be established.

Current approaches to job design

Technology and the flattening of the global economy have contributed greatly to the changes we now see in jobs and job content across the world. We now recognize that a person presented with quality meaningful work is more likely to do that work well. Because of this insight, job design now presently takes a couple of prominent forms.

The first of which is designed around the evolution from individual work to work-groups. This job design practice is called Socio-Technical Systems (STS) approach.

Another modern job design theory is the Job Characteristics Model (JCM), which maintains five important elements that motivate workers and performance.

Current approaches to job design

Socio-Technical Systems (STS) approach

This is designed around the evolution from individual work to work-groups. This approach has the following guiding principles:

• The design of the organization must fit its goals.
• Employees must be actively involved in designing the structure of the organization.
• Control of variances in production or service must be undertaken as close to their source as possible.
• Subsystems must be designed around relatively self-contained and recognizable units of work.
• Support systems must fit in with the design of the organization.
• The design should allow for a high quality of working life.
• Changes should continue to be made as necessary to meet the changing environmental pressures

Current approaches to job design

Job Characteristics Model (JCM)

This model maintains five important elements that motivate workers and performance:
• skill variety
• task identity
• task significance
• autonomy
• job feedback

The individual elements are then proposed to lead to positive outcomes through three psychological states:
• experienced meaningfulness
• experienced responsibility
• the knowledge of results