Approaches to Job Design

Job design is the next step after job analysis that aims at outlining, and organizing tasks and responsibilities associated with a certain job. It integrates job responsibilities and qualifications or skills that are required to perform the same. There are various methods or approaches to do this. The important ones are discussed below

Human Approach

The human approach of job design laid emphasis on designing a job around the people or employees and not around the organizational processes.

In other words it recognizes the need of designing jobs that are rewarding (financially and otherwise) and interesting at the same time.

According to this approach jobs should gratify an individual’s need for recognition, respect, growth and responsibility. Job enrichment as popularized by Herzberg’s research is one the ways in human approach of job design. Herzberg classified these factors into two categories - the hygiene factors and the motivators.

  1. Motivators include factors like achievement, work nature, responsibility, learning and growth etc that can motivate an individual to perform better at the work place.

  2. Hygiene factor on the other hand include things like working conditions, organizational policies, salary etc that may not motivate directly but the absence of which can lead to dissatisfaction at the work place.

Engineering Approach

The engineering approach was devised by FW Taylors et al. They introduced the idea of the task that gained prominence in due course of time.

According to this approach the work or task of each employee is planned by the management a day in advance. The instructions for the same are sent to each employee describing the tasks to e undertaken in detail. The details include things like what, how and when of the task along with the time deadlines.

The approach is based on the application of scientific principles to job design. Work, according to this approach should be scientifically analyzed and fragmented into logical tasks.

Due emphasis is then laid on organizing the tasks so that a certain logical sequence is followed for efficient execution of the same. The approach also lays due emphasis on compensating employees appropriately and training them continuously for work efficiency.

The Job Characteristics Approach

The job characteristics approach was popularized by Hackman and Oldham. According to this approach there is a direct relationship between job satisfaction and rewards. They said that employees will be their productive best and committed when they are rewarded appropriately for their work. They laid down five core dimensions that can be used to describe any job - skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback.

  • Skill variety: The employees must be able to utilize all their skills and develop new skills while dealing with a job.

  • Task Identity: The extent to which an identifiable task or piece or work is required to be done for completion of the job.

  • Task Significance: How important is the job to the other people, what impact does it create on their lives?

  • Autonomy: Does the job offer freedom and independence to the individual performing the same.

  • Feedback: Is feedback necessary for improving performance.

These are different approaches but all of them point to more or less the same factors that need to be taken into consideration like interest, efficiency, productivity, motivation etc. All these are crucial to effective job design.

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