Job Design – Meaning, Importance and Methods

It is believed that a well designed job motivates the employees for higher level of performance. Poorly designed jobs often result in boredom and employee frustration, high turnover, reduced motivation, low level of productivity and increase in operating cost. To avoid such negative consequences, the jobs have to be designed systematically and scientifically

Thus, job design is a systematic process of organizing work into the tasks required to perform a specific job. It defines the contents and the way the tasks are combined to complete a job. Job design integrates the tasks, function and relationship in order to achieve certain organizational objectives. It is a logical sequence of job analysis which provides job-related data and skill requirement of the incumbent. There are three important influences of job design, they are- work flow analysis, business strategy and organizational structure.

Job design is a process through which job related data are revealed and the contents as well as methods of performing different tasks are specified. It plays a key role in bringing organizational productivity and employee motivation at work.

Therefore, job design is a process by which required and job-related information is gathered to determine different tasks to be included in the job. The manner in which the work activities are scheduled can influence the motivational level of employees. Hence it is an essential tool of human resource management which helps to enhance organizational productivity and challenges at work.

A brief description of steps in job design are as follows:

  1. Specification of tasks: This is the first step of job design under which the individual task is specified. It means different tasks to be included in a job are categorized and specified.
  2. Combination of task: After specifying the individual tasks to be included in a job, they are combined into a group and assigned to individual employee or group for performance.
  3. Specification of method: Under this step, different methods of performance of each tasks are identified and determined.

Importance and Benefits of Job Design

Job design is important for an organization to perform the organizational activities in the most efficient and effective manner. It provides the required information about the incumbent and also specifies the way of performing the tasks. Therefore, job design is very important for the organization due to its benefits as follows:

  1. Organizational Design – The job design specifies the contents and procedures of performing the task in the organization. Hence, it helps in designing organizational structure. The organizational structure is determined by the job design process. It plays a key role in assessing the need and requirement of organizational structure. Job design also specifies organizational culture, norms and values that its members need to follow to achieve organizational goals.
  2. Structure of Competent EmployeeJob design is a systematic approach of providing job-related data and information on skills, knowledge and ability of the incumbent to perform the task. On the basis of the information provided by it, the job description and job specification schedule are prepared, which helps to the best suited candidate for the job. It provides a milestone to select the competent employee who is capable of performing the task well in the organization.
  3. Motivation and Commitment of Employees – Job design makes the work more interesting and challenging, which motivates the employees for higher level of performance. The challenging and interesting job provides better pay for the employees which inspires them for better job performance. Along with motivation job design also brings high degree of commitment in them towards organizational objectives. This helps to increase organizational productivity and employee satisfaction at work.
  4. Environmental Adaptation – An organization is operated in a dynamic environment. Hence, any change in the environmental forces can have direct impact upon organizational performance. Therefore, a systematic job design process tries to address the change that has occurred in the organizational environment. The process of job design and job redesign is prepared in such a way that it adapts the change in the environmental forces.
  5. Labor RelationsA well prepared job design brings a harmonious relation between employees and management. On the other hand, poorly prepared job design creates employee-grievances, indisciplinary actions, greater employee turnover, greater absenteeism and conflict.
  6. Quality of Work Life – A quality of work life is understood as an efficient relationship between employees and organizational working environment. A properly prepared job design leads to improvements in quality of work life. With a good design of work schedules, people see a growing future in organization which ultimately leads to high motivation at work and a positive change in their thoughts and beliefs. Finally, these changes will have a direct impact upon the quality of work life.
  7. Organizational Productivity – The job design specifies the contents and working procedures of how the task is performed. This leads to a positive change in job performance and job analysis. As a result of which, the organizational productivity will be enhanced through efficient work performance.

Methods of Job Design

Job design methods seek how to design jobs. Jobs can be designed to range them from very simple to highly complex ones depending on the skill requirement to perform the job. The well known methods of job design are as follows:

1. Classical Approach

The classical approach of job design is greatly influenced by the work of F.W Taylor. From his work, time and motion study, he realized that by bringing a proper match between labor, tools and tasks it would be possible to increase productivity. Hence under this approach, the job is designed in the basis of organizational requirements. Its purpose is to simplify the tasks and break them down into small work units. The primary focus of this approach is planning, standardizing and improving human effort at work in order to optimize organizational productivity. Different methods under classical approach are as follows:

  1. Work Simplification: It is a process through which the job is broken down into small work units.
  2. Job Rotation: It is a process of transferring workers from one job to another or from one work unit to another without disrupting the flow of work.
  3. Job Enlargement: It refers to a process of expanding the job’s duties. It increases a number of different tasks performed by an individual in a single job.

2. Socio-Technical Approach

This is another important approach of job design in which social and technical aspects of the organization are considered. Under it, jobs are designed according to individual needs and organizational requirements. Furthermore, this approach considers both job-related technical systems as well as accompanying social forces of the job. It means it includes an entire job situation along with organizational and social factors while designing jobs. This approach leads to development of self-managed work teams in organization.

The technical and social aspects of job are analyzed in order to create jobs which have supportive relationship. Moreover, it requires a combined efforts of employees, supervisors, and union representatives to design and redesign the jobs under this approach. Hence, it is situational approach as it assesses the technical requirements and social surroundings of the job.

3. Behavioral Approach

Behavioral approach is concerned with behavioral factors such as: autonomy, variety, task identity, task significance, feedback mechanism etc. It means the above mentioned behavioral factors are analyzed and considered while designing the jobs under this approach. The different behavioral methods are as follows:

  1. Job Enrichment: It is concerned with the process of putting specialized tasks together so that the individual who is assigned with the task is responsible to perform the whole task.
  2. Job Characteristics: This method states that job characteristics affect the job designing process. It focuses on job redesign, work structuring, job enrichment, and so on to improve organizational productivity and quality of work life of employees.
  3. Autonomous Team: It is a group of workers in which they solve problems, implement solution and take full responsibility for outcomes. They are self-directed and self-managed work groups who perform related or interdependent tasks.
  4. Modified Work Schedule: It is a technique of job design through which the working schedules, timing, work week etc. are rescheduled as per the convenience of the workers.

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