Job design has been a concern for managers for many years, but it was Frederick Taylor, in 1911, who proposed the scientific design of a job. Through time and motion studies, it was expected that productivity would increase. There was little regard for the human element other than to make sure that it was adequately controlled and supervised. More recently, organisations are discovering there is often a high price today in the form of absenteeism, turnover, apathy, poor work quality, or even sabotage when the human element is not considered.
The current trend is to redesign jobs to improve worker satisfaction and productivity. There are, however, no easy solutions to redesigning jobs because there are too many variables: the worker, the nature of the work, the organisation climate, and the manager’s styles. Some of the approaches to redesign the job are:
Job Enlargement Theory:
Job enlargement is a job design strategy that increases task elements on a horizontal level. That is, the content of the job is increased, and the worker thus performs a major work unit rather than a fragmented job. The purpose of job rotation and job enlargement is to reduce the boredom and monotony that arise from performing a fragmented job repetitively.
This theory holds that jobs should be redesigned to improve the motivators related to a job by permitting employees to attain increased level of responsibility and achievement. Employees can also be given appropriate recognition and advancement in their careers for a job well done. And certainly the work itself should be challenging, interesting, and meaningful. There are numerous techniques for improving these motivational factors and they will have to be tailored to fit specific situations.
Job Characteristics Theory:
Another approach to job design is the job characteristics model provided by JR Hackman, G.R. Oldham, R. Janson and K. Purdy (1975). This model attempts and develops objective measures of job characteristics, which can directly affect employee attitudes and work behaviour. According to this model, work motivation and satisfaction are affected
by five core job dimensions: (1) skill variety; (2) task identity; (3) task significance; (4) autonomy; and (5) feedback.