Elements of Job Design

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Businessman and businesswomen speaking in hallway.
Businessman and businesswomen speaking in hallway. (Image: a.collectionRF/amana images/Getty Images)

Job design refers to how specific work-related tasks are arranged to achieve optimal levels of efficiency and individual accomplishment. Good job design considers the company's performance needs along with individual employee skills, needs and motivation. The different elements that fall under consideration include the tasks that need to be performed, job enlargement, job rotation and job enrichment.

Tasks

One of the most fundamental considerations behind job design is the tasks that need to be completed. The organization needs to consider the most efficient manner in which it is able to meet performance standards and obligations. When separating tasks into different job positions, it considers how the tasks will be completed, what tasks will be performed, how many will be completed in each job position and the order in which the worker will complete them. For example, a food manufacturer that employs a direct sales team might combine selling, delivery, ordering and merchandising tasks into one position in order to decrease labor costs and increase customer service satisfaction. It may or may not decide that a separate position needs to be created to load and unload the delivery trucks in order to increase the productivity of its sales representatives.

Job Enlargement

The act of job enlargement increases the variety of tasks involved in a job. It accomplishes this by combining a few of the tasks that were previously performed by separate job positions. Job enlargement allows organizations to provide workers with greater responsibility and opportunities for skill enhancement. It also strives to relieve individual workers of boredom associated with routine and repetition. A secondary objective of job enlargement is to increase employee motivation by creating work-related challenges and giving them a more interesting set of tasks to perform.

Job Rotation

Job rotation seeks to create the same type of enhancements seen with job enlargement. The difference is that instead of combining tasks from different positions, it allows workers to change job functions. Provided that the organization is able to draw upon internal and external resources to administer cross-training, individual workers are able to periodically move from one job to another. In job rotation, responsibility levels do not change, but the tasks that the workers perform do. Rotations might occur on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. In a retail environment, for example, an employee might rotate back and forth between being a floor stocker, cashier and customer service desk associate.

Job Enrichment

A fourth element of job design is job enrichment. It seeks to enhance a position by adding opportunities for higher levels of responsibility, recognition through achievement and personal skill development. The difficulty of the tasks might be increased, or managerial planning and control functions might be assigned to the employee. Special project teams or being designated as a team expert also fall under job enrichment. The main objective of job enrichment is to increase employee motivation and job satisfaction.

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References

  • Organizational Behavior (10th Edition); John R. Schermerhorn et al.
  • CCOHS: Job Design
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