The Concepts of Work Design
TheConcepts of Work Design
TheConcept of Work Design
Jobdesign plays a critical role in ensuring that performance ismaximized. A work design that is well designed attracts fullparticipation and also gives maximum satisfaction to the employees.This ensures that workers undertake their tasks well by dedicatingall their efforts to the job. According to psychologists, work thatis well designed putting into consideration the attitudes ofemployees acts as a motivation in carrying out tasks by the workers.This improves the loyalty and productivity of workers. This study isbased on the various concepts of work design, focusing on theinfluence they have on the workers. Further, this study focuses onthe variables that may be experienced at work place and considers theconsideration of ‘psychological perception’ of the employees. Theconclusion has appreciated the great influence of job design on theemployees conduct at the work place.
Keywords: scope of a job, Managerial skills, technology, OrganizationalStructure, Control System, Organizational Requirements, Job design,Job Enlargement, Job perception, psychological Perception, EmployeePerformance.
Workdesign also called job design is defined as the organization of workin order to overcome isolation of workers and job discontent that isbrought about by manual labor and recurrent tasks. It helps toincrease production by giving the workers non-monetary incentiveslike satisfaction from achieved goals (Businessdictionary). In anutshell, work design involves formulating the components of a job.It specifies the tasks, ways of carrying out the tasks, and therelationship between the various levels in the organization, that isbetween subordinates, colleagues and managers. It also specifies therequired qualifications and the benefits accrued from the job. Theeffectiveness of a job design is measured by its ability to makeworkers perform their task. While doing job design, the needs ofmanagers and those of the workers must be well considered. All thisis aimed at maximizing production and ensuring quality work amongothers. The job design must make the job interesting as well aschallenging[ CITATION Akr11 l 1033 ].
Jobdesign has a long history dates back to the 20thCentury. It is discussed by Fredrick Taylor among other predecessors.Fredrick for instance did a lot of work on job design although theywere not readily accepted. Most managers failed to adopt the conceptsand thus there was a low motivation in the work place andconsequently led to low production. An effective job design involvesthe worker in the task which looks forward to the production of theemployee, different level productivity and the overall output of theorganization. (Bates, 2004 Baumruk, 2004 Harter, 2002).
Generally,this research emphasizes on the role that is played by an effectivejob design on the productivity of employees. Job design should alwaysconsider the psychological requirements and perception of employees.Khan says that the involvement of physical, mental, and psychologicalpresence makes the workers perform to their level best. A good jobdesign influences the employees to fully commit their hand, head andheart to the work. (Ashforth & Hmphrey, 1995).
Asidentified by Hackman and Oldham (1976) work should be designed tohave five main job characteristics. These characteristics influencethe understanding of meaning, feeling of responsibility for resultsand understanding the outcomes of their efforts. They includeavailability of a variety of skills, job description, importance of atask, choice, and feedback.
Importanceof Work Design
Designingwork is very important in carrying out roles in an organization inthe most efficient and effective manner[ CITATION Ben17 l 1033 ].The importance includes:
It helps in setting up the organization structure of an organization.
Thisis by specifying the composition and ways of carrying out tasks inthe organization. It’s crucial in assessing the necessities oforganization structure. It also gives the organization culture, andvalues to be followed by its members to attain its objectives.
It also helps in identifying the best suited employee.
Jobdesign provides information related to the job. It gives theinformation pertaining the skills and abilities of its currentworkers. This information helps in identifying the best suitedemployee for a task in the organization. It entails preparing a workdescription and job specification table. This eventually helps inchoosing the most suited worker for a job.
Job design provides motivation on the employees
Thisis by creating challenging task which motivates the workers forgreater performance. Challenging and exciting jobs brings alongbetter pay to the worker. The workers also get more focused towardsthe goals of the organization.
It also enhances adaptation to the environment
Organizationsoperate in changing environments. This therefore means that anychange in the environmental conditions may have an effect on theproduction of the organization. Job design is therefore prepared in away that it is flexible and can easily adapt to such unanticipatedchanges.
It brings good labor relation
Agood job design helps in cultivating a harmonious interaction betweenworkers and the top management. Poor work design brings employeecomplaints, and other indiscipline issues.
It also brings about a quality work life.
Thisis the existence of good relationship between the worker and theworking conditions. When work is well designed it brings a vision ofa greater future thus increasing motivation and a paradigm shift intheir beliefs.
It also enhances productivity of an organization.
Thework design specifies the how of doing task. This brings a positivechange in work performance and work description. The production levelof the organization is as a result increased.
FactorsAffecting Work Design
Thereare several factors affecting work design[ CITATION Muj14 l 1033 ].The factors include
Theproper scope of job: Work requires a proper scope. Narrow scope leadsto a less challenging job. This denies the workers a chance toenhance their skills. Managers for instance will not derivesatisfaction after doing simple tasks. On the other side, too wide ascope will be overwhelming to the managers. This will therefore meanthat the worker will not be able to complete the task in an efficientmanner. Scope of the work must therefore be balanced and properlyestablished.
Agood scope of work facilitates maximum output in an organization. Itassists in cultivating a good relationship with the customers andcreates a better reputation in the market. This is because itincreases credibility and shows professionalism in carrying outbusiness.
Theprocess of creating a good scope of work involves a proper analysisof the clients’ needs methods of payment, improvement process amongothers. It is then followed by sharing the information and discussingit with members and designing the document. Each and everyundertaking is then described thoroughly despite the time it mayconsume. All assumptions are then outlined, and the managementstructure and procedure are defined and stated.
Ascope also must include all the work it intends to cover. These arethe inclusions. All the work to be done must be well stated. The workis simply classified into work packages which are clear and precise.Since the scope is intended to make achievements, these achievementsmust be stated. However anything else which has not been stated oughtnot to be pursued. Those that are state in the scope as things not tobe done are referred to as exclusions[ CITATION Dco15 l 1033 ].
However,a scope of work may be faced by a number of challenges such ascomplexity of tasks, existence of risks such as risk to thereputation of the organization, failure to involve experts in thefield of scope of work and the failure to allocate ample time towardsthe formulation of the scope[ CITATION Ric17 l 1033 ].
Thesecond factor affecting work designs are the managerial skills.Managerial skills are what the management uses to run an organizationand help it achieve its objectives. A manager applies his or herknowledge abilities and experience to run an organization in orderto increase productivity.
Differentmanagers have different skills. This therefore means that thecompetence of managers must therefore be considered before assigningduties to managers. If a manager is very competent he or she shouldbe assigned to difficult tasks. Managers who are less skilled on theother hand should be assigned lighter tasks. Jobs should be designedin way to make them flexible in order for them to accommodatemanagers of varied skills.
Agood manager must possess technical skills, human skills andconceptual skills[ CITATION Har17 l 1033 ].Technicalskills are the skills needed to complete a specific duty. Themanagers knows ‘how t’ do his or her work. They are derived fromformal education, training and experience. Employees anticipate thattheir managers possess the technical skills, and that they can askfor help from their managers where they may not able to carry outtheir tasks.
Humanskills on the hand are interpersonal skills which every manager mustpossess. They help the manager to handle the employees. Human skillscan be inborn, but some managers must work to acquire them throughtraining. The skills are very important to managers because most oftheir activities involve human beings. They help the managers toappreciate the role that they have towards the workers, importance oftrust, fairness, empathy, cohesion and good will.
Conceptualskills is the analytical ability to see both the sector and as awhole. The skills help a manager to solve problem well. When amanager possesses conceptual skills he or she is able to identify aproblem, divide it into simpler pieces, think of a number ofsolutions, and adopting the best solution. These skills are importantto both high managers and the lower levels managers.
Theother factor is a full-time challenge of the job. The abilities ofthe managers should be used exhaustively. The challenge of the jobmust therefore be designed in a way that they will need full time andfull capability of the manager. This ensures that the manager doesnot have a lot of idle time. Mostly, the idle time is poorly utilizedby disturbing the subordinate as they undertake their duties. Sincesubordinates do not like unnecessary disturbance from theirsuperiors, it will lead to conflict.
Technologyalso influences the work design. Job design is also affected by thetechnology applied. The differences in job designs are influenced byeither high level of technology or low level of technology. Theinvention of microelectronics and computers has had a huge influenceon jobs in all sectors (Braun and Senker, 1982).
Themicroprocessor and computers have introduced a lot of automation.This is in all sectors including the industries, offices and allother sectors that offer services. In manufacturing industries thetechnology is applied in design part, manufacture, inspectingworkers, and even testing. Robots controlled by computers, are todayhighly used in execution of duties in organizations.
Inoffices technology has introduced devices such the word processor andshop have automatic billing systems. Computers have also enhanced themanagement of data. They have replaced the filling system since theyhave made it very easy to store and retrieve information. This alsohas enhanced the access of the same information even from differentlocations.
Thework design can also be influenced by technology because of thechanges in telecommunications. For instance there is the introductionof the electronic mail and other modern communication avenues.Technology has also been used to monitor the conduct of workersincluding monitoring absenteeism, the working hours, surveillance ontheir job execution among others.
Similarlyorganizational structure also influences the design. Organizationalstructure is the hierarchical order of powers, communications, andresponsibilities of an organization. Different organizations havedifferent structures. Organizational structure guides on the divisionof duties, authority and responsibilities and how information istransferred across and within various levels. This ensures that theworker’s job is in agreement with the organization’s structure.
Astructure depends on the aims and ways set to achieve those aims. Astructure can be either centralized or decentralized. A centralizedmanagement empowers the top management. The top management makes mostof the decision and exercise high control over other departments. Adecentralized structure distributes power. Different levels may enjoya degree of independence and they often make their own decisions.
Acompany that deals with different products may divide its team insuch a way that each group of workers deal with their own product.
Individuallikes and dislikes are another factors influencing work design.
Peoplelike and dislike different things. For instance some people loveworking on their own, while other prefer working as a group. Alsosome want to involve themselves in planning while some like theimplementation part. Therefore, work design must put to considerationthe personal preferences. Some organizations for instance exercisejob enrichment. This means that they provide a strategy of motivatingthe self-driven workers by giving them some more responsibilities andwhich are meant for higher ranks. This makes the worker feel thattheir work is meaningful and is crucial to the organization. This isbased on the fact that naturally workers want to be entrusted withhuge responsibilities in the organization and succeed in them.Failure to challenge such workers tends to encourage laziness in theworkers and lack of motivation to give their best as they feelbelittled.
Theother factor is Organization’s requirement. We use different designfor different organizations because they handle different activities.Requirements of an organization may vary from need for networking,collaborating or sharing. This may include level of trust, ability ifenabling or ability of enacting. An organization may be a profitmaking or a nonprofit making venture. A nonprofit making venture forinstance may require to be exempted from payment of sales tax. Suchan organization may have to meet the laid down requirements. Theseinclude advancing a charitable purpose, avoid any private profitdesire, give a good amount of its gains to the community, givedonations to persons who genuinely require them, and help thegovernment in executing some of its functions. All these requirementswill as well influence the type of work design adopted.
Lastlythe Control systems also influence work design. Control at all levelconsiders the inputs, methods and the final achievement. A properwork design must put in place an effective control at all the levels.They should be designed in the best way possible to bring about awork design that creates motivation on the workers.
Effectivecontrol systems have the following characteristics accuracy on dataand information, carrying out tasks in time even when urgent, beingflexible due to the nature of the environment, they should be easilyunderstood and accepted by all, be in harmony with the policies ofthe organization, be cost effective, be located at a strategiclocation which cannot allow for failures, be able to spot mistakesand help solve them and should emphasis on the crucial matters ofconcern[ CITATION Cha16 l 1033 ].
Applicationsof Techniques in Job Design
First,it applies the technique of job rotation. This is a technical whichinvolves which involves rotating the tasks given to employees bytheir managers. Its aim was to motivate the employee by keeping theminterested and making them more flexible. Research has proved thatjob rotation helps in easing stress among the employees, more so inmanual jobs.
Thetechnique of job rotation brings two way benefits in the long run. Onone hand, the workers are able to acquire skills in more than onetask, taught by the company. The worker also acquires a biggerpicture of the organization[ CITATION Sco12 l 1033 ].This gives them an upper hand for promotion either in theirorganization or even in any other firm.
Onthe other hand, the company also accrues several benefits. Althoughthe company provides the training at its own expense, it ultimatelymeans that the company can hire a lower number of employees, sinceits workers are versatile in the undertakings of the job. This meanthat the company will save on the payment of wages and the currentworkers can even earn a higher salary. It brings a reduction in theleave of absence for the workers, reduces the productivity cost,brings satisfaction to the workers and even decreases the desire tobe exempted from overtime duties. At other times it brings abouthealth benefits. It relieves the stress due to tension on the workermuscles and helps them keep up with strenuous jobs. Companies likeIntel Corporation and Tokyo Company have already adopted job rotationtechnique. This has helped in filling experience gaps, bringing upvery efficient manpower.
Howeverit should be noted that this technique is limited since not allpositions can be rotated. This can be due to high technologicalskills required or high management skills or any other limitation.This should be solved by adopting the psychological perception. Ithelps consider individual-collective workers, ability to take risk,self-drive, and the physical strength in relation to the task.
Jobenlargement is the second technique. This involves increasing thecoverage of a job within the same level of work. It is an expansionof jobs horizontally. It combines several undertakings at the samelevel and adding them to the job. It is a contradiction to divisionof labor which it argues brings boredom. This means that a workerdoes not perform a single step on a product but rather performsdifferent task in the production of a single item (Herzberg 1996,Hackman and Oldham 1980).
Thisbrings motivation to the workers by giving them a higher involvementin the undertaking of task to realize more objectives in theorganization. This also helps the worker achieve more with lessrepetition which may cause boredom. The employees also benefit fromwider training by the organization. When a person is able to performmore tasks requiring different skills it means that their pay willalso be increased. However, with time this can resort back to boredomas the extended tasks become the norm[ CITATION Kok17 l 1033 ].
Thethird technique is the scientific management. It involvedrationality. People would be managed by use of reason and workersissues would be handled with great care. It aims to bring maximumgains to the employees. It is credited with being one of the earliestefforts to inculcate science to the engineering processes. Itrecommends for a higher level of management control. It alsorecognized the boredom that comes along repetitive task. Although itis no longer in existent most of its aspects are still applicable inthe engineering sector.
Theother technique is the human relation school. It considers the socialaspect of businesses, consequently psychological and emotionalfactors influencing production. It takes that good social relationscan motivate workers, recommend for managers to consult workersconcerning their welfare, practicing democratic governance as opposedto dictatorial, extending social and psychological incentives, andtaking into account the work group. It suggests for the treatment ofemployees as individuals with varied needs. This will give workers aspecial recognition, get more stable at work and feel satisfied withtheir work. This yields a higher cooperation and greater focus on theobjectives of the organization.
Thelast technique that guides work design is job enrichment. This isintended to bring fulfillment on the employees from the task theyhave been given (Herzberg, F.). The idea of this was to provide tasksthat will make total use of the employee’s skills. This should thenincrease productivity and performance and consequently growth of theorganization.
Inconclusion, it is quite evident that salary is not the main motivatorin a job. Different studies have clarified that the main motivator ina job is the work design. How a job is designed impacts greatly on aworker’s motivation, job fulfillment, loyalty, absenteeism andturnover. Managers should give more attention to the ways ofestablishing the best work design possible. This is the mostefficient way to ensure productivity and guarantee job satisfactionto workers. Workers behavior and psychological requirements must beconsidered when planning on a work design. They ensure effective andefficient functioning of the workers. The design should also make theworkers feel involved. Therefore if the nature of work matches thepsychological desires of an employee, he or she tends to be moreproductive for the organization for achieving his or her ownobjectives and also those of the organization.
Benjamin, T. (2017). Chron. Importance of Skill Variety in a Job Design.
Chand, S. (2016). Management. 9 Characteristics of an Effective Control Systems.
Dcosta, A. (2015, July 28). Bright Hub Project Management. Tips and Strategies For Writing a Scope of Work Document.
Hartzell, S. (2017). Managerial Skills. How Good Managers Promote Productivity.
Kokemuller, N. (2017). Discover. What is the Meaning of Job Enlargement?
Mujtaba, B. (2014). Managerial Skills and Practices for Global Leadership. Florida: ILEAD academy.
Richa. (2017). Scope of Work . Guidelines to Prepare an Effective Contract.
Scott, C. (2012). Performance Improvement Quarterly. Implication of Job Rotation Literature for Performance Improvement Practitioners.
No related posts.