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Hackman and Oldham Model

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Business Studies

Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model, also called The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core Characteristics Model, was created in the 1970s and is one of the key models of employee motivation at work. This model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole. Hackman and Oldham believe that the implementation of core job characteristics in job design will increase employees’ work satisfaction.

Five Elements of Hackman and Oldham’s Model

The Hackman and Oldham job characteristics model is made up of five key elements that are believed to influence the employees’ satisfaction at work.

These five elements are:

  • Skill variety - Jobs should be designed in the way that they require a variety of skills and talents from employees to be performed. As that will make jobs more interesting and less repetitive.

  • Task Identity- Organisations should incorporate tasks that have clearly defined start and finish meaning that employees will be aware of when the task is completed. Employees’ job satisfaction may increase as they will be able to see the outcomes of the completed tasks.

  • Task significance - Task must be significant, task should matter and have a meaning to the company or the society.

  • Autonomy - This is the level of freedom for employees to choose a method and time of how and when to complete a task. Hackman and Oldham believed that jobs that are made more flexible bring greater satisfaction for employees.

  • Feedback - Employees should have access to sufficient feedback regarding their performances. As that will assist them in knowing what areas they need to improve on.

These five elements are positively related to job satisfaction as once incorporated into the job design they result in employees experiencing positive psychological states. Which are:

Experience of Meaningfulness

This psychological state is influenced by job characteristics such as skill variety, task identity and task significance.

Skill variety

The job should incorporate a variety of skills that employees are required to have to perform their roles. This is to make employees engaged, multiskilled and feel important in the organisation.

However, managers should be careful not to incorporate too many skill requirements into one job role as it may be too challenging for employees. On the other hand, incorporating not enough skills required for the role will cause employees to be bored.

An example, of low skill variety, is an assembly line worker that only needs one or a few sets of skills to perform a task and high skill variety would be a small business owner that needs a variety of skills to be in charge of finance, sales and marketing.

Task identity

Task identity means that tasks that are assigned to employees should feel whole and complete. Meaning that employees’ involvement in the task should be from start to the finish rather than only being responsible for adding small parts to the task. Employees will feel that their jobs are meaningful once they can see the outcomes of their work.

Assembly line workers have a low task identity as they are adding only a small part to the task and will not be aware of the complete product. On the other hand, an artist who is drawing a painting from the start to finish has a high task identity, as they are aware of the whole and complete outcome of their tasks which is a finished painting.

Task significance

Tasks significance explains to what extent a task has importance in the organisation.

Temporary employees such as administrators have low task significance as the majority of people will have the ability to send emails and answer phone calls. On the other hand, the doctor has a high task significance as not everyone will be able to do their job and their roles require qualifications. Moreover, doctors’ everyday tasks of consulting patients are important for hospitals to function.

The higher the significance of the task the more meaningful employees will feel to the organisation.

These five elements are positively related to job satisfaction as once incorporated into the job design they result in employees experiencing positive psychological states. Which are:

Experience of Responsibility

This is experienced by employees once the job characteristic Autonomy is incorporated into the job design.

Autonomy

This job characteristic explains to what extent employees can make decisions in the organisation rather than being micromanaged by the managers.

Low autonomy occurs for assembly line workers as they are not able to make any significant decisions and are always controlled by the managers. On the other hand, high autonomy is when employees can make their own decisions. Such as doctors have to make important decisions every day. These decisions can include giving medicine to their patients and making quick and rational decisions when patients are in emergencies.

Knowledge of outcomes

This psychological state is experienced by employees once the job characteristic of feedback is incorporated in the job design.

Feedback

Feedback is important for employees as it communicates how well they have performed on the job and what areas require further development.

If the marketing manager gives feedback every few months to their department employees, they will be aware of how they can improve and what were the outcomes of their performance. This is a very important job characteristic as it guides employees to improve further in their jobs. On the other hand, if feedback is not communicated to employees it can create a barrier for them to improve further in their jobs.

Outcomes

Once these positive psychological states are experienced by employees it will lead to positive outcomes regarding their jobs. That includes:

  • Increased Satisfaction with the job

  • Increased motivation

  • HIgher work effectiveness

These outcomes will have a positive influence on organisational performance as the more motivated the employees are the better they perform in the organisation.

Hackman & Oldham's Model, Hackman and Oldham's job characteristics model, StudySmarterHackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model, StudySmarter

Advantages of the Hackman and Oldham Job Characteristics Model

  • The model provides a clear and simple structure of the job characteristics that can be easily applied and implemented into the job design. Human Resource (HR) managers can use these job characteristics as a checklist when designing a new job.

  • This Hackman and Oldham’s model has a clear connection between the job characteristics and outcomes of employees’ satisfaction at work.

  • This job characteristics model communicates how to design jobs in the way that they are motivating, engaging and challenging for employees. Therefore, organisations can design any job to be more motivating for employees.

  • This job characteristics model can influence improved employees’ performance. As if employees are more satisfied with their tasks included in the job role they are more likely to perform better.

Limitations of Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model

  • Firstly this model is outdated as it was created in the 1970s, at that time jobs designs were fixed therefore Hackman and Oldham’s model assumed that all organisations should incorporate similar job characteristics in their job designs. However, now organisations design jobs based on their core competencies and each job design includes different features to be effective. The job characteristics model follows the ‘one fits all approach’ this approach to job design may not be effective in today’s world.

  • This model does not take into account that not all employees require these job characteristics to be fulfilled in their jobs. Some employees may not desire to have job characteristics incorporated in their jobs such as flexibility of organising their work or be required to have a variety of skills to perform a job. This may even cause employees burdensome and dissatisfaction.

  • Hackman and Oldham’s model does not address the individual employee’s needs. Meaning that this model can not predict what requires to be included in the job design to maximise job satisfaction regarding individual employees.

Hackman and Oldham Model - Key Takeaways

  • Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model was created in the 1970s and are one of the key models regarding employees’ motivation at work.

  • This model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole.

  • Hackman and Oldham’s models can also be named The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core characteristics model.

  • Hackman and Oldham’s model includes five job characteristic principles which are 1) Task variety 2) Task identity 3) Task significance 4) Task anatomy 5) Task significance.

  • The five job characteristics of this model lead to three psychological states experienced by employees which are: Experience of meaningfulness, the experience of responsibility and experience of outcomes.

  • The key advantages are: The model provides a clear and simple structure that can be easily incorporated into the job design and has a clear connection between the job characteristics and outcomes of employees’ satisfaction at work. Additionally, this model communicates how to design jobs in the way that they are motivating, engaging and challenging for employees and that can positively influence employees’ performance.

  • The limitations of this model are: This model may be outdated and may not fit the current trends of effective job design. Additionally, this model does not take into account that some employees do not need these job characteristics to be satisfied at work and this model does not focus on individual employees needs in regards to job satisfaction.

Hackman and Oldham Model

The five features of Hackman and Oldham’s model are Task variety, Task identity, Task significance, Task anatomy and Task significance.

Tasks significance explains to what extent a task has importance and meaning in the organisation.

Final Hackman and Oldham Model Quiz

Question

What is the definition of Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model?

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Answer

Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model is one of the key models regarding employees’ motivation at work. This model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole.

Show question

Question

What are the other ways to name Hackman and Oldham’s model?

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Answer

 The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core characteristics model.

Show question

Question

What does the model focus the most on?

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Answer

This model focuses on increasing employees’ satisfaction at work by incorporating job characteristic elements into the job design. The five elements are Task variety, Task identity, Task significance, Task anatomy and Task significance.

Show question

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When was this model created?

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Answer

 in the 1970s

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What are the principles of this model?

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Answer

Task variety, Task identity, Task significance, Task anatomy and Task significance.

Show question

Question

What is meant by the task identity?

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Answer

 Task identity means that tasks that are assigned to employees should feel whole and complete. Meaning that employees’ involvement in the task should be from start to the finish rather than only being responsible for adding small parts to the whole task.

Show question

Question

 If job characteristics are implemented what psychological states will the employees’ experience?

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Answer

 Experience of meaningfulness, the experience of responsibility and experience of outcomes.

Show question

Question

How does implementation of feedback benefit employees?


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Answer

 Feedback will benefit employees as it will communicate the further improvements that employees could be making in their job roles. This will assist employees in improving their work performance.


Show question

Question

What is an example of task significance?

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Answer

 For example, temporary employees such as administrators have low task significance as the majority of people will have the ability to send emails and answer phone calls. On the other hand, the doctor has a high task significance as not everyone will be able to do their job and their roles require qualifications. Moreover, doctors everyday tasks of consulting patients are important for hospitals to function.

Show question

Question

What is the difference between task identity and task significance?


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Answer

The task identity means that tasks that are assigned to employees should feel whole and complete. Meaning that employees’ involvement in the task should be from start to the finish rather than only being responsible for adding small parts to the whole task. On the other hand, task significance means the extent to which a task has importance in the organisation.

Show question

Question

 What are the key advantages of Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model?


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Answer

1) The model provides a clear and simple structure that can be easily incorporated into the job design 

2) The model has a clear connection between the job characteristics and outcomes of employees’ satisfaction at work. 

3) This model communicates how to design jobs in a way that they are motivating, engaging and challenging for employees 

4) This model positively influences employees’ performance.

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 How can this model contribute to achieving organisational goals?

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Answer

This model aims to increase employees’ satisfaction at work and more satisfied employees are likely to work harder and perform better. Better employees performance will contribute to achieving organisational goals.

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Question

What are the key limitations of this model?


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Answer

1) This model may be outdated and may not fit the current trends of effective job design. 

2) This model does not take into account that some employees do not need these job characteristics to be satisfied at work 

3) This model does not focus on individual employees needs in regards to job satisfaction.

Show question

Question

Why may this model not fit the current job design trends?


Show answer

Answer

Hackman and Oldham’s model assumed that all organisations should incorporate similar job characteristics in their job designs. However, now organisations design jobs based on their core competencies and each job design includes different features to be effective. The job characteristics model follows the ‘one fits all approach’ this approach to job design may not be fitted to today’s trends.

Show question

Question

Do all employees need to have job characteristics implemented into their roles to be satisfied?

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Answer

No, because some employees may not desire to have job characteristics incorporated in their jobs such as flexibility of organising their work or be required to have a variety of skills to perform a job. This may even cause employees burdensome and dissatisfaction.

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Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model is also called...

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Answer

The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core Characteristics Model

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Hackman & Oldham's Model was created in...

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Answer

the 1970s.

Show question

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Hackman & Oldham's Model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole.


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Answer

True

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Question

focuses on the job as a whole.


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Answer

False

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Question

How many elements does Hackman &Oldham's Model consist of? 

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5

Show question

Question

The Hackman and Oldham job characteristics model is made up of five key elements that are believed to influence the employees’ ___ at work.


Show answer

Answer

satisfaction 

Show question

Question

Organisations should incorporate ___ that have clearly defined start and finish.


Show answer

Answer

tasks 

Show question

Question

Hackman and Oldham believed that jobs that are made less flexible bring greater satisfaction for employees. 


Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Hackman and Oldham’s model has a clear connection between the job characteristics and ___ of employees’ satisfaction at work.


Show answer

Answer

outcomes 

Show question

Question

Hackman & Oldham's Model model takes into account that not all employees require these job characteristics to be fulfilled in their jobs.

Show answer

Answer

False

Show question

Question

Hackman and Oldham’s model does not address the individual employee’s needs.


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

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