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Job Design

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Business Studies

Who decides how many people should be working in a certain role in a company? How do businesses decide on the types of roles that should be created within the organisation? These types of questions are often addressed by human resource (HR) managers.

Job design is the process of establishing the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' roles. Human Resource (HR) managers aim is to design work duties specific to the individual so that it allows the employee to maximise their performance and stay engaged and motivated.

HR managers must take time to design each duty included in the job role in a way where it could be performed most effectively and efficiently possible.

The key elements of job design

The main elements of job design that HR managers are concerned with include:

  • Tasks that employees are expected to perform in the set time.

  • Motivation - the jobs should be designed in a way that brings motivation to employees to do their job.

    To motivate employees a job role can include a clear sense of direction for employees to follow and grow within the company.

  • Resource allocation - the company should allocate their resources effectively and efficiently to the specific job role, as appropriately allocated resources can influence innovation.

  • Reward systems - both monetary and non-monetary rewards should be incorporated into the job design as they can motivate employees to perform better.

Aspects of job design

The four key aspects of job design (see Figure 1 below) include:

  • Job simplification - This means splitting one big task into smaller parts. This is to keep employees motivated as tasks will not be seen as too challenging.

  • Job rotation - This is the process in which employees are shifted from one duty to another; this technique aims to make employees multiskilled and be able to perform various roles and duties in the company.

  • Job enrichment - This technique allows employees to have more authority and accountability in the organisation. The job Enrichment technique is aimed at employees to feel more important and fulfilled.

  • Job enlargement - This is when more duties and tasks are added to the job role horizontally, meaning that even though the variety of duties and tasks will increase the employees will stay at the same hierarchical level. This technique is put in place to increase employees’ engagement in their current roles, become more multiskilled and avoid boredom.

Job Design, Four key aspects of job design, StudySmarterFigure 1. Four Key Aspects of Job Design, StudySmarter

Importance of job design

Job design is important for every organisation, as each designed job is guidance that employees will follow when performing their role.

An effectively designed job communicates all the duties involved in the role clearly to employees so that they understand their responsibilities and expectations.

A well-designed job should be structured following key elements that involve task, motivation, resource allocation and rewards. Also should incorporate these techniques such as job rotation, job simplification, job enrichment and job enlargement. The structure and techniques incorporated in the job design will help to increase employees’ motivation, skills and maximise their performance.

The key benefit of a well-designed job is that it will have a positive impact on organisational goals and objectives. Motivated and skilled employees are more likely to achieve set targets.

On the other hand, poorly designed jobs can bring negative results to the company.

If the duties that are listed in the job description are unclear, involve too many or too few tasks, it will make employees’ jobs chaotic, inefficient and boring.

If techniques such as job rotation, enrichment and enlargement are not put in place employees may feel demotivated to perform the same duties every day, which can lead to low-performance rates and high staff turnover.

Job design process

The job design process is aimed to guide HR managers to design effective jobs that will assist in maximising employees’ performance, increase their engagement and avoid repetitive and boring tasks.

The job design process follows key steps. They are:

1. First managers need to decide what important content will be displayed on the job description

2. Then managers need to consider skills and techniques that are required to perform a job

3. Managers need to decide on the job length if the job can be done in full time or part-time hours. The working hours must be set precisely as that will cost money to the organisation. For example, If the job can be done in part-time hours but the company sets full-time hours for it, the company will be wasting money paying a full-time salary for unnecessary hours.

4. Managers should try and avoid listing tasks that can be done by machines.

5. There should be no occurring conflicts with other jobs.

6. Establishing relationships in the organisation that job role will involve. For example, employees working in the marketing department will require to have some sort of relationship with colleagues working in the same department.

The techniques such as job rotation, job simplification, job enrichment and job enlargement should also be incorporated in the job ensign process to make the jobs more motivating for employees and allow them to learn additional skills. After following this process managers should be able to design an effective job.

Models of job design

This section will cover models of the job design from the theoretical perspective. The key models of job design involve Taylorism and the Socio-technical systems approach.

Job Design: Taylorism

Taylorism is also referred to as scientific management. This job design model includes scientific methods and mainly focuses on efficiency.

There are key principles that managers should follow when designing a job according to this model. These principles are:

  • Designing a standard method to perform the job role that was scientifically proven to be the most efficient

  • Hiring workers who can do the job effectively and efficiently

  • Incorporating effective employees’ training plans that will involve teaching them how to perform their tasks in the most efficient way possible.

  • Supporting workers so that they are motivated and performing up to the set expectations

Job Design: Socio-technical systems approach

This job design model incorporates social and technical aspects of the job and highly focuses on making a job that will fulfil employees’ needs. The key principles of this job design model include:

  • The designed job should fit organisational goals

  • The employee’s needs should be considered when designing a job

  • Establishing good relationships with peers and supervisors

  • Create an environment in which employees feel supported

  • Technical requirements that are needed to perform a job should be displayed

  • This design should provide a high-quality working life for employees

  • The changes to the job design should be made consistently according to changing environmental pressures.

Job characteristics

This job design model involves five key principles of job characteristics that are aimed to motivate employees in the way that they feel that their contribution is important to the organisation. These five principles are:

  • Design jobs that require a variety of skills

  • Task identity, incorporating tasks that once completed have a visible outcome or the result

  • The task must be significant

  • Autonomy - the level of freedom for employees to choose a method of how to complete a task

  • Job feedback, employees should have access to sufficient feedback regarding their performances

These five key principles can lead employees to experience psychological states. Which are:

  • Experiences of meaningfulness

  • Experiences of responsibility

  • Knowledge of outcomes

These positive experiences will lead to positive outcomes such as increased motivation and job satisfaction will lead to more productivity and overall increased organisational performance.

Job characteristics model

The job characteristics model also called The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and core characteristics model was designed by Hackman and Oldham. This job characteristics model involved five principles that are required to be incorporated into job design. These are:

  • Skill variety

  • Task Identity

  • Task significance

  • Autonomy

  • Feedback

Job characteristics can be incorporated into the job design so that employees can experience positive psychological states.

Psychological states include:

  • Experiences of meaningfulness

  • Experiences of responsibility

  • Knowledge of outcomes

Find out more about job characteristics in our explanation on Hackman & Oldham's Model!

Job Design - Key takeaways

  • Job design is the process of establishing employees’ duties and responsibilities that will be included in their roles.

  • The key elements of job design include 1) Task 2) Motivation 3) Resource allocation 4) Reward system.

  • There are four important aspects of job design which are identified as 1) Job simplification 2) Job rotation 3) Job enrichment 4) Job enlargement

  • A well-designed job will allow employees to develop skills, increase their motivation and make them more productive. This will have a positive impact on organisational performance.

  • The key models of job design include Taylorism, Socio-technical systems approach and Core Characteristics model.

  • Job characteristics include Skill variety, Task Identity, Task significance, Autonomy, Feedback. Incorporation of these job characteristics into the job design will lead to the experience of positive psychological states by employees and lead to positive outcomes regarding employees and the organisational performance.

Job Design

Job design is the process of establishing the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' roles

The meaning of job design is designing the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' job roles. Job design can incorporate various elements, aspects and theories to be designed in the most efficient way possible.

The job design can be done following the process or theories. For example, if the theory such as Taylorism will be used to design a job, the job design will include these aspects: 


1) job role will include scientifically proven and most efficient methods

2) Only workers who can perform the job effectively and efficiently will be hired

3) Effective employees’ training plans will be incorporated to guide them on how to perform their tasks in the most efficient way possible.

4) Workers will be supported throughout the process so that they are motivated and performing their tasks up to the set expectations.

Final Job Design Quiz

Question

What is job design?


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Answer

Job design is the process of establishing employees’ duties and responsibilities that will be included in their roles. 


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Question

What are the key elements involved in job design?


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Answer

The key elements involved in the job design are 1) Task 2) Motivation 3) Resource allocation 4) Reward system.


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What is meant by the job design element ‘resource allocation’? 


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Answer

In this context resource allocation means that the company allocates its resources in the most effective and efficient way possible to maximise employees’ productivity and innovations in their roles.

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What are the important aspects of job design?


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Answer

1) Job simplification 2) Job rotation 3) Job enrichment 4) Job enlargement

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What is meant by the ‘Job enlargement’?


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This is when more duties and tasks are added to the job role horizontally, meaning that even though the variety of duties and tasks will increase the employees will stay at the same hierarchical level.

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Question

Why job design is important?


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Answer

Job design is important because it is a guidance that employees will follow when performing their roles. Additionally, a well-designed job will help employees to develop their skills, increase motivation and productivity which will have a positive impact on the company’s performance.

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What is an example of a poorly designed job?


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An example of a poorly designed job is when duties that are listed in the job description are unclear, involve too many or two little tasks.


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What are the outcomes of the poorly designed job?

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Answer

The poorly designed job can bring negative outcomes for the company such as low-performance rates, high staff turnover.

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What are the steps involved in the job design process?

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Answer

The job design process involves key steps, which are:

  • Deciding on important content that will be displayed on the job description
  • Consideration of skills and techniques that are required to perform a job
  • Deciding on the job hours in regards to if the job will be full time or part-time 
  • Avoiding listing tasks that can be done by machines
  • Make sure there are no occurring conflicts with other jobs
  • Establishing the relationships in the organisation that the role requires

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Question

Why job design process is important when designing jobs?

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Answer

The job design process is important as it helps HR managers to design job that is effective and important in the organisation. Moreover, by following this process managers can avoid errors such as setting employees wrong working hours.

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Question

What are the main job design models?

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Answer

The key job design models are Taylorism, Socio-technical systems approach and Core Characteristics model.

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Question

What are the key aspects of the Socio-technical systems approach?

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Answer

The key aspects include:

  • The designed job should fit organisational goals
  • The employee’s needs should be considered when designing a job
  • Establishing good relationships with peers and supervisors 
  • Create an environment in which employees feel supported
  • Technical requirements that are needed to perform a job should be displayed
  • This design should provide a high-quality working life for employees
  • The changes to the job design should be made consistently according to changing environmental pressures.

Show question

Question

What are the key differences between the Socio-technical systems approach and the Taylorism model?

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Answer

The socio-technical systems approach is focusing on the social and technical aspects of the job and highly focuses on making a job that will fulfil employees’ needs. On the other hand, Taylorism focuses on implementing scientific methods that increased the maximisation of efficiency rather than the fulfilment of employees.

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What are the main job characteristics?

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The main job characteristics are Skill variety, Task Identity, Task significance, Autonomy, Feedback.

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What is the example of task significance?

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Task significance is the extent to which a task is important in the organisation. For example, a doctor has a high task significance as not everyone will be able to do their job and their role requires qualifications. Doctors’ everyday tasks of consulting patients are important for hospitals to function.

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If the job characteristics are incorporated into the job design what are the experienced psychological states by employees?

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Answer

The experienced psychological states are:

  • Experiences of meaningfulness
  • Experiences of responsibility
  • Knowledge of outcomes

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Question

How the incorporation of job characteristics into the job design will impact organisational performance?

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Answer

The incorporation of job characteristics will help employees to experience positive psychological states which will lead to outcomes such as increased job satisfaction, motivation and productivity. This will positively impact the organisation as organisational performance are likely to improve.

Show question

Question

Job design is the process of establishing the duties and responsibilities that will be included in employees' roles. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

What is the aim of HR managers in job design? 

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Answer

To design work duties specific to the individual so that it allows the employee to maximize their performance and stay engaged and motivated. 

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How to keep employees motivated through job design? 

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Answer

By designing jobs in a way that brings motivation to employees to do their job. 

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Appropriately allocated resources can influence innovation. 


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Answer

True

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What kind of rewards should be incorporated into a job design?

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Answer

Monetary and non-monetary rewards

Show question

Question

Splitting one big task into smaller parts is called______


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Answer

Job simplification

Show question

Question

The process in which employees are shifted from one duty to another is called_________


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Answer

Job rotation

Show question

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Which technique allows employees to have more authority and accountability in the organization?


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Answer

Job enrichment

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What could happen if a job is not designed correctly?

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Answer

It could give negative results to the company.  

Show question

Question

Taylorism is also referred to as scientific management. This job design model includes scientific methods and mainly focuses on efficiency.


Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

The level of freedom for employees to choose a method of how to complete a task is called________


Show answer

Answer

Autonomy

Show question

Question

An effectively designed job communicates all the duties involved in the role clearly to employees so that they understand their responsibilities and expectations. 


Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What impact does a well-designed job have on an organization? 

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Answer

it will have a positive impact on organizational goals and objectives. 

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