Job Design Theories

Job design a method that outlining the task, duties, responsibilities, qualifications, methods and relationships that are required to perform in a given set of job. In plain English, job design covers the component of the task and interaction pattern among employees with the urge to satisfy one individual needs for both organizational and social. In other hand, Job Design Theories are more focused on the structural and design of jobs as key factors in motivating workers. Organizations may apply various types of theoretical approaches for job design. Each one of the approaches indicates different aspects that have to be considered for job design to be effective. We have 2 theories about job design which are Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory (1966) and Job Characteristics Model (1976).

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory (1966)

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Herzberg was an American psychologist who was very interested in people’s motivation and job satisfaction have discovered the Two-Factor Theory or Motivation-Hygiene Theory. He developed a theory that people’s job satisfaction depends of two factors which are motivators and hygienes. Opportunities for growth, responsibility, job status, recognition and performance fall under motivators and hygienes. 

Hygienes are the elements that related to the job context and if absent, it will cause job dissatisfaction and these do not lead to positive satisfaction in long-term (Herzberg, 1959). In other words, these factors are extrinsic to work and reasonable in a job, pacify the employees and make them more satisfied. Hygiene factors are also known as dissatisfiers or maintainance factors because they are compulsory to avoid dissatisfaction. These factors symbolize the psychological needs in the individuals that needed and expected to be fulfilled. Hygiene factors also include:

a) Company policies and administrations

The company policies must not be too strict. They should be fair and clear for employees to follow without being stressed out. This should include flexible working hours especially to those who have children, dress code that are not too formal nor too casual and must have breaks between working hour with the least 1 hour for lunch time.

b) Interpersonal relations

The relationship between employees with his colleagues, superiors and subordinates should always be appropriate and acceptable. This is because we work with humans that have feelings and thoughts and there should be no conflict or humiliation element present in any way.

c) Working conditions

The working conditions and surroundings must be in a safe, clean and hygienic so that the employees will always be in a good health and condition. The work equipments should always be well-maintained and updated according to the latest version.

d) Salary 

The salary structure must be appropriate and reasonable for one’s job. The payment must be equal with the employee scope of work and competitive to those in the same industry or domain.

Motivational factors are the factors that yield positive satisfaction. Hygiene factors cannot be regarded as motivators (Herzberg, 1959). These factors are called satisfiers and these also motivate the employees for a remarkable performance. Motivational factors are essential to work and involved in performing the job. The motivators symbolize the psychological needs that were recognized as an additional benefit and employees find these factors alone are rewarding. Motivational factors also include:

a) Responsibility 

The employees must hold themselves to be responsible for their own work by taking their work very seriously while the managers should give them ownership of their work by crediting one’s work with the employees own name.

b) Achievement 

The employees must have a sense of achievement in order to gain higher motivation. With a great sense of wanting to achieve something, they will work really hard and will feel proud when they achieve what they want. However, this depends on the job. There must be something we can achieve in every job we do.

c) Recognition 

The employees must be praised and recognized for their excellent performance by their managers. This will help to increase employee self-esteem and their spirit. This will lead to a better performance for the future.

d) Growth on job

A company must have a place for employees to grow and have an advancement opportunities to motivate the employees to perform well. If the company does not have the place for employees to grow, perhaps it will the decrease the employee performance and affects the company’s performance.

The Two-Factor theory entail that the managers must stress upon assuring fairness of hygiene factors to avoid employees from being dissatisfied. They also must make sure that the work they give to the employees are stimulating and rewarding enough for them to get motivated and perform better. This theory also highlight that the job must be appropriate with the employees skills and competencies to the maximum by focusing on the motivational factors.

Job Characteristics Model (1976)

Hackman and Oldham are both organizational psychologists have developed the job characteristics theory (JCT) and first introduced it in 1976 in the book “Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol 16, Issue 2”. Job design has an effect on motivation, work performance, and job satisfaction (Hackman, Oldham, 1976). With this theory, management team can identify how certain job characteristics affect the outcomes of the jobs. In other words, it studies the various factors that make a job satisfying for the organization and the employees. Basically, this model indicates the conditions under which individuals bill be privately motivated to perform their jobs better and effectively.

Figure 1. The Job Characteristics Model Hackman and Oldham, 1980

It states that there are five core job characteristics which is skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. This will give impact to three psychological states which is experienced meaningfulness, responsibility for outcomes and knowledge of the actual results that in turn led to work outcome that is job satisfaction, absenteeism, work motivation, etc.). The five core job characteristics can be combined to form a motivating potential score (MPS) for a job and can be used as an indicator of how possible a job affect employee attitudes and behaviors. Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics proposed that high motivation is related to learning three psychological states while working as follows:

a) Meaningfulness

Individuals have to feel that they are doing something meaningful when they are working. They feel that the work itself is meaningful and they feel that what they are doing is worthwhile. A worker will be able to find his or her job more meaningful with the presence of skill variety, task identity and task significance.

• Skill variety

This refers to the degree to which a job requires a variety of different abilities and skills to perform work-related tasks. In other words, the individual will be enforced to develop variety of talents and skills but too many skills and talents may make the job too devastating and complex, so the worker may have difficulty in keeping up. Differently, a job that requires too little skills and talents may make the work too boring and not challenging and there is no opportunity to grow another skill.

• Task identity

This refers to the degree to which a job requires completion of a whole work, that is doing a job form the beginning until the end with clear outcome. This involves being able to complete the entire process of working rather than just on pieces of it. Thus, it is important to appraise whether the job has a clearly defined beginning, middle and end. The worker will feel more pride in their work if they are able to fulfil their work wholly.

• Task significance 

This refers to the degree which the job has a substantial impact other people and to those people are in the organization. The task or the job given is powerful if it can affect other people’s lives. Besides, it should not be just for the people within the organization, it can even be for those outside. Individuals who focused on task significance are very likely to know whether their job are actually matters to other people. For them, meaning comes in the form of recognition from other people

b) Responsibility 

Individuals have been given sufficient freedom to choose whether to grab the opportunity to be a success or a failure at their job. this includes the ability to make changes to the job and incorporate the learning that they gained while doing their job. Responsibility is derived from autonomy that refers to the degree to which the job gives the workers substantial freedom, independence and discretion to the individual in choosing how to schedule and carry out tasks. Autonomy is often seen in higher position with managerial, supervisorial and ministerial functions. These jobs tend to become more meaningful for the worker because they feel beneficial and important towards the company.

c) Knowledge of outcomes

This will provide the individual with the knowledge on how successful their work has been and they are able to learn from their mistakes. They also can connect their outputs emotionally to the customer and this can give them further purpose to the work. Knowledge of outcomes is derived from feedback that refers to the degree to which the job allows the workers to receive direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance. This is also one way to boost up their self-esteem. They are more likely to feel motivated to continue with how their workings so far because of the appreciation they get from managers and supervisors. In contrast, if they were told that they are not doing very well as expected, then they will respond accordingly and trying to improve their performance.

Apart from job characteristics, there are so many other factors that also influence job performance but we can surely make a start by designing the job effectively to motivate our team. The most important thing to get in head is to be sure to truly enrich the job when we redesign a job and not just simply give more work for people to do. This will surely motivates people to be more proactive and consistent at work.



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