Job Redesign: Improving Performance
Category : Motivation Theories
Job Redesign: Improving Performance
Designing and redesigning jobs in such a way that they become attuned to what individual employees are able and willing to do is an important issue in the world of work today. In order to prevent stress, jobs must enable employees to remain motivated, work effectively, develop themselves and not become isolated. Job redesign aims to improve jobs in the organization (2003).
Job Design and Job Redesign
The goal of job design and job redesign is to create or reconstitute jobs or work roles in terms of work functions and worker capabilities that are both appealing to individuals and re in alignment with the organization’s strategy and vision ( 1999). Job design involves the planning of the job including its contents, the methods of performing the job, and how it relates to other jobs in the organization (Rahim 2001). Job design and redesign’s goal is to connect the needs of the individuals performing various jobs with the productivity needs of the organization. An important aim for job design and redesign is to provide individuals with meaningful work that fits effectively into the flow of the organization. The goal of job design is simplifying, enriching, enlarging, or otherwise changing jobs to make the efforts of each employee fit together better with jobs performed by other workers. Redesigning one job can make the overall system work more efficiently (2002).
Job redesign according to (1975) is more likely to improve performance when:
o The changes in job content are sufficiently non-trivial to be perceptible to the workers, typically in terms of greater self-regulation, diversity, meaningfulness, challenge, and social responsibility ().
o The changes in job content are part of a more pervasive program of improved working policies and practices, which include also as elements adequate pay and job security, proper resources and working conditions, increased mutual influence by people at all levels, and constructive labor-management relations ().
Job Redesign: Improving Performance
Job redesign can improve organizational performance through job rotation, horizontal job enlargement, vertical job enlargement and the creation of autonomous working groups.
Workers can change places from time to time. Under this system the job of each worker may be simple, but variety is introduced as they swap places. Workers can learn to carry out any number of the tasks, instead of staying put at one position on the line (1993).
Horizontal Job Enlargement
A given workstation may be allocated more to do – thus the cycle time is extended. This change may also mean that the transformation to the product is more obvious. The enlargement is ‘horizontal’ in the sense that the level of difficulty is constant (1993).
Vertical Job Enlargement (Job Enrichment)
Vertical job enlargement gives the worker more responsibilities in handling his or her job. It is also known as ‘job enrichment’ because it contributes to self-esteem. Added responsibility for planning and for quality control indicates to a person that he or she is being trusted to exercise judgment (1993).
From the management’s viewpoint, jobs, as performed, must lead to efficient operations quality products, and well-maintained equipment. From the workers’ viewpoint, jobs must be meaningful and challenging, provide feedback on performance, and call on their decision-making skills. Jobs must be designed in such a way that they allow the organization to take full advantage of technological breakthroughs without alienating the workers affected by change. Redesigning jobs allow companies to retain skilled workers, while enhancing output (2002).
Job Redesign Approaches
1. Motivational Approach
Grounded in the earlier work on job enrichment, job enlargement and various characteristics of jobs, the motivational approach has primarily been developed within the domain and scope of organizational psychology. The motivational approach has generally searched for job design constructs that will be correlated with such primary outcomes variables as satisfaction, motivation, involvement, absenteeism, and job performance (1994).
2. Mechanistic Approach
The mechanistic approach to job redesign has generally been on improving the efficiency with which jobs can be performed. Jobs that are constructed according to the mechanistic approach require less training and less expensive to staff. In essence the jobs are simplified and have lower levels of responsibility. With mental demands being lower, output quality may increase (1994).
3. Perceptual-Motor Approach
The presumed benefits of the perceptual-motor approach include the increase in output quality and a predicted decrease in accident rates due to the emphasis on the reliability and safety of the job. The reduced mental demands of the job would also reduce employee stress and fatigue (1994).
Job Redesign: Satisfaction, Motivation and Performance
Early organizational theorists such as Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg stated that job satisfaction is caused by individuals’ desires to fulfill personal needs, which include intrinsic and extrinsic needs. Researchers who follow this approach argue that an individual’s job satisfaction is determined by the degree to which job characteristics will fulfill the person’s needs. Some of the factors that affect job satisfaction are:
o Task clarity – refers to the degree to which job tasks and the rules affecting how to perform them are clearly communicated to individuals. It affect individuals’ sense of knowing what is expected of them and what to do (1997).
o Skill utilization – refers to the degree to which jobs allow individuals to utilize their skills and abilities. This factor is believed to be a strong predictor of job satisfaction, since individuals desire jobs that allow them to make good use of their skills and abilities ( 1997).
o Task significance – define as the degree to which individuals perceive their jobs contribute to organizational missions. This factor affects individuals’ experience of the meaningfulness of their jobs.
o Relationship with Co-workers and Supervisors – the job satisfaction of individuals within a work group can be influenced by both co-workers and supervisors, especially as tasks performed by individuals become more interrelated ( 1997).
(2002b) defined motivation as the process of satisfying internal needs through actions and behaviors. It is concerned with a composite of mental and physical drives, combined with the environment that makes people behave the way they do. Adair (2004) believes that motivation is something within a person that pushes him to move forwards, to achieve a goal, and to make a progress in a task. Signs of motivation in a person are an energy and determination to achieve. A motivated person displays the following signs:
- A willingness to work
- Dedication to the project or common cause
- Alignment with the goals of the organization
- Hunger for achievement
- Drive and determination
- Strength of purpose
- Orientation to work
According to Herberg’s theory of motivation, people have two sets of needs and requirements: motivator needs and hygiene needs. Motivator needs are related to the nature of the work itself and how challenging it is. Outcomes such as interesting work, autonomy, responsibility, being able to grow and develop on the job, and a sense of accomplishment and achievement help to satisfy motivator needs. Hygiene needs are related to the physical and psychological context in which the work is performed. Hygiene needs are satisfied by outcomes such as pleasant and comfortable working conditions, pay, job security, good relationships with coworkers, and effective supervision ( 2002).
Herzberg’s two-factor theory provided real impetus to job redesign. Herzberg’s approach to job redesign involves improvement of the motivation factors, such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and opportunity for growth. This approach is based on the assumption that job enrichment or redesign increases job satisfaction, which, in turn, increases motivation and better performance ( 2001).
(1975) identified five core dimensions that must be considered in job redesign. These dimensions are positively related to motivation, satisfaction, and performance. The five core dimensions are:
o Skill variety – this refers to the degree to which a job requires a variety of activities that involve the use of a number of different skills and talents of employees.
o Task identity – this refers to the degree to which the job requires an employee to perform a complete piece of work, that is, doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome.
o Task significance – this refers to the degree to which the job has an impact on the live or work of other people within or outside the organization.
o Autonomy – this refers to the degree to which the job provides freedom, independence, and discretion to the employee in scheduling his or her work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
o Feedback – this refers to the amount of information that results from the performance of a job by an employee about how well she or he is performing ( 2001).
The jobs that are high on skill variety, task identity, and task significance influence the meaningfulness of the work. Job autonomy and job feedback influence responsibility for outcomes of the work and knowledge of the actual results of the work. Higher levels of psychological states lead to positive personal and work outcomes, such as high internal work motivation, high growth satisfaction, high general satisfaction and high work effectiveness (1999).
Job redesign can improve performance through work intensification as fewer employees are responsible for performing jobs that are similar. Through effective job redesign, employee contribution, performance and reward are being connected. Employees are given more responsibility in performing their jobs and they are able to deal with job-related issues. Increased responsibility motivates employees to perform better. Through job redesign work efficiency in increased. The discussion about the relationship between job satisfaction, employee motivation and performance reveals that performance are affected by both job satisfaction and employee motivation. Job satisfaction and employee motivation have a significant impact on performance. Job redesign increases job satisfaction, which, in turn, increases motivation and better performance. Employee motivation is affected by factors such as challenging work, autonomy, responsibility, growth and development and a sense of accomplishment. Job satisfaction is affected by factors like task clarity, skill utilization, task significance and relationship with co-workers and supervisors. Redesigning jobs can improve performance if it is aimed at providing employees with satisfying jobs and fulfilling their needs.
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