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Define Job Design. Identify the important factors and their influences in designing the Job.

Define Job Design. Identify the important factors and their influences in designing the Job.

What is "job design"?
Job design refers to the way that a set of tasks, or an entire job, is organized. Job design helps to determine:
•   what tasks are done,
•   how the tasks are done,
•   how many tasks are done, and
•   in what order the tasks are done.
It takes into account all factors which affect the work, and organizes the content and tasks so that the whole job is less likely to be a risk to the employee. Job design involves administrative areas such as:
•   job rotation,
•   job enlargement,
•   task/machine pacing,
•   work breaks, and
•   working hours.
A well designed job will encourage a variety of 'good' body positions, have reasonable strength requirements, require a reasonable amount of mental activity, and help foster feelings of achievement and self-esteem.
How can job design help with the organization of work?
Job design principles can address problems such as:
•   work overload,
•   work underload,
•   repetitiveness,
•   limited control over work,
•   isolation,
•   shiftwork,
•   delays in filling vacant positions,
•   excessive working hours, and
•   limited understanding of the whole job process.
Job design is sometimes considered as a way to help deal with stress in the workplace.
Is there a difference between job design and workplace design?
Job design and workplace design are often used interchangeably because both contribute to keep the physical requirements of a job reasonable.
Job design refers to administrative changes that can help improve working conditions.
In comparison, workplace design concentrates on dealing with the workstation, the tools, and the body position that all influence the way a person does his or her work. Good workplace design reduces static positions, repetitive motions and awkward body positions.
What are features of "good" job design?
Good job design accommodates employees' mental and physical characteristics by paying attention to:
•   muscular energy such as work/rest schedules or pace of work, and
•   mental energy such as boring versus extremely difficult tasks.
Good job design:
•   allows for employee input. Employees should have the option to vary activities according to personal needs, work habits, and the circumstances in the workplace.
•   gives employees a sense of accomplishment.
•   includes training so employees know what tasks to do and how to do them properly.
•   provides good work/rest schedules.
•   allows for an adjustment period for physically demanding jobs.
•   provides feedback to the employees about their performance.
•   minimizes energy expenditure and force requirements.
•   balances static and dynamic work.
Job design is an ongoing process. The goal is to make adjustments as conditions or tasks change within the workplace.
What are common approaches to job design?
Achieving good job design involves administrative practices that determine what the employee does, for how long, where, and when as well as giving the employees choice where ever possible. In job design, you may choose to examine the various tasks of an individual job or the design of a group of jobs.
Approaches to job design include:
Job Enlargement: Job enlargement changes the jobs to include more and/or different tasks. Job enlargement should add interest to the work but may or may not give employees more responsibility.
Job Rotation: Job rotation moves employees from one task to another. It distributes the group tasks among a number of employees.
Job Enrichment: Job enrichment allows employees to assume more responsibility, accountability, and independence when learning new tasks or to allow for greater participation and new opportunities.
Work Design (Job Engineering): Work design allows employees to see how the work methods, layout and handling procedures link together as well as the interaction between people and machines.
What are the overall goals of job design?
Goals can be in many difference areas and include:
Task Variety
To alleviate boredom, avoid both excessive static body positions and repetitive movements. Design jobs to have a variety of tasks that require changes in body position, muscles used, and mental activities.
Two methods are job enlargement and job rotation. For example, if an employee normally assembles parts, the job may be enlarged to include new tasks such as work planning, inspection / quality control, or maintenance. Alternatively, the tasks may include working in the same department, but changing tasks every hour. For example, in a laundry facility employees can rotate between various stations (sorting, washer, dryer, iron, etc) as long as it provides for a change in physical or mental expenditure.
Work Breaks / Rest Breaks
Rest breaks help alleviate the problems of unavoidable repetitive movements or static body positions. More frequent but shorter breaks (sometimes called "micro breaks") are sometimes preferable to fewer long breaks.
During rest breaks, encourage employees to change body position and to exercise. It is important that employees stretch and use different muscle groups. If the employee has been very active, a rest break should include a stationary activity or stretching.
Allowance for an Adjustment Period
When work demands physical effort, have an adjustment period for new employees and for all employees after holidays, layoffs, or illnesses. Allow time to become accustomed to the physical demands of work by gradually "getting in shape." Employees who work in extreme hot or cold conditions also need time to acclimatize.
Provide Training
Training in correct work procedures and equipment operation is needed so that employees understand what is expected of them and how to work safely. Training should be organized, consistent and ongoing. It may occur in a classroom or on the job.
Vary Mental Activities
Tasks should be coordinated so that they are balanced during the day for the individual employee as well as balanced among a group of employees. You may want to allow the employee some degree of choice as to what types of mental tasks they want to do and when. This choice will allow the employee to do tasks when best suited to their 'alertness' patterns during the day. Some people may prefer routine tasks in the morning (such as checklists or filling in forms) and save tasks such as problem solving until the afternoon, or vice versa.
Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis is a process where judgements are made about data collected on a job.
There are two key elements of a job analysis:

1. Identification of major job requirements (MJRs) which are the most important duties and responsibilities of the position to be filled. They are the main purpose or primary reasons the position exists. The primary source of MJRs is the most current, official position description.

2. Identification of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) required to accomplish each MJR and the quality level and amount of the KSAs needed. Most job analyses deal with KSAs that are measurable, that can be documented, and produce meaningful differences between candidates. Typically, possession of KSAs is demonstrated by experience, education, or training. The goal of KSAs is to identify those candidates who are potentially best qualified to perform the position to be filled; they are most useful when they provide meaningful distinctions among qualified candidates. Source documents for KSAs may be the position description, HRM standard  qualifications and job classification standards.
Job Analysis should collect information on the following areas:
•   Duties and Tasks The basic unit of a job is the performance of specific tasks and duties. Information to be collected about these items may include: frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity, equipment, standards, etc.
•   Environment This may have a significant impact on the physical requirements to be able to perform a job. The work environment may include unpleasant conditions such as offensive odors and temperature extremes. There may also be definite risks to the incumbent such as noxious fumes, radioactive substances, hostile and aggressive people, and dangerous explosives.
•   Tools and Equipment Some duties and tasks are performed using specific equipment and tools. Equipment may include protective clothing. These items need to be specified in a Job Analysis.
•   Relationships Supervision given and received. Relationships with internal or external people.
•   Requirements The knowledges, skills, and abilities (KSA's) required to perform the job. While an incumbent may have higher KSA's than those required for the job, a Job Analysis typically only states the minimum requirements to perform the job.
•   What does or should the person do?
•   What knowledge, skill, and abilities does it take to perform this job?
•   What is the result of the person performing the job?
•   How does this job fit in with other jobs in the organization?
•   What is the job’s contribution toward the organization’s goals?

The process may seek to obtain information about the:
•   work
•   worker
•   context within which the job exists
Worker Functions. The relationship of the worker to data, people, and things.
Work Fields. The techniques used to complete the tasks of the job. Over 100 such fields have been identified. This descriptor also includes the machines, tools, equipment, and work aids that are used in the job.
Materials, Products, Subject Matter, and/or Services. The outcomes of the job or the purpose of performing the job.
Worker Traits. The aptitudes, educational and vocational training, and personal traits required of the worker.
Physical Demands. Job requirements such as strength, observation, and talking. This descriptor also includes the physical environment of the work.
•   skills
•   abilities
•   knowledge
•   tasks
•   work activities
•   work context
•   experience levels required
•   job interests
•   work values/needs
To properly perform a job analysis, the individual performing the job should be observed and interviewed. In addition, co-workers and other individuals with similar and related jobs should be interviewed. It is imperative that job tasks be recorded with videotape, pictures, and/or sketches. Also, if the job is performed in a sequence, the work completed before and after the particular job should be documented.
A. Purpose
What are the job duties necessary for job performance? The number of job duties is usually less than ten essential activities, which are necessary to the job.
B. Job Setting
1. Work-site
What equipment is used in the work setting?
How is the workstation arranged?
How is the work organized?
3. Work Activities
What worker movements are necessary to accomplish the job? If there is another way to perform a job function, note this (lifting with an assistive device, typing with an alternative input device).
What are the subject's anthropometric data? Document the subject's stature; eye, shoulder, and knee height; arm reach; leg length; and waist level. Anthropometric data are used to specify appropriate reach and space requirements for various populations.
What types of personal protective equipment (PPE) are used? Document any gloves, arm guards, hardhats, safety glasses, respirators, or shoes.
B. Workstation
1. Office
Are the space dimensions within the workstation sufficient? The top of the computer monitor should be level with the operator's eyes and positioned at a comfortable viewing distance. (This is task specific.) Repositioning with an adjustable monitor arm is an option. The monitor should be placed directly in front of the chair and over the center of the workstation knee well. Screen height should be between 33 and 42 inches, the angle of the monitor screen should be between 0 and 7 degrees, and viewing distance should be between 18 and 28 inches.
Is glare diffused with panel diffusers and/or glare screens? Task lighting with a dimmer control should help, and adjustable blinds can taper excessive sunlight.
2. Industrial
Is the pace setting appropriate? Document what body parts remain idle and what body parts are in steady motion.
Are the "proper" tools available? Tools that are pneumatic; tools that can be used in either hand; tools with pistol shaped handles for power grips; tools with round edges, padded handles, spring activation, and space between closed handles will reduce palm stress and grip force. Newer tools equipped with tool wraps and tool balancers/positioners are also helpful.
3. Service
Is traffic flow designed to most effectively meet the needs of workers, contractors, and customers? Document the most frequently traveled areas and whether goods are stored in an accessible place.
Is anti-fatigue matting available in areas where individuals must stand for long periods of time? If available, document whether the matting is properly fixed to the floor.
Is a preventive maintenance program in place for all equipment?
4. Health Care
Are laundry and food carts pushed rather than pulled? Do carts have an oval or round push bar around waist height? Are powered push/pull devices available for use with beds and heavy or multiple carts? Some manufactures have a motorized option available on a hospital bed.
Have job task analysis been performed to identify awkward postures and motions in all jobs? Examination of past injury reports can identify areas of concern to address first. Look for tasks involving reaching, bending, prolonged static postures, forceful exertions, and heavy lifting.
5. General
Does the job include repeated and sustained exertions? Document whether the job entails stagnant postures for prolonged periods, repetitive motions, and whole body exertions (lifts, pushes, pulls, etc.).
What are the general environmental factors? Document noise levels, ventilation, flooring material, lighting, air quality, and temperature variations, specifically when the worker is exposed to temperatures greater than 75 degrees or less than 50 degrees.
C. Work-site
1. Spacing
Are extra electrical outlets for workers using powered assistive technology available?
Are walkways blocked? Obstructed walkways should be opened to eliminate the potential for trips and falls. At least one clear path of travel (without stairs) at least 36 inches wide, except for a minimum of 60 inches in two-way halls and 32 inches through doorways should be provided. Allow a minimum of 60 inches of clear, level floor space in front of and behind a door and 18 inches on the latch side of the door.
2. Flooring
Are proper treads, handrails, and detectable warnings installed?
Have changes in floor level been identified with visual and texture contrast?
Are door closers adjusted so that from an open position of 70 degrees, the door will take at least 3 seconds to move to a point 3 inches from the latch? (This is measured to the leading edge of the door.)
Do doorways provide at least 32 inches of level clearance?
Do the inside and outside of doors provide 60 inches of clear floor space and 18 inches to the latch side?
Are materials stored in an accessible area, between 15 inches and 48 inches above the floor?
Are hard-to-reach materials labeled? Materials should have visible labels and color codes.
Are electrical outlets accessible? Electrical outlets should be provided at least 15 inches above the floor.
Are items placed in the most "accessible" place possible? Position storage for pushing rather than pulling, pulling rather than carrying, carrying rather than lowering, and lowering rather than lifting. Make storage available for intermediate transporting and transferring of materials.
Approaches to Job Design  USING  SOCIO  TECHNICAL  SYSTEMS
There are three important approaches to job design, viz.,
Engineering approach,
Human approach and
The Job characteristic approach.
Engineering Approach
The most important single element in the Engineering approaches, proposed by FW Taylor and others, was the task idea, “The work of every workman is fully planned out by the management at least one day in advance and each man receives in most cases complete written instructions, describing in detail the task which he is to accomplish . . . This task specifies not only what is to be done but how it is to be done and the exact time allowed for doing it.” The principles offered by scientific management to job design can be summarised thus:
l Work should be scientifically studied. As  advocated fragmentation and routinisation of work to reap the advantages of specialisation.
l Work should be arranged so that workers can be efficient.
l Employees selected for work should be matched to the demands of the job.
l Employees should be trained to perform the job.
l Monetary compensation should be used to reward successful performance of the job.
These principles to job design seem to be quite rational and appealing because they point towards increased organisational performance. Specialisation and routinisation over a period of time result in job incumbents becoming experts rather quickly, leading to higher levels of output. Despite the assumed gains in efficiency, behavioural scientists have found that some job incumbents dislike specialised and routine jobs.
Human Relations Approach
The human relations approach recognised the need to design jobs in an interesting manner. In the past two decades much work has been directed to changing jobs so that job incumbents can satisfy their needs for growth, recognition and responsibilility, enhancing need satisfaction through what is called job enrichment. One widely publicised approach to job enrichment uses what is called job characteristics model and this has been explained separately in the ensuing section.
Two types of factors, viz. (i) motivators like achievements, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth and (ii) hygiene factors (which merely maintain the employee on the job and in the organization) like working conditions, organisational policies, inter-personnel relations, pay and job security. The employee is dissatisfied with the job if maintenance factors to the required degree are not introduced into the job. But, the employee may not be satisfied even if the required maintenance factors are provided. The employee will be satisfied with his job and he will be more productive if motivators are introduced into the job content. As such, he asserts that the job designer has to introduce hygienic factors adequately to reduce dissatisfaction and build motivating factors. Thus, THE emphasis is  on the psychological needs of the employees in designing jobs.
The Job Characteristics Approach
The Job Characteristics Theory states that employees will work hard when they are rewarded for the work they do and when the work gives them satisfaction. Hence, they suggest that motivation, satisfaction and performance should be integrated in the job design. According to this approach, any job can be described in terms of five core job dimensions which are defined as follows:
(a) Skill variety: The degree to which the job requires that workers use a variety of different activities, talents and skills in order to successfully complete the job requirements.
(b) Task identity: The degree to which the job allows workers to complete whole tasks from start to finish, rather than disjointed portions of the job.
(c) Task significance: The degree to which the job significantly impacts the lives of others both within and outside the workplace.
(d) Autonomy: The degree to which the job allows workers freedom in planning and scheduling and the methods used to complete the job.
(e) Feedback: The degree to which the job itself provides workers with clear, direct and understandable knowledge of their performance.
All of the job dimensions impact workers psychologically. The first three dimensions affect whether or not workers view their job as meaningful. Autonomy determines the extent of responsibility workers feel. Feedback allows for feelings of satisfaction for a job well done by providing knowledge of results.
The core job dimensions can be combined into a single predictive index called the Motivating Potential Score. Its computation is as follows:

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Leo Lingham


Questions include managing work situation, managing work relations, managing your boss, personal problems, career planning, career development, training, coaching, counseling etc


18 years working managerial experience covering business planning,
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