Motivational Job Design

As the limits of the mechanistic approach became clear, researchers began to seek out ways of making jobs more varied and challenging. J Richard Hackman and others identified five core job dimensions: skills variety task identify, task significance autonomy and feedback able below describes these dimension and gives examples of each.

Hackman argues that employees who have responsible jobs that they understand are more motivated and satisfied with their positions. People whose jobs involve high levels of skill variety, task identity, and task significance experience work as very meaningful. A high level of autonomy makes workers more responsible and accountable for their acts. Feedback gives them a useful understanding of their specific roles and functions. The closer a job comes to having all five characteristics, the more likely it is that the person who holds it will be highly motivated and satisfied.

The Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston attempted to enhance the care environment as perceived by patients and their families by redesigning jobs and empowering workers. This was a project that included the creation of patient care associates, which entailed the collapsing of several work roles into one. The new patient care associate has 10 to 14 skills and handles a diverse array of tasks. The worker gets to see more of the fruits of his [or her] contribution, noted Thomas P Keating, director of general services and co-director of the patient focused care project. During its first year, the project appeared to satisfy expectations.

Much effort in recent years has gone into making routine jobs more rewarding by redefining such jobs to include greater legitimate and expert authority. The term empowerment, as practiced at Nordstrom and in numerous other companies we have profiled, clearly indicates what managers are trying to do in these job redesign decision. Job enlargement and job enrichment are two empowering ways to redesign jobs.

Task Characteristics in Motivational Job Design:

Skill variety the extent to which a variety of skills and talents are required to complete tasks: Perform different tasks that challenge the intellect and develop skills in coordination

* High degree: Dress designer
* Low Degree: Messenger

Task identity the extent to which the job involves completion of an identifiable unit, project, or other piece of work: Handle an entire job function from start to finish and be able to show a tangible piece of work as the outcome.

* Software designer
* Assembly worker

Task significance the extent to which the task affects the work or lives of others, inside or outside the organization: Be involved in a job function that is important for the well being, safety, and perhaps survival of others.

* Air traffic controller
* House painter

Autonomy the extent of the individual’s freedom on the job and discretion to schedule tasks and determine tasks and determine procedures for carrying them out: Be responsible for the success or failure of a job function and be able to plan work schedule, control quality etc.

* Project manager
* Cashier in a department store

Feedback the extent to which the individual receives specific information (praise, blame etc) about the effectiveness with which his or her tasks are performed: Learn about the effectiveness of one’s job performance through clear and direct evaluation from a supervisor or colleagues or the results of the work itself.

* Professional athlete
* Security guard —