Position requirements and Job design

Selecting a manager effectively requires a clear understanding of the nature and purpose of the position which is to be filled. An objective analysis of position requirements must be made, and, as far as possible, the job must be designed to meet organizational and individual needs. In addition, positions must be evaluated and compared so that the incumbents can be treated equitably. Among other factors to consider are the skills required — technical, human, conceptual, and design — since these vary with the level in the organizational hierarchy and the personal characteristics needed by managers.

Identifying Job requirements:

In identifying job requirements, firms must answer question such as these: What has to be done in this job? What background knowledge, attitudes, and skills are required? Since positions are not static, additional questions may have to be considered: Can the job be done differently? It so, what are the new requirements?

Finding answer to these and similar questions requires that the job be analyzed. This can be done through observation, interviews, questionnaires, or even a system analysis. Thus, a job description, based on job analysis, usually lists important duties, authority- responsibility, and the relationship to other positions. More recently, some firms have also included objectives and expected results in job descriptions.

There is, of course, no foolproof rule for designing managerial jobs. Nevertheless, firms can avoid mistakes be following some guidelines.

Appropriate scope of the job:

A job narrowly defined provides no challenge, no opportunity for growth, and no sense of accomplishment. Consequently, good managers will be bored and dissatisfied. On the other hand, a job must not be so broad that it cannot be effectively handled. The result will be stress, frustration, and loss of control.

Full-time challenge of the job:

Sometimes managers are given a job that does not require their full time and effort. They are not challenged by their task and they feel underutilized. Consequently they often meddle in the work of their subordinates, who then also feel that they do not have sufficient authority and discretion to do their jobs. Some time ago, when a utility company asked for help in solving organizational conflicts, it was found that people did not have each other’s way. Thus, they channeled their energy against one another instead of toward the aims of the company. The need to design jobs with challenging objectives, duties, and responsibilities should be obvious.

Managerial skills required by job design:

Generally, the design of the job should start with the tasks to be accomplished. The design is usually broad enough to accommodate people’s needs and desires. But writers on management suggest that it may be necessary to design the job to fit the leadership style of a particular person. It may be especially appropriate to design jobs for exceptional persons, in order to utilize their potential. The problem, of course, is that such a position would probably have to be restructured every time a new manager occupied it. The job description, then, must provide a clear idea of the performance requirements for a person in a particular position but must also allow flexibility so that the employer can take advantage of individual characteristics and abilities.

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