Whether specialized, enlarged, or enriched however workers still generally have had specific jobs to do, and these jobs have required job descriptions. In many firms today, however, jobs are becoming more amorphous and more difficult to define. In other words, the trend is towards dejobbing.

Dejobbing – broadening the responsibilities of the company’s jobs, and encouraging employees not to limit themselves to what’s on their job descriptions is a result of the changes taking place in business today. Organizations need to grapple with trends like rapid product and technological change, global competition, deregulation, political instability, demographic changes, and a shift to a service economy. This has increased the need for firms to be responsive, flexible, and generally more competitive. In turn, the organizational methods managers use to accomplish this have helped weaken the meaning of job as a well-defined and clearly delineated set of responsibilities. Here is a sampling of organizational factors that have contributed to this weakening and to encouraging workers not to limit themselves to narrowly defined jobs.

Flatter Organizations: Instead of traditional, pyramid-shaped organizations with seven or more management layers, flat organizations with just three or four levels are more prevalent. Most large firms have already cut their management layers from a dozen to six or fewer. Because the remaining managers have more people reporting to them, they can supervise them less, so the jobs of subordinates end up bigger in terms of both breadth and depth of responsibilities.

Work Teams; Managers increasingly organize tasks around teams and processes rather than around specialized functions. For example, at Chesebrough-Ponds USA, a subsidiary of Unilever, mangers replaced a traditional pyramidal organization with multi-skilled, cross functional, and self-directed teams; the latter now run the plant’s four product areas. Hourly employees make employee assignments, schedule overtime, establish production times and changeovers, and even handle cost control, requisitions, and work orders. They also are solely responsible for quality control under the plant’s continuous quality improvement program. In an organization like this, employees’ jobs change daily; there is thus an intentional effort to avoid having employees view their jobs as a specific, narrow set of responsibilities.

The Boundary-less Organization:

In a boundary-less organization the widespread use of teams and cross-functional task forces reduces and makes more permeable the boundaries that typically separate departments (like sales and production) and hierarchical levels. The Boundary-less organization foster responsiveness by encouraging employees to rid themselves of “it’s-not-my-job” attitude that typically create walls between one employee area and another. Instead the focus is on defining the project or task at hand in terms of the overall best interests of the organization, thereby further reducing the idea of a job as a clearly defined set of duties.


Re-engineering is the fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed. The principles that shaped the structure ad management of business for hundreds of years like highly specialized divisions of work should be retired. Instead, the firm should emphasize combining tasks into integrated, unspecialized processes (such as customer service) assigned to team of employees.

You can reengineer jobs in many ways. For example, you can combine several different specialized jobs into a few relatively enlarged and enriched ones. Typically, in reengineered situations workers tend to become collectively responsible for overall results rather than being individually responsible for just their own tasks. They share joint responsibility with their team members for performing the whole process, not just a small piece of it. They not only use a broader range of skills from day to day, they have to be thinking of a far greater picture. Most important, “while not every members of the team will be doing exactly the same work the lines between the workers’ jobs blur,” and jobs are thus very broadly defined.

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