Does Job design influence motivation?

Job characteristics model (JCM): Hackman and Oldham’s job description model. The five core job dimensions are skill significance autonomy and feedback.

What differentiates one job from another? We know that a traveling salesperson’s job is different from that of an emergency room nurse. And we know that both of those jobs have little in common with the job of an editor in a newsroom or that of a component assembler on a production line. But what is it that allows us to draw these distinctions? We can answer these questions through the job characteristics model (JCM) developed by J Richard Hackman and Greg R Oldham.

1) Skill variety: The degree to which the job requires a variety of activities so the worker can use a number of different skills and talents.
2) Task identity: The degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work.
3) Task significance: The degree to which the job affects the lives or work of other people
4) Autonomy: The degree to which the job provides freedom, independence and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
5) Feedback: The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the individual’s obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.

Exhibit below presents the model.

The Job characteristics model

Core Job dimensions  Critical psychological states  Personal and work outcomes

Skill variety Task identity Task significance  Experienced meaningfulness of the work  High Internal work motivation

Autonomy  Experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work

Feedback  Knowledge of the actual results of the work activities  Low absenteeism and turnover

Feedback  Employee growth  Low absenteeism.

Notice how the first three dimensions –skill variety, task identity and task significance – combine to create meaningful work. What we mean is that if these three characteristics exist in a job, we can predict that the person will view his or her job as being important, valuable and worthwhile. Notice too that jobs that possess autonomy give the job incumbent a feeling of personal responsibility for the results and that if a job provides feedback, the employee will know how effectively he or she is performing.

From a motivational point of view, the JCM suggest that internal reward are obtained when an employee learns (knowledge of results trough feedback) that he or she personally (experienced responsibility through autonomy of work) has performed well on task that he or she acres about (experienced meaningfulness through skill variety, task identity and /or task significance). The more these three conditions characterize a job, the greater the employee’s motivation performance and satisfaction and the lower his or her absenteeism and the likelihood of resigning. As the model shows the links between the job dimensions and the outcomes are moderated by the strength of the individuals are moderated by the strength of the individual’s growth need (the person’s desire for self esteem and self actualization). Individuals are more likely to experience the critical psychological states and respond positively when their jobs include the core dimensions than are individuals with a low growth need. This distinction may explain the mixed results with job enrichment (vertical expansion of a job by adding planning and evaluation responsibilities): Individuals with low growth need don’t tend to achieve high performance or satisfaction by having their jobs enriched.

The JCM provides significant guidance for job redesign for both individuals and teams (Exhibit below). The suggestions in Exhibit which are based on the JCM, specify the types of changes in jobs that are most likely to improve in each of the five core job dimensions.

Guidelines for job Redesign

Suggested action Core job Dimensions

Combine tasks  Skill variety  Task identity

Form natural work units  Task identity  Task significance

Established client relationship  Skill variety  feedback

Expand jobs vertically  Autonomy

Open feedback channels  Feedback

Comments are closed.