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Module 4 – Case
Job Design, Job Enlargement, and Job Enrichment
Designing jobs for employees must be a strategic initiative becauseoptimizing productivity levels without overworking an employee can bedifficult to accomplish. Job design refers to organizing tasks, duties,responsibilities, and other components into a productive unit of work.As such, there is a correlation between job design and job performance;job design and job satisfaction; job design and organizationalcommitment; and job design and physical and mental health. Once the joband tasks are defined, a detailed job description needs to be developed.
A job description will usually indicate the different tasks for whicha potential employee will be responsible. Organizations are known tocome up with job descriptions that provide a general standard forinterested applicants. Organizations are also notorious for includingthe following sentence at the end of a job description: Employee may be asked to perform other duties as required.This significant sentence legally allows an employer to modify jobdescriptions at any time and without notice. The OccupationalInformation Network (or O*NET) is a useful website for learning aboutdifferent jobs and the tasks associated with each job(www.onetonline.org). The following job description illustrates thetasks for which an Assistant Professor of Marketing is responsible.
Job Description Example
Assistant Professor of Marketing
Responsibilities: Teach general Marketing coursesand/or concentration courses as appropriate per academic credentials,advise students, and serve on Department and University committees. Thepreferred candidates will be able to conduct research in their areas ofexpertise and/or related fields. Participate in the ongoing developmentof the curriculum. Continue professional development and scholarship inteaching areas, research and academic writing. Positions requireteaching excellence and scholarly productivity. Employee may be asked toperform other duties as required.
It can be concluded from the brief job description above that apotential employee is responsible for researching (creative), performingother duties as required (adaptive), and teaching (routine) at theuniversity. Task-based job performance has three general categories:creative, adaptive, and routine. The “CAR” acronym, can be used forrecalling the task performance criteria.
Task Performance Criteria
Creative task performance is the degree to which employees developand implement ideas that are both novel and useful. The reality is thatcreative task performance is playing a larger role in all jobs. Forexample, Google engineers can spend up to 20 percent of their time on aproject of their choice because creativity is valued and encouraged bythe organization. By the same token, the employees of 3M are allowed touse 15 percent of their time to think creatively. Both companies creditthese unique programs as the source of their most successful products.In some professions (e.g., marketing or advertising), creative taskperformance is considered more important than any other taskperformance. Furthermore, professors are also encouraged to be creativeand publish in prestigious academic journals. As a matter of fact, theexample above illuminated the importance of a professor being able topublish. The classic saying, “publish or perish” holds true inacademia. Imagine one-third of a professor’s job (or more) beingdependent upon his or her ability to be creative and publish novelconcepts. With globalization and competition, creative task performancewill continue to play a major role in all jobs of the future.
Adaptive task performance requires an employee to be able to “adapt and overcome”novel or unusual situations. A case in point is when Chesley B.Sullenberger, the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 (January 15, 2009),discovered his plane had lost power and he decided to land in the HudsonRiver. Captain Sullenberger’s heroic actions saved the lives of 150passengers and crew. A different example (occurred on January 9, 2011)is when U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in Arizona andher aide (Daniel Hernandez Jr., who was only five days into his new job)came to her rescue and performed first-aid. Both examples elucidateadaptive task performances that are novel and unusual. All jobs have acomponent of adaptive task performance that can be extreme orinsignificant.
Routine task performance is associated with being responsible for thesame task each day with very minimal variety or change. A classicexample of routine task performance would be an employee who works on anautomobile assembly line. Each person who works on an automobileassembly line has a very specific job such as screwing on doors orbumpers. This “division of labor” concept is used in manyorganizations to help enhance productivity levels. For example,contemporary hospitals have been known to request radiologists tospecialize and analyze specific digital images (e.g., CT scans, MRIscans, or mammograms) to help productivity, efficiency, accountability,and efficacy levels. In some situations, it makes more sense to dividework amongst a group of employees as opposed to having a group ofemployees working on the same tasks and doing double-work.
Drawing on the material in the background readings and doingadditional research, please prepare a 3-5 page paper (not including thecover and reference pages) in which you:
Your paper will be evaluated on the following points:
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