Job design is affected by organizational, environmental and behavioral factors. A properly designed job will make it more productive and satisfying .If a job fails on this count, it must be redesigned based on the feedback. The various factors affecting job design are the following
Organizational factors include characteristics of task, work flow, ergonomics and work practices.
Characteristics of Task: Job design requires the assembly of a number of tasks into a job or a group of jobs. An individual may carry out one main task which consists of a number of inter-related elements or functions. On the other hand , task functions may be spilt between a team, working closely together or strung along an assembly line. In more complex jobs, individuals may carry out a variety of connected tasks, each with a number of functions, or these tasks may be allocated to a group of workers or divided between them. Complexity in a job may be a reflection of the number and variety of tasks to be carried out, or the range and scope of the decisions that have to be made, or the difficulty of predicting the outcome of decisions.
The internal structure of each task, consists of three elements Planning ,Executing and Controlling. A completely integrated job will include all these elements for each of the tasks involved .The workers or group of workers having been given objectives in terms of output, quality and cost targets, decide on how the work is to be done, assemble the resources, perform the work and monitor output, quality and cost standards. Responsibility in a job is measured by the amount of authority , some one to put to do all these things. The ideal design is to integrate all the three elements.
Work Flow: The flow of work in an organization is strongly influenced by the nature of the product or service. The product or service usually suggests the sequence and balance between jobs, if the work is to be done efficiently .After the sequence of jobs is determined, the balance between the jobs is established.
Ergonomics: Ergonomics is concerned with designing and shaping jobs to fit the physical abilities and characteristics of individuals so that ,they perform the jobs effectively .Ergonomics helps employees to design jobs in such a way that workers’ physical abilities and job demands are balanced .It does not alter the nature of job tasks, but alters the location of tools ,switches and other facilities, keeping in view that handling the job is the primary consideration.
Work Practices: Work practices are set ways of performing work .These methods may arise from tradition or the collective wishes of employees.
Work practices were till now, determined by time and motion study which established the standard time needed to complete the given job. The study required repeated observations .The accuracy of the readings depended on competence of the work study engineer .Deviations from the normal work-cycle caused distortions in measurements, was biased towards existing work practices with little effort at method’s improvement and could be carried out only when, production was under way.
A new technique has now emerged which ,if introduced , could drastically alter the work practices. Called the MOST (Maynard Operating Sequence Technique) ,the technique uses a standard formula to list the motion sequence ascribed in index values.
Environmental factors affect the job design. These factors that have a bearing on job design are employees abilities and availability and social and culture expectations.
Employee Abilities and Availability: Efficiency consideration must be balanced against the abilities and availability of the people to do the work.
When Henry Ford made use of the assembly line, for example , he was aware that most potential workers lacked any automobile making experience .So, jobs were designed to be simple and required little training .Therefore, considerable thought must be given, as to who will actually do the work.
Social and Cultural Expectations: During the earlier days, securing a job was the primary consideration. The worker was prepared to work on any job and under any working conditions. Now, it is not the same. Literacy, knowledge and awareness of workers have improved considerably .So also, their expectations from the job ,Hence, jobs be designed to meet the expectations of workers.
When designing jobs for international operations, uniform designs are almost certain to neglect national and cultural differences .Hours of work holidays, vacations, rest breaks ,religious beliefs, management styles and worker sophistication and attitudes are just some of the predictable differences that can affect the design of jobs across international borders. Failure to consider these social expectations can create social dissatisfaction, low motivation ,hard to fill job openings and a low quality of work life ,especially, when foreign nationals are involved in the home country or overseas.
Behavioral Factors: Behavioral factors include feedback, autonomy, use of abilities and variety.
26th October 2005 From India, New Delhi
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