Thursday, March 27, 2014

Performance Consequences

In the last byte, we looked at work design and well-being. In today's byte, we look at task revision.

Task revision refers to the modification of incorrectly specified roles or jobs. It assumes that the organizational roles and job expectations may be correctly or incorrectly defined. Note that the person's behavior is a work place has very different performance consequences depending on whether the role is currently  or incorrectly defined.

The following table summarizes the performance consequences of Role Behavior:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Work Design and Well-being

In the last byte, we looked at how JDS could be used to redesign jobs. In today's byte, we discuss about Work Design and Well-being.

Organizations need to redesign jobs in order to increase worker control and reduce worker uncertainty, while at the same time time remembering to manage conflicts and task/job demands. 

Following are some ways in which control in work organizations could be increased:
  1. Workers would be given the opportunity to control several aspects of the work and the work place
  2. Designing machines and tasks for optmal response times and/or ranges
  3. Implementing performance-monitoring systems as a source of relevant feedback

To reduce uncertainty we could use the following:
  1. Providing employees with timely and complete information needed for the work
  2. Making clear and unambiguous work assignments
  3. Improving communication at shift change time
  4. Increasing employee access to information source

Conflicts could be managed by:
  1. Participative decision making to reduce conflict
  2. Using supportive supervisory styles to resolve conflicts
  3. Having sufficient resources available to meet work demands

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Redesigning Jobs

In the last byte, we looked at the moderation effect in the Job Characteristic model. In today's byte, we look at some uses of this theory in redesigning jobs.

Job Characteristic theory added a more comprehensive perspective in the design of jobs. The JDS developed was useful in job redesign efforts through one of the fived implementation concepts:
  1. Combining tasks into larger jobs
  2. Forming natural work teams to increase task identity and task significance
  3. Establishing relationships with customers
  4. Loading jobs vertically with more responsibility
  5. Opening feedback channels for the job incumbent
Job Characteristics Inventory (JCI) is an alternative to the Job Characteristics Model but is not as comprehensive. JCI doesnt include coritical psychological states, personal and work outcomes, or employee needs.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Job Characteristic Theory - 4

In the last byte, we looked at how we could calculate MPS based on a assessment tool. In today's byte we discuss the job characteristic theory a bit further. 

The Job Characteristics Model includes growth need strength as moderator in the model. It is seen that people with high growth need strength respond favorably to jobs with high MPSs, and individuals with low growth need strength respond less favorably to such jobs.

The theory suggests that core job dimensions stimulate three critical psychological states according to the relationships specified in the model. These critical psychological states are defined as follows:
  • Experienced Meaningfulness of the work: the degree to which the employee experiences the job as one that is generally meaningful, valuable, and worthwhile.
  • Experienced responsibility for work outcomes: the degree to which the employee feels personally accountable and responsibile for the results of the work he or she does.
  • Knowledge of results: the degree to which the employee knows and understands, on a continuous basis, how effectively he or she is performing the job.

We shall continue  the discuss further in the next byte.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Determining Job Characteristics

In the last byte, we defined the various core job characteristics. In today's byte, we begin looking at the concept of Motivating Potential Scores (MPS). 

Motivating Potential Scores (MPS) indicates a job's potential for motivating incumbents. Hackman and his collegues built the following equation to measure MPS:

         [skill variety] + [task identity] + [task significance]
MPS = ------------------------------------------------------------- x [Autonomy] x [Feedback]
[Refer to the reference book to measure these individual components]
The model includes growth need strength (refers to the desire to grow and fully develop one's ability) as a moderator.  People with high growth need strength respond favorably to jobs with high MPSs, and those with low growth need strength respond less favorably to such jobs.
We shall continue the discussion in the next byte.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Job Characteristics Theory 3

In the last byte, we looked at the diagramatic representation of the Job Characterictics Model. In today's byte, we look at some of the definitions related to the five core job characteristics:

  • Skill Variety: refers to the degree to which a job includes different activitites and involves the use of multiple skills and talkents of the employee.
  • Task Identity: refers to the degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work - that is, doing a job from beginning to end with a tangible outcome.
  • Task Significance: refers to the degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of toher people, whether in the immediate organization or in the external environment.
  • Autonomy: refers to the degree to which the job provides the employee with substantial freedom, independence, and discretion in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
  • Feedback from the job itself: refers to the degree to which carrying out the work activities result in the employee's obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Job Characteristics Theory 2

In the last byte, we began our discussion on Job Characteristics Theory. We continue and look at the visual representation of the Job Charactertistics Model. 

Job Characteristics Model is a framework for understanding person - job fit through the interaction of core job dimensions with critical psychological states within a person. To measure the elements of the Job Characteristic Model a survey was developed - Job Diagonostic Survey (JDS).

Following is the model:

We shall discuss the five core job characteristics and their definitions in the next byte.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Job Characteristics Theory

In the last byte, we looked at Job Enrichment and how to involve it into the design of an organization.  In today's byte, we begin our discussion on Job Characteristics Theory

The Job Characteristics theory was initiated in the mid 1960s and also falls into the theoretical approach to the work design but has significant departure from the three earlier approaches discussed already - Scientific Method, Job Enlargement, and Job Enrichment. 

This theory emphasizes the interaction between the individual and specific attributes of the job; it is a person-job fit model and is not a universal theory. Through research there were four core characteristics of job:
  • Job Variety
  • Autonomy
  • Responsibility
  • Interpersonal Industries

The study had found that the core job characteristics did not affect all workers in the same way.
This initial model was further modified through the research by Prof Richard Hickman and his colleagues and created the model that we would discuss in this series.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Job Enrichment

In the last byte, we looked at job enlargement and job rotation. In today's byte, we look at job enrichment. 

Job enlargement achieves a better job design through horizontal loading. Job Enrichment on the other hand, increases the amount of vertical loading (through increased job responsibility).
Job Enrichment is a job design or redesign method aimed at increasing the motivational factors in a job. It builds on Herzberg's two-factor theory of motivation. Job enlargement recommends increasing and varying the number of activities a person does, job enrichment recommends increasing the recognition, responsibility, and opportunity for achievement.
Some people prefer simple jobs. Once jobs are selected for enrichment, management should brainstorm about possible changes; revise the list to include only specific changes related to motivational factors, and screen out generalities and suggestions that would simply increase activities or number of tasks.
Two key problems when implementing Job Enrichment are --
  1. First, an initial drop in performance can be expected as workers accommodate to change
  2. Second, supervisors may experience some anxiety or hostility as a result of employees' increased responsibility.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Job Enlargement and Job Rotation

In the last byte, we looked at the scientific management approach to job design. In today's byte, we look at Job Enlargement and Job Rotation.
Job Enlargement is a method of job design that increases the number of activities in a job to overcome the boredom of overspecialized work.
Job Rotation is a variation of job enlargement in which workers are exposed to a variety of specialized jobs over time.
The limitations of the overspecialization viz:
⦁    lack of variety
⦁    under stimulation and underutilization
Workers would be more stimulated and better utilized by increasing the variety in the jobs.
Job rotation and cross-training (a variation of job enlargement in which workers are trained in different specialized tasks or activities) are variations of job enlargement. All three kinds of programs horizontally enlarge jobs, that is, the number and variety of an employee's tasks and activities are increased.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scientific Method of Job Design

In the last byte, we initiated the discussion on some of the traditional approaches to Job Design. In today's byte, we look the Scientific Method of job design.
The genesis of the scientific management approach is attributed to Frederick Taylor, and emphasizes on Work Simplification.
Work Simplification refers to "Standardization and the narrow, explicit specification of task activities for workers."
Through scientific management, jobs are often designed to have limited number of tasks, and each task is scientifically specified so that worker is not required to think of deliberate. (The management calibrates and defines task carefully, and the worker only executes the task).
Some of the elements of scientific management are - time and motion studies, differential piece-rate systems to pay, the scientific selection of workers, and focus on the efficient use of labor for the economic benefits of the corporation.
2 arguments that support the efficient and standardized approach to job design are:
  1. Work simplification allowed workers of diverse ethnic and skill backgrounds to work together in a scientific way.
  2. Work simplification also leads to production efficiency in the organization and therefore to higher profits.
The limitation of this approach is that it undervalues the human capacity for thought and ingenuity. Failure to fully utilize the workers' capacity in a constructive fashion may cause a variety of work problems.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Approaches to Job Design

In the last byte, we discussed about the role of job in an organizational context. In today's byte, we look at some approaches towards job design.

Badly designed jobs leading up to a variety of performance problems in organizations are often due to failure to differentiate, integrate or both. If jobs are designed well, it could avoid problems, improve productivity, and enhance employee well-being.
Four approaches to job design are:
  1. Scientific Management
  2. Job Enlargement/Job Rotation
  3. Job Enrichment
  4. Job Characteristics Theory

We shall discuss these over the next few bytes.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Role of Job in an organizational Context

In the last byte, we looked at the six different patterns for the meaning of work. In today's byte, we look at the role of job in an organizational context. 

Task and authority relationships define an organization's structure. Jobs are the basic building blocks of this task-authority structure and are considered the micro-structural element to which employees most directly relate. 

Jobs are usually designed to complement and support other jobs in the organization. Isolated jobs are rare.  

Jobs in organizations are interdependent and designed to make a contribution to the organization's overall mission and goals. Interdependencies require careful planning and design so that all of the "pieces of work" fit together into a whole. Failure to incorporate these interdependencies into planning could create conflict and cause failure.

Inflexible jobs that are rigidly structured have an adverse effect and lead to stressed-out employees.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Meaning of Work - patterns and cultural influences

In the last byte, we looked at the definitions of work and job. In today's byte, we look at the meaning of work. 

The meaning of a work differs from person to person and also varies across cultures. The meaning of work refers to the way a person interprets and understands the value of work as part of life. 

In a study spanning six different countries, researchers found six patterns people follow to define work. Following is brief description of these 6 patterns:

Pattern A: - people define work as an activity in which value come from performance and for which a person in accountable. It is generally self- directed and devoid of negative effect.
Pattern B: - people define work as an activity that provides a person with positive personal affect and identity. Work contributes to society and is not unpleasant.
Pattern C: - people define work as an activity from which profit accrues to others by its performance and that may be done in various settings other than a working place. Work is usually devoid of positive affect and is unpleasantly connected to performance.
Pattern D: - people define work as primarily a physical activity a person must do that is directed by others and generally performed in a working place. Work is usually devoid of positive affect and is unpleasantly connected to performance.
Pattern E: - people define work as a physically and mentally strenuous activity. It is generally unpleasant and devoid of positive affect.
Pattern F: - people define work as an activity constrained to specific time periods that does not bring positive affect through its performance

The above clearly identifies the way culture influences the meaning of work.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Job and Work Design

In the last byte, we concluded our discussion on conflict management with the managerial implications of conflict management. In today's byte, we begin our discussion on job and work design. 

We begin with defining the following terms:
Job: A set of specified work and task activities that engage an individual in an organization.
Work: Mental or physical activities that has productive results.
A job is different from an organization position or a career. Let’s understand the difference - organizational position identifies a job in relation to other parts of the organization; a career refers to a sequence of job experiences over time.
A job is composed of a set of specified tasks, each of which is an assigned piece of work to be done in a specified time period.
Work helps bind a person to reality. Work thus has different meaning for different people and we shall discuss about this in the next byte.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Managerial Implication of the discussion on conflict management

In the last byte, we looked at the appropriate situations and the choice of the conflict management. In today's byte, we try to summarize the discussion on conflict management with what implies from a managerial perspective.

Following are four suggested and interrelated steps towards creating a conflict-positive organization:
  1. Value diversity and confront differences: Looking at differences as opportunities for innovation and celebrating diversity form a key to having open and honest confrontations that allow conflict to be positively used.
  2. Seek mutual benefits and unite behind cooperative goals: Individuals often depend on others to accomplish tasks and so, conflicts have to be managed together. A joint reward for teams when they accomplish some task together is a good way to encourage cooperative behavior.
  3. Empower employees to feel confident and skillful: Making people feel, they are in control of their conflicts and that they can deal with their differences productively is important. Recognizing such instances is important.
  4. Take stock to rewards success and learn from mistakes: Employees would benefit from appreciating one another's strength, weakness and direct discussion. They should celebrate their conflict management success and work towards constantly improving the same in the future.
Last but not the least, it is important for a good conflict manager to have a high emotional intelligence. This ability to influence one's own and other's emotions is an important tactical asset and helps negotiate situations better there by reducing conflicts.