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Job Design and factors affecting it

Describe job design. Mention the factors affecting job design.

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angel profile image
Angel Paudel

One of the core function of human resource management, job design mostly involves with identifying a set of task that one needs perform to satisfy personal and social requirements along with technological and organizational demands of the job holder (Rush, 1975). It involves integrating the responsibilities for a particular position based on the qualifications required for the same and outlines these facts very clearly helping to attract the right candidate to the right job. It also helps in making the job more interesting, specialized and helps get the most out of the employee.

Job design is necessary for an organization to check on the work load or underload of certain employees, to ensure that the task aren’t of repetitive nature and to make sure that the work hours along with the process is clear (Lauche, 2005). If the job isn’t properly designed then it may be the reason for frustration and build the level of stress for an employee. If we’re to consider this point in an example, in an IT company, a project manager is asked to look after 5 projects in parallel at once, while few other project managers aren’t assigned as of now. That just adds more pressure and diversion from that one project manager and increases personal level of stress along with the deliverable not being as required.

Some of the benefits of using job design can be as listed below:

  • Employees have the freedom to diversify their work based on the personal, habitual, social needs and circumstances in the work environment enabling good feedback.
  • Job design emphasis on training which allows the employee to understand what their job demands and how it is to be carried out, enabling the employee to perform better as a result.
  • Job design sets a clear indication of the work hour allowing an employee to balance work and rest hours.
  • Good job design allows for adjustments with more resources allocated for physically demanding jobs by aligning the main power requirements. This helps to minimize energy spent doing the job for a certain employee.

Job design is a continuous process which is supposed to evolve all the time. It is aimed at helping employees make adjustments with change in responsibilities or the workplace. The end goal is to reduce dissatisfaction, increase motivational level and increase engagement level of the employee at the workplace. There are several factors affecting job designs. Few of those are as described below:

Job design is a continuous process which is supposed to evolve all the time. It is aimed at helping employees make adjustments with change in responsibilities or the workplace. The end goal is to reduce dissatisfaction, increase motivational level and increase engagement level of the employee at the workplace. There are several factors affecting job designs. Few of those are as described below:

The Characteristics of Jobs: All the jobs share three fundamental characteristics in the range, depth and relationship of the job. This can be related with an example of an organization needing a web developer. This requires one to have knowledge and technical know-how of the web development technologies so the role is provided to the one having the knowledge, skills and motivation to get the things done of the same and not to someone with managerial skill sets.

Task Structure: It makes an employee clear about the work they’re to do. It can also be related to Terms of Reference (TOR) in working environment. It includes of one or more task an individual has to do to meet organizational objectives. The task structure is a road map for an employee so it should be carefully structured to reduce any confusions and make an employee clear of what’s expected from him/her.

Intrinsic Motivation: It is one of the important factor of job design and involves internal motivation that comes from within instead of being imposed by external elements or person. It mostly occurs when one finds a task interesting or rewarding and deserves satisfaction while performing it. For example: In a web development company, if a creative developer is allowed the freedom to design a website that best suits the requirement of the clients without constant nagging and force from outside to influence the project, the developer feels more motivated to work in the project and chances are high that the website comes out impressive than it would have been otherwise.

Job Characteristics Model: The following model was purposed in the year of 1974 Hackman and Oldham and includes of five core dimensions in skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback (Armstrong, 2014). Hackman and Oldham further explained that if job is designed based on it, it will result in high-quality work performance and high job satisfaction as a result of intrinsic motivation (Armstrong, 2014). For example, a web developer if assigned the job of data entry won’t be motivated to perform as that will be something below his skillset. However, if given the role of the web developer itself, he/she will be motivated to perform the best that he/she can.

Implication of Group Activities: Organization is a lot more than a single individual, it’s more of a group formed by these individual together working towards a common goal of the organization. Thus, in an organization group work is vital and important to get anything done in full. In case the group activities aren’t completely properly, it may often mean that the work is incomplete or isn’t performed to the level it should have been. Taking an example of an organization I work in itself. We do have several units each with their own task at hand, for any event that is to be made available in the web, the organizer first need to prepare the details, set it for editorial team who then sends back for verification once the update is done, which is then passed on to the web unit, which is responsible for the publication of the event. Furthermore, another unit is responsible for sharing it in the social media accounts. If any one unit or a group doesn’t do the task they’re supposed to, the work can’t be accomplished as it should be.


Armstrong, L. A. (2014). A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice. Kogan Page Limited.

Lauche, K. (2005). Job design for good design practice. Design Studies , 26 (2), 191-213.

Rush, H. (1975). Job design for motivation (p. 5). New York/N.Y.

shantamilan profile image
ShantaMilan • Edited

Job design has been created to set specific work activities and delegate them to the employees. Staff hiring, appraisal and remuneration are based on these quality of work delegated as per the job design. This however has to be catered for staff satisfaction as well. Various sets of job design are simultaneously created specifically to assist in reaching the organization’s short and long term objectives and goals. It is a vital part that contributes to the success, failure and smooth running of everyday business. Having the right talent in pivotal roles at the right time is of strategic importance, making a difference to revenues, innovation and organisation effectiveness (Chris Ashton, 2005).

According to Michael Armstrong, “Deciding on the content of a job starts from work requirements because that is why the job exists. (Armstrong, 2012)” Thus it goes without saying that Job design is the trickle of management response to work design inside the organizational design. There are a few factors that affect the job design according to Armstrong and they are explained as follows.

1. The characteristics of job:
The characteristic of job directly influences the design. The characteristic mentioned here implies various smaller jobs that have to be done to achieve a bigger task. For example an accountant has to reconcile various sub account before producing monthly reports. Similarly the depth of the job also affects the job design. Job depth means the amount of level of authority that a job holds. Higher management people have greater depth meaning they have more authority over other employees and accountable too. The amount of relationship in job between co staffs also affects the job design.

2. The characteristics of task structure
The task structure also influences the job design. In a manufacturing industry there are production line and one staff may have to do one particular work let us say fitting tyres in the car. He does not have much authority for taking decisions. But another person who has to head the production line will have to see whether everything is going smoothly and all employees are working well. This gives him more tasks and authority as well.

3. Intrinsic Motivation
If the task structure is more challenging, innovative and enjoyable with authority to do the work at their own discretion, then they are more motivated to work with enthusiasm. If not then they will be leisure at work and be counterproductive for the organization. This is the intrinsic motivation that also shapes the job design.

4. Job Characteristics Model
This model was catered by Greg R. Oldham and J. Richard Hackman in 1974. They proposed that five core job characteristics should prompt three critical psychological states in employees which would further the outcome of the work. The five job characteristics are

  • Skill Variety: This talks about how workers will be more motivated to work if they are challenged into using several skill and abilities instead of one monotonous repetitive work.

  • Task Identity: The work output should be visible and the worker would experience more responsible if they were involved in the overall process of the work rather than just their part.

  • Task Significance: If the job influences other people’s lives for the better there is more significance to work and workers get job satisfaction a source of intrinsic motivation.

  • Autonomy: The authority and discretion to take decision and affect work output helps the worker feel accountable for their success and failure and strive to work better.

  • Feedback: Proper and timely feedback is vital for the staff to understand what they did right and what can be improved. Unbiased and constructive feedback informs the staff on how the work can be improved.

The psychological state that is contributed by the above mentioned factors are experiencing meaningfulness at work, experienced responsibilities for outcome at work and knowledge of results of work activities.

5. Implications of group activities
There are various different groups inside an organization. Humans have the nature to come together into groups and form formal and informal groups inside the organization and this influences the worker. Thus job design has to be aware of the interrelation and include these factors while designing job.
A lot of through has to be given to job design. Staff motivation, purpose of work, organization’s shared vision all are supported if the job is designed well and will eventually aid in the sustainability and growth.


Armstrong, M. (2012). Armstrong’s handbook of human resource management practices. London: Kogan Page.
Chris Ashton, L. M. (2005). Managing Talent for Competitive Advantage. Startegic HR Review, 4, No 5, pp 28-31.

sachitabhattarai profile image

Job design is one of the main functions of human resource management. Job design means tracing the duties, responsibilities, task, process, and relationships required to perform a certain job. Job Design is the process of deciding on the contents of a job in terms of its duties and responsibilities, on the methods to be used in carrying out the job, in terms of techniques, systems and procedures, and on the relationships that should exist between the job holder and his superior subordinates and colleagues” (Armstrong, 2012). In simple terms, job design is the process of assigning the job to the individual and outlining his/her duties and responsibilities. Job design also gives information about the qualifications required for doing the job and the reward (financial and non- financial benefits) for doing the job (Akrani, 2011).

A job satisfaction study compiled by CareerJournal.com asked satisfied workers to describe their jobs. The study found that highly satisfied employees consistently listed four factors: intellectual stimulation, job security, high levels of control and autonomy, and direct contact with clients and customers (google, n.d.)

Job design is affected by various internal as well as external factors. Among these. The various factors affecting job design are listed below:

The characteristics of jobs

The characteristics of job identify the various aspects of a job, such as skill, variety, task identity, autonomy and feedback. No job is perfect but managers can at least give a shape to the job done by the employees. Job range refers to the number of activities or action performed by an individual to complete a task. The influence of an employee in his work environment such as decision making and accountability (Dictionary, 2018). Whereas, job relationship refers to the relationship between job holders, managers and the organization.

The characteristics of task structure

The task of the employee should be structured in a simple and easiest way so that the employee can understand and perform it well. With this, the employee gets clear vision of the type of task they are obliged to do. Task structure consists of job descriptions and procedures. In a team or group of people, the task of each individual are inter-related and connected to each other’s performance. The group has a single objective and everyone in the team works towards its achievement. They decide on the course of action, carry out the plan, and monitor the performance and take corrective actions as required.

The process of intrinsic motivation

Job design is also affected by the intrinsic values of the employee. Intrinsic values include money, rewards, bonus, good working environment and so on. For example, an employee is given extra bonuses on festivals and overtime when they work after office hours.

The job characteristics model

Hackman and Oldham (1974) have developed the job characteristics model. According to them, there are five core job characteristics:

  • Skill variety : The job should always be challenging. Challenging job makes the job more interesting and exciting so that services provided by the employees and managers can be utilized properly.

  • Task identity : The job which has been started have to be completed fully. It involves completing a job from starting to end. For example, your boss assigns you make report of the clients, after sometime you find the same tasks being assigned to other colleagues. Hence, you should talk to your boss to avoid doing so as it saves time and energy and can be utilized in some other job.

  • Task significance : The task that one did should have a positive impact on the company’s performance. The outcome of the task must influence others and the organization in some way.

  • Autonomy : This helps the employee to do the task in his own way. This provides freedom to the employee in scheduling the task and deciding how they are going to perform it.

  • Feedback: Feedback plays an important role in job design. It is essential for an individual to determine the task he/she performed was effective or not.

  • The implications of group activities
    All employees should be considered while assigning the job. The biasness in job implication negatively affects the job designing process. The job should be implicated according to the field an individual want to work in and are good at.

Hence, organizational structure, managerial skills, technology and control systems also affects the job design.

Akrani, G. (2011). What is Job design. Kalyan City Life (Sharing Wisdom and Vivid Memories of Life).

Armstrong, M. (2012). Armstrong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice, 12th edition. London N1 9JN: Kogan Page.

Dictionary, B. (2018). WebFinanceInc. Retrieved from google: businessdictionar.com/definition/j...

google. Retrieved from Job design: www,whatishumanresource.com/job-design

susham profile image

Job design is a core function of Human Resource Management and is related to the specification of contents, methods and relationship of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organizational requirement as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder or the employee (Rush, 1971).

Job design is based on how the nature of an individual’s job affects their attitudes and nature at work. It is necessary to design jobs to improve job satisfaction, improve quality and reduce problems in employments such as absenteeism.

Job design tries to find ways in which the modification of job characteristics, such as workload, autonomy, variety, and workplace support (Tement & Korunka, 2013), will result in improved employees’ attitude towards the job and hence in their increased performance (Bartlett, 2007). Job design also helps in increasing job satisfaction and motivation of employees (Armstrong, 2003), as well as improvement of employees’ skills (Morrison, Cordery, Girardi, & Payne, 2005). Improper designing of jobs may lead to dissatisfaction of the employees. The work should be distributed in accordance to the qualities and capabilities of the employees. However, giving burden to a single individual would make that individual stressed and decrease the efficiency and quality of work.

Job design is not a single time work. It involves continuous improvements aimed at helping the employers accommodate changes in accordance with the responsibilities and organizational goals.

Factors affecting Job designs

The Characteristics of Jobs:

Range, depth and relationship are the three main characteristics of the job. Job range is the number of operations one has to perform to complete the task (Armstrong, 2003). In smaller organizations, an individual is expected to perform a range of activities in order to complete a job. But as the organization grows larger, job range tends to get smaller. For example, in a factory where noodles are made, a set of workers are engaged only in filling the packet with noodles while others are responsible for putting spice packets and then some pile up the noodle packets in the cartoon box.

Job depth is the amount of discretion an employee has in a job. Higher level positions have more job depth as it involves decision making and greater discretion on how a job is done.

Job relationship is the interpersonal relationship between job holders and their managers and co-workers (Armstrong, 2003).

Task Structure

Task structure brings clarity to the employees regarding the job they have to do. It includes tasks an individual has to complete under his role to meet the organizational. Below is a figure that illustrates more on the task structure.

This is an image retrieved from Google which shows the task structure of a payroll accountant. It clearly specifies the tasks the accountant has to perform to finish their job.

Intrinsic Motivation

It is something that comes from within and not merely an outcome of extrinsic motivation such as rewards and punishments. Intrinsic motivation is closely related with the level of satisfaction in the employees. If a person enjoys interacting with other people then relevant jobs would make them work more efficiently instead of someone who is shy and is reluctant speaking in front of a group of people. Intrinsic motivation is something that occurs when an individual is satisfied in the work they perform. An army would perform his duty of serving the nation in a war when s/he is patriotic rather than when s/he is just following the orders of their captains.

Job Characteristics Model

The model was proposed by Hackman and Oldham. It includes five core dimensions which are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback (Armstrong, 2014). Hackman and Oldham believed that designing a job based on these dimensions would result in high-quality work performance and high job satisfaction (Armstrong, 2014). We have heard from a number of BBA graduates expressing their disliking in working for a bank. This is because in most cases, when such graduates go to the bank for their internship, they are hardly given opportunity to do anything other than photocopying the documents. This doesn’t challenge their skill variety and is not an identifiable piece of work as compared to the whole organization. Similarly, copying documents and filing them merely has any significant impact on the overall performance of the organization.

Implication of Group Activities

Organization consists of a group of individuals working on a similar goal. There are individual units in an organization that has impact on each other. Group work is essential to move the organization forward. Taking example of a noodle company, the unit that deals with packaging individual unit of noodle packets in the cartoons cannot function properly if the filling line is halted. This stops the whole activity of the factory.

Armstrong, M. (2003). A Handbook of management techniques. London: Kogan Page limited.

Bartlett, A. (2007). Job Characteristics and Job Design in Table-Service Restaurants. Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism. 23-36.

Morrison, D., Cordery, J., Girardi, A., & Payne, R. (2005). Europeon Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology. Job design, opportunities for skill utilization, and intrinsic job satisfaction , 59-79.

Rush, H. F. (1971). coursehero.com. Retrieved from coursehero.com/file/p6av63v/Job-De...

Tement, S., & Korunka, C. (2013). Does trait affectivity predict work-to-family conflict and enrichment beyond job characteristics? 197-216.

dipadhungana profile image

Job design is one of the core functions of human resource management that can be defined as the process of organizing work as group of tasks, arranging and defining the job process and structure at the workplace. It includes work arrangement and rearrangement. It is related to the specification of contents, methods and relationship of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organizational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder. Job design involves integrating job responsibilities or content and certain qualifications that are required to perform the job. It specifies the contents of jobs in order to satisfy work requirements and meet the personal needs of the job holder that helps in increasing the level of employee engagement. The techniques of job design includes job enlargement, job enrichment, job rotation and job simplification.

According to Popplewell and Wildsmith, “Job design involves conscious efforts to organize tasks, duties and responsibilities into a unit of work to achieve certain objectives.”

Job design aims on:

  • Checking the work overload.
  • Checking upon the work under load.
  • Ensuring tasks are not repetitive in nature.
  • Ensuring employees do not remain isolated.
  • Ensuring jobs remain updated.
  • Defining work processes clearly.
  • Defining work hours clearly.
  • Improving job satisfaction.
  • Improving quality of work.
  • Reducing employee problems.
  • Reducing on-the-job fatigue, stress and human error.
  • Raising productivity levels by offering non-monetary rewards.

The factors affecting job design can be broadly classified as:

  1. Organizational Factors: It includes task features, work flow, ergonomics and work practices.
  2. Environmental Factors: It includes social and cultural expectations, employee ability and availability.
  3. Behavioral Factors: It includes autonomy, use of abilities, feedback and variety.

As listed in (Armstrong, 2012), the factors affecting job design are:

1. Characteristics of jobs
Every job has three fundamental characteristics: job range, job depth and job relationships. Job range is the number of tasks a person is expected to perform while doing a job. The more number of tasks, the greater will be the job range. Job depth is the degree of influence or discretion that an individual possesses to choose how a job will be performed. Job relationships refers to the interpersonal relationships between job holders and their managers and co-workers. The example of low job range is the traditional assembly line job where workers were specialized to perform only one function. The higher level positions in any organization have more job depth as they have a say in decision making process.

2. Task Structure
Task structure refers to the degree to which the task is made clear to the employee who has to do it. The employee should know what steps are to be taken to complete the task assigned to him successfully. A job consists of a number of tasks combined together. The abilities and competencies needed to perform these tasks may vary. So the task structure determines whether to assign the task to a single person or a group of persons. Similarly multiple tasks can also be assigned to an individual. The internal elements of task structure consists of planning, implementing and controlling. For instance if a worker in assembly line is not sure about the tasks he has to perform, it will have negative impact on the people whose work is dependent on that worker as well as the overall productivity of the organization.

3. Intrinsic Motivation
Another factor affecting job design is the intrinsic motivation. If the job offers challenging opportunities to the employees that will broaden their knowledge and skills, they will be self-motivated to do the job and very less supervision is needed. If the outcomes derived from a particular job is attractive and that address the higher level need of a person, that job can provide intrinsic motivation to him. If an employee loves to travel and do research works, assigning him with the job to prepare a feasibility study report by visiting the new proposed site will motivate him intrinsically. Even if the payment is not increased, he will do it happily as he loves the job.

4. Job Characteristic Model
Hackman and Oldham has proposed this model which states that there are several core job characteristics that have certain impact on the workers. The five job characteristics suggested by this model are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. Skill variety is associated with the opportunity to do a variety of job activities using various talents and skills. Task identity is related with the extent to which a job involves doing a complete piece of work from beginning to end while task significance is the impact a job has on others. Autonomy is the freedom to schedule one’s work activities and decide the procedures. Feedback is the information about the performance of an individual or team. All these aspects provide intrinsic motivation and enhance the job performance. For instance if a worker is given a job that does not match his skill sets and knowledge level and in addition to that he has to work under the instruction of someone else, the result will be poor as he will not put his heart and soul in the job.

5. Implication of Group Activities
An organization cannot exist in isolation. There are different teams within the organization and these teams have significant impact on one another’s performance. In any organization, the end result is the combined efforts of all the groups involved. There are formal and informal groups within the organization that affects the dynamics of the job. The group work can enhance the productivity of an organization through continuous support and constructive feedbacks. For example, if a manufacturing company decides to launch a new product, the research and development team will work on the concept, manufacturing unit will look over the production, marketing unit will help to make the product known in the market and sales department will look after the sales of the product. Here the jobs of these departments are interrelated to each other that should be considered in designing the job in this particular organization.

Armstrong, M. (2012). Armstong’s Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice.