At the end of this topic, the trainee should be able to:

  1. Explain the meaning of job design.
  2. Identify the factors affecting job design.
  3. Evaluate techniques of designing jobs.
  4. Analyse methods of job enrichment.
  5. Evaluate methods of achieving high performance of work.

Job design is the specification of the contents, methods and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organisational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job.

Job design integrates work content, qualifications and rewards for each job in a way that meets the needs of employees and the organisation.  Job design is the specification of the content of a job, the material and equipment required to do the job, and the relation of the job to other jobs.

Job design is the process of structuring work and designating the specific work activities of an individual or group of individuals to achieve certain organisational objectives.  It addresses the basic question of how the job is to be performed, who is to perform it, and where it is to be performed.  Job design is the specification of the contents, methods and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organisational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the jobholder.


Job design has been defined slightly differently depending on who is defining it. Job design consists of four different considerations: Organizational Objectives, Industrial Engineering, Ergonomics, and Behavioural Concerns.

Job design concerns itself with wages, salary, benefits and the employees perception of fairness, how interesting and challenging the job is perceived to be, availability of opportunities for advancement, support and caring for the employees and relationship with co-workers

It is the process of linking specific tasks to specific jobs and deciding what techniques, equipment and procedures should be used to perform those tasks.  Design content of a job to increase motivation and encourage workers to perform well, enjoy their work so that the worker derives a sense of achievement, worthwhile accomplishment or other intrinsic rewards

Job design concerns itself with the job content, job requirements and job context factors. Job content factors are activities required – Functional Job Analysis (FJA) (what factors define the general nature of the job).  Job requirements refers to what the worker does in relation to data, people, and jobs methods & techniques, machines, tools & equipment materials, products, subject matter, services produced. Job context factors considers the physical environment and other working conditions, along with other factors considered to be intrinsic to a job.  It include physical demands & working conditions, degree of accountability & responsibility, extend supervision required.


Micromotion: This is the simplest unit of work.  It involves a very elementary movement such as reaching, grasping, positioning or releasing an object.  An aggregate of two or more micromotions forms an Element.  An element is a complete entity – such as picking up, transporting and positioning an item.

A grouping of work elements makes up a work task.  Related tasks comprise the duties of a job.  Duties when combined with responsibilities (obligations to be performed) define a position.  A group of positions that are identical with respect to their major tasks and responsibilities form a job.  The difference between a position and a job is that a job may be held by more than one person, whereas a position cannot.  A group of similar jobs or job classes make an occupation.

Aims of Job Design

  1. To satisfy the requirements of the organisation for productivity, operational efficiency and quality of product or service.
  2. To satisfy the needs of the individual for interest, challenge and accomplishment.


  1. The need for the content of the job to be reasonably demanding and provide variety.
  2. The need to be able to learn from the job and to go on learning, have some measure of freedom in the way in which a person will perform the work.
  3. The need for an area of decision-making where the individual can exercise discretion.
  4. The need for social support and recognition in the workplace.
  5. The value of workgroups given a high degree of autonomy over the work situation – self-managed groups.
  6. The value of multi-skilling
  7. Sufficient challenge in the job to leas to a sense of satisfaction when the task is completed satisfactorily.
  8. The opportunity to have social interaction when doing the job and at other times.
  9. The establishment of agreed targets/goals and appropriate feedback of results



Job design should start with an analysis of task requirements, using the job analysis techniques.  The following are the basic approaches to job design.


  1. Scientific Management Philosophy: This seeks to create jobs that are safe, Simple, reliable.  It uses the technique of work simplification to seek/create jobs that minimize the mental demands on employees.  It also uses the technique of job enlargement. Here jobs are broken down into small repetitive components so as to reduce skill requirements.
  2. Human Relations Philosophy: This movement looked at jobs from the perspective of the individual worker. This movement advocated job design as a way to direct work groups towards the goals of the organization.  The technique of work groups is one method used here.
  3. Job Characteristics Approach: This focuses on the psychological interaction between the employee and the job.  It calls for job enrichment (giving employees more responsibility, autonomy, and control in their jobs).  The model identifies 5 job characteristics that can potentially motivate workers:
  4. Skill Variety: The degree to which the job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work and uses a number of individual skills and talents.
  5. Task Identity: The degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work doing a job from the beginning to end with a visible outcome.
  6. Task Significance: The degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people.
  7. Autonomy: The degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
  8. 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 higher performance.


  1. Socio-technical Approach: The thrust of this approach is that both the technical system and the accompanying social system should be considered when designing jobs.  This approach merges the technical needs of the organisation with the social needs of the employees involved in decision making.  The following guidelines use the Socio-technical approach to designing jobs.


  1. A job needs to be reasonably demanding for the individual in terms other than sheer endurance, yet provide some variety.
  2. Employees need to be able to learn on the job and to continue learning.
  3. Employees need some minimum degree of social support and recognition in the workplace.
  4. Employees need some minimum area of decision making that they can call their own.
  5. Employees need to be able to relate what they do and what they produce to their social lives.
  6. Employees need to believe that the job leads to some sort of desirable future.


The approach has been applied in many countries under the headings; autonomous work groups, individual democracy projects teams. The following motivational characteristics are of prime importance in job design:

  • Autonomy, discretion, self-control and responsibility
  • Variety
  • Use of abilities
  • Feedback
  • Belief that the task is significant



Job Scope and Job Depth

These are two important dimensions of job design.  Job scope refers to the number and variety of different tasks performed by the jobholder.  Job depth refers to the freedom of job holders to plan and organize their own work, work at their own pace, and move around and communicate as desired.  Lack of job depth may result in job dissatisfaction, tardiness, absenteeism and even sabotage.


The main job design techniques are:




Entails making jobs more interesting by rotating people to different departments or tasks.  In job rotation, employees are trained in several minor skills and exchange jobs with each other at intervals.  Rotation rarely leads to the need for additional equipment and enables employees to become more flexible in their abilities.

 Likely problems.

  • May be resisted if it interferes with development and functioning of the group.
  • Some workers would rather be excellent on one job rather than good on several.
  • Training may be required and this may become expensive.
  • Changeover situation may cause problems – workstations left in a mess or a task left unfinished.


This involves broadening jobs by grouping certain similar tasks or   those that use similar tools, together.  This is more or less a horizontal enhancement of jobs.  A job is enlarged when the employee carries wider range of tasks of approximately the same level of difficulty and responsibility as before.


In Job Enrichment responsibilities are added which are not similar to the ones the employee already has.  Job Enrichment is a career development program for employees who wish to expand their skills by learning different job duties. Most job enrichment assignments will occur in the same department.


This aims to maximize the interest and challenge of work by providing the employee with a job that has the following characteristics.

  1. It is a complete piece of work in the sense that the worker can identify a series of tasks or activities that end in a recognizable and definable product.
  2. It affords the employee as much variety, decision-making responsibility and control as possible in carrying out the work.
  3. It provides a direct feedback through the work itself on how well the employee is doing his job.

Job enrichment is not just increasing the number or variety of tasks; nor is it the provision of opportunities for job rotation.

It entails

  • Removing some controls while retaining (and increasing) accountability for the outcome.
  • Each employee should be assigned with a complete unit of work that should have a clear start and end point.
  • If possible the workers should be granted additional authority and freedom. For example they might take some responsibilities away from their managers and thus they would control a larger part of their work.
  • Periodic reports should be made available to the workers rather than just to the supervisors.
  • This implies that when you know more about the functioning of your company you are more likely to be interested in your particular job and how it affects the company in whole. Also when the workers are ready new and more difficult tasks can be introduced into the job and they can be encouraged to develop expertise by assigning individuals to specialized tasks.

Job Enrichment …

  • Adds self-supervision to job
  • Increases autonomy on the job
  • Design to increase control of “motivators”
  • Design to minimize impact of supervision “dissatisfiers”
  • Focuses on the individual as unit of analysis and change

How to implement job enrichment?

  • Vertical loading: Allows staff to perform tasks at a range of different levels of responsibility. The key here is to reduce the gap between doing the job and controlling the job. An employee in a vertically loaded job has some of the responsibilities that management held previously. This approach, when implemented correctly, should lead into feelings of personal accountability and responsibility for the work outcomes.
  • Formation of natural work teams: These are small groups of workers that come together to plan how their work is best organized. The objective is to increase ownership of the task, which contributes to the meaningfulness of work.
  • Establishment of customer relationships and employee ownership of the product: As teams become more advanced, they will be able to meet with customers and focus on the customers’ needs, not the needs of their supervisors. There are three basic steps to achieve this:
    • The client must be identified;
    • The contact between the client and the worker needs to be established as directly as possible:
    • Criteria and procedures are needed by which the client can judge the quality of the product and rely those judgments back to the worker.
  • Employee receipt of direct feedback: Helps employees to know whether their performance is improving, staying at the same level or deteriorating.

Why participate in job enrichment?

Here is a list of job enrichments good qualities for both employees and managers:

You can demonstrate your initiative, willingness and ability to learn new skills. Show your supervisor/manager what you can do and how quickly you can learn.

  • You will gain on-the-job experience. This skill diversity may help you to meet the minimum qualifications of jobs for future career advancement.
  • You make a commitment to your career by investing time and energy in learning new skills and developing your abilities. This commitment will demonstrate that you are self-motivated.
  • New experiences may open doors of opportunity and increase your chances of receiving a higher annual merit pay increase within your current pay grade.
  • Varied job assignments can make your work more enjoyable.


  • You gain flexibility in staffing because staff members will possess more skills and may be available for special projects.
  • You can increase staffing levels during peak times.
  • You can develop current staff so they are capable of meeting future department goals.
  • You will be providing the kinds of job variety high performers need to remain committed to their jobs.
  • You can reward high performers for completing career development activities through merit pay increases.
  • Your employees will have opportunities to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for future advancement by showing you how easily they learn and how well they carry out new tasks.

A self-managed team or autonomous work group is allocated an overall task and given discretion over how the work is done.  This provides for intrinsic motivation by giving people autonomy and the means to control their work, which will include feedback information.

A Self-Managed Team:

–     Enlarges individual jobs to include a wider range of operative skills (multi-schilling);

–     Decides on methods of work and the planning, scheduling and control of work

–     Distributes tasks itself among its members.

Advantages to self-managed teams includes lower supervision costs, higher levels employee interest in the work of the organisation as a whole and optimum use of human resources.


This concentrates on setting up working groups in environments where high levels of performance are required. This method requires the following:


  • Multi-skilling is encouraged
  • Self-managed teams or autonomous working groups are established
  • Managers and team leaders adopt a supportive rather than autocratic style
  • Management sets goals and standards for success
  • Payment is related to team performance, but with skill-based pay for individuals.


Other Job Design techniques

  • Job Engineering: Focuses on tasks, work methods and flows, workplace layout, performance standards, and interdependencies between people and machines.
  • Socio-technical Systems Model: Considers linkages between people with various competencies and the tools, techniques, and knowledge used to produce goods and services.

Alternative Work Schedules

This factor also affects job design.  Changes in the work schedule affect how the work schedule affects how the work is allocated.  The most common alternative work schedules are flexitime, job sharing and the condensed week.


s   What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of using the following work schedule technique?


a)    Flexitime?

b)    Condensed workweek?

c)    Job sharing?

Flexitime or flexible working hours allow employees to choose within certain limits, when they start and end their workday.  Job sharing is a new concept whereby two or more part-time individuals perform a job that would normally be held by one full-time person.  Condensed workweek is where the number of hours worked per day increased and the number of day is increased and the number of days in the workweek is decreased.  Working a 10-hour, 4-day week or 4/40 is an example.


For many years, the prevailing practice in designing jobs was to focus almost entirely on simplifying the tasks to be undertaken.  This resulted in making jobs as specialized as possible.


Advantages of Specialization

  1. Fewer skills required per person, which makes it easier to recruit and train employees.
  2. Increased proficiency through repetition and practice of the same tasks.
  3. More efficient use of skills by primarily utilizing each employee’s best skills.
  4. Low wages due to the ease with which labour can be substituted.
  5. More conformity in the final product or service.
  6. Different tasks performed concurrently.



The following pertinent issues must be put into consideration when undertaking job design.

  1. Organizational Considerations:  Efficiency, Work Flow
  2.  Ergonomic Considerations
  3. Employee Considerations
  4. Job Characteristics Model; Skill Variety, Task Identity, Task Significance, Autonomy, Feedback.
  5. Environmental Considerations; Workforce Availability; Social Expectations; Work Practices


The Physical Work Environment

Factors such as temperature, humidity, ventilation, noise, light and colour can have an impact on the design of jobs.  This area concerns itself with the importance of safety considerations in the design process.  In general, the work environment should allow for normal lighting, temperature, ventilation and humidity.

s   What are the potential pitfalls of the following job design methods?


A)     Job enlargement.

B)      Job rotation


Specific objectives.

At the end of this topic, the trainee should be able to: –


  1. Explain meaning of Method Improvement.
  2. Discuss the components of Method Improvement.
  3. Discuss Method Study procedure


This is an analysis of working methods in order to simplify procedures and eliminate duplication of effort.  Method study involves determining the motions and movements necessary for performing a task or job and then designing the most efficient methods for putting those motions and movements together.


Method study a collection of techniques used to examine work – what is done and how it is done – so that there is systematic analysis of all the elements, factors, resources and relationships affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of the work being studied.

Method study is the process of subjecting work to systematic, critical scrutiny in order to make it more effective and/or more efficient.

It was originally designed for the analysis and improvement of repetitive, manual work, but it can be used for all types of activity at all levels of an organization.

History of the Process.

Method study and work measurement are two principal activities of work-study, which originated in the work of F. W. Taylor.  FW’s “scientific management” imperatives are:

  • Investigate the work situation and identify weaknesses – where and why is poor performance happening? The “scientific” title for this approach to management means placing emphasis on:
  • Data gathering and rational analysis
  • Certain narrow assumptions about the objectivity of efficiency criteria
  • The existence of direct, deterministic relationships between worker performance and incentive payments and
  • Consideration of the worker to some extent as a machine. Thus we can evaluate and introduce improvements in operating methods. This includes type of equipment, its use, layout of operations, supply and use of materials, materials handling, work organisation, effectiveness of planning procedures and so on.


Methods study is an analysis of ways of doing work. The mnemonic SREDIM (a common-sense heuristic or general problem-solving strategy) represents the method study stages

  • Select (the work to be studied);
  • Record (all relevant information about that work);
  • Examine (the recorded information);
  • Develop (an improved way of doing things);
  • Install (the new method as standard practice);
  • Maintain (the new standard proactive).

The process is a cyclic process. This cyclic process often starts with a quick, rough pass in which preliminary data are collected and examined, before subsequent passes provide and handle more comprehensive and more detailed data to obtain and analyse a more complete picture.

Before any method study investigation is begun, it is necessary to establish clear terms of reference which define the aims, scale, scope and constraints of the investigation. This should also include an identification of who “owns” the problem or situation and ways in which such “ownership” is shared. This may lead to a debate on the aims of the project, on reporting mechanisms and frequencies, and on the measures of success. This process is sometimes introduced as a separate and distinct phase of method study, as the “define” stage. It leads to a plan for the investigation, which identifies appropriate techniques, personnel, and timescale.


Work is selected for method study on the basis of it being an identified problem area or an identified opportunity (resulting from a systematic review of available data, normal monitoring or control processes, high levels of dissatisfaction and complaint or as part of a management-derived change in policy, practice, technology or location), and usually because it meets certain conditions of urgency and/or priority.


Select tasks on the basis of delays, safety issues, capacity problems, queues, idle-time, bottlenecks, quality problems, high costs, control difficulties. The focus and scope of the method study project must be agreed with senior management. Staff whose work may be subject to the study will need explanations and re-assurance about what is taking place and why. Method study is readily associated with fewer staff.



The Record stage of method study is to provide sufficient data (in terms of both quality and quantity) to act as the basis of evaluation and examination. A wide range of techniques are available for recording; the choice depends on the nature of the investigation and the work being studied, and on the level of detail required. Many of the techniques are simple charts and diagrams, but these may be supplemented by photographic and video recording, and by computer based techniques.

The method can be studied by observation, by interview or by experiencing the job and then recording it for example using a process chart, travel charts, string diagrams (charts of movement) etc.

The recorded data are subjected to examination and analysis; formalised versions of this process are critical examination and systems analysis. The aim is to identify, those points of the overall system of work that require improvements or offer opportunity for beneficial change.


The Examine stage merges into the Develop stage of the investigation as more thorough analysis leads automatically to identified areas of change. The aim here is to identify possible actions for improvement and to subject these to evaluation in order to develop a preferred solution.


1. Purpose What is being done?
Why is it being done?
What else could be done?
What should be done?
2. Place Where is it being done?
Why there?
Where else could it be done?
Where should it be done?
3.Sequence When is it being done?
Why then?
When else could it be done?
When should it be done?
4. Person Who does it?
Why them?
Who else could do it?
Who should do it?
5. Means How is it done?
Why that way?
How else can it be done?
How should it be done?

Sometimes it is necessary to identify short-term and long-term solutions so that improvements can be made (relatively) immediately, while longer-term changes are implemented and come to fruition.


New methods require knowledge of the possibilities – new machinery, the effects of removing a stage in a process or re-allocating it to another process or person.

A quality circle (improvement team) can brainstorm ideas on developments to method. New methods have to be thought through and tested. Giving staff the opportunity for experimentation or enabling people to join with others to work through the detail of a half-formed idea can all help in the development of new methods.


The success of any method study project is realized when actual change is made ‘on the ground’ – change that meets the originally specified terms of reference for the project. Thus, the Install phase is very important. Making real change demands careful planning – and handling of the people involved in the situation under review. They may need reassuring, retraining and supporting through the acquisition of new skills. Install, in some cases, will require a parallel running of old and new systems, in others; it may need the build-up of buffer stocks, and in others. What matters is that the introduction of new working methods is successful. There is often only one chance to make change!

New methods once agreed and costed must be installed. Staff consultation, briefing and training are needed. Goodwill requires sensitivity, planning and resourcing. Installation may require a project plan and a budget. A new method could be installed in one depot or one line whilst the old method continues on other depots/lines – this reduces risk and offers time for learning and dissemination of experience. If a new method is installed immediately over an old method – then there needs to be complete certainty that it is going to work. How is the problem of staff training for the new method to be resolved if it has not yet been installed?


Some time after the introduction of new working methods, it is necessary to check that the new method is working, that it is being adhered to, and that it has brought about the desired results. This is the Maintain phase. Method drift is common – when people start to either revert to old ways of working, or introduce new changes. Some of these may be helpful (and should formally be incorporated); others may be inefficient or unsafe. A methods audit can be used to formally compare practice with the defined method and identify such ‘irregularities’.


A new method needs new sequences of operator action and probably different perspectives. Every member of the operations team needs to be committed to the new method. The process chart needs to be up-dated with the new method and associated documentation modified. The new method should be formally reviewed and its performance compared against benchmark data from the previous method.


  1. Work simplification
  2. Mechanization
  3. Automation
  4. Facilities improvement
  5. Better planning and scheduling
I  Briefly explain how each of the following components of job design is applied to the work place to boost productivity and motivate employees.

1.     Work simplification

2.     Mechanization

3.     Automation

4.     Facilities improvement

5.     Better planning and scheduling

I  What are the main advantages and disadvantages of Mechanization and automation?


Time study is a structured process of directly observing and measuring (using a timing device) human work in order to establish the time required for completion of the work by a qualified worker when working at a defined level of performance.

It follows the basic procedure of systematic work measurement of :

  • Analysis (of the work into small, easily-measurable components or elements);
  • Measurement (of those components); and
  • Synthesis (from those measured components to arrive at a time for the complete job).

The observer first undertakes preliminary observation of the work (a pilot study) to identify suitable elements, which can be clearly recognized on subsequent occasions and are convenient, in terms of their length, for measurement.

Subsequent studies are taken during which the observer times each occurrence of each element (using a stopwatch or other timing device) while at the same time making an assessment of the worker’s rate of working on an agreed rating scale. (One of the prime reasons for measuring elements of work, rather than the work as a whole is to facilitate the process of rating. The rate at which a worker works will vary over time; if elements are carefully selected, the rate of working should be consistent for the relatively short duration of the element.

This assessment of rating is used to convert the observed time for the element into a basic time – a process referred to as “extension”. It is essential that a time study observer has been properly trained in the technique and especially in rating.

Time study, when properly undertaken, involves the use of specific control mechanisms to ensure that timing errors are within acceptable limits. Increasingly, timing is by electronic devices rather than by mechanical stopwatch; some of these devices also assist in subsequent stages of the study by carrying out the process of “extending” or converting observed times into basic times.

The number of cycles that should be observed depends on the variability in the work and the level of accuracy required. Since time study is essentially a sampling technique in which the value of the time required for the job is based on the observed times for a sample of observations, it is possible using statistical techniques to estimate the number of observations required under specific conditions. This total number of observations should be taken over a range of conditions (where these are variable) and, where possible, on a range of workers.

Once a basic time for each element has been determined, allowances are added (for example, to allow the worker to recover from the physical and mental effects of carrying out the work) to derive a standard time.

Time study is a very flexible technique, suitable for a wide range of work performed under a wide range of conditions, although it is difficult to time jobs with very short cycle times (of a few seconds). Because it is a direct observation technique, it takes account of specific and special conditions but it does rely on the use of the subjective process of rating. However, if properly carried out it produces consistent results and it is widely used. Additionally, the use of electronic data capture devices and personal computers for analysis makes it much more cost effective than previously.

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