Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ)

Qualitative approaches like interviews and questionnaires are not always suitable. For example, if your aim is to compare jobs for pay purposes, you may want to be able to assign quantitative values to each job. This calls for the use of Quantitative Job Analysis Techniques and the position analysis questionnaire is an example of such.

The position analysis questionnaire is a very structured questionnaire used to collect quantifiable data concerning the duties and responsibilities of various jobs. It contains 194 items, each of which (such as “written materials”) represents a basic element that may or may not play an important role in the job. The analyst decides if each item plays a role and if so, what extent.

The advantage of the PAQ is that it provides a quantitative score or profile of any job in terms of how that job rates on five basic activities:

  1. Having decision-making/communication/social responsibilities.
  2. Performing skilled activities.
  3. Being physically active
  4. Operation vehicles/equipment
  5. Processing information

The advantage is that PAQ real strength is thus in classifying jobs. In other words, it lets you assign a quantitative score to each job based on its decision-making, skilled activity, physical activity, and vehicle/equipment, operation and information-procession characteristics. You can therefore use the PAQ results to quantitatively compare jobs to one another and then assign pay
levels for each job.

Using Multiple Sources of Information
There are obviously many ways to obtain job analysis information. You can get it from individual workers, groups or supervisors or from the observations of job analyst; for instance, you can use interview, observations or questionnaires. Some firms use just one basic approach like having the job analyst so interviews with current job incumbents. Yet a recent study suggests that using just one source may not be wise.

The problem is the potential inaccuracies in people’s judgments. For example in a group interview some group members may feel forced to go along with the consensus of the group; or an employee may be careless about how he or she completes a questionnaire. What this means is that collecting job analysis data from just interviews or just observations, may leaf to inaccurate conclusions. It’s better to try to avoid such inaccuracies by using several types of respondents – groups, individuals, observers, supervisors and analyst, make sure the questions and surveys are clear and understandable to the respondents. And if possible, observe and question respondents early enough in the job analysis process to catch any problems while there’s still time to correct them.

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