job redesign

job redesign

an approach to the design of work which seeks to offset the negative social and psychological implications of directly supervised, simple and routine tasks through the provision of wider tasks, increased autonomy and feedback on performance. See also QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE, SOCIOTECHNICAL SYSTEMS APPROACH.

There have been several approaches to job design which, operating at different levels, have sought to offset the negative aspects of SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT. The first level at which job redesign operates involves adjusting the horizontal division of labour. Job rotation seeks to increase the variety of work an employee does by providing for mobility between specialized jobs. Job enlargement combines two or more previously specialized activities within one job. Critics of job redesign at this level point out that employees are unlikely to be satisfied by jobs which deny them the opportunity to exercise judgement and discretion. Little is to be gained by piling one boring job on top of another. Hence, proponents of job enrichment suggest that there is a need to reconstitute the vertical division of labour so that some traditionally managerial tasks, such as deciding on work methods, are built into the jobs of workers. Sociotechnical systems theory, which stresses the need to consider more than individual responsibility and judgement, can be seen to be compatible with the extension of job enrichment to tasks which are more technologically interdependent (Child, 1985). For example, self-regulating, multi-skilled work groups reduce the need for direct supervision and enhance the judgement. discretion and skill requirements of employees.

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