Job design strategies as discussed earlier have become the basis of the Hackman- Oldham model. J.Richard Hackman and Greg R. Oldham have developed a job characteristics model of work motivation through the work design.
They have revealed that certain job characteristics and the psychological tasks of employees have an impact on work
The Hackman-Oldham model is confined to core job characteristics, critical psychological states and personal work outcomes for designing jobs so that corporate performance may be achieved along with employee’s satisfaction.
Job design has the objectives of corporate performance and individual employee’s satisfaction, for which several models have been developed by experts J.Richard Hackman and Greg R. Oldham.
They have developed an important model as depicted by them. They have explained each of the three factors-core job characteristics, critical psychological states and personal work outcomes-and have established work relationships between them to achieve job design objectives.
Core job characteristics:
Core job characteristics are specifically laid down by these two authors as skill variety, task identity, task significance, task autonomy and feedback.
Skill variety refers to the degrees of variation of work so that employees may work as per their preferences.
They provide adequate opportunities to employees to demonstrate their skills, abilities, experience and intelligence.
Thus, job design based on variety will lead to better performance and satisfaction. Jobs which are high in variety are more challenging because of the range of skills involved. It gives employees a greater sense of competence because they perform the job in different ways as per their liking. Task identity allows employees to perform a complete piece of work. It involves a complete module of work.
An employee can visibly understand and perform all the jobs from beginning to the end. Employees become bored when they perform very specialized jobs repeatedly.
They are unable to identify any product and do not feel any responsibilities for the performance of the whole work. Task significance refers to the amount of impact that is perceived by others.
If a worker is making a life saving medicine he is satisfied with the work as it has social significance.
Man is satisfied with his work if it has significance to internal and external people. Task variety, identity and significance lead to meaningful satisfaction to employees.
Employees given jobs based on these three basic characteristics are more satisfied than those given jobs designed without these features.
The fourth core characteristic of job design is job autonomy which gives employees some discretion and control over job related decisions.
Employees insist on a degree of freedom. It is an additional step of satisfying people. Employees get opportunities for setting their own goals.
A certain amount of freedom, independence, discretion and autonomous features help the employees to understand and feel satisfied. Team members have the authority to decide on the work process and resources.
Management by objectives is one way of establishing more autonomy, as it helps employees to set their own goals and feel responsible thereof.
Feedback involves the degree to which the job provides the employees with clear and direct information about performance and satisfaction.
Feedback refers to the information given by employees as to how they are performing. Employees can give this information to their employer who may improve them. They feel good about themselves when they perform well. It increases their knowledge of work.
Psychological states and work outcome:
The psychological states, i.e. experienced meaningfulness of work, experienced responsibility of work, outcome and knowledge of results, are influenced by the five core job characteristics.
Task variety, identity and significance provide meaningful experiences to employees. Task autonomy leads to experienced responsibility, and feedback gives knowledge of results.
The more psychological states present, the more satisfied are employees who perform the job effectively and suitably.
If psychological states or internal states are felt positively, employees perform better. The internal state of satisfaction helps in better performance, which helps them to feel more satisfied.
This state of affairs is to be developed by job design, wherein all the core job characteristics should be effectively developed.
Hackman and Oldham have concluded that the five core characteristics of jobs have positive impacts on high internal work motivation, high quality performance, high satisfaction with the work and high turnover, because these characteristics develop experienced meaningfulness of work, experienced responsibility for work outcomes, and knowledge of results from work activities.
The virtuous circle of job characteristics, high performance and satisfaction continues under job design as per the Hackman and Oldham model. The growth need psyche has influenced the degree of success under this model.
2. Motivating potential score model:
Job characteristics may be low or high to employees as per their experience, skill and learning. The management has to find out how highly an employee is rated on job characteristics, viz. job variety, task identity, significance and feedback.
Scales are created for each dimension and then each job is rated according to where it fits on each scale.
Variety may be given on a scale from one to six and autonomy may be from seven to ten, and so on. Employees are assessed on this scale.
The overall data is collected and indices are prepared accordingly. This is known as the Motivating Potential Score (MPS). It is calculated to measure how the jobs are meaningful, responsibility-oriented and knowledgeable about results.
The Motivating Potential Score Model or MPS
M = Meaningfulness based on the average of skill variety, task identity and significance
R = Autonomy
KR = Knowledge of Result
If a job creates a high MPS, it creates the probability of high motivation. Jobs are enriched to create MPS, helping high motivation through job knowledge and skills so that employees may desire to learn, grow, develop and are satisfied with their work environments.
The score of each employee is placed on a profile chart. The graphical presentation reveals the high or low of each dimension.
It provides a platform to compare whether a job is more rich or less rich in their profile. In other words, a qualitative score is used to measure job enrichment, which is popularly known as job scope. It is very specifically given for Motivating Potential Score (MPS) as:
MPS= skill variety + Task Identity + Task significance}/3 Autonomy Feedback
The scores of skill variety, task identity and significance are combined and divided by 3 to get the average score.
The skill variety, task identity and significance are additive. Any one or two of these characteristics may be missing, but employees may view the job as a meaningful experience.
Therefore the skill variety, task identity and significance are averaged to get a meaningful result.
Job autonomy involves indicating responsibility and feedback referring to the knowledge of results.
If any of these two, viz. autonomy and feedback, is zero or absent, the cumulative effect will be MPS = 0, but if any of the three skill varieties, task identity or significance is missing, it would not be zero because of the averaging factor.
People on enriched jobs are more motivated and satisfied, which may give them performance effectiveness.
This MPS is also known as Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) and is used to measure the role of core job characteristics on psychological states and work outcomes. Employee’s satisfaction is improved by dysfunctional and functional behaviour as well.
The profile chart of each employee helps to understand their job meaningfulness, responsibility and knowledge.
3. Contingency Model:
The contingency model described several factors of job scope, individual need strengths and overall organizational design. The contingency model has laid emphasis on eight combination of these factors.
A simple or complex job, high or low need strength, organic or mechanical design leads to different levels of performance and satisfaction.
Multiple combinations and permutations may result in frustration, satisfaction, turnover and absenteeism.
Based on the contingency theory, a social information approach has been developed. Employee’s perception of task characteristics and the above moderating variables decide the satisfaction and performance of job design.
The individual perception relating to job scope, need strength and organizational design influence the achievement of satisfaction?
The learning and personality relating to job design have similar varying impacts. The Quality of Work Life (QWL) has been a significant factor under contingency model, as it describes the impact of work on people and organizational effectiveness and participation in organizational problem-solving and decision-making. Techniques and knowledge are given more emphasis under QWL for design jobs.
4. Social information processing model:
The Social Information Processing Approach (SIPA) uses the social cues provided by their peers and others for employees to arrive at their own perceptions of jobs.
All the job characteristics, psychological states and work outcomes do not always provide correct information about job design.
The presence of social cues which are received from the social surroundings help to understand job design and performance.
Social cues are available from co-workers, leaders, organizational members, customers, family members and others.
The Social Information Processing Approach of employees depends on three elements: peers, relatives and judgement dimensions.
Peers opine which of these job characteristics really count for the objectives of job design. The freedom given by peers decides the degree of job satisfaction.
Relative weighing of each other dimensions about job skills and feedback amount to job understanding. Employees’ judgement of dimensions decides the job design satisfaction.
The management while planning job design must focus on managing social cues in the social context.
They can understand which of these social cues are important for job changes. Managers may influence expectation and satisfaction.
Gerald Salanick and Jeggrey Pfeffer have given the basic principles of the Social Information Processing Approach (SIPA) as organisms, attitude, behaviour, beliefs, reality of their own past and present behaviour and situations.
Employees visualize them as per their cognitive evaluation processes, real task environment, past actions, reinforcement history and learning and immediate social context.
They suggest that social information or social cues are much more dominant in evaluation of job design than the task environment and past action.
A social environment must be recognized while framing job designs as per the various studies of the Social Information Processing Approach.
5. Socio-technical model:
The socio-technical model includes technical factors, how inputs are transformed into outputs, as well as social factors which consider interpersonal and social relationships for the mutual gain of employees and organization.
Under this model, technical and social systems receive high priority for achieving high quality of work life.
Quality of work life is desirable for human and performance needs. Employees are important organs that should be developed for organizational development. Self-control and self-regulations are required for employees’ sensitivity.
Organizational level and status difference are essential. Tasks should be grouped and individuals should be given task variety and responsibilities.
Employees are given more importance. They are invited, expected and reinforced. However, employees are not free to misuse their positions and power, as they are subject to continual evaluation and change.
The technological factors are similarly arranged to adopt a suitable job design for the development of the organization.
It should be “the best fit job design” in the context of employees, jobs, technology and environment.
Since there are constant changes in these factors and current situations, the socio-technical model of job design specifically includes building natural work teams, flexible work schedules and socio- technical impacts.
Natural work teams:
The socio-technical model considers redesign of the technological work process and foundation of autonomous, self-work groups or teams.
A natural work team is an important factor for developing work design. The job designed is developed to perform an entire sequence of tasks with team spirit.
A natural work module is developed through developing employees, in which individuals with skill variety, task identity, significance and feedback are included.
Employees are the part of a natural work team with considerable autonomy. Employees learn to develop team work.
A natural work team allows the performance of even routine work with a greater feeling of task significance.
Specialization should not come in between team work and the separation of jobs. All specialized jobs should be grouped together to develop team spirit.
Considering the technical factor, the natural work team develops work systems in which the whole system is balanced on technical and human bases.
The existing system is reviewed and reengineered in order to integrate human needs and work systems in a natural functional order.
Flexible work schedule:
The socio-technical model is a fixed system for all time to come. It is however flexible and changes from place to place, time to time and person to person in groups.
With the resultant flexibility, employees enjoy some habitude, which gives them a favourable attitude. Employees are cultured to work as per the organization’s needs.
The preferences and desires of employees are given due consideration while designing jobs. One employee may prefer a complex job, another may prefer a simple job and so on.
It gives the organization the scope of greater autonomy and job satisfaction. Natural work modules and enriched job content are scheduled to help the employees perform better.
The impacts of socio-technical models are favourably observed in many organizations such as Volvo, General Motors and General Foods.
Volvo, a car assembly plant in Kabuai, Sweden, attempted to practice social, managerial and technical innovations, which were designed in jobs for employee’s satisfaction.
Although the innovation involves additional cost, the company tried out the innovation for the satisfaction of employees and productivity of the organization.
Teams of fifteen to twenty-five workers were developed for performing separate specialized jobs, where employees were given more autonomy.
The rhythm of work functioned well, as members of each group (work team) enjoyed the work design.
Each team was given task significance and autonomy and varieties. They were permitted to handle their own materials and handle inventory.
The traditional job design was replaced with innovative work designs involving task identity, skill varieties, task significance and feedback, with adequate team autonomy.
Employees experienced satisfaction with the innovative ideas, as each of them got a chance to participate.
Volvo employees felt proud of enhanced production and their corporate image. Many new factories developed and Volvo developed an outstanding image in the car industry.
This encouraged members of each group towards self-management and control. They themselves decided on the jobs designs, time schedules, work processes, technical order, social satisfaction, quality control, etc.
Employees tried to redesign even car models with new advantages being added. New brakes, comfortable seats, stress reduction, accident- free features, fuel economy, etc. were introduced for the benefit of customers.
The socio-technical model was propounded by Volvo, the world car industry leader, which was followed by other industries too at a later stage.
General Motors in their joint venture with Toyota followed the socio- technical model for the improvement of labour, management conflict, poor quality, etc.
All of these were achieved and the companies accordingly received world recognition and name for quality and improvement.
They designed their jobs, providing adequate room for workers’ attitudes and performance. They eliminated some monotonous and boring jobs.
A high degree of communication and interaction between employees and management was encouraged for better performance.
The top management developed commitment towards tasks and responsibilities. Job assignments, job mobility, rewards for learning, information availability, self-management and control, status, learning and evaluation were the main characteristics of the socio-technical models adopted in General Motors.
The socio-technical model was also practiced by General Foods in Topeka, Kansas. This company technologically designed the social aspects of employees who were given responsibility and status symbols.
It resulted in cost reduction, increased turnover, quality of work life, more efficient working methods, better product and quality service.
Many other organizations in USA such as the Tennessee Valley Authority followed socio-technical models and got benefits thereof.
Successful employees’ programmes were adopted to improve the behaviour of employees while they were at work.
6. Employees development programme model:
Job design should consider not only the job process, technological and social enrichment, but should be framed to develop employees.
This is known as the Employees Development Programme (EDP). It ensures that employees should be developed into competent, responsible and satisfied employees
It has specifically incorporated alcoholism treatment, genetic monitoring, non-discrimination action, discipline, responsibility consciousness and direction.
Employees can be developed if they are free from alcoholism, because it induces unsatisfactory behaviour.
The management should provide chances to treat employees for alcoholism and drugs. Many employees use excessive stimulants, barbiturates and tranquilizers, which can be disastrous to the action and the functions of the organization.
Accidents, absenteeism, conflicts and inaction may lead to low productivity and dissatisfaction. Many companies have adopted drug testing at regular intervals, randomly or at a given work time.
However, excessive testing led to the non availability of competent employees. Therefore, organizations use employee assistance programs (EAPs) for the treatment of employees.
Treatment of ill and abused employees, alternative medicines, education, awarding non-addicted employees and other preventive and curative methods will favour the development of employees, while retaining meritorious people on the job.
Genetic monitoring is used to reveal the nature of place of work which is favourable to employee’s health. Some harmful genetic substances are undesirable at the work place.
It suggests transfer of susceptible employees to other areas where they may not be exposed to the genetic substances.
Health warnings, prevention activities and health development programmes are used for monitoring employees for maintaining their health. Recreation, medical facilities, medical reimbursement, etc. are essential for employee development.
Discrimination against caste, creed, colour, etc. is adverse to employees’ development. A non-discrimination policy provides a sense of security, safety and satisfaction.
Sometimes, female employees complain of harassment, which should be favourably looked upon for their satisfaction and judicious decisions.
Many employees such as those suffering from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and other infectious diseases are discriminated on various grounds. In any case, employees desire sympathetic treatment for their satisfaction.
Maintaining discipline in an organization is essential for effective performances. Opportunities should be developed for inculcating self-discipline.
A climate of preventive discipline is helpful to the organization. Corrective discipline tries to correct the employees. It is well known as disciplinary action.
It is to reform the offender to deter similar actions and to maintain a consistent and effective group. Such actions are needed to improve employees.
Progressive discipline refers to stronger penalties for repeated offenses. There may be verbal, written and recorded reprimand.
Too much reprimand results in stress to employees. There is need for a process of correction, hot-stove guidelines and counselling. The corrective action should be impersonal and effective.
Employment is a mutual transaction. Employees must make responsible contributions to the organization which may be organizational citizenship, ethical leadership and whistle blowing.
Organizational citizens engage in positive social acts, volunteering their efforts on special projects, sharing time and resources and cooperating with others for increasing efficiency and effectiveness.
Ethical leadership leads to an ethical path and ethical behaviour. Whistle blowing is disclosing alleged misconduct to an internal or external source.
It does not support illegal activities. Employees blow the whistle against wrong doing man organization. They want to protect the public interest, while blowers bring pressure on an organization to correct the problem.
Direction leads employees to amend their behaviour and increase their merit. Employees are directed by managers, the organization and the public. Direction by the management has already been discussed.