Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Job Design

The fundamental element of an organization is the job that people perform. Managers must specify what each of these jobs will do and get done. Specialization of labor means the division of a complex job into simpler tasks so that one person or group may carry out only identical or related activities. In his book, The Health of Nations, Adam Smith explained how he was able to increase the productivity of a group of pin makers more than a thousand fold through specialization (division) of labor.

The gains derived from narrow divisions of labor can be calculated in purely economic terms. Frederick W. Taylor demonstrated that as the job is divided into ever smaller elements, additional output is obtained. What is included in a given job depends on job design, the specification of tasks and activities associated with a particular job.

Approaches To Job Design

There are four major approaches to job design: job simplification, job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment.

Job simplification
is the process of configuring, or designing, jobs so that jobholders have only a small number of narrow activities to perform.
Job rotation
is the practice of periodically shifting workers through a set of jobs in a planned sequence.
Job enlargement
is the allocation of a wider variety of similar tasks to a job in order to make it more challenging.
Job enrichment
is the process of upgrading the job task mix in order to increase significantly the potential for growth, achievement, responsibility, and recognition.