Sunday, January 6, 2008

Linking job redesign and scheduling to motivation theory

The guidelines offered for enriching jobs are directly related to the job characteristics model. By following these guidelines in redesigning jobs, especially with employees who seek challenge in their work, are likely to positively influence the employee’s internal motivation, the quality of work performance, job satisfaction, and reduce both absenteeism and turnover.

The enrichment of jobs can also be traced to Herzberg’s two-factor theory. Following this theory, by increasing the intrinsic factors in a job such as achievement, responsibility, and growth employees are more likely to be satisfied with the job and motivated to perform it.

A common theme among the scheduling options of flextime, job sharing, and telecommuting is flexibility. Each gives employees greater discretion over when to come to work, how much time is spent at work, or where the work is done. Expectancy theory indirectly addresses flexibility in the importance placed on liking rewards to personal goals. Employees at present are increasingly concerned about conflicting demands from work and personal responsibilities, a flexible work schedule is likely to be perceived as a desirable reward that can help achieve a better work / life balance.

Job Redesign and Scheduling in Practice

In recent years, job rotation has been adopted by many manufacturing firms as a means of increasing flexibility and avoiding layoffs. For instance, managers at Apex Precision Technologies, a custom-machine sop in Indiana, continually train workers on all of the company’s equipment so they can be moved around in response to the requirements of incoming orders. During the 2001 recession, Cleveland-based Lincoln Electric moved some salaried workers to hourly clerical jobs and rotated production workers among various machines. The manufacturer of welding and cutting parts was able to minimize layoffs because of its commitment to continual cross-training and moving workers wherever they’re needed.

Job enlargement has never had a large following, especially as a motivating device. This may be due to the fact that, while it attacked the lack of diversity in over-specialized jobs, it did little to instill challenge or meaningfulness to a worker’s activities. In contrast, job enrichment has been widely applied in organizations around the world. Millions of workers today perform jobs that have been enriched using the guidelines presented. In addition, these enriching techniques seem to have also guided how team activities have bee designed in many cotemporary organizations.

Flextime has become an extremely popular scheduling option. The proportion of full time U.S. employees on flextime more than doubled between late 1980s and 2003. Approximately 43% of U.S. full time workforce now has flexibility in heir daily arrival and departure times. This is not just a U.S. phenomenon. In Germany 29% of businesses have flexi time for their employees.

App 31% of large organizations now offer their employees job sharing. Despite its availability it does not seems to be widely adopted by employees. This is probably because of the difficulties of finding compatible partner who share a job and the negative perception historically held of individuals that they are not completely committed to their jobs and employer.

In U.S. between 9 million and 24 million people telecommunicate depending upon how terms are defined. This works out to about 10% of U.S. work force. Well known organizations like AT&T, IBM, Merryl Lynch, American Express, Hewlett Packard and a number of U.S. government agencies actively encourage telecommuting. This is also catching up fast in Finland, Sweden, Britain, and Germany.

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