Chapter 7 – Design of Work Systems
This chapter covers work system design. Work system design involves job design, work measurement and
establishment of time standards, and compensation. Decisions in other design areas have an impact on work
systems, and decisions on work systems have an impact on other areas.
The important of work system design is underscored by the organizations dependence on human efforts (i.e.,
work) to accomplish its goals.
Job Design: the act of specifying the contents and methods of job.
Job design involves specifying the content and methods of job what will be done and how it will be done
Objectives of job design Productivity, Safety, Quality of work life
Two approaches to job design Efficiency school and Behavioral school
Efficiency School: emphasizes a systematic, logical approach to job design emphasizing labour cost reduction.
A refinement of Taylors scientific management concepts
Behavioural School: emphasizes satisfaction of wants & needs, reminds managers of the complexity of
Job Design Decisions
Trends In Job Design
- Quality control as part of the worker's job
- Cross-training workers to perform multi-skilled jobs
- Extensive use of temporary workers
- Automation of heavy manual work
- Creating alternative workplaces
- Organizational commitment to providing meaningful and rewarding jobs for all employees
- Employee involvement and team approaches to designing and organizing work
Physical Considerations in Job Design
Work physiology sets work-rest cycles according to the energy expended in various parts of the job. The harder
the work, the more the need for rest periods. Ergonomics is a term used to describe the study of the physical arrangement of the work space together with
tools used to perform a task. Fit the work to the body rather than forcing the body to conform to the work.
Design of Work Systems
- Behavioral Approaches to Job Design
- Methods Analysis
- Motions Study
- Working conditions
Job Design Success
Successful Job Design must be:
- Carried out by experienced personnel with the necessary training and background
- Consistent with the goals of the organization
- In written form
- Understood and agreed to by both management and employees
Specialization: work that concentrates on a narrow aspect of a product or service. It is a primary issue of
disagreement between the two approaches.
Management Advantages simplifies training, high productivity, low wage costs
Labour Advantages low education and skill requirements, minimum responsibilities, little mental effort
Management Disadvantage difficult to motivate quality, worker dissatisfaction, possibly resulting in
absenteeism, high turnover, disruptive tactics, and poor attention to quality
Labour Disadvantages Monotonous work, limited opportunities for advancement, little control over work,
little opportunity for self fulfillment
Behavioural Approaches to Job Design
In an effort to make jobs more interesting and meaningful, job designers frequently consider job enlargement,
job ration, and job enrichment.
Job enlargement: Giving a worker a larger portion of the total task
- Horizontal loading – the additional work is on the same level of skill and responsibility as the original
job. Goal is to make the job more interesting by increasing the variety of skills required and allowing the
workers to contribute a greater amount to the overall output
Job Rotation: Workers periodically exchange jobs
- Avoid having employees stuck in monotonous jobs - Little advantage in having workers exchange one boring job for another, best to transfers workers to
more interesting jobs
- Broadens workers learning experiences
Job Enrichment: Increasing responsibility for planning and coordination
- Vertical loading – e.g.; have stock clerks in supermarkets to handle reorder of goods, thus increasing
The important of these approaches to job design is that they have potential to increase the motivational power of
jobs by increasing worker satisfaction through improvement in the quality of work.
Teams: non- routine assignments are being given to teams who develop and implement solutions to problems.
Self Directed teams: groups empowered to make certain changes in their work processes
Because workers have a vested interest and personal involvement in the changes, they tend to work harder to
ensure that the desired results are achieved.
Advantage: fewer managers are necessary, provide improved responsiveness to problems, require less time to
implement improvements. Advantages are higher quality, higher productivity, and greater worker satisfaction.
Disadvantages: middle managers feel threatened
Method Analysis: Analyzing how a job is done, and making it more efficient
The need for method analysis can come from a number of different sources:
- Changes in tools and equipment
- Changes in product design or new products
- Changes in materials or procedures
- Other factors (e.g. accidents, quality problems)
1. Identify the job to be studied and gather information
2. Discuss the job with the operator and supervisor
3. Study and document the present method using a process chart
4. Analyze and question the present method
5. Propose a new method
Analyzing and improving methods is facilitated by the use of: process charts and worker machine charts
Process charts: used to examine the overall sequence of an operation by focusing on movements of the
operator or flow of materials. Helpful in identifying non-productive parts of a process (e.g.; delays, temporary
storage, distances travelled)
Worker machine charts: used to determine portions of a work cycle during which an operator and equipment
are busy or idle . Helps determine how many machines the operator can manage.
Motion Study: Systematic study of the human motions used to perform an operation Motion Study Techniques
Motion study principles - guidelines for designing motion-efficient work procedures
Guidelines are divided into 3 categories; 1. Principles for use of the body 2. principles for arrangement of the
workplace 3. principles for the design of tools and equipment
Analysis of elementary motions: therbligs - basic elemental motions into which a job can be broken down
Breaking jobs down into tiny elements (grasp, position, release) and basing improvements on an analysis of
these elements by eliminating or reducing there difficulty, combining or rearranging them.
Micromotion (slow mo tion video) study - use of motion pictures and slow motion to study motions that
otherwise would be too rapid to analyze
Films can also provide record that can be referred to for training workers and for settling job disputes
Simultaneous hands motion (Simo) Chart: A chart that shows the elements performed by each hand, side-by-
side, over time
In many instances government standards and regulations apply. Physical factors have a significant impact on
worker performance in terms of productivity and quality of output.
Working conditions include;
Temperature and Humidity, Ventilation, Illumination, Noise and Vibration, Work Breaks,
Safety (Causes of Accidents) – two basic causes of accidents are worker carelessness and unsafe conditions,
Ergonomics - fitting the job to the workers capability and size (common ergonomic problem is using a mouse)
safety and happiness of employees depend on their general health and well being
Four drivers of healthy workplace leadership role, planning process, fostering worker involvement, and
The outcomes – the results of a healthy workplace system such as reduction in absenteeism, turnover, and
accident rates – should be measured and compared with goals.
Job design determines the content of a job, and methods analysis and motion study determine how a job is to be
Work Measurement: Determining how long it should take to do a job
Why use it?
- Schedule work and allocate capacity
- Motivate and measure work performance
- Evaluate performance - Provide benchmarks
Standard Time: the amount of time it should take a qualified worker to complete a specified task, working at a
sustainable rate, using given methods, tools, and equipment, raw materials, and workplace arrangements.
changes in any one factor can materially affect time requirements
Organizations develop standard times in a number of different ways. (some rely on subjective estimates of job
times) but the follow are the mostly used;
1. Stopwatch time study 2. Historical element times 3. Predetermined element times 4. Work sampling
Stopwatch Time Study: (Frederick Winslow Taylor) Development of a standard time based on observations of
one worker taken over a number of cycles. Most widely used method appropriate for short, repetitive tasks
The most basic steps in a stopwatch time study are;
1. Define the job to be studied, and inform the worker who will be studied
2. Determine the number of cycles to observe
3. Time the job, and rate the worker’s performance
4. Compute the standard time
- the analyst should be very familiar with the job because the worker being watched may attempt to add
extra motions to gain a standard time that allows more time per piece. Also check for efficiency
- Analyst will break all but very short jobs down into basic elementary motions (e.g. reach, grasp) and
obtain time for each movement
- this is because some elements are not performed in every cycle, workers proficiency may not be the