BU288 Lecture 9 Ch. 6: Motivation in Practice (P191-206) Thurs. Oct. 11. 2012.
JOB DESIGN AS A MOTIVATOR
• The use of money as motivation is an attempt to capitalize on extrinsic motivation.
Approaches to using job design as a motivator represents an attempt to capitalize on
• Goal of job design: to identify the characteristics that make some tasks more motivating
than others, and to capture these characteristics in the design of jobs. Money isn’t always
the best motivator.
Traditional Views of Job Design
• From Industrial Revolution until 1960s, the philosophy of non-managerial jobs’ design was
job simplification. This period had increasing urbanization & growth of a free market
• With complex machinery & uneducated/untrained workforce, specialization was the key to
efficiency. Production was broken down into basic steps that even uneducated workers
• Peak of job simplification = early 1900s; Frederick W. Taylor’s Scientific Management
1) Extreme division of labour and specialization, even to supervisors
2) Standardization & regulation of work activities & breaks
• Jobs designed according to principles of scientific management don’t seem intrinsically
motivating. The motivational strategy used during this period was close supervision & piece-
o piece rate pay: Paid an amount for each unit produced
• This strategy was good for uneducated workers struggling to get basic needs, but unsure
with better-educated workers whose basic needs are fairly well met.
Job Scope & Motivation
• Job scope: the breadth and depth of a job; Broad jobs require workers to do
many different tasks; deep jobs have freedom in
planning how to do the work.
• Breath: number of different activities performed on a job
• Depth: degree of discretion or control a worker has over how work tasks are
• High scope jobs have great breadth and depth.
• Assembly line jobs are low-scope because a single task
is repeated, with no discretion as to method
• High breadth and little depth, and vice versa, are relatively low-scope jobs too. Utility
workers (filling jobs in assembly lines for absent workers) have many tasks, but little
discretion. Also, quality control inspectors perform one task, but must exercise judgment in
performing this task.
• High-scope jobs provide more intrinsic motivation than low-scope jobs.
o Maslow’s need hierarchy &ERG theory both indicate that people can fulfill higher-order
needs by the opportunity to perform high-scope jobs
o Expectancy theory suggests: high-scope jobs provide intrinsic motivation if outcome =
1 BU288 Lecture 9 Ch. 6: Motivation in Practice (P191-206) Thurs. Oct. 11. 2012.
• Assigning employees stretch assignments can increase job-scope. They offer workers
challenging opportunities to broaden their skills by working on many tasks with new
• Job rotation: rotating employees to different tasks and jobs in an organization
o Increases job-scope &develops new skills/expertise that can prepare employees for
THE JOB CHARACTERISTICS MODEL – J. Richard Hacjman & Greg Oldham
• There are several core job characteristics that have a certain psychological impact on
• Psychological states induced by the job leads to outcomes; relevant to worker &
• Several other factors (moderators) influence the extent to which these relationships hold
The 5 Core Job Characteristics
• Higher levels of these characteristics lead to favourable outcomes shown in diagram below
1. Skill variety: opportunity to do variety of job activities using various skills & talents (like job
o Owner who plans & interacts with customers (high) vs. a painter who paints all day (low)
2. Autonomy: freedom to schedule one’s own work activities& decide work procedures (like
o Owner who plans his day (high) vs. secretary who does whatever the owner says (low)
3. Task significance: impact that a job has on other people (nursing the sick vs. sweeping
4. Task identity: the extent to which a job involves doing a complete piece of work, start to
o High: cabinet maker designs a piece of furniture, selects wood, builds object, and
o Low: worker in a furniture factory who operates a lathe solely to make table legs
5. Feedback: information about the effectiveness of one’s work performance intrinsic
o High: electronics factory worker who assembles a radio & tests it to see if it works
o Low: worker who assembles a radio & someone else tests it and makes needed
• one can have control over many skills that can be perceived as meaningless/fragmented
• Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) by Hackman & Oldham: measures core characteristics of
o JDS requires workers to report amount of the various core characteristics contained in
motivating potentialscore= skillvariety+task identity+task significan∗autonomy∗feedback
o The JDS measures characteristics on 7-point scales; so the score can range from 1 to
o Average motivating potential score for 6930 employees on 76 jobs = 128
• Critical Psychological States: Work is intrinsically motivating when:
1) Seen as meaningful: occurs with skill variety, task significance & task identity
2 BU288 Lecture 9 Ch. 6: Motivation in Practice (P191-206) Thurs. Oct. 11. 2012.
2) Worker feels responsible for the outcomes of the work: comes with autonomy
3) Worker has knowledge about his work progress: comes with feedback about
• Outcomes: critical psychological states leads to many outcomes that are relevant to
workers & firm
o High intrinsic motivation occurs when worker feels truly in control of a challenging job
that provides good feedback about performance reduced absenteeism & turnover
o Relationship between work & worker is emphasized, and worker gets motivated by the
• Moderators: moderator/contingency variables intervene between job characteristics and
o Worker’s skill: workers with weak knowledge & skills don’t respond favourably to jobs
that are high in motivating potential because they’re too demanding skill moderates
how motivating jobs lead to favourable outcomes (so they don’t always lead to
o Growth need strength: extent to which people desire to achieve higher-order need
satisfaction by performing their jobs high growth needs = most responsive to
o Satisfaction with context factors (pay, supervision) means more responsive to
Research Evidence for Job Characteristics Model
• Workers describe jobs by means of JDS. Then worker reactions to these jobs are measured.
• Workers respond more favourably to jobs that are higher in motivating potential
• All core characteristics are positively related to the model’s outcomes & other outcomes
(supervisor satisfaction, organizational commitment) relative importance of characteristics
• Some core characteristics (autonomy, feedback) were also related to behavioural
(absenteeism, performance) and well-being (anxiety, stress) outcomes.
• Experienced meaningfulness is the most critical psychological state
• There’s weak support for experienced responsibility & no support for role of feedback
• Evidence that growth needs & context satisfaction affect reactions to job design is weak.
• Job enrichment: job design to enhance intrinsic motivation, quality of work life, & job
3 BU288 Lecture 9 Ch. 6: Motivation in Practice (P191-206) Thurs. Oct. 11. 2012.
• Job involvement: cognitive state of psychological identification with one’s job and the
importance of work to one’s total self-image those with challenging, enriched jobs have
• All 5 core characteristics are positively related to job involvement, so also more job
• Job enrichment involves arrangement of core characteristics. Specific enrichment depends
on a careful diagnosis of the work to be accomplished, technology, and the organizational
1) Combining tasks: assigning tasks that may be performed by different workers to one
person. This increases variety of skills employed & may contribute to task identity.
2) Establishing external client relationships: put employees in touch with people outside the
organization who depend on their products/services. This may involve the use of new
(interpersonal) skills, increase identity & significance of the job, and increase feedback.
3) Establishing internal client relationships: put employees in touch with people who
depend on their products/services within the organization. Advantages similar to point
4) Reducing supervision & reliance on others: goal is to increase autonomy & control over
one’s own work. Give workers the power to make decisions without permission from
5) Forming work teams: management can use this format as an alternative to a sequence of
small jobs that individual workers perform when a product/service is too large/complex for
one person to complete alone. Work as a team rather than passing the work from person to
person. leads t formal and informal development of a variety of skills & increase job identity
6) Making feedback more direct: use this technique with other job design aspects that permit
workers to be identified with their “own” product/service. Ex: employees sign their output on
a tag that includes address + toll-free phone number. Customer contacts directly if they have
Potential Problems with Job Enrichment
• Poor diagnoses of the needs of the organization & the particular jobs in question.
o Enrichment attempts may be half-hearted exercises that don’t increase motivating
o Likely error is job enlargement: increasing job breadth by giving workers more tasks to
perform while leaving other core characteristics unchanged. Workers are simply given
more boring tasks.
o Job engorgement: organizations may try to enrich jobs that are already seen as too
rich by their workers. Occurs in downsized firms. This leads to role overload and work
• Lack of desire or skill: some workers don’t want enriched jobs (more responsibility.) Even
when people have no objections to enrichment, they may lack the skills necessary to
perform enriched jobs effectively. Thus, enrichment may mean training costs, which is
difficult with social skills.
• Demand for rewards: workers who experience job enrichment may ask for greater extrinsic
rewards, due to the development of new skills & greater responsibility.
• Union resistance: N. American unions don’t like job enrichment. They negotiate with
management about easily quantified extrinsic motivators (ex: money) rather than the soft
stuff of job design. Unions equate narrow division of labour with preserving jobs for their
members. Faced with global competition, need for flexibility & quality, companies & unions
dismantle restrictive contract provisions regarding job design. Fewer job classifications
mean more opportunities for flexibility by combining tasks and using team approaches.
4 BU288 Lecture 9 Ch. 6: Motivation in Practice (P191-206) Thurs. Oct. 11. 2012.
• Supervisory resistance: Enrichment increases autonomy of work