Find information about a range of approaches to managing organisational change – from Action Learning Sets, to the 7s model.
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- j Number of entries: 1
Job enrichment seeks to make work more meaningful and satisfying through increasing autonomy and responsibility of staff by providing a variety of significant tasks. Its main focus is on the attributes of the work itself (‘core job dimensions’), mediated through individual member differences (‘critical psychological states’), and it is suited to contexts which do not require high levels of coordination and where employees have a high need for personal growth (Hackman and Oldham, 1980).
Stages in Job Enrichment implementation:
- Diagnosis: – current jobs are profiled using the Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) for their motivational score. This is a combination of their meaningfulness, autonomy and feedback. The JDS also records employee readiness for change, and this information is combined to identify whether additional interventions are required to reduce staff dissatisfaction prior to job redesign.
- Formation of natural work units: – by grouping tasks together to increase ‘ownership’ of the tasks. Grouping increases both task identity and significance, which together improve meaningfulness.
- Combination of tasks: – Jobs are typically enlarged and tasks combined to increase task identity, autonomy and skills development.
- Establishing client relationships – this requires that the client(s) be identified, contact directly established, and client judgements of quality be made directly. Improved feedback increases staff motivation to perform.
- Vertical loading: – i.e. handing responsibility and control from manager to worker. The increased autonomy leads to accountability and feelings of responsibility for outcomes, improving performance.
- Opening feedback channels: – direct, immediate feedback of performance as it occurs typically has a motivational effect
(Adapted from Walters (1975) pp. 57-71)
Strengths and limitations
While the approach has much potential to motivate staff, it requires a supportive organisational context for the potential benefits to be realised. In particular, this context will include -
- Technical systems: – standardised systems such as rigid practice guidelines limit employee discretion (autonomy);
- Human resources system: – formal job descriptions may limit job flexibility and thus enrichment potential. Change may require significant negotiation with professional bodies and / or unions
- The control system: – budgets and accounting practices may limit the variety (and thus the challenge) of jobs, and quality control systems may effectively curtail employee discretion, reducing motivation
- Supervisory systems: – line managers effectively determine employee autonomy and feedback, and a controlling management approach makes enrichment very difficult.
In relation to social care change, job enrichment has the potential to provide an organisational environment in which staff are able to take more responsibility for the work of the service and to develop new approaches. This could be seen to clash with the need for senior management to be assured that regulation and good practice standards are being met across an organisation but this is not necessarily the case.
- Cordery, J. And Wall, T. (1985) Work design and supervisory practice: A model, Human Relations, 38, 425-41
- Hackman, J. and Oldham, G. (1980) Work redesign, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley
- Walters, R. (1975) Job enrichment for results: Strategies for successful implementation, Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley)