Job Enrichment

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Based on a major study of High Performance Work Practices (HPWPs) in North America by Appelbaum et al. (2000) found that new forms of job design provided production line employees with the opportunity to contribute increased discretionary effort and to participate in workplace problem-solving. These researchers provided empirical evidence that conscious efforts by employers to increase employee discretion and job autonomy resulted in improved job satisfaction for employees and higher levels of organizational performance (Appelbaum et al. 2000). Workforce involvement in decision-making may also be consistent with job enrichment practices (Spence Laschinger et al. 2004). Job enrichment involves providing increased levels of responsibility to lower level employees, including the delegation of work tasks previously undertaken by supervisors, and the provision of increasingly skilled tasks to line employees. The theoretical basis for enrichment efforts is Hackman and Oldham's (1975) 'job characteristics' model, which explores how a combination of specific job characteristics such as skill variety and task significance affect the individual's experience of meaningful work and their sense of responsibility for work outcomes. These characteristics have, in turn, been linked to improvements in work motivation, job satisfaction and work quality, reduced absenteeism and lower labour turnover (Ford 1969; Hackman et al. 1975). However, job enrichment has received wide publicity but has not always produced favourable results in the workplace. A great deal of debate exists over the benefits and limitations of job enrichment: it clearly is not for everyone. Ralph Brown (2004) summed it up very nicely: Some people are very resistant to more responsibilities or to opportunities for personal growth. Researchers report that some people they expected to resist seized the opportunity. Enriching jobs is a particularly effective way to develop employees provided the jobs are truly enriched, not just more work for them to do. The disadvantages are that job enrichment may lead to greater work pressure and that employees have to start performing tasks which were not originally required of them. Job design:

Job design is the specification of the content of a job, the material and equipment required to do the job, and the relation of the job to other jobs. A well-designed job promotes the achievement of the organization’s strategic business objectives by structuring work so it integrates management requirements for efficiency and employee needs for satisfaction. Thus, effective job design presents a major challenge for the HR manager. And job enrichment is one of the methods of job design. Job enrichment is an attempt to motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to use the range of their abilities. It is an idea that was developed by the American psychologist Frederick Hertzberg in the 1950s. It can be contrasted to job enlargement which simply increases the number of tasks without changing the challenge. As such job enrichment has been described as 'vertical loading' increases the complexity of work to promote interest. Thus, job enrichment builds motivating factors into the job content by: combing tasks, establishing client relationships, creating natural work units, expanding jobs vertically and opening feedback channels. Supporter:

Patterson, West and Wail (2004) found that firms providing lower level employees with job enrichment and skill enhancement experienced a significant boost in productivity and profitability. A Sri Lankan study of the impact of introducing self managed teams in a large textile mill reported increased productivity, higher product quality, lower reject rates and higher employee satisfaction. The process of delegating increased decision-making responsibility to workplace teams changed the organization’s structures, decision making processes and job design at workplace level, with increased...
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