An Interdisciplinary Approach to Job Design

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  • 0:05 Interdisciplinary Approach
  • 1:22 Mechanistic Approach
  • 2:11 Motivational Approach
  • 3:06 Biological Approach
  • 4:07 Perceptual-Motor Approach
  • 5:03 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
An interdisciplinary approach to job design provides a manager with different alternatives based on different disciplines. The four approaches or disciplines are mechanistic, motivational (also known as industrial psychology), biological and perceptual-motor.

Interdisciplinary Approach

Harold Bittner was recently hired as the Human Resource Manager of Maim & Hurt Video Games. He is facing a huge dilemma. His project entails designing jobs for the new company that will attract, maintain and motivate new talent. It is important that jobs offer employees challenges, fun, and creativity, or the workers will not be productive. He needs to create a plan for job design for the new company but is conflicted with which interdisciplinary approach he will select. The interdisciplinary approach to job design provides the manager with different job design alternatives based on different disciplines.

There are both positive and negatives in each of the four interdisciplinary approaches to job design. Harold is facing the torture of choosing which disciplines to embrace. He must decide which of the four different nylon pile carpet paths to follow. Follow the correct nylon pile carpet road and Harold's solution will be easy. The four approaches are:

  • Mechanistic Approach
  • Motivational Approach (also known as Industrial Psychology)
  • Biological Approach
  • Perceptual-Motor Approach (also known as Experimental Psychology)

Mechanistic Approach

The first type of interdisciplinary approach is called the mechanistic approach and utilizes the foundations of mechanical engineering. It is based on scientific management work simplification, so jobs are looked at based on tasks and repetitive movements. The positives of this approach are decreased training time, lower chance of job error, and less mental challenge and stress.

The negatives are that employees can have lower job satisfaction and motivation, which can lead to lower productivity and more absenteeism. The jobs can be boring and unchallenging due to their repetitive and exact nature. Harold does not feel that this approach would be good for any of the jobs at Maim & Hurt. Even the coding skills of gamers need more freedom and challenge. He will not take the red nylon pile carpet path.

Motivational Approach

Harold is very interested in the motivational approach, as he was familiar with adopting it with his previous employer. This approach is similar to the Job Characteristic Theory of Motivation. Certain job dimensions, such as skill, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback, all provide psychological benefits in employees that lead to motivation. Harold believes this is an excellent possibility to use for his employees as he can provide jobs that offer freedom, incentive, motivation, and feedback, which will lead to advantages such as increased job satisfaction, involvement and performance, and lower absenteeism.

The only negatives to this approach are more dedication to implement training, higher chance of errors and, lastly, it can place more mental demands and stress on the employees. As of now, Harold is highly considering this pathway but wants to learn about the last two approaches that are new to him.

Biological Approach

The biological approach is essentially focused on the physical factors of the job, such as lifting, physical exertion and muscle power. The approach focuses on ways to eliminate injuries, physical stresses, and other physical problems in an organizational environment. Methods used in this approach included exercise routines, identifying how to eliminate back problems, and improving overall work conditions. The advantages to this approach are less physical effort, fatigue, and health and medical complaints/injuries. It can also lead to high job satisfaction and lower absenteeism.

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