Practical Application: Choosing an Approach to Job Design

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Successful employee-employer relationships begin with the right job design. Choose the best approach to job design from four different approaches. The right approach will lead to success.

Job Design

When a company uses the right approach to job design and writes the right job description for the right future employee, a successful and positive employee-employer relationship often results.

The lesson Job Design: Definition and Purpose mentions four different approaches to job design. Let's review them now:

Approach Description
Scientific Management Uses specific explanations to detail repetitive job tasks
Job Enlargement/Job Rotation Gives employees opportunities to do other tasks and responsibilities
Job Enrichment Employees get to train for promotions by taking on vertical job challenges
Job Characteristic Theory An employee's personality and behavior are fitted to a job

This does not mean that a company has to choose just one approach for all its jobs. Successful companies know that various jobs can have different approaches to its job design. Some jobs are better suited for the scientific management approach, other to the characteristic theory approach. No one approach is better than another.

Open-Ended Question

Let's practice choosing the right approach for a particular job by answering this one question:

  • Considering the type of work to be done in the job, which approach to job design will fit the best?


Think about these imaginary examples while answering the above question.

1) Hat Manufacturing Company specializes in making hats of all kinds. The company has an opening for a finishing sewer who needs to do nothing else but sew the hat pieces together.

2) Hat Manufacturing Company is also looking to hire a future manager when the current manager retires. The company would like to hire from people who actually make the hats as they have personal experience with the hats.

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