Value alignment for jobs and occupations (IO Psychology)
When designing a job, consider the values of the occupation within which the job resides, according to research by Erich C. Dierdorff of DePaul University & Frederick P. Morgeson of Michigan State University. For example, imagine that you’re designing an internal consultant job that you expect to be filled by someone who comes from the occupational field of industrial and organizational psychology. In crafting the type of tasks that this job will involve, consider the values of the occupation as a whole. For instance, if people within the occupation tend to value achievement and independence, ensure that the job you create incorporates these features. If you do so, it’s likely that the employee will derive satisfaction from his or her job.
In their study, Dierdorff & Morgeson assessed the work characteristics and job satisfaction of 805 individuals from 230 occupations. The Work Design Questionnaire assessed work characteristics, and sample items include “The job allows me to decide on my own how to go about doing my work” and “The job itself provides feedback on my performance.” Questions such as “I like the kind of work I do” and “I like my job better than the average worker does” measured job satisfaction. Lastly, information from the O*NET database served as the indicators of six occupational values: achievement, independence, altruism, status, comfort, and safety. Sample questions that assessed these values include “Workers on this job get a feeling of accomplishment” and “Workers on this job get to try out their own ideas.” Results indicated that five of the occupational values – achievement, independence, altruism, status, and comfort – are related to various work characteristics. Further, work characteristics – as a reflection of overall occupational values – were related to job satisfaction.
Maximizing the Benefits of Autonomy in Teams
Topic: Job Design, Teams, Performance
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: The impact of autonomy and task uncertainty on team performance: A longitudinal field study (FEB 2010)
Author: J. L. Cordery, D. Morrison, B. M. Wright, & T. D. Wall
Reviewed by: Sarah Teague
Modern jobs are becoming more interconnected every year. Where once we worked alone in our cubicles, we are now more likely to be part of a team collectively working toward some common goal. Additionally, the nature of work is increasingly reliant on employees’ ability to adapt to new and challenging situations. As such, much effort has gone (and continues to go) into the study of team effectiveness. Giving teams autonomy (freedom over the process through which they achieve their goal) is argued to be key in maximizing performance. However, results in the current literature have been mixed. Mixed results typically indicate the presence of some third important moderating variable that helps to explain why the relationship is different across time, people, or situations.
Accordingly, the current study sought to clarify the conditions under which team autonomy will lead to greater increases in performance. The authors identified task uncertainty (“the degree to which it is possible for a team to predict which tasks must be executed, when, how, and to whom) as a potential moderator and proposed three hypotheses. First, increased autonomy will be related to increased performance. Second, higher levels of task uncertainty will be related to decreased performance.
Creating “I-Deal” Jobs … Do Individual Redesign Negotiations Work?
Topic: Job Design, Employee Satisfaction
Publication: Journal of Organizational Behavior
Article: Beyond top-down and bottom-up work redesign: Customizing job content through idiosyncratic deals (FEB 2010)
Authors: S. Hornung, D. M. Rousseau, J. Glaser, P. Angerer, M. Weigl
Reviewed By: Sarah Teague
Job redesign efforts are undertaken on a daily basis in organizations world-wide. It involves re-evaluating a particular job to determine whether or not steps might be taken in order to improve various outcomes including employee job satisfaction and organizational productivity. Traditionally, two approaches have dominated the literature: top-down and bottom-up. Job redesign refers to efforts from management (or other organizational authorities) to enhance the intrinsic motivation of the job. Alternatively, job redesign is initiated by the employee and may or may not be legitimately recognized by the employer (i.e.job crafting).
A recent article by Severin, Rousseau, Glaser, Angerer, and Weigl (2010) investigates a middle ground approach involving individual negotiations that they refer to as i-deals. These i-deals are initiated by the employee (as in bottom-up) and authorized by a supervisor (as in top-down). Results show that the extent of i-deals (successful individual negotiations) is positively linked to leader member exchange (LMX) here as a proxy for, job complexity, job control, and work engagement, while negatively linked to work stressors. In other words, individuals who received approval for i-deals were both happier with and more engaged in their work.
Task i-deals can result in beneficial effects for the employee and the organization when done correctly (and fairly across employees), but the authors stress that they should not be viewed as a replacement for traditional top-down redesign efforts that strive to make all jobs meaningful and intrinsically motivating.
Hornung, S., Rousseau, D. M., Glaser, J., Angerer, P., & Weigl, M. (2010). Beyond top-down and bottom-up work redesign: Customizing job content through idiosyncratic deals. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31, 187-215.
Knowledge is Power: What Makes Employees Share It?
Topic: Job Design, Motivation
Publication: Human Resource Management (NOV/DEC 2009)
Article: Encouraging knowledge sharing among employees: How job design matters
Authors: N.J. Foss, D.B. Minbaeva, T. Pedersen, and M. Reinholt
Reviewed By: Benjamin Granger
It’s no secret that knowledge sharing among employees is an absolute necessity for many organizations. So what can organizations do to facilitate knowledge sharing among its employees?
Foss and colleagues (2009) recently showed that several characteristics of employees’ jobs predict employee motivation to share knowledge. Foss et al. studied this phenomenon using a sample of 186 employees working in a large German manufacturing company.
The authors studied three important job characteristics: autonomy, task identity, and feedback. Autonomy refers to the amount of control employees have over work tasks, task identity refers to whether employees complete entire tasks from start to finish or pieces of tasks, and feedback refers to the amount and quality of feedback employees receive on the job.
Foss et al. found that all three job characteristics predict employee motivation to share knowledge, albeit quite differently. For instance, job autonomy predicted employees’ intrinsic motivation (e.g., enjoyable, stimulating) for sharing knowledge which was strongly and favorably related to (1) the amount of information received from others and (2) the amount of knowledge sent to others. Feedback, on the other hand, was positively related to external motivation (e.g., rewards), which was actually unfavorably related to sending knowledge and unrelated to receiving knowledge.
Additionally, Foss and colleagues found that task identity predicted whether employees were motivated to maintain and enhance social relationships within the organization. This type of motivation related favorably to the amount of knowledge employees shared with others.
Overall, job autonomy has the strongest and most favorable influence on knowledge sharing among employees. Employees who are motivated to share knowledge because of external reasons (e.g., rewards) may actually engage in less knowledge sharing. Ultimately, Foss et al.’s results suggest that high levels of autonomy and task identity are important for jobs that require a great deal of knowledge sharing.