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Job Characteristics Model Theory Definition & Meaning

What is the Job Characteristics Model Theory?

It’s the year 2019, and there’s a specific theory that has been in place for a while now when it comes to work design. It started in the late 70’s and was very prominent in the early 80’s but it’s still used as a framework to study how job characteristics are viewed. This is called the Job Characteristics Theory, aka the Core Characteristics Model. In this article we’re going to dive into the definition of this theory, as well as hopefully shed some light on what the job characteristics theory means for you, so you can be able to understand how it works, as well as see how it helps jobs be tailored to include the worker in the entire process of production. 

Why Job Theory is Important

What does this process do for the employee? It adds a bit of pride which makes the worker happy to make a product so they can see their importance in things. For example, a worker that works in a small factory, but sees that they’re working for a big chain of products, such as farm equipment that’s sold nationwide, or even food production in which the entire general public is very popular that American’s purchase, and you can say “I made that product”. This is actually essential, as it helps employees feel somewhat satisfied with their jobs, no matter how mundane it may feel to be.

How the Theory is Based Upon the 5 Core Values

There are an entire collection of five characteristics that make up the core values of the theory. These work together in order to help improve the various aspects of an employee. Here are the core characteristics.

#1 – Variety of Skill

This is basically what different processes work together to complete a specific job or product. This requires the employee to actually develop skills that are job specific. A lot of workers believe that when they have certain abilities and skills, they feel more important and proud of their job at hand.

#2 – Task Identity

In this characteristic, this is where an employee has to be able to see a product through every process of production. Being able to see a product from start to finish, even if their position is just a small part of it, and then seeing the finished product as it gets shipped out to the public helps the employee to feel that their job is much more meaningful and helps them to feel a little less expendable.

#3 – Significance of Tasks

This goes hand in hand with the other two when it comes to viewing how important an employee’s job is. However, the thing to note in this one is that this is because an employee can see just how they’re impacting lives of other people. This can actually be either inside the company or just to the general public. For example, a food production worker making a product that is extremely popular for people to buy (such as low priced foods) may see that they’re making a product that the entire general public can afford. This makes them feel extremely important because they’re making affordable products for the entire population. If the product is sold worldwide, it has even more importance and significance.

#4 – Autonomy

This has to do more with how the work process directly affects the employee by providing them with things like benefits, pay, and more. Not only that, but it also has to do with the independence and discretion for the employee to be able to use their own ideas and incorporate them into the process of production. This helps to build more of a personal experience for the employee to enjoy their successful endeavors in the workplace and production more.

#5 – Feedback

Having a specific feedback system in place, whether they get answered makes the employee feel that they are responsible, as well as helps to make them feel that they matter more. This can come in many forms, such as monthly audit forms for safety to help get better ideas from their employees on how to make things safer, complaint or idea boxes, and even just direct communication with supervisors. This characteristic goes even further up the chain, as it also often includes supervisors because even they report to their superiors.

Most of these different characteristics are mixed together or combined so they work hand in hand with one another. This helps to add more meaning to a job in order to make the employees feel that their decisions, their feedback, their production abilities and skills all matter. By increasing self-worth of the employee, the company at hand can increase their production, decrease their turnover rates, increase their revenue, and stay ahead of competitors as well.

How the Characteristics Work for the Individual Employee

No matter how the characteristics are ordered, since every single job has all of these characteristics in place, the employees themselves are the ultimate end of the line on how these different core values are placed. Therefore, it depends on the employee on how they incorporate and use those characteristics. Putting these different characteristics in the proper order though it is extremely important to help make that employee more efficient and affects the employee’s psychological state to help increase their productivity. By teaching and instilling these five characteristics by a specific employee’s standards and tuning them to each individual employee, while they may appear in different orders, it’s still crucial they are in place in order to properly manifest a quality worker who is custom tailored to the company’s needs in order to finely craft and mold the employee well.

What Are Some of the Outcomes of These Characteristics?

There are psychological states that are created by each individual employee, as well as work-related outcomes that happen by instilling these characteristics. These work-related outcomes are motivation, performance, absenteeism (or the lack of), turnover, and overall job satisfaction. 

The different psychological states are the importance of the work, responsibility for the job, and the results of work activities (which points to enhanced performance)

Conclusion – Job Characteristics Model Theory

While each and every different job solely relies on you, the employee, it’s still important that your job has all of these values. If you want to know how to use these values to your advantage also, be sure that you always keep what’s called a “growth mindset”. This means you never stop learning. Take light failures with a grain of salt and as a learning experience, and always see the different positive impacts that the work you do is important and with all of these different values in place, you’ll see why. As a business, you need to make sure you incorporate these different values, no matter what order you instill them so your employees don’t get “burnt out” and realize that even every once in a while, that a “good job” means a lot!

Job Characteristics Model Theory Definition & Meaning
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