To read this content please select one of the options below:

Work system design to improve the economic performance of the firm

James R. Maxwell (Richard E. and Sandra J. Dauch College of Business & Economics, Ashland University, Ashland, Ohio, USA)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 6 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to look at job design, motivation and teamwork. As the market gets more competitive, companies must change their plan of attack on almost a daily basis. They need to answer the question: what is the best way to do business? As employers look at job design they will find that it is not the only factor that indicates how productive employees are in the workplace. Motivation also determines how much energy employees will expend, as well as what tasks will be accomplished, and in what amount of time it will be completed.


Increasing productivity among employees is the key to a successful work group and firm. This paper will look at job design, motivation in the workplace and teamwork as they continue to be the major factors that determine the amount of work an individual does within a firm. Job design includes three main categories: job enlargement, job rotation, and job enrichment. The job characteristics model, a more recent approach to job design, includes five core job characteristics that include skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and job feedback.


The paper presents plenty of evidence that organizations are increasingly relying on teams to handle work once taken on by one person. Self‐managed teams are given the authority to make decisions that were once reserved for managers. Cross‐functional teams are used to improve coordination among different departments involved in carrying out a joint project. Many organizations are implementing these teams successfully into their structure. The result is that they are finding them to be more productive and prosperous than the work of single individuals.

Practical implications

Work teams such as self‐directed teams and cross‐functional teams are becoming increasingly popular among firms in today's work environment. Teams can work together in a dynamic business world to gain an edge over the competition.


Overall, job design, motivation, and teamwork tie together and create a work environment that can either help or hurt an organization. If a proper plan is implemented, then the firm should be more productively successful.



Maxwell, J.R. (2008), "Work system design to improve the economic performance of the firm", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 432-446.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles