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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Linda S. Wing

Seeks to find methods of delivering service to a valued component of society, the elderly. Utilizes a large scale, participatory research design to include employees in…

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Abstract

Seeks to find methods of delivering service to a valued component of society, the elderly. Utilizes a large scale, participatory research design to include employees in designing and implementing a new service system in the face of downtrending human and capital resources.

Details

Empowerment in Organizations, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0968-4891

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 June 1978

D.W. Birchall

Currently there is much public concern about the quality of working life and the degree to which current methods of organising work meet the expectations and aspirations of

Abstract

Currently there is much public concern about the quality of working life and the degree to which current methods of organising work meet the expectations and aspirations of the labour force. A large sector of the population, particularly school‐leavers, no longer seem to be attracted by the prospect of factory life. During a period of stagnation in the economy, occupations considered to be relatively desirable, such as teaching, may become difficult to enter, no longer offering the promotion opportunities available in the expansion of the 1960s. Rising levels of academic attainment and more “progressive” teaching methods develop expectations from work amongst school‐leavers considerably different from previous generations. The work system designer is required to develop solutions which achieve organisational objectives relating to aspects such as quantity, quality and cost of conversion. In order to achieve long term viability, however, the system must also satisfy the needs and expectations of individual employees.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Book part
Publication date: 7 July 2015

Sandra Kiffin-Petersen

Work design has largely overlooked cognitive–emotional interactions in understanding employee motivation and satisfaction. My aim in this chapter is to develop a…

Abstract

Work design has largely overlooked cognitive–emotional interactions in understanding employee motivation and satisfaction. My aim in this chapter is to develop a conceptual model that integrates what we know about these interactions from research on emotions and neuroscience with traditional and emergent work design perspectives. I propose that striving for universal goals influences how a person responds to the work characteristics, such that an event that is personally relevant or “self-referential” will elicit an emotional reaction that must be regulated for optimal performance, job satisfaction, and well-being. A Self-Referential Emotion Regulatory Model (SERM) of work design is presented.

Details

New Ways of Studying Emotions in Organizations
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-220-7

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Book part
Publication date: 25 July 2008

Frederick P. Morgeson and Stephen E. Humphrey

The design of work has been shown to influence a host of attitudinal, behavioral, cognitive, well-being, and organizational outcomes. Despite its clear importance…

Abstract

The design of work has been shown to influence a host of attitudinal, behavioral, cognitive, well-being, and organizational outcomes. Despite its clear importance, scholarly interest in the topic has diminished over the past 20 years. Fortunately, a recent body of research has sought to reenergize research into work design by expanding our view of work design from a narrow set of motivational work features to one that incorporates broader social and contextual elements. In this chapter we seek to review the literature on work design and develop a framework that integrates both job and team design research. We begin by briefly reviewing the history of work design in order to provide needed historical context and illustrate the evolution of job and team design. We then define work design, particularly as it relates to incorporating job and team design elements and transitioning from a view of jobs to one of roles. Following this, we identify a comprehensive set of work design outcomes that provide the basis for understanding the impact that different work characteristics can have on individuals and teams. We then offer an extended discussion of our integrative model of work design, which includes three sources of work characteristics (task, social, and contextual) and the worker characteristics implied by these characteristics. Having defined the range of work and worker characteristics, we then discuss some of the fit and composition issues that arise when designing work, as well as discuss the mechanisms through which the work characteristics have their impact on outcomes. Finally, we discuss research into informal forms of work design.

Details

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84855-004-9

Book part
Publication date: 16 December 2016

Merle Blok, Friso van der Meulen and Steven Dhondt

For various reasons many organisations are currently introducing the new ways of working (NWW). By now, this occurs on such a large scale, that it becomes relevant to…

Abstract

For various reasons many organisations are currently introducing the new ways of working (NWW). By now, this occurs on such a large scale, that it becomes relevant to investigate whether the new way of working leads to the best way of working: are the measurements taken by NWW really resulting in pursued outcomes? NWW claims to make working more effective, efficient but also more enjoyable for the organisation as well as the employee (Bijl, 2007). In practice, it seems that more pragmatically reasons lead to changes in the way of working. In many cases this concerns the elimination of fixed workplaces, combined with the possibility to work from home or elsewhere, facilitation of working with new ICT, and establishing an organisational culture which aims at employee autonomy and goal attainment.

To answer the question whether the NWW approach offers sufficient tools to provide effective solutions for occurring objectives, we compare NWW with a scientifically established construct regarding work design: Sociotechnical systems (STS) (Kuipers et al., 2010). We chose STS not only because it is a comprehensive approach to work design (all aspects of managing and organising are addressed), but also because the ambition is similar to NWW. STS considers, next to the ‘quality of the organisation’ (which is central to most work design approaches), also the ‘quality of work’ and ‘quality of employment relationships’ as outcome criteria. With incorporating the latter two, STS distinguishes itself from many other work design approaches and fits to the philosophy of NWW as mentioned above. Important foundations for the NWW approach are the quality of work as well as the willingness to organise teamwork.

The comparison of NWW and STS reveals as most important finding that the NWW approach misses a coherent theoretical foundation for the design of organisations. NWW focuses on loose aspects of organisations, like workspace, work design, management, organisational culture and competences. This is also evident in the scientific research focused on NWW: many studies examine the impact of a specific measure (e.g. introduction of flexible workspaces) on specific aspects of the organisation (e.g. social cohesion). Due to the lack of a work design approach no framework exists to test whether the introduction of NWW fits to the organisation and how work is organised and divided. It is our statement that NWW can only be effective once a good theoretical foundation is provided for NWW and once a clear work design approach is deducted.

Simultaneously, the NWW practices provide so many relevant practical experiences on skills and information underlining the potential of STS. Currently, STS mostly is focused on work in industrial organisations. STS and NWW have the potential to mutually extend each other, while tools may be developed with which new ways of working lead to the best way of working for organisations.

Details

New Ways of Working Practices
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78560-303-7

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 1 August 2017

Franco Fraccaroli, Sara Zaniboni and Donald Truxillo

In this chapter the relationship between job design and older workers is considered. Starting from a conceptual definition of what the concept job and work design is, we…

Abstract

In this chapter the relationship between job design and older workers is considered. Starting from a conceptual definition of what the concept job and work design is, we consider theoretic approaches to the study of job design over the last decades, including recent frameworks, measurement, and research. We follow this with a specific focus on the topic of job design for older workers. We argue that the rules of “good job design” are not applicable to all workers, focusing specifically on the issues of age and career stage. We next show through a theoretical model and some empirical research that some job characteristics may be more suitable or beneficial for people in older age groups or later stages of their careers (e.g., Truxillo, Cadiz, Rineer, Zaniboni, & Fraccaroli, 2012). Empirical support for the role of age in job design is considered. We conclude by defining some avenues for future research, including the identification of additional factors that may determine how age and job characteristics affect worker behavior, attitudes, and well-being.

Details

Age Diversity in the Workplace
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-073-0

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 March 1975

James C. Taylor

For me, the human side of work is the most important aspect in any consideration of jobs and organizations. Hospital organizations, for example, are made up of people…

Abstract

For me, the human side of work is the most important aspect in any consideration of jobs and organizations. Hospital organizations, for example, are made up of people, their jobs are, of course, done by people, and the results of that work are for people — whether they be direct recipients such as patients, or customers; or whether they be the indirect recipients such as the community, or the employees themselves. The dilemma is highlighted by asking, why do we so often separate the effects of work on the humans involved in its production, from the effects on humans as recipients of its end result? I will posit that if work is consciously designed as a meaningful activity for the people involved in its production, then chances are good that its product will also better suit its human users. That is, there is a systemic relationship between the quality of working life and the quality of the product of that work. In so saying however we must likewise acknowledge the importance of the technical requirements of the work — for having meaning to the people involved is not enough. Work that is meaningfully arranged, both for the humans involved in its execution and for its technical requirements, typically results in a higher quality product and, not infrequently, in greater productivity as well. In our experience results are frequently accompanied by lowered absenteeism and turnover and greater feelings of satisfaction with the work activity. Work system design, or socio‐technical system design, is a powerful approach to this human side of workwork that is meaningful in both that human sense, as well as the technical sense.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 4 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Margaret Moussa, Mathew Bright and Maria Estela Varua

The purpose of this paper is to examine the suitability of job and work design theory for investigating knowledge workers’ productivity. The review is a response to…

2638

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the suitability of job and work design theory for investigating knowledge workers’ productivity. The review is a response to recommendation and adoption of the motivational human resource management approach by a number of knowledge management researchers. The authors show that the existing literature on this topic overlooks key criticisms of HRM job and work design theory itself. The authors suggest modifications.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proceeds by outlining knowledge management researchers’ arguments rejecting the application of traditional measurement approaches to investigating knowledge workers’ productivity. The review develops to examine the various arguments for adopting work design theory and considers the key contributions and critiques in this field. Drawing on the insights of key HRM work design critics, the paper concludes by offering suggestions for a model suitable for examining the drivers of knowledge work productivity in process.

Findings

The principle finding is that Morgeson and Humphrey’s (2006) Work Design Questionnaire (WDQ) stand as the most conceptually consistent and methodologically considered human resource management work design theory. However, this model must itself be modified to include a category of organizational contextual work characteristics. For application to the filed of knowledge management, WDQ must also be expanded to include knowledge sharing, role breadth self-efficacy and employee well-being as key work design mediators and outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

Greater consideration needs to be given to the distinction between knowledge sharing as a work design mediator and as a work design outcome. Morgeson and Humphrey themselves note that the “common method variance” problems arising in psychometric research have been reduced but not completely eliminated from their model.

Practical implications

Survey instruments based on the recommended model potentially provide a valuable means for understanding and enhancing productivity in a variety of knowledge intensive service industries. The pronounced benefit of this model is that it is applicable in cross-industry and cross-occupational contexts, unlike many existing knowledge worker productivity models. This is an advantage, given the centrality of the inter-connectivity of different types of activities and industries in knowledge work.

Social implications

Work design prioritizes employee motivation and support and links this to the quality of work and the well-being of clients. The benefits of well-designed knowledge work extend well beyond the generation of specific innovations and macroeconomic productivity improvements.

Originality/value

Job design and work design theory have been applied in the field of knowledge management. However, the applications have largely overlooked key critiques of the established models in the human resource management literature. The paper fills this gap. Its original suggestions for modifying Moregeson and Humphry’s (2006) WDQ reflect the authors’ in-depth analysis of the literature.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 66 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 January 2009

Carl Wänström and Lars Medbo

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how the materials feeding design at a workstation impacts the assembly process performance, in terms of

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how the materials feeding design at a workstation impacts the assembly process performance, in terms of manufacturing flexibility, process support, materials planning and work task efficiency.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical data are based on two embedded case studies performed in close corporation with two Swedish automotive companies; additional observations from more than 20 company visits in Japan, and small‐scale case studies performed in Japanese companies. To fully assess the work measurement figures, video recordings, work instructions and layout drawings were used to plot the operators' walking patterns, and it was then possible to map the whole work cycle for an operator. Industrial engineers, managers, group leaders, team leaders and operators were interviewed. Based on the literature review and personal experience from the small‐scale case studies carried out in Japan, the existing assembly systems' component racks were conceptually re‐designed. This led to two hypothetical assembly systems, which could be used for understanding the impact of materials feeding design on assembly process performance. The design of the new component racks and the choice of packaging types were made together with practitioners.

Findings

The paper shows that the design of component racks and choice of packaging types have a major impact on the assembly process performance. Component racks with a large depth and small width and tailored packages create important advantages over traditional Swedish component racks designed for EUR‐pallets. Line stocking is not always the best choice for materials feeding, but this paper shows that line stocking, especially in Swedish assembly systems, can be improved. Sequencing can thus be reduced, resulting in fewer problems when there are sequence breaks in the production flow. Component racks with small packages and large depth increase the work task efficiency, volume, mix, new products and modification flexibility. For example, free space is an important issue for these types of flexibilities. Component racks that are portable and easy to rearrange, together with free space, greatly facilitate handling of new product introductions or modifications of products. The new and old component can be displayed and fed to the same workstation, and if there is a larger change a whole segment of a component rack can easily be replaced by a new one between work shifts.

Research limitations/implications

The scope of the study is limited to the conditions at workstations. Consequences for the materials flow upstream (i.e. internal materials handling, warehousing, transport, supplier processes, etc.) are not included, but must in further studies also be considered to avoid sub‐optimisation.

Originality/value

The paper highlights the fact that a shift in focus is necessary when designing workstations with component racks in Swedish companies, meaning that operators become the customers rather than the transport company or materials handler.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 20 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 1989

Karen Legge

The monograph analyses (a) the potential impact of informationtechnology (IT) on organisational issues that directly concern thepersonnel function; (b) the nature of

Abstract

The monograph analyses (a) the potential impact of information technology (IT) on organisational issues that directly concern the personnel function; (b) the nature of personnel’s involvement in the decision making and activities surrounding the choice and implementation of advanced technologies, and (c) their own use of IT in developing and carrying out their own range of specialist activities. The monograph attempts to explain why personnel’s involvement is often late, peripheral and reactive. Finally, an analysis is made of whether personnel specialists – or the Human Resource Management function more generally – will play a more proactive role in relation to such technologies in the future.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 299000