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Book part

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.

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

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Book part

Johnna Capitano, Kristie L. McAlpine and Jeffrey H. Greenhaus

A core concept of work–home interface research is boundary permeability – the frequency with which elements from one domain cross, or permeate, the boundary of another…

Abstract

A core concept of work–home interface research is boundary permeability – the frequency with which elements from one domain cross, or permeate, the boundary of another domain. Yet, there remains ambiguity as to what these elements are and how these permeations impact important outcomes such as role satisfaction and role performance. The authors introduce a multidimensional perspective of work–home boundary permeability, identifying five forms of boundary permeation: task, psychological, role referencing, object, and people. Furthermore, based on the notion that employee control over boundary permeability behavior is the key to achieving role satisfaction and role performance, the authors examine how organizations’ HR practices, leadership, and norms impact employee control over boundary permeability in the work and home domains. The authors conclude with an agenda for future research.

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Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-852-0

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Abstract

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The Emerald Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-786-9

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Article

Tomislav Hernaus and Nina Pološki Vokic

The purpose of this paper is to uncover the nature of job characteristics related to different generational cohorts (Baby-boomers, Generation X and Generation Y)…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to uncover the nature of job characteristics related to different generational cohorts (Baby-boomers, Generation X and Generation Y). Significant differences between four task and four social job characteristics across generational cohorts have been revealed.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical research was conducted through a field study of employees from large-sized Croatian organizations. A cross-sectional and cross-occupational research design was applied. A total of 512 knowledge workers (139 managers and 373 professionals) participated in the research. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to determine and compare work design across generations.

Findings

The results indicate that job characteristics are not equally represented within different generational cohorts. While the nature of task job characteristics is mostly irrespective of generations, social job characteristics to some extent differ among generational cohorts. High task variety, reasonably high task identity, and a moderate level of both received interdependence and task significance are recognized as common job characteristics of knowledge workers across generations. However, jobs of Baby-boomers, Xers, and Yers are idiosyncratic for work autonomy, interaction with others, initiated interdependence, and teamwork. Additionally, the inclusion of the work type as a control variable revealed that interaction with others does differ but only among generations of professionals.

Originality/value

The present study is the first research in which generational similarities and differences have been empirically examined through job characteristics. The authors focused on knowledge workers within an under-researched context (studies about knowledge workers, work design and generational differences are rare or non-existent in south-eastern European countries), making this systematic investigation unique and practically significant.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

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Article

Yuelin Li, Ying Li, Ying Pan and Hongliang Han

The purpose of this paper is to examine information-seeking behavior (ISB) of strategic planners in enterprise across different work-task types and stages.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine information-seeking behavior (ISB) of strategic planners in enterprise across different work-task types and stages.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study was conducted in a pharmaceutical company in China, labeled as T Company. One of the authors worked in the department of strategic planning of this company as an intern. The data were collected via participant observation and unstructured in-depth interviews. Open coding was performed to analyze the data.

Findings

Four work-task stages were identified: project preparation, gathering, discovery and presentation, and strategy formulation. The results indicate that work-task types, work-task stages, and strategic planners’ work role or position affect their information needs, source selection, and seeking process. Task complexity, task familiarity, and task goal are of the most important task attributes that directly shape strategic planners’ ISB. Work role determines the extent to which strategic planners can access the information of the company. Internal information has priority, but external information is also important when internal information is not sufficient; both are equally important for strategic planning projects. Social media has been a very important channel to access, disseminate and share information. Workshops are an important approach to producing final project reports. Face-to-face discussion and information exchange play a critical role in the formulation of new strategies.

Research limitations/implications

This is a case study with data collected from only one company in China. Some of the results may not be generalizable. However, it adds new knowledge to ISB research in enterprise, informs people how to provide better information services for strategic planners, and informs MBA education for students’ better information-seeking skills.

Originality/value

Though myriad studies on ISB, little research has been done to examine strategic planners’ ISB from a business context, especially taking into account the effect of work-task types and stages.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 75 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Isto Huvila

Both task‐based and work‐oriented research approaches have proved their value in information science research. A task is a workable analytical unit of human activity…

Abstract

Purpose

Both task‐based and work‐oriented research approaches have proved their value in information science research. A task is a workable analytical unit of human activity, which brings the level of explication close enough to cater for individual actions and their consequences. Similarly, work and work roles have been effective concepts at explicating the broad patterns of professional information activity. Major issues of the existing approaches are the difficulty of conceptualising the contexts of tasks and the relatively high level of abstraction of a work level scrutiny. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how the concepts of “work”, “work role” and “task” might be integrated into a common research agenda. It is suggested that the explication of work and work roles might serve in providing additional understanding on the formation of the purposes, meanings and values, which guide the shaping of the activities conceptualised as tasks.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue is discussed in general with a reference to an empirical study of information work of archaeology professionals informed by the notion of work role.

Findings

It is suggested that the broader notions of work and work roles are useful concepts for explicating the context of more specific tasks.

Research limitations/implications

The suggested approach brings together task and workwork role‐based research and provides a basis for exploring human information activity from a broader perspective than before and thus improving the general understanding of why and how information is used as it is used.

Practical implications

The study provides an approach to conceptualise the ways how people work with information and lays the ground for improving information management and organisation practices.

Originality/value

There has been little prior discussion about integrating the task and work‐based approaches. The paper suggests that the explication of work and work roles might serve in providing additional understanding on the formation of the purposes, meanings and values, which guide the shaping of the activities conceptualised as tasks.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 64 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Karen A. Jehn, Frank R. C. De Wit, Manuela Barreto and Floor Rink

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of asymmetric perceptions of task conflict (i.e. one person experiencing more conflict than the other) on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of asymmetric perceptions of task conflict (i.e. one person experiencing more conflict than the other) on the anticipated relationship with the partner, as well as subjective and objective performance.

Design/methodology/approach

In a 2 × 2 between-participants experimental design, we manipulated participants’ perception of task conflict (perceive task conflict vs does not perceive task conflict) and the perceptual conflict composition of their group (asymmetry vs symmetry). Participants were randomly allocated to each of the four experimental conditions. Eighty-four psychology students at a Dutch university participated (25 men and 59 women; average age = 21).

Findings

Results show that when individuals realize that they have asymmetric task conflict perceptions, they have lower expectations about having a positive relationship with their partner and perform worse compared to when they have symmetric task perceptions (i.e. both experiencing either low or high levels of conflict).

Originality/value

Past research on conflict has not often taken into account that individuals involved in a conflict can experience different amounts of conflict. By conducting an experimental study, in contrast to past research on conflict asymmetry, we can better understand the causal relationship between (a)symmetry of conflict and outcomes. We also provide insight into the mediating chain that examines how conflict asymmetry interferes with work processes and leads to negative work outcomes.

Details

International Journal of Conflict Management, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1044-4068

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Article

John S. Evans

A striking feature of Jaques' work is his “no nonsense” attitude to the “manager‐subordinate” relationship. His blunt account of the origins of this relationship seems at…

Abstract

A striking feature of Jaques' work is his “no nonsense” attitude to the “manager‐subordinate” relationship. His blunt account of the origins of this relationship seems at first sight to place him in the legalistic “principles of management” camp rather than in the ranks of the subtler “people centred” schools. We shall see before long how misleading such first impressions can be, for Jaques is not making simplistic assumptions about the human psyche. But he certainly sees no point in agonising over the mechanism of association which brings organisations and work‐groups into being when the facts of life are perfectly straightforward and there is no need to be squeamish about them.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 15 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article

Arthur Taylor

The purpose of this paper is to better understand the dynamic nature of the relevance judgment process and the influence of work task on that process.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to better understand the dynamic nature of the relevance judgment process and the influence of work task on that process.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical study reported here examined the information seeking behavior of a group of undergraduate college students assigned a set of research assignments (work tasks). Subjects recorded their selection of documents used for an assignment and the criteria used to judge those documents relevant. Statistical analysis was used to associate relevance judgments and the criteria used to make those judgments with work tasks.

Findings

Findings indicate a strong statistical association between work task and criteria used to judge relevance. Findings also include identification of specific criteria used to judge relevance and the relative importance of those criteria based on frequency of selection of criteria for a work task.

Research limitations/implications

Findings provide additional insights into the dynamic nature of the relevance judgment process. Relevance judgment influences revealed in these findings in the form of criteria used to make relevance judgments further explicate the relevance judgment process and provide suggestions for the improvement of information retrieval systems and information literacy efforts.

Originality/value

Understanding the relevance judgment process is critical to understanding information behavior in general. Few studies have examined relevance criteria selections as part of the relevance judgment process and fewer still have studied these selections in relation to work tasks. A better understanding of this relationship is an essential part of understanding the dynamic nature of the relevance judgment process and its influences.

Details

Journal of Documentation, vol. 69 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0022-0418

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Article

Jalil Heidary Dahooie, Abbas Afrazeh and Seyed Mohammad Moathar Hosseini

This study attempts to identify the different types of activities that comprise a worker's job, and provide a framework for quantitative definition and segmentation of

Abstract

Purpose

This study attempts to identify the different types of activities that comprise a worker's job, and provide a framework for quantitative definition and segmentation of knowledge works (KWs).

Design/methodology/approach

Every KW has two main parts: working with knowledge and establishing communication. Thus, in order to provide an exact definition for the KW it is necessary to calculate the knowledge intensity score of a job (JKIS) and communication intensity score of a job (JCIS). For determining these two parameters precisely, jobs were broken hierarchically to tasks and then activities. To identify these activities, an initial list of activities mentioned in the literature was created and then completed with generalized work activities of O*NET. A six‐step framework for calculating of JKIS and JCIS was proposed and finally, different groups of knowledge workers (KWrs) with respect to JKIS and JCIS were identified by using a clustering method.

Findings

This article shows how KW can be defined and segmented based on two dimensions (i.e. knowledge intensity score of a job (JKIS) and communication intensity score of a job (JCIS)). The proposed framework was used to analyze 133 jobs in 11 organizations. Practicality and validity of framework were examined based on this empirical study.

Research limitations/implications

This study is a base for the identification of appropriate managerial frameworks corresponding to each discovered group of KWrs. Using more data can improve the results obtained in this study.

Practical implications

This work emphasizes the importance of defining and clustering KW and proposes a practical method for this aim.

Originality/value

A new framework for the quantification of KW is proposed. This framework is supported by five principles inferred from the literature.

Details

Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 15 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1367-3270

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