Designing Jobs

Job design is the first fundamental building block for an organization and determines the level of individual responsibilities and functions of work related tasks in the organization (Griffin, 2013). The process of job design can be described as the specification of the contents, methods, and relationships of jobs in order to satisfy technological and organizational requirements as well as the social and personal requirements of the job holder. Job design primarily focuses on designing the process of transformation of inputs into outputs and evaluates the human resource factors that impact that transformation.


Job specialization evolves from the concept of the division of labor providing organizations four main benefits which consist of workers becoming extremely proficient at each task, task times decrease increasing productivity, narrowly defined jobs make it easier to develop specialized equipment to assist with the position, and when the need to replace a specialized employee arises management is able to train a replacement at a relatively low cost. Management must consider negative impacts of specialization as employee performance and turnover may increase due to boredom or lack of stimulation in the position, as well as work quality may be reduced. Alternatives to specialization allow managers to achieve a balance between production efficiency and individual needs of workers reducing monotony and providing a stimulating work environment. Job rotation cross trains employees in various positions in the organization, moving the employee from one job to another which may break up monotony and provides management with flexibility as employees skills increase which can help lower costs or allow management to sift task responsibilities to employees as required to meet the organization’s needs. Job enlargement consists of increasing a worker’s job duties which lowers job dissatisfaction by providing a larger variety of work which breaks up monotony of repetitive tasks. Conversely, Job enrichment builds on increasing the work variety and delegates control to employees to build a sense of responsibility and increasing employee opportunity for advancement. Work teams arrangements provide also can provide an alternative to specialization as the team assigns tasks to team members, monitors, and controls its own performance and manages its work schedule.


Departmentalization is the second building block of organizational structure relying on rationale to group jobs in a logical structure that fits the organization span of control allowing for effective oversight by a department manager. Functional departmentalization groups jobs of similar activities such as manufacturing, sales, accounting, and shipping departments as examples. Product departmentalization is a grouping activity that centers around product or product groups providing ease of integration, enhanced decision making for managers, and assessing product lines is made easier and improves accountability of departments for the results of their activities (Griffin, 2013).

Establishing Reporting Relationships

This is the third building block of organizing which defines the reporting relationships between positions in the organization. The chain of command is simply the order in which authority and power in an organization is delegated from top management down to every employee in each level of the organization. Within the chain of command instructions flow downward and accountability flows upward. The more clearly defined the chain of command is developed relates directly to how effective the decision making process and efficiency will be.

Narrow versus wide spans

Span of control refers to the number of employees that report to a manager in the chain of command and basically there are two types. Narrow span of control provides the manager the ability to communicate quickly and control employees under them more easily. Feedback from employees is increased due to fewer employees per manager and managerial skill required to be effective is lower because of fewer subordinates. Wide span of control requires fewer managers resulting in lower operating costs and with less layers of management information reaches employees faster.

Tall versus Flat organizations

Large complex organizations tend to utilize a tall hierarchy with multiple layers of management and a narrow span of control, which tends to be more expensive to operate compared to a flat hierarchy which employees fewer layers of management.

Distributing Authority

Managers cannot perform all the tasks assigned to them and meet assigned targets, quotas, or goals. Managers must delegate authority downward to subordinates entrusting them to perform tasks that the manager is responsible for. Delegation defined is subdivision and sub allocation of power to subordinates in order to achieve effective results.

Delegation Process

Managers must delegate to get more work done and meet assign objectives. This is accomplished by providing subordinates with the authority to allocate organizational resources, make decisions, and take charge by ordering other employees to perform tasks to meet the overall organization’s objectives.

  • Steps in the delegation process
  • Problems with delegation

By Brett Brooks


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