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Assignment 1 Words: 4013 Submitted: Wed Aug 10 2011 Mark submitted by Author “In the current business environment, what role do job design and workforce diversity play in attempts to improve individual and organizational performance.” Human Resource Management (HRM 502) 1st visit to Welcome!

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Assignment 1

Words: 4013 Submitted: Wed Aug 10 2011 Mark submitted by Author

In the current business environment, what role do job design and workforce diversity play in attempts to improve individual and organizational performance.

Human Resource Management (HRM 502)

1st visit to Welcome! As a welcome gift, you are viewing the the complete version of this essay, to view other documents in full you will need to become a subscriber.

Zaved MannanD-6 Tower Bhaban, Fuller Road Dhaka University Campus Dhaka 1000 Bangladesh

Student ID: 11320053

Date: 29.08.2010

Charles Sturt UniversityAustralia

Table of Contents



Job Design Defined


Workforce Defined


Workforce Diversity Defined


Performance Management


Role of Job Design in attempts To Improve Performance 9

Job Specialization




Job Enlargement


Job Enrichment


Job Characteristics Model




Role of Workforce Diversity in Attempts to Improve Performance 15

High Quality Decision Making


Better Understanding and Service of Customers 15

More Satisfied Workforce


Higher Stock Prices


Lower Litigation Expenses


Higher Company Performance


Job Design and Workforce Diversity


Tracking Diversity Metrics and Diversity-Related Goals 18

Explicit Rewards for Increasing Diversity and Diversity Training Programs 19

Review Recruitment Practices







Appropriately managed diverse workforce can represent a resource to the firm. The diverse workforce may represent a unique combination of skills, experiences and attributes that is not easily replicable or appropriable. Several surveys and researches into effective diversity use and management suggests the difference inherent in a diverse workforce can be a positive influence on organizations, particularly in relation decision-making, innovation, creativity and globalization.

Job design is important to influence employee motivation. HR manager must consider motivational issues in designing jobs to achieve effective performance of both individual and organization. The first purpose of this review is to define and analyze few key HR concepts. Research on job design, workforce diversity and performance management will be reviewed. The second purpose of this review is to critically evaluate the role of both job design and workforce diversity in attempts to improve individual and organizational performance. The third purpose of this review is to integrate job design and workforce diversity. If HR managers design jobs in such way that promotes and manages workforce diversity in an organization, then both individual and organization will have improved performance in the current business environment.

Job Design DefinedA job consists of a related set of tasks that are carried out by a person to fulfill a purpose (Davis, 1966). Job design has been defined by Noe et al (2010) as: is the process of defining how work will be performed and the tasks that will be required in a given job. Job redesign refers to changing the tasks or the way work is performed in an existing job. Job design has two aims (Davis, 1966):

To satisfy the requirements of the organization for productivity,

operational efficiency and quality of product or service;

To satisfy the needs of the individual for interests, challenge and

accomplishments, thus providing for job engagement.

Clearly these aims are interrelated and the overall objective of job design is to integrate.

Job design influences employee motivation. Therefore, HR manager must consider motivational issues in designing jobs to achieve effective performance (Ramlall, 2004). The job designer can then consider how the jobs can be set up to provide the maximum degree of intrinsic motivation for those who have to carry them out with a view to improving performance and productivity (Wilsons, 1973). The outcome of job design may be a job description.

Workforce DefinedBartol at all (2010) defined workforce as is people employable by the organization. Organizations recruit employees from the external labor market. The external labor market includes persons actively seeking employment (Noe et al, 2010)

Workforce Diversity DefinedDiversity refers to the individuals visible and invisible distinguishing

characteristics (Bartol et al, 2010). Diverse workforce can be divided into two dimensions: primary and secondary dimensions. These two dimensions are described in table 1 (Bartol et al, 2010):

Table 1 Primary Dimensions Age Race Gender Physical ability Ethnicity Sexual orientation

Diversity of Dimensions Secondary Dimensions Education Religious beliefs Military Experience Geographic location Income Work background Parental status Marital status

According to Table 1, primary dimensions refers to those characteristics people possess when they born (e.g. race, age, gender) and secondary dimensions refers to those characteristics people acquired during a persons lifetime (e.g. education, marital status, income). There are always certain groups in any society that are discriminated against unfavorably due to the prejudices and preconceptions of the people with whom they have to deal. The effects of this can be seen in the employment arena. Disadvantaged groups who have already been identified are (Braham, P., Rhodes, E. and Pearn, M., 1981):

Women; People from other racial backgrounds; Disabled people; and

Older people.

The types of preconception that still affect the employment of these four groups are, for example, that women do not want too much responsibility at work or they are less reliable workers because of their home commitments; that employees would not want to work for a black supervisor; that the ability to fill out an application for in good English is an indication of an individuals potential to do a manual job; that someone who has suffered from mental illness will automatically crack up under the slightest pressure; that older people are less adaptable; and that they have become less interested in their careers (Braham, P., Rhodes, E. and Pearn, M., 1981).

Performance ManagementWhen managing the performance of individuals and organization both inputs (behavior) and outputs (results) need to be considered. This is the so called mixed model (Hartle, 1995) of performance management which covers competency levels and achievements as well as objectives setting and review. Therefore, Performance management in its fullest sense is based on the belief that everything that people do at work at any level contributes to achieving the overall purpose of the organizations. It is therefore concerned with what people do (their work), how they do it (their behavior) and what they achieve (their results) (Hartle, 1995).

Role of Job Design in Attempts to Improve Performance

Many of us assume the most important motivator at work is pay. However, studies point to a different factor as the major influence over worker motivation is job design. How a job is designed has a major impact on employee motivation, job satisfaction, commitment to an organization, absenteeism, and turnover. Job specialization There are a number of advantages to job specialization. Breaking tasks into simple components and making them repetitive reduces the skill requirements of the jobs and decreases the effort and cost of staffing. Training times for simple, repetitive jobs tend to be shorter as well. On the other hand, from a motivational perspective, these jobs are boring and repetitive and therefore associated with negative outcomes such as absenteeism (Campion, M. A., & Thayer, P. W., 1987). Rotation

When employees periodically move to different jobs, the monotonous aspects of job specialization can be relieved (Denton, D. K.,1994). Using this technique, among others, the company is able to reduce its turnover level. In a supermarket study, cashiers were rotated to work in different departments. As a result of the rotation, employees stress levels were reduced, as measured by their blood pressure. Moreover, they experienced less pain in their neck and shoulders (Rissen, D., Melin, B., Sandsjo, L., Dohns, I., & Lundberg, U., 2002).

Job rotation has a number of advantages for organizations. It is an effective way for employees to acquire new skills and in turn for organizations to increase the overall skill level of their employees (Campion, M. A., Cheraskin, L., & Stevens, M. J., 1994). In addition, job rotation is a way to transfer knowledge between departments (Kane, A. A., Argote, L., & Levine, J. M., 2005). Rotation may also have the benefit of reducing employee boredom. Anecdotal evidence suggests that companies successfully rotate high-level employees to train managers and increase innovation in the company. For example, Nokia uses rotation at all levels to bring a fresh perspective to old problems (Wylie, I., 2003). Wipro Ltd., Indias information technology giant uses a 3-year plan to groom future leaders of the company by rotating them through different jobs (Ramamurti, R., 2001).

Job enlargement By giving employees several different tasks to be performed, organizations hope to reduce boredom and monotony as well as utilize human resources more effectively. Research indicates that when jobs are enlarged, employees view themselves as being capable of performing a broader set of tasks (Parker, S. K., 1998). There is some evidence that job enlargement is beneficial, because it is positively related to employee satisfaction and higher quality customer services, and it increases the chances of catching mistakes (Campion, M. A., & McClelland, C. L., 1991). At the same time, job enlargement consisting of adding tasks that are very simple in nature had negative consequences on employee satisfaction with the job and resulted in

fewer errors being caught. Alternatively, giving employees more tasks that require them to be knowledgeable in different areas seemed to have more positive effects (Campion, M. A., & McClelland, C. L., 1993). Job Enrichment Job enrichment is a job redesign technique that allows workers more control over how they perform their own tasks. This approach allows employees to take on more responsibility. Companies using job enrichment may experience positive outcomes, such as reduced turnover, increased productivity, and reduced absences (McEvoy, G. M., & Cascio, W. F., 1985). This may be because employees who have the authority and responsibility over their work can be more efficient, eliminate unnecessary tasks, take shortcuts, and increase their overall performance. At the same time, there is evidence that job enrichment may sometimes cause dissatisfaction among certain employees (Locke, E. A., Sirota, D., & Wolfson, A. D., 1976). The reason may be that employees who are given additional autonomy and responsibility may expect greater levels of pay or other types of compensation, and if this expectation is not met they may feel frustrated. One more thing to remember is that job enrichment is not suitable for everyone (Cherrington, D. J., & Lynn, E. J., 1980). Job Characteristics Model The job characteristics model is one of the most influential attempts to design jobs with increased motivational properties (Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R., 1975). An integrated view (Robertson and Smith 1985) suggests that the following motivating characteristics are of prime importance in job design: Autonomy, discretion, self-control and responsibility;

Skill variety;

Use of abilities


Belief that the task is significant.

Task significance

Task identity

Interest and challenge

According to the job characteristics model, the presence of these core job dimensions leads employees to experience three psychological states: They view their work as meaningful, they feel responsible for the outcomes, and they acquire knowledge of results. These three psychological states in turn are related to positive outcomes such as overall job satisfaction, internal motivation, higher performance, lower absenteeism and turnover (Brass, D. J., 1985). Empowerment One of the contemporary approaches to motivating employees through job design is empowerment (Conger, J. A., & Kanungo, R. N., 1988). The idea behind empowerment is that employees have the ability to make decisions and perform their jobs effectively if management removes certain barriers. Employees who feel empowered believe that their work is meaningful. They tend to feel that they are

capable of performing their jobs effectively, have the ability to influence how the company operates, and can perform their jobs in any way they see fit, without close supervision and other interference. These liberties enable employees to feel powerful (Spreitzer, G. M., 1995). In cases of very high levels of empowerment, employees decide what tasks to perform and how to perform them, in a sense managing themselves. Empowerment of employees tends to be beneficial for organizations, because it is related to outcomes such as employee innovativeness, managerial effectiveness, employee commitment to the organization, customer satisfaction, job performance, and behaviors that benefit the company and other employees (Ahearne, M., Mathieu, J., & Rapp, A., 2005). At the same time, empowerment may not necessarily be suitable for all employees. Moreover, the idea of empowerment is not always easy to implement, because some managers may feel threatened when subordinates are empowered (Ahearne, M., Mathieu, J., & Rapp, A., 2005).

Role of Workforce Diversity in Attempts to Improve performance

Having a diverse workforce and managing it effectively have the potential to bring about a number of benefits to organizations.

High Qulaity Decision Making In a diverse work team, people will have different opinions and perspectives. In these teams, individuals are more likely to consider more alternatives and think outside the box when making decisions. When thinking about a problem, team members may identify novel solutions. Research shows that diverse teams tend to make higher quality decisions (McLeod, P., Lobel, S., & Cox, T. H., 1996). Better Understanding and Service of Customers A company with a diverse workforce may create products or services that appeal to a broader customer base. For example, PepsiCo Inc. was able to increase the percentage of women and ethnic minorities in many levels of the company, including

management. The company points out that in 2004, about 1% of the companys 8% revenue growth came from products that were inspired by the diversity efforts, such as guacamole-flavored Doritos chips and wasabi-flavored snacks (Hymowitz, C., 2005). A company with a diverse workforce may understand the needs of particular groups of customers better, and customers may feel more at ease when they are dealing with a company that understands their needs (Slater, S. F., Weigand, R. A., & Zwirlein, T. J., 2008). More Satisfied Workforce When employees feel that they are fairly treated, they tend to be more satisfied. On the other hand, when employees perceive that they are being discriminated against, they tend to be less attached

to the company, less satisfied with their jobs, and experience more stress at work (Sanchez, J. I., & Brock, P., 1996). Organizations where employees are satisfied often have lower turnover. Higher Stock Prices Companies that do a better job of managing a diverse workforce are often rewarded in the stock market, indicating that investors use this information to judge how well a company is being managed. For example, companies that receive an award from the U.S. Department of Labor for their diversity management programs show increases in the stock price in the days following the announcement. Conversely, companies that announce settlements for discrimination lawsuits often show a decline in stock prices afterward (Wright, P., Ferris, S. P., Hiller, J. S., & Kroll, M., 1995). Lower Litigation Expenses Companies doing a particularly bad job in diversity management face costly litigations. When an employee or a group of employees feel that the company is violating EEOC laws, they may file a complaint. Regardless of the outcome, these lawsuits are expensive and the resulting poor publicity also has a cost to the company. For example, in 1999, the Coca-Cola Company faced a race

discrimination lawsuit claiming that the company discriminated against African Americans in promotions. The company settled for a record $192.5 million (Lovel, J., 2003) As you can see, effective

management of diversity can lead to big cost savings by decreasing the probability of facing costly and embarrassing lawsuits. Higher Company Performance As a result of all these potential benefits, companies that manage diversity more effectively tend to outperform others. Research shows that in companies pursuing a growth strategy, there was a positive relationship between racial diversity of the company and firm performance (Richard, O. C., 2000). Companies ranked in the Diversity 50 list created by DiversityInc magazine performed better than their counterparts (Slater, S. F., Weigand, R. A., & Zwirlein, T. J., 2008). And, in a survey of 500 large companies, those with the largest percentage of female executives performed better than those with the smallest percentage of female executives (Weisul, K., 2004).

Job Design and Workforce Diversity

What can organizations do to manage workforce diversity more effectively through dob design? In the most successful companies, starting from top management and including the lowest levels in the hierarchy, each person understands the importance of respecting others. If this respect is not part of an organizations culture, no amount of diversity training, job desinging or other programs are likely to be effective. Considersing these facts, HR manager can include following aspects when they

design or redisgn job. These aspects will improve workforce diversity in an organization. Tracking Diversity Metrics and Diversity-Related Goals Job desing should make the managers accountable for diversity. People are more likely to pay attention to aspects of performance that are measured. In successful companies, diversity metrics are carefully tracked. For example, in PepsiCo, during the tenure of former CEO Steve Reinemund, half of all new hires had to be either women or minorities. Bonuses of managers partly depended on whether they had met their diversity-related goals (Yang, J. L., 2006). When managers are evaluated and rewarded based on how effective they are in diversity management, they are more likely to show commitment to diversity that in turn affects the diversity climate in the rest of the organization. Explicit Rewards for Increasing Diversity and Diversity Training Programs A study of over 700 companies found that programs with a higher perceived success rate were those that occurred in companies where top management believed in the importance of diversity, where there were explicit rewards for increasing diversity of the company, and where managers were required to attend the diversity training programs (Rynes, S., & Rosen, B., 1995). Review Recruitment Practices Companies may want to increase diversity by targeting a pool that is more diverse. There are many minority professional groups such

as the National Black MBA Association or the Chinese Software Professionals Association. By building relations with these

occupational groups, organizations may attract a more diverse group of candidates to choose from. The auditing company Ernst & Young Global Ltd. increases diversity of job candidates E., by






Companies may also benefit from reviewing their employment advertising, selection procedures, tests and interviewing process to ensure that diversity is important at all levels of the company (Avery, D. R., 2003).


Early alternatives to job specialization include job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment. Research shows that there are five job components that increase the motivating potential of a job: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Finally, empowerment is a contemporary way of motivating employees through job design. These approaches increase worker motivation and have the potential to increase performance for both individual and organization. Organizations managing diverse workforce effectively benefit from diversity because they achieve higher creativity, better customer service, higher job satisfaction, higher stock prices, lower litigation expenses and higher company performances.

Management of diversity effectively promises a number of benefits for employees and organizations. Organizations can manage workfroce diversity more effectively through job design by building a culture of respect, making managers accountable for diversity, creating diversity-training programs, reviewing recruitment practices, and under some conditions, utilizing affirmative action programs.