Work organisation and job desig

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[edit] Introduction

Job design is a general term covering various factors influencing the organisation of processes within a company, authority or organisation, or “work system” for short.

Every work system is characterised by the task it is intended to perform – to produce consumer goods or build a house, for example. Within a company, job design aligns technical and organisational processes with the capabilities and needs of the participants and the requirements of the market.

Job design is geared towards performance of this task, and comprises two further components: work organisation and work structuring. Work structuring chiefly concerns internal processes and relationships within a work system. Processes are structured so that the task can be performance with as little disturbance as possible. Work structuring influences work organisation.

Work organisation is an output of job design. It describes how, to what extent and under what conditions people work with other people and with information and resources.

[edit] Varying conceptions of work organisation

In organisational theory there are a number of different conceptions of the term “work organisation”: the instrumental, the institutional, and the functional.

The instrumental conception: Here, the work organisation is viewed as a mesh of formal and informal rules. These rules interact and serve as the basis for performance of the work task. Examples include communication between people involved in work processes, as well as rules relating to working hours and staff remuneration.

The institutional conception: This conception focuses on a company’s organisation in the everyday sense of the term. It covers the establishment of internal structures such as hierarchies or responsibilities. The focus here is on the organisation of a company.

The functional conception: The third conception focuses on design of internal processes and relationships – that is to say on work structuring. One example is the establishment of responsibilities for an individual employee.

There are many different organisational theories, each with their own definitions. In practice, the above concepts often blend into one another and are rarely unambiguous.

Demographic change means that there is a particular need for action by companies in a number of areas relating to work organisation and job design. The Demographie Netzwerk ddn e.V. has identified five key questions for consideration by the “Work Organisation and Job Design” working group.

  1. Intergenerational cooperation: Younger and older employees working together on a task enhances mutual learning on the one hand and fosters the allocation of tasks regarding differing needs on the other hand.
  2. Motivational working conditions: Involving employees in the design of work processes can increase motivation.
  3. Maintenance of motivation und employability: To counteract high sickness or staff turnover rates, forms of work organisation are deployed in an attempt both to motivate employees over the longer term and maintain their employability via measures such as health promotion schemes.
  4. Flexible working time: Flexible working arrangements, such as part-time working, individual leave schemes and job-sharing arrangements, are particularly characteristic of “functional” work organisations.
  5. Integration of technological and social progress with the objectives of ageing-friendly job organisation: the external changes that influence the work system also necessitate ongoing change and adjustment of the work organisation.
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