Chapter 16 work design technology
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Chapter 16: Work Design & Technology. Technology in the workplace affects employee behavior in a variety of ways… Continuous Improvement Processes The goal is to continuously reduce/eliminate variations from a set of standards to lower costs, reduce errors and improve quality.

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Chapter 16: Work Design & Technology

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Chapter 16: Work Design & Technology

  • Technology in the workplace affects employee behavior in a variety of ways…

  • Continuous Improvement Processes

    The goal is to continuously reduce/eliminate variations from a set of standards to lower costs, reduce errors and improve quality.

  • Processes Reengineering

    Start with a “clean sheet of paper” and re-think/re-design everything in terms of the processes used in operations. Distinctive competencies define what it is that an organization does better than its competition


Technology (cont…)

Mass Customization

  • Mass production: Using division of labor, standardization, and automated processes to manufacture products in large quantities.

  • Mass customization: Processes that are flexible enough to create products and services that are individually tailored to individual customers (e.g., built to order products)


OB in an E-World

  • E-commerce: the sales side of electronic business

  • E-business: the full breadth of activities included in a successful internet-based enterprise

  • E-organization: a profit or

  • Internet: a worldwide network of interconnected computers.

  • Intranets: an organization’s private internet

  • Extranet: extended intranets accessible


Selected Implications for Individual & Group Behavior

  • Motivation:

    • ex) “cyberloafing” = surfing non-job related sites during formal work hours

  • Ethics:

    • ex) electronic surveillance

  • Decision making (group):

    • ex) team-based e-organizations and decision making

  • Communication:

    • ex) virtual meetings (e.g. WebEx)

  • Politics/networking:

    • ex) cyber-schmoozing


  • Requisite Task Attributes Theory

    Job complexity (variety, autonomy, responsibility, knowledge & skills, required social interaction, optional social interaction) relates to satisfaction and absenteeism.

    Why is this theory useful? We learned that employees respond differently to different types of jobs, a preliminary set of task attributes can be assessed, and individual differences should be considered in terms of employee reactions to jobs.


The Job Characteristics Model

  • Identifies 5 job characteristics and their relationship to personal and work outcomes. The 5 core job dimensions (split as “high” or “low” for each) are:

    • Skill variety

    • Task identity

    • Task significance

    • Autonomy

    • Feedback


Job Characteristics Model

  • The bottom line:

    • people who work on jobs with high-core job dimensions are….

    • generally more motivated, satisfied and productive than those who do not….

    • he core job dimensions lead to personal and work outcomes through “critical psychological states” and “employee growth-need strength” and not directly.


Social Information Processing (SIP) Model

  • Employees adopt attitudes and behaviors about their jobs (for better or worse) in response to the social cues provided by others with whom they have contact.


Work Redesign Options

  • Job Rotation (or what many call cross-training)

    The periodic shifting of a worker from one task to another.

  • Job Enlargement

    The horizontal expansion of jobs.

  • Job Enrichment

    The vertical expansion of jobs (it increases the degree to which employees control the planning, execution and evaluation of his/her work)


Work Space Design

  • Size (i.e., square feet per employee) - used to be linked to status.

  • Arrangement – (i.e., distance between people and facilities – you tend to interact more with those who are close to you in terms of where they work)

  • Privacy – (i.e., the presence or absence of walls, partitions, cubes - about 40 million US workers work in cubicles),

  • Feng Shui – (i.e., an ancient Chinese system for arranging a person’s surroundings so they are in harmony/balance with nature. Goal = maximize “Chi” or life force)


Work Schedule Options

  • Flextime (i.e. flexible work hours) workers must be at their jobs during “core” hours but can either start early and leave early or start late and leave late

  • Job Sharing (i.e. having 2 or more employees split a 40 hour work week). This can be done by splitting each day (i.e. working from 8am-12noon and another employee works 1pm to 5pm) or by splitting the week (i.e. working Monday thru Wed and another employee works Wed thru Friday).

  • Telecommuting – working from home via a computer linked to the office. This is often associated with a “virtual” office.


Summary and Implications for Managers

  • Technology is changing people’s jobs and their work behavior.

  • Quality management can increase employee stress as individuals discover performance expectations are constantly being increased.

  • Reengineering is eliminating millions of jobs and completely reshaping the jobs of those who remain.

  • Mass customization require employees to learn new skills and accept increased responsibilities.

  • E-organizations can create distractions for workers and is changing communication within organizations

  • An understanding of work design can help managers design jobs that positively affect employee motivation.

  • Work conditions and design variables can directly influence employee satisfaction

  • Alternative work schedule options have grown in popularity and are important tools in changing workplaces.


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