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Brief history of traditional approaches to job design

11 May, 2016 - 11:43

Taylorism, also known as scientific management, is a foundation for management and managerial decisions. Frederick Taylor developed this theory in an effort to develop a “science” for every job within an organization (Taylorism).

Taylorism principles

Table 5.3 Taylorism

Create a standard method for each job.

Successfully select and hire proper workers.

Effectively train these workers.

Support these workers.


Hertzberg's Motivation-Hygiene theory attempts to uncover psychological needs of employees and enhance employee satisfaction. In regards to this theory employers are encouraged to design jobs that enhance and motivate employees beyond simply meeting a daily or weekly quota. This theory highlights the importance of rewards systems and monitoring when and how employees are rewarded. Simple recognition is often enough to motivate employees and increase job satisfaction (Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory).

More effective jobs can be created when specific goals are established. Goal setting theory as described by Edwin Locke mainly focuses on the motivational properties of task goals (Schermerhorn, Job Design Alternatives, 2006). Task goals can be highly motivating when set and managed properly. One of the problems with goal setting theory in job design is that individuals are more strongly motivated by establishing or setting their own personal goals. If organizations set these goals for their employees the effectiveness of this technique is diminished. Moreover, individuals are often times ineffective at setting personal goals (Godwin, Neck, & Houghton, 1999). If a company wants to implement goal setting theory with regards to job design than a reasonable job criteria and description must be established.