The chosen article “Designing jobs: Universal principles or strategic choice?” by D. Mortimer and C. O’Connor, explores the subject of job redesign in the context of various management theories and concepts. The primary goal of the article was to determine whether job redesign should apply to all organizations or be used as a strategic tool depending on the company’s strategy and management characteristics. The present paper will seek to summarize the article and provide a critical reflection on it, focusing on the methodology, content, and application to business management.
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The authors use a qualitative methodology based on the conceptual review of scholarly literature. Mortimer and O’Connor (2014) do not provide details of the methodology including the sampling and data analysis procedures, which limits the opportunity to analyze the article and their research. Based on the content of the article, it appears that the authors selected resources based on their applicability to the chosen topic and subjective measures of value. For instance, the article involves sources by famous management theorists, such as Herzberg, as well as studies based on various business management theories. The survey on which the article is based did not focus on a particular company, and thus it is not possible to identify how the authors’ selection criteria relate to hiring at the organization.
The contents of the article provide a well-rounded view of job design and its impact on employee motivation based on a variety of theories. First, the authors consider job redesign as a strategy for work enrichment, using Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory as frameworks (Mortimer & O’Connor, 2014). They then use the socio-technical systems approach to show that job design has some positive influence on workgroups, but they are limited by the organizational context. The third approach used by the authors to analyze the concept is the social action theory, and they conclude that some companies would benefit from job redesign (Mortimer & O’Connor, 2014). Finally, the best-fit approach yields similar results, showing that job redesign is not applicable to all organizational contexts.
The authors’ findings show that job redesign could be used as part of the company’s strategy for improving workforce skills, motivation, and culture in some industries, but it is not a universal tool. The results are in line with the contemporary approach to job redesign, which seeks to apply it to solve specific workforce issues, including stress, low performance, and job dissatisfaction (Fila, Paik, Griffeth, & Allen, 2014; Tripp, Riemenschneider, & Thatcher, 2016). However, the discussion in the article is limited by the study’s design and scope. While considering the theoretical applications of job redesign is essential, the article examines only five approaches. Since the study was designed as a literature review, it would be beneficial for the authors to discuss a broader range of theories and examine how the value of job redesign applies to them.
All in all, in the big picture, the authors’ results mean that job redesign is not the ultimate solution for workforce issues in all types of businesses. Instead, companies should consider using it to address specific workforce problems, and only when job redesign fits in with their strategy. In order to expand on the results, it is necessary to compare the effects of job redesign in different business contexts and settings. Future research could thus contribute to knowledge in this area by carrying out experimental studies on job redesign. This would help managers and scholars to apply the results of the article to practice and make informed decisions about using job redesign.
Fila, M. J., Paik, L. S., Griffeth, R. W., & Allen, D. (2014). Disaggregating job satisfaction: Effects of perceived demands, control, and support. Journal of Business and Psychology, 29(4), 639-649.
Mortimer, D., & O’Connor, C. (2014). Designing jobs: Universal principles or strategic choice? International Employment Relations Review, 20(2), 48-68.
Tripp, J. F., Riemenschneider, C., & Thatcher, J. B. (2016). Job satisfaction in agile development teams: Agile development as work redesign. Journal of the Association for Information Systems, 17(4), 267-307.