Basics of Work Study / Job Design / Work Measurement

• Objectives of Job Design • Job design refers to the process through which tasks are structured to improve the efficiency and productivity of the workers. Managers design jobs to minimize worker inputs (time and physical effort) and maximize their output. Job design should be technically, behaviorally and economically feasible for workers as well as the organization. • The three types of feasibility are

Technical feasibility The set of duties or tasks assigned to a worker should be designed to keep the workload at a convenient level, i.e. the workload for each worker should be within the reasonable limits of his skills, and physical and mental ability. Job design should take into consideration the machinery and equipment required to perform the job. The organization should provide the necessary machinery and equipment that performs the desired tasks. Further, employees should be selected and trained to achieve the goals and objectives set forth by the organization.

Economic feasibility The primary objective of a business organization is to make profits. In order to earn profits, organizations need to control their coasts, and other expenditure as well. The costs associated with purchasing materials, maintaining stocks, compensating employees, and the costs of providing necessary equipment to perform jobs should be such that it is economical to carry out production activities at the required production levels.

Behavioral feasibility The nature of duties and responsibilities that characterize a job influence the perception jobholders have of themselves and their perception of others. When an important responsibility is delegated to a worker, this enhances his selfesteem and motivates and stimulates him to work harder. Job design needs to take these behavioral factors into consideration, as behavioral traits and attitudes of people have a significant impact on the effectiveness of an organization.

• CONSIDERATIONS IN JOB DESIGN • Some of the important components of effective job design are :

Job Content It is the central aspect of job design. It defines the set of activities to be performed on the job. These include the duties, tasks and job responsibilities to be carried out by the jobholder, the equipment, machines and tools to be used, and the required formal interaction with others. The extent to which tasks can or should be defined differs from job to job. For instance, in traditional and repetitive jobs like those performed workers on an assembly line, all tasks that are to be performed can be clearly listed and elaborately specified.

On the other hand, it is difficult to define the job of an executive in exact terms as the duties encompass a much wider range of tasks that are performed in different ways to meet unanticipated and dynamic business situations.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Job Design Advantages Ease in recruitment new workers because fewer skills are required. Lower production time or higher productivity by the learning curve effect due to repetition. Lower wage rates due to lower levels of skills requirement and ease of substitutability of labor. Ease of supervision and training the workers. Simple work instructions and easy production control because of consistence in work assignment. Scope for higher degree of mechanization or automation.

Disadvantages Lower flexibility; in the absence of a worker, it is difficult to shift workload to any of the available workers as they do not possess variety of skills. Lower work satisfaction, as the work is monotonous and boring. Hidden costs of worker dissatisfaction that result from high employee turnover and absenteeism. Reduced scope for improving because of workers’ limited perspective. Higher chances of workers getting local muscular fatigue as the same muscles are used in performing the task.

Job Analysis investigates the job content, the physical conditions in which the job is done and the qualifications that are necessary to carry out job responsibilities. Job analysis aims at setting out the nature of duties to be performed, the scope of responsibilities and all the other information relating to job content.

Job Description Describes the tasks, duties and responsibilities of a job. It includes information: 1.Regarding the job content, 2.The job requirements in terms of the necessary and desirable qualification, 3.Work experience, t 4.He mental and physical effort involved, 5.The scope of responsibilities, 6.Nature of reporting relationships and so on.

• Job Rotation • A worker doing the same task for a considerable period of time, loses motivation and interest in the job due to monotony and boredom. • Further, with time, the job does not provide any new challenges to the worker. • To avoid such situation, job rotation is used; where in a worker is transferred form one job to another for an appropriate period of time. • This avoids the monotony and boredom of a single job and provides the worker with new challenges. • Another advantage is that the employee acquires multiple skills.

Job Enlargement Job enlargement is the process of expanding the scope of the task or job assigned to a worker, by adding new responsibilities and tasks, which are similar to the existing task. It is also called horizontal loading, as new responsibilities added are of a similar skill level. When an employee performs specialized tasks routinely with little or no variation over a considerable length of time, he often loses interest in the job. To avoid this, management try to enlarge the scope of certain jobs by incorporating more variety into the job and increasing the number of tasks involved in the completion of the job.

• Job Enrichment • In contrast to job enlargement where the scope of the job is expanded horizontally, job enrichment involves the vertical expansion of a job. • Instead of bringing in more similar tasks that require similar skill levels, the employee is given a say in the management decisionmaking process or is involved in planning, coordinating, designing, etc.

Empowerment Empowerment is an extension of the job enrichment process. Here, the employee is given full trust of the management and considerable autonomy and responsibility in this job. An empowered employee feels a part owner of the organization and performs his best for the organization.

• WORK METHODS • Work methods are studied through the construction of charts like • operations charts, • worker-machine charts, • simultaneous motion charts • and activity charts.

• WORK MEASUREMENT TECHNIQUES • The main purpose of work measurement is to find the standard time for a job. • The different techniques used in work measurement are • time study, • historical analysis, • standard data, • work sampling • and predetermined motion time data systems.

Time Study Time study is used to identify time standards for a particular job performed by a competent worker under standard conditions. The time is recorded using a time watch or by studying the video clip of the job execution.

Prerequisites for time studies are The job selected should be standardized, i.e. it should employ standard tools and materials. The worker whose performance is going to be observed for setting time standards, should be competent in using proper work methods, and should be an average performer ( i.e. he should be representative of all the workers doing the job).

The steps involved in time study are described below: Job identification and division The job that is to be timed as selected. It should be standard in terms of equipment and materials. This job is then divided into a convenient number of element tasks. Elemental tasks thus identified should have identifiable break points (starting and ending points), so that the time taken for the completion of such tasks can be measured accurately.

Pace rating the worker It is wrong to assume that the average of the observations made always represents the time required to perform each elemental task. When workers are aware that their performance is being recorded, they often behave differently from usual. Some may become nervous, or resentful, resulting in a slowing down of their pace of work.

Computing the normal time • The normal time that is required to perform a job by an average worker is then computed based on the average cycle time and the worker rating. Normal time = Average Cycle Time x Worker Rating

Applications for work sampling are: Ratio Delay: This refers to find the activity time percentage for an employee or equipment. Ratio delay shows the percentage of time an employee or equipments was occupied or idle.

Performance Measurement: Performance standards can be identified to evaluate employee performance. These performance measurements help management set goals and objectives for employees. Time standards: This refers to identification of the standard time for the completion of a task. Management uses these time standards in generating time schedules and assigning tasks.

Historical Analysis Setting work standards by using scientific methods like work sampling and time study is not always economical for an organization. But setting work standards helps improve the performance and management, and hence is vital for the success of an organization.

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