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MOTIVATING BY JOB DESIGN: The Job Characteristics Model

The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT), also referred to as Core Characteristics Model was
developed by J. Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, is broadly used as a framework to study
how particular job characteristics impact job outcomes, including job satisfaction. The theory
states that we can describe any job in terms of five core characteristics.
Monsters University embodies an organization with five core dimensions as follows:
1. Skill variety
In the movie, monster students were able to show different tactics/techniques of scaring
children. Their scaring skills were put to test in the Scare Games, a competition with variety of
challenges which represents a part of a job of future Scarer.
Such challenges are Toxicity Challenge, wherein the players must run through a sewer tunnel in
the dark, avoiding the stinging glow urchins just as a Scarer has to avoid "toxic" toys and
clothes in a children's room; Avoid the Parents, where they need to grab their team's flag from a
statue and get out, all without disturbing the librarian just like a scarer in avoiding not to get
caught by the parents; Dont Scare the Teens wherein they need to avoid scaring teens; Hide
and Sneak, players must hide in the fraternity house from a referee and escape without getting
found like what the scarer do, keeping himself hidden not to get caught and finally the
Simulated Scare Challenge which will prove how scary they are.
Based on the JCT Model, skill variety is the degree to which a job requires a variety of different
activities in carrying out the work using a number of different skills and talents. Jobholders can
experience more meaningfulness in jobs that require several different skills and abilities than
when the jobs are just basic and routine.

2. Task identity
Each monster student go head to head in the Scare Simulators, read and interpret the mock
child-information, choose and perform an appropriate scare-techniques and then scare the
dummy children as much as they can, on the highest difficulty level. The team that reaches the
most combined scream-energy wins the challenge and the Scare Games.
In this theory, task identity is defined as the degree to which a job requires completion of a
whole and identifiable piece of work. That means doing a job from beginning to end with evident
outcomes. Workers who are involved in the entire process experience more meaningfulness in
a job rather than just being responsible for a part of the work.

3. Task significance
In order to provide all citizens in Monstropolis with energy, monsters have to scare children so
that they scream. The screams are then collected in special canisters for use as energy. The
factory where the monster/scarer work is an immense facility equipped to fulfill the needs of its
Task significance is the degree to which a job has substantial impact and greatly affects the
lives or work of other people, whether those people are in the immediate organization or in the
world at large. Job that substantially improves either psychological or physical well-being of
others scores higher when it comes to task significance than a job that has small and limited
effect on anyone else.

4. Autonomy
In every Scare Games challenge, students were given the freedom on how they will carry out
their strategies without breaking the rules. They get a riddles/ rhymes which provides them a
clue on what the event will be and where it will take place. They have the discretion whether to
prepare and train hard for the challenge or not before it takes place.
As defined in the JCT model, Autonomy is the degree to which a job provides substantial
freedom, independence, and discretion to the individual in scheduling work and determining the
procedures in carrying it out. For jobs with a high level of autonomy, the outcomes of the work
depend on the workers own efforts, initiatives, and decisions; rather than on the instructions
from a manager or a manual of job procedures. In such cases, the jobholders experience
greater personal responsibility for their own successes and failures at work.

5. Feedback
In the Scare Program of the university, the dean of the school, Abigail Hardscrabble, a
legendary Scarer believes that scariness is the true measure of a monster. She let the students
know how high her expectations are. She explains that there will be a final exam at the end of
the semester, and failure will result in being kicked out of the program.
After the game, Sully confessed to Hardscrabble that he cheated in the Scare Games final
challenge. Hardscrabble is outraged and wants him off campus. Mike also has been expelled for
activating the door and entering the Human World that is strictly prohibited.
At the end of the movie, Hardscrabble has allowed the other team members of the Oozma
Kappa into the scare program since she was impressed by the teams performance in the
games. She also shows a great impression with Mike and Sully after surprising her for
something that hasn't been done before. As such, she said that she will look out for more
surprises in the program. Regretfully, she can't do anything more for them, but wishes them
goodluck, telling Mike to "keep surprising people."

In the Job Characteristics theory, feedback is defined as the degree to which carrying out work
activities generates direct and clear information about the effectiveness of the individuals
performance. When workers receive clear, actionable information about their work performance,
they have better overall knowledge of the effect of their work activities, and what specific actions
they need to take in order to improve their performance.
The core dimensions mentioned above affect three critical psychological states of the workers
doing the job. The first three dimensions (skill variety, task identity, and task significance)
combine to create meaningful work viewed as valuable, important and worthwhile. Additionally,
jobs with high autonomy give incumbents a feeling of personal responsibility for the outcome
and knowledge of the actual results (feedback) will let employees know how effectively they are
performing with their job. Depicted as a process flow, the dimensions and psychological states
operate in continuous feedback loop that allows employees to continue to be motivated by
thoroughly owning and understanding the work in which they are involved.
From a motivational standpoint, the JCM recommends that individuals gain internal rewards
when they learn (knowledge of results) that they personally (experienced responsibility) have
performed well on the job that they care about (experienced meaningfulness).
Therefore, the objective was to design the job in such a way that the core dimensions
complement the psychological states of the worker and lead to positive outcomes. The more
these three psychological states are present, the greater will be employees motivation,
performance, and satisfaction, and the lower their absenteeism and probability of leaving.
Analyses of studies of the model provide some backing for the legitimacy of the Job
Characteristics Theory.

Boundless. Job Characteristics Theory. Boundless Management. Boundless, 26 May. 2016.
Retrieved 24 Sep. 2016 from
Hackman, J. R. & Oldham, G. R. (2005). How job characteristics theory happened. The Oxford
handbook of management theory: The process of theory development, 151-170