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from the local university s business school. She immediately
In May 2011, Mississippi River flooding hit Vicksburg, had the old-timers fill out a job questionnaire that listed all
Mississippi, and the Optima Air Filter Company. Many their duties. Arguments ensued almost at once: Both Phil
employees homes were devastated, and the firm found that and Maybelline thought the old-timers were exaggerating to
it had to hire almost three completely new crews, one for make themselves look more important, and the old-timers
each of its shifts. The problem was that the old-timers had insisted that the lists faithfully reflected their duties.
known their jobs so well that no one had ever bothered to Meanwhile, the customers clamored for their filters.
draw up job descriptions for them. When about 30 new
employees began taking their places, there was general con- Questions
fusion about what they should do and how they should do 1. Should Phil and Linda ignore the old-timers protests
it. and write the job descriptions as they see fit? Why?
The flood quickly became old news to the firm s out- Why not? How would you go about resolving the
of- state customers, who wanted filters, not excuses. Phil differences?
Mann, 2. How would you have conducted the job analysis?
the firm s president, was at his wits end. He had about 30 What should Phil do now?
new employees, 10 old-timers, and his original factory
supervisor, Maybelline. He decided to meet with Linda
Lowe, a consultant

supply, and energy costs. In accomplishing that general
The Job Description aim, a specific store manager s duties and responsibilities
Based on her review of the stores, Jennifer concluded that include quality control, store appearance and cleanliness,
one of the first matters she had to attend to involved devel- customer relations, bookkeeping and cash management,
oping job descriptions for her store managers. cost control and productivity, damage control, pricing,
As Jennifer tells it, her lessons regarding job inventory con- trol, spotting and cleaning, machine
descriptions in her basic management and HR management maintenance, purchas- ing, employee safety, hazardous
courses were insufficient to fully convince her of the waste removal, human resource administration, and pest
pivotal role job descriptions actually play in the smooth control.
functioning of an enterprise. Many times during her first The questions that Jennifer had to address follow.
few weeks on the job, Jennifer found herself asking one of
her store managers why he was violating what she knew to Questions
be recommended company 1. What should be the format and final form of the store
policies and procedures. Repeatedly, the answers were manager s job description?
either 2. Is it practical to specify standards and procedures in
Because I didn t know it was my job or Because I didn the body of the job description, or should these be
t know that was the way we were supposed to do it. kept
Jennifer knew that a job description, along with a set of separate?
standards and 3. How should Jennifer go about collecting the informa-
procedures that specified what was to be done and how to tion required for the standards, procedures, and job
do it, would go a long way toward alleviating this problem. description?
In general, the store manager is responsible for 4. What, in your opinion, should the store manager s job
directing all store activities in such a way that quality description look like and contain?
work is pro- duced, customer relations and sales are
maximized, and profitability is maintained through
effective control of labor,


CASE A brief analysis, conducted with her company s CFO,
reinforced that observation. They chose departments across
Job Descriptions the hotel chain that did and did not have updated job
The Hotel Paris s competitive strategy is To use superior descrip- tions. Although they understood that many other
guest service to differentiate the Hotel Paris properties, factors might be influencing the results, they believed
and to thereby increase the length of stay and return rate of that the relationships they observed did suggest that
guests, and thus boost revenues and profitability. HR having job descriptions had a positive influence on
manager Lisa Cruz must now formulate functional policies various employee behaviors and competencies. Perhaps
and activities that sup- port this competitive strategy by having the descriptions facilitated the employee selection
eliciting the required employee behaviors and competencies. process, or perhaps the departments with the descriptions
As an experienced human resource director, the Hotel just had better managers.
Paris s Lisa Cruz knew that recruitment and selection She knew the Hotel Paris s job descriptions would have
processes invariably influenced employee competencies to include traditional duties and responsibilities. However,
and most should also include several competencies unique to
behavior and, through them, the company s bottom line. each job. For example, job descriptions for the front-desk
Everything about the workforce its collective skills, clerks might include able to check a guest in or out in 5
morale, experience, and motivation depended on attract- minutes or less. Most service employees descriptions
ing and then selecting the right employees. included the competency, able to exhibit patience and
In reviewing the Hotel Paris s employment systems, she guest supportiveness even when busy with other activities.
was therefore concerned that virtually all the company s
job descriptions were out of date, and that many jobs Questions
had no descriptions at all. She knew that without In teams or individually:
accurate job descriptions, all her improvement efforts 1. Based on the hotel s stated strategy, list at least four
would be in vain. impor- tant employee behaviors for the Hotel Paris s
After all, if you don t know a job s duties, staff.
responsibilities, and human requirements, how can you 2. If time permits, spend some time prior to class
decide who to hire or how to train them? To create human observing the front-desk clerk at a local hotel. In any
resource policies and practices that would produce case, create a job description for a Hotel Paris front-
employee competencies and behaviors needed to achieve desk clerk.
the hotel s strategic aims, Lisa s team first had to produce a
set of usable job descriptions.

workflow analysis, 108 position analysis
talent management,
business process reengineering, questionnaire (PAQ),
104 114
job analysis, 105 108
Standard Occupational
job description, 105 job enlargement, 109
Classification (SOC), 121
job specifications, 105 job rotation, 109 competency-based job
organization chart, 107 job enrichment, 109 analysis, 129
process chart, 107 diary/log, 114
1. Daimler is now expanding this plant; see 5. Ibid. 9. One writer calls job analysis, The hub of 6. ww l k roa d tech . co m , accessed Dec- virtually all human resource
ll- mercedes-benz-expected-to- ember 10, 2007. management activities necessary for the
expand- alabama-plant, accessed March 7. Software Facilitates Talent Management, successful func- tioning organizations.
http://m accessed August 20, Product News Network, May 18, 2007. Singh, Job Analysis for a Changing
2011. 8. For a good discussion of job analysis, see Work-
2. Survey: Talent Management a Top James Clifford, Job Analysis: Why Do place, Human Resource Management
Con- cern, CIO Insight, January 2, 2007. It, and How Should It Be Done? Review 18 (2008), p. 87.
3. Michael Laff, Talent Management: From Public Personnel Management 23, no. 2 10. Lindsay Chappell, Mercedes Factories
Hire to Retire, Training and Development, (Summer Embrace a New Order, Automotive
November 2006, pp. 42 48. 1994),
w w w. p pp.
a q .c321
o m /i340;
n d exand Job Analysis,
. cfm ?FuseAction= News, May 28, 2001. See also, www.
4. w w w . t a l e n t m a n a g e m e n t 1 0 1 . bulletins.job-analysis, accessed February 3, rc e d e s - b e n z - e x p e c t e d - t o-
c oaccessed
m, December 10, 2007. 2009. ex pa nd al - accessed March 25, 2009,