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Hackman and Oldham Dimensions of Motivating Potential

Hackman and Oldham (1975) divided the first Loci of Work Satisfaction intrinsic factors (The job itself) − into five dimensions. Any given job can be analyzed, utilizing these five dimensions for its motivating potential. The job can then be redesigned to eliminate what workers do not like. HACKMAN & OLDHAM'S FIVE DIMENSIONS OF MOTIVATING POTENTIAL 1. Skill variety - the degree to which a job requires a variety of challenging skills and abilities. 2. Task identity - the degree to which a job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work. 3. Task significance - the degree to which the job has a perceivable impact on the lives of others, either within the organization or the world at large. 4. Autonomy - the degree to which the job gives the worker freedom and independence in scheduling work and determining how the work will be carried out. 5. Feedback - the degree to which the worker gets information about the effectiveness of his or her efforts, either directly from the work itself or from others. Herzberg advocated the creation of "good" jobs, and Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham added to that concept by attempting to refine our understanding of what a "good job" actually looks like. In other words, what are the characteristics of motivating jobs? Further, they also suggested that different workers react differently to specific jobs (not quite the universal reaction posited by Herzberg). Hackman and Oldham's research led them to conclude that five key characteristics could be used to describe the motivating potential of a job. As noted above, these characteristics include: • • • • • skill variety, task identity task significance autonomy; and feedback

Feedback does not . to some extent. they found that workers who possessed what Hackman and Oldham called "high-growth needs" responded positively to high motivating potential jobs. the degree to which the job has an impact on the lives of other people. the immediate organization or the external environment. Autonomy Autonomy is the degree to which the jobholder is free to schedule the pace of his or her work and determine the procedures to be used Feedback Feedback involves the degree to which the individual doing a job obtains information about the effectiveness of his/her performance. Task Identity Task identity defines the extent to which a job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work. For a job to be intrinsically motivating. but they must be distinct enough to require different skills. Such activities must not merely be different. Motivating Potential Hackman and Oldham sought to "measure" the motivating potential of jobs. or talents. but those with low-growth needs did not. all five dimensions must be simultaneously present. Skill Variety Skill variety describes the degree to which a job requires the exercise of a number of different skills. Their research found that jobs scoring high on a combination of the five dimensions resulted in higher job satisfaction and productivity than jobs scoring low. Task Significance Task significance refers to the importance of the job.In addition to the five dimensions. to measure the extent that a job exhibits the five characteristics listed above. In other words. abilities.

(1993). experienced responsibility for outcomes of the work. L. Hackman concluded that failures in job redesign are almost as frequent as successes. Hackman and Oldham’s research led to the conclusion that "to the extent that a job contains these five characteristics. CA: Sage. but also the ability to observe the results of the work. and knowledge of the actual results of the work activities. . that reported increases in work quality have only occurred when productivity was low to begin with or when hidden inefficiencies previously existed in the system. organizational commitment as manifested by low turnover and absenteeism. 1993: 149-50). I. After completing his research. and performance quality. Cotton. Newbury Park. including feelings of satisfaction after performing well. Employee involvement: Methods for improving performance and work attitudes.only refer to supervisory feedback. These include internal work motivation. three psychological states are produced: experienced meaningfulness of the work. high internal work motivation exists" (Cotton. for example. work satisfaction. He found. Hackman cautions that job enrichment programs may not always achieve the desired effects. Hackman and Oldham assert that four main beneficial effects may result from well-designed jobs. mostly due to the complexity of the issues involved and the companies’ unwillingness to fully address the many prerequisites and constraints that can threaten the programs. To the degree that these psychological states are present.