The job characteristics model
There are a number of theoretical approaches to wellbeing in occupational psychology. The job characteristics model was first proposed by two organisational psychologists, Oldham and Hackman, in 1975.
The theory proposes that job design impacts worker motivation, work performance and job satisfaction. It also describes the relationship that exists between a worker and the characteristics of a given job. More specifically, it outlines the conditions under which the employee will be motivated to perform effectively in the job.
The model comprises five core characteristics and three psychological states. An individual must experience all three psychological states in order for the desired outcome (motivation, performance) is to be achieved.
Adapted from Hackman, J. R., Oldham, G.R., Feishman, E.A. (1975)
The five core characteristics
1. Skill variety
The degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work, which involves the use of a number of different skills and talents of the employee.
2. Task identity
The degree to which the job requires completion of a ‘whole’ and identifiable piece of work - that is, doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome.
3. Task significance
The degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people - whether in the immediate organization or in the external environment
The degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence, and discretion to the employee in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
5. Feedback from the job itself
The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the employee obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance
The three critical psychological states
1. Experienced meaningfulness of the work
The degree to which the employee experiences the job as one which is generally meaningful, valuable and worthwhile.
2. Experienced responsibility for work outcomes of the work
The degree to which the employee feels personally accountable and responsible for the results of the work he or she does.
3. Knowledge of the actual results of the work activities
The degree to which the employee knows and understands, on a continuous basis, how effectively they are performing the job.
Hackman, J.R., Oldham, G.R., Feishman, E.A. (1975) ‘Development of the Job Diagnostic Survey’ Journal of Applied Psychology [online] 60 (2), 159–170. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=TN_apa_articles10.1037/h0076546&context=PC&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=Primo_Central&tab=remote&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]
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