The Effect of Job Design on Secretarial Performance

The Effect of Job Design on Secretarial Performance

This is the review of related literature on the effects of job design on a secretarial performance. Job design concerns the content, functions and relationships of jobs that are directed towards the accomplishment of organizational purpose and satisfaction of personal needs of the individual job holders. The literature review is drawn from various text, journals, past project and other related sources of information.


According to Fredric Taylor in his book the principle of scientific management published in 1991

Job design is one of the most important components of scientific management, it states that job should be simplified, standardized and specialized for each components of the required work. Job design format are breaking down into every small unit but workable units, the necessary procedures for performing the work units and teaching and motivating workers to perform their jobs under conditions of high efficiency.

He went further to state that the most important single element in modern scientific management is the task idea. The work of every workman is fully planned out by the management at least one day in advance and each man receives in most cases complete written instructions describing in detail the task specifies not only what is to be done but exact time allowed for doing it.

Porter (1999) stated that scientific management has a pervasive influence on the design of work in organizations. It will be determined by the situation an organization find itself within that time. A well designed job will not only make the employee to identify the organizational goals, but be inspired by its attractive design to be motivated within the organization.

According to Taylor (1998) the principal objective was to secure maximum prosperity for the employers couple with maximum prosperity for each employees. This idea was developed due to what he called “National Goldening among workers” this means the tendency of an average worker to work at a slow and easy rate. This tendency is increase by bringing a number of men together on similar work and at a uniform standard and rate of pay.

The scientific management approach to job design lays emphasis on

  • Task analysis
  • Selection
  • Training
  • Rewards
  • Goal setting


  1. The power values of specialization and repetitive operations
  2. Changing technology
  3. labor union policies
  4. Ability to represent personnel
  5. Available supply of potential employees
  6. The interaction requirements among job with system.
  7. Psychological and social needs of human being that can be met by the job.

Behavioral scientists have continually stressed the importance of designing jobs and systems of work in manner that will satisfy psychological and sociological needs of people. Specialization tend to greater productivity as well as ease of living. One is the most commonly cited human relations problems in this area of job design is employee dissatisfaction with the jobs that are repetitive narrow meaningless and routine. Engineering efficiency has led to the creation of production and assembly lines such lines have proved themselves on the basis of the quality and quantity of productive management.

The major deficiency however, lies in the human relations areas, with such specific problems resulting as the boredom of the workers, loss of pride in work, insecurity, obsessive thinking. These problems are compounded when a moving conveyor links all position together the conveyor is a monster whose pressure never ceases says Edwin B. Filippo (2002)

In recent years considerable research has been under taken with respect to more unusual and seemingly risky changes injobs content. Among these are job enrichment, job enlargement and semi autonomous groups. Thus, scientific management has introduce important rational guidelines. The bottom line is that the principle do not work for all individuals likewise a programmer of job enrichment is suited for some employees but may be detrimental to other employees. It involves designing jobs so that job incumbent needs for growth recognition and responsibility are satisfied

Davis Glueck (2001) defined job design as the systematic process through which the work content task functions, relationship and the qualification required is determined for each job. He further explained the parties involved in other kinds of job design.

A new look at job design attempted to provide a ready answer to the problems of stagnated productivity and determining human resources of organizations. In particular the reported success of easily job enlargement programmes led to the fist job enrichment movement in job design.

Frank and Gilbert are contributors to scientific management movement developed the time and motion study. The study was aimed at analyzing each task. The essence here is to reduce the time required for the performance of the job and also to increase productivity.

The major fault in scientific management is that much emphasis is laid on the job without much concern for the human labor

Again the unpredictable nature of man made it difficult for Taylor’s scientific management to succeed. This attack on scientific management with its motion of job specialization and simplification dates as far bask as nearly 2000 years ago.

Armstrong (2001) while criticizing Taylor argued that job should be designed to satisfy the requirement of the organization for productivity operational efficiency and quality of product or service.

The second is to satisfy the need of the individual for interest, challenge and accomplishment.

The third which is implies, is to fulfill the social responsibility of the organization to the individual who work in it by improving the quality of working life. These aims to the fact that organization should design their jobs to integrate the need of the individual with those of the organization.

In designing jobs, organization should not sacrifice effectiveness for efficiency. This is because jobs that are designed with the aim of achieving short term efficiency may reduce over time effectiveness by demonstrating job holders. A situation like this could lead to labor turnover, absenteeism or low productivity.

Birchall (1999) stated that designing a job provision will be made in the job to allow workers an opportunity to find meaning in his work and give a sense of pride and self esteem.


Job enlargement simply means definite movement away from simplified jobs by extending the job content to include a wider range task.

It is important that managers should attend to the way jobs are designed because it is an important factor in determining the motivation, satisfaction and performance of employee at work. It has been argued by many authors that simply routine non-challenging jobs often lead to high employee dissatisfaction increase absenteeism and turnover other have argued that it is difficult to manage employees who would simplified jobs. Kilbudge and Mackey  are in support of these observations.

Therefore, the human problems encountered when jobs are standardized and simplified have made it difficult for management to approach job design for this reason a number of researcher began to enlarge various to determine whether or not workers productivity and satisfaction would increase if job were designed.

The rationale of job enlargement includes greater number of task and the required for doing the job.

In response to criticisms concerning dehumanization of work through excessive specialization. Lewis Davis (1999) suggested that it would be encouraging to enlarge job content to utilize more of the abilities of employees. If the additional responsibilities are of a horizontal nature, variety has been introduced and the process as termed job enlargement. Lewis Davis also demonstrated that the breaking up of a converrized assembly is disastrous in terms of output.

The basic reason of Adam smith and scientific managers seem logical operational inefficiencies may actually result from excessive specialization. For example it becomes difficult to divide work evenly among all employees. As a result of those with shorter work assignment have some idle time.


Job rotation means to increase the variety of activities performed by individual by allowing individual to move from one job to another perhaps at a specified intervals.

According to David Birhall, he stated that job rotation has objectives like increase variety equitable task allocation, it alleviates physical strain association, with some jobs and increase work flexibility.

Also Stephen P. Robins and his colleagues asserted that job rotation allows workers to diversify their activities and avoid boredom.

He also noted that there are tow types of job rotation

  1. Vertical rotation
  2. Horizontal rotation.

Vertical job rotation: They referred to promotion and demotion, while horizontal rotation a transfer refer to situational basic by moving the person to another activity. When the needs of work scheduling required it. In the words people may be put in a continued transfer mode. They went further to state that rotation as employed by many large organization in their programmes to develop managerial talent, may include moving people between line and staff positions often allowing an employee to under study a more experience employee.

Birhall (2001) asserted that job rotation is the movement of operations between different task which can be of a similar or dissimilar nature. This rotation may be on any obligatory or a voluntary basis. It also increase job interest due to changes in the environment and job content. It is claimed to have advantages from management point of view to increase operational skill and their flexibility. The workers responsibility is for the specialized or fractionalized part of the operation that performs at any given time.

Although job rotation increases individual skill it also has some effect which may be positive or negative.

Miller in his book examined the effect of work rotation upon the productivity of assembly line workers making water treatment equipment. They recorded the output of worker who worked on various jobs for varying time period. They concluded that by rotation the job assignment of operators and limiting the amount of time spent on any one job their over all efficiency was higher than their remaining in one job.


This means to extends the contents of the jobs to provide for greater satisfaction of individuals needs and goals by a combination of enlargement autonomy and responsibility.

Research and analysis of motivation appeal to emphasis the importance of making job challenging and meaningful. This applied to managers as well as non-managers and consistent with Herzberg’s theory of motivation where job content of factors such as challenges achievement, recognition and responsibility are seen as the real motivators.

Birhall stated that job enrichment should be distinguished from job enlargement. He said that the transfer techniques attempt to make a job more interesting by moving the dullness associated with performing repetitive operations. In job enrichment the attempt to build into jobs a higher sense of challenge, importance and achievement. In all these companies, claims have been made that productivity was increases but absenteeism and turnover were reduce and that moral improved.

Perhaps the most glowing claims for job enrichment are contained in the report of a study made by the U.S department of Health Education and welfare, published in 91989) as the result of an analysis of workers attitude and the quality of working life. This study concluded that the primary cause of dissatisfaction of workers is the nature of their work, the quality of their life and the blue collar workers will work harder if their jobs are enriched and expanded so as to give them greater control over their work and more freedom from their supervisors.

Herzbeig motivation theory also dealt with job enrichment approach in detail. According to this theory work situations consists of job content (what a person actually does at work and the work environment. The author went further to explain that factors which can energize inner generation may be felt only through work itself. In other words the nature of the job itself influences work behaviors. This implies that if an individual is to be satisfied by his job and motivated to perform effectively the job must be high on what the author called growth or motivation factor. These factors are achievement, recognition of work itself, responsibility, advancement, redesigning jobs so that they include a greater variety of work content, require a higher level of knowledge and skill, give workers more autonomy and responsibility in terms of planning directing and controlling their own performance and provided the opportunity for personal growth and a meaningful opportunity for personal growth and meaningful work experience.

According to Stephen P. Robbins and his colleagues stated that job enrichment has proven effective in dealing with most of the short coming of job enlargement. Job enrichment expands job vertically. While job enlargement increase jobs scope, job enrichment increase job depth. They further stated that job enrichment allows employees greater control over their work. They are allowed to assume same of the task typically done by their supervisor particularly planning and evaluating their own work. The tasks in an enriched job should allow workers increase freedom independence and responsibility they should also provide feedback for individual to assess and correct their own performance.

These also advocated that jobs can be enriched in the following ways

  1. If each worker given several channels of direct contact with clients when problem arose the worker, not the supervisor took them up with the client.
  2. If some planning and control, function were combined with the central task.
  3. If workers were given the authority to set their own schedules, plan their daily work, and correct obvious coding errors on their own.
  4. If the random assignment of work was replaced by assigning each operator containing responsibilities for certain accounts.


The literature review is drawn from various texts, journals, past projects and other related sources of information. It is also the review of related literature on the effect of job design on a secretarial performance.

Job design is one of the most important components of scientific management, which means that job should be simplified i.e. to break it down into very small but workable unit. Porter 1999 stated that the design of job will depend on the organization.

There are many factors that affect individual job design which include changing technology, labor union etc.

The Behavioral scientists stressed that job should design in a manner that will satisfy psychological and sociological needs of people.

Job enlargement simply means definite movement away from simplified job by extending the job content to include a wilder range task. The rationale of job enlargement includes greater number of task and the skill required for doing the job.

Job Rotation means to increase the variety of activities performed by individual by allowing individual to move from one job to another perhaps to a specified interval. Job rotation can be vertical rotation job or horizontal rotation job

Job enrichment simply means to extend the jobs to provide for greater satisfaction of individual needs and good  by a combination of enlargement autonomy and responsibility.

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