In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Job Design

  • Introduction
  • Recent Developments
  • Changes in the Work Environment Context
  • The Increased Importance of Additional Job Characteristics
  • Relational Aspects
  • Compensatory Relationships among Job Characteristics
  • Future Directions

Management Job Design
Yitzhak Fried, Ariel S. Levi
  • LAST REVIEWED: 01 March 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0044


Job design, as a key contributor to individual attitudes, motivation, and work performance, has generated substantial interest in the scientific community. Much research has been conducted in the area of job design, leading to a better understanding of the attitudes and behaviors of employees at work. This article is a review of some key readings on job design theories and research. Job design refers to the processes and outcomes of how work is structured, organized, experienced, and enacted. Unlike other changes at work, such as those associated with managerial practices, training programs, or reward systems, job design focuses solely on the work itself—namely, the tasks or activities that individuals pursue in their organizations. The popularity of job design as a research topic and managerial strategy is based on its focus on the work itself. Individuals can avoid dealing with many aspects of their work context, but they cannot avoid dealing with their jobs. Individuals at work spend their time primarily performing their jobs. Therefore, jobs represent the key contact between the employee and the organization. This suggests that the way in which jobs are designed and structured plays a major role in affecting how people react in their employing organization. Job design, which has attracted tremendous attention in the 20th century, continues to be highly relevant in the 21st century. Key historical approaches in job design will be reviewed first, followed by a discussion of future directions in this area.

Historical Perspective

Interest in the area of job design spans over one hundred years. Theorists have developed a number of key approaches, which are discussed below.

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