The Job Characteristic Model and Internal Motivation

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The Job Characteristics Model (JCM) is an approach to job redesign that seeks to formulate jobs in ways that motivate workers and lead to positive work outcome (Williams & McWilliams, 2010). Job characteristics model helps the employee on enriched their jobs by using the five core job characteristics that include skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback, followed by three critical psychological states, which are meaningful work, responsibility work, and knowledge about the performance. These five core job characteristics and three critical psychological states will lead to create jobs that result in effective work and positive personal outcomes. The purpose of the essay is to explain the main concern of job characteristics model and to identify the five core jobs characteristics in Sunway College lecturers' work practices.


The main concern of the JCM is internal motivation. Internal motivation is motivation that comes from itself rather than from outside rewards (Williams & McWilliams, 2010). The more effort given by the employee, the more motivated they will be. The JCM give the relationship between three classes of variables: critical psychological states (CPSs), core job dimensions (CJDs), and affective outcomes (AOs).

Working with internal motivation occurs when the employee realized that there was a relationship between three critical psychological states and core job dimensions. First, they experience meaningful work because they believe their works are important and worthwhile, by enhanced skill variety, task identity, and task significance. Second, they experience personally responsible for the outcomes of the work, by presence the job autonomy. Third, they learn to know how well they performed their jobs by job feedback. If these critical psychological states are fulfilled with well core job dimensions, the employee will experience well work outcomes with high internal work motivation, high satisfaction, high-quality performance, productivity improvement, effective work, and reduced percentage of employee absence and turnover.

Managers can use JCM to motivate the employee, but, how about lecturers? Lecturers' work closely related with students. Same as JCM in managers' work, lecturers' work practice is to motivate students to positive learning outcomes. Both lecturer and students are in a rule using five core job characteristics, which are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. The lecturers are in managerial roles providing tasks, structuring the task, training a group of student, giving evaluate of students performance, and giving reward. The students are in an employee rule learning what lecturers want from the task, taking training, learning lecturers' skills, finishing task, receiving reward. Application of job characteristics model to lecturers' work practice is attained by increasing five core job characteristics in their course.

The first component of core job characteristics is skill variety. Skill variety in lecturers' work practice means a various complex skills of lecturers required to complete the course. Lecturers in Sunway College increasing skill variety by giving assignment, so student can increase their skill variety through written assignment referring to internet or book resources, library research, analysing and developing a case or oral presentation of material. Lecturers also asking students to discuss in a group, so that students can discuss in a group with each group member who have different knowledge, abilities, skills, and experiences. With this diversity, a group work can solve problem much better than individual work and can also increase skill variety of each group member.

The second component is task identity. Task identity in lecturers' work practise means lecturers are responsible to complete their course from beginning to the end. Every lecturer in Sunway College is responsible to manage their time to deliver lesson in a given time. Lecturer learn to separate each chapter of subject in to two or three times of lecture, and giving workshop to provide briefing about assignment, practical for doing assignment using computer, and tutorial class to explain about each chapter of course in more details. For students, this task identity is allowing student to learn and do assignment from beginning to the end. The students do this in various ways, such as answering questions before the tutorial classes, working on both individual and group tasks to share and develop idea, submit assignment on time, make presentations, and may conduct a study research.

The third component is task significance. Task significance in lecturers' work practice means lecturers give an understanding to students that the knowledge or skill they have learned not only for courses grades but also for their future job. Lecturers in Sunway College give an understanding by using examples, if necessary from his or her life experiences that the subjects are given can be applied in a family environment, social environment or working environment. Lecturer also gives students a case about nowadays family, organisation, or social problem, and asks students to apply the material that given to solve that problem. So, students realize that the material can help them not only in class, but also outside the class.

The fourth component is autonomy. Autonomy in lecturers' work practice means lecturers have an opportunity to do their work with their own initiative and make their own decision in carrying out the course. For example, lecture in Sunway College has initiative to enhance students' autonomy, so he or she makes a decision in giving assignment by asking students to conduct any research they wanted as long as it was still related to the topic that he or she has told. In this situation, the students do the research without any guidelines. They select what researches they want as long as it remains relate to the topic; do research with observation, interview, or distributed questionnaire, and at the end students must submit assignment on time.

The last component is feedback. Feedback in lecturers' work practice means how well the lecturers doing their course. Lecturer in Sunway College get feedback from students, they try to understand how students responses about his or her performance. They can also seek information from their head of faculty about all phases of their course, is there any protest from students about his or her teaching method. The students can also get feedback, not only get feedback from lecturer but also get directly feedback. For example, in practical courses, when the program successfully runs, it means students' performed well, so get good feedback.


JCM can be used to motivate all employees in all industries, provided that the managers know how to properly apply the five core job characteristics on their employees. Not only managers and the employees but also lecturers and student must realize that they all have a responsible to give the best performance by giving the best in skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Lecturers take managerial role for motivating students to positive learning outcomes, and students take employee role for doing the best to reach positive learning outcomes.