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Job design and Job performance relationship

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This study applies the concept of job performance and job satisfaction based on early principles of job design in solving employees' perception of job retention, using employees of Pakistan's public sector regulatory authorities for examination. For more than two decades, research and practice in the field of job design has been dominated by two theoretical frameworks, exhibiting strong convergence in terms of the characteristics of individual jobs likely to impact on employee job performance and job satisfaction and the underlying mechanisms that lead to these relationships The results from 568 valid samples collected from employees of public sector regulatory authorities reveal that the adoption of job design in public sector raises job performance and reduces employees' feeling of job turnout through enhancing their job satisfaction. Therefore, this paper seeks to examine the relationship between the four variables. Practice of job design as a mean to enhance job performance and to address issues related to employees' job retention and job satisfaction significant results have been obtained.

Keywords: Job design; job performance; job satisfaction; job retention; public sector regulatory authorities.

Job design and Job performance relationship : An empirical study of Pakistan Public Sector employees.

Introduction

First-generation job design theory focusing on individuals was proposed by Viteles (1950) in the early literature. His core objective was to adopt the methods of job rotation and job enlargement to resolve issues related to the reduction of employee morale and Job performance due to job monotony and boredom from job specialization. Furthermore,Walker and Guest (1952) opined that, if an employee's job characteristics are repetitious, requiring minimal working techniques and devoid of the right to choose his/her working methods, the employee will consider his/her job monotonous and boring, thereby causing diminishing morale and productivity. Yoder et al. (1958) revealed that job rotation was a means to reduce employees' monotony, boredom and fatigue, which was a result of organizations' mass production and job specialization in the past years. Lindbeck and Snower (2000) also noticed that conventional organizations demanded highly simplified and specialized techniques from their employees in order to support standardized production procedures.

Job design has generated a lot of interest in recent decades (Fried & Ferris, 1987; Parker, Wall, & Cordery 2001). A basic principle in job design research is that stimulating jobs are associated with motivating psychological states that contribute to favourable attitudinal and behavioural work outcomes (Morgeson & Campion, 2003; Parker & Wall, 1998). Much of the current research on job design has been based on the Job Characteristics Model (JCM), ( Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980). The JCM focuses on five core job characteristics (skill variety, task identity, tasks significance, autonomy, and job feedback) that contribute to job stimulation, and consequently to three critical psychological states (experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility, and knowledge of results), which, in turn, positively affect individual job satisfaction and job performance.

In addition, three factors are proposed to moderate these relationships, individual growth need strength (GNS), knowledge and skills, and context satisfaction with respect to supervisors, peers, compensation, and job security. However, job design research has revealed mixed results on the relation between stimulating job characteristics and job outcomes such as job performance, turnover, and absenteeism (Fried, 1991; Fried & Ferris, 1987; Kopelman, 1985; Oldham, 1996; Parker et al., 2001). These inconsistent findings suggest that context may play an important role in moderating employee reactions (Johns, 2006; Rousseau & Fried, 2001).

For more than two decades, research and practice in the field of job design has been dominated by two theoretical frameworks, the Job Characteristics Model (Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980) and Socio-technical Systems Theory (Pasmore, 1988). These two perspectives exhibit strong convergence, both in terms of the characteristics of individual jobs likely to impact on employee job satisfaction and job performance, and the underlying mechanisms that lead to these relationships (Lawler, 1992). In particular, employee control (autonomy) over aspects of the job (e.g., timing, methods) is identified as the job characteristic of primary significance, a prediction that has strongly influenced programmes of job redesign spawned by both theoretical traditions (Cummings, 1978; Holman & Wall, 2002; Kelly, 1978; Oldham, 1996; Pasmore, Francis, Haldeman & Shani, 1982; Rousseau, 1977; Susman, 1976; Wall & Jackson, 1995).

Scholars have begun to explain results by observing that job design theory and research suffer from a lack of systematic attention to context, the situational opportunities and constraints that affect attitudes and behaviours (Johns, 2006). Indeed, several scholars have recommended that researchers systematically incorporate contextual factors into job design theory and research (Kelly, 1992; Liden, Wayne, & Sparrowe, 2000; Parker et al., 2001; Rousseau & Fried, 2001; Torraco, 2005; Wall, Cordery, & Clegg, 2002). Several scholars have examined how incorporating various contextual factors such as technology, operational and environmental uncertainty, information technology, group norms and group characteristics, and social interactions and relationships may advance the understanding of job design (Andreou & Boone, 2002; Campion, Papper, & Medsker, 1996; Grant, Campbell, Chen, Cottone, Lapedis, & Lee, 2007; Kelly, 1992; Liden et al., 2000; Morgeson & Humphrey, 2006; Parker &Wall, 1998; Parker et al., 2001;Wall et al., 2002).

Research Model and Hypothesis development.

Based on the review of the literature a research model is presented in Figure 1. In fact many of the approaches and concepts discussed above are integrated in the present study into a composite model. In this study model, four (4) variables are considered for the analysis out of these three (01) is independent variable whereas other one is dependent variable and remaining two (02) are the outcome of dependant variable.

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Figure 1 about here

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Hypothesis 1, Job design is positively related to the job performance.

Hypothesis 2, Job satisfaction is positively related to the job performance.

Hypothesis 3, Job retention is positively related to the job performance.

Method

Sample and procedures

Employees from Pakistan's public sector regulatory authorities dealing with the telecommunications, oil & gas, power, media, corporate, capital and banking sectors were used as samples for this research. For the tangible research work, information regarding regulatory authorities, organizations being controlled number of employees and employee data was collected through a questionnaire from the officers / officials of targeted organizations. These officers / officials were requested to respond to all questions up to the best of their knowledge with reference to the working practices implemented in their organizations.

The survey questionnaire contains five sections. The first section comprises the name, designation, organization, department and grade, second section contained demographic questions - relating to gender, age, education, length of service, job status, job category, job level, mode of appointment and recruitment matter dealt by HR or other section. The third section of the questionnaire, which was in two parts, was designed to capture the general purpose of the position and summary of the job responsibility. The remaining portion included questions on 5 point likert scale concerning job design, job performance, job satisfaction and job retention.

Before sending the questionnaires to the targeted organizations a pilot survey was conducted in three organizations from the selected sectors so that validity of the formulated questions could be checked. The employees were asked to rate statements about questions in a likert scale from 1 to 5, where 1 means that respondent strongly disagree with the statement; and 5 indicates the strongly agreement with the statement. The master questionnaire for the pilot survey included 45 questions and 10 background questions; the respondents were also asked to evaluate the wording and the understanding of the statements and the length and the depth of the questionnaire.

A pilot study was carried out among 45 employees from Pakistan Telecom Authority, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority and Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan in order to test the questionnaire. Several employees highlighted the relevance of the questionnaire, as it is able to capture many different sides of being an employee. After the results were obtained from the questionnaire, an in-depth interview was held with these employees. As a consequence, the wording and essence of some questions were changed. The pilot study helped to revise the questionnaire and prepare it for the final survey.

The questions are largely based on extensive study of literature review. The wording is adapted to the English linguistics and Pakistani cultural context. The results showed that only two questions from job design portions and one from job performance portion were ambiguous for the employees. To eliminate this problem these questions were rephrased after getting information from those employees. Data of employee demographics is depicted in table 1

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Table 1 about here

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Measures

Established scales were used in measuring all of the constructs. The projected Cronbach a value of this research ranged from 0.72 to 0.78. DeVellis (1991) indicated that the Cronbach a values for this study fall in the acceptable range. However, the Cronbach a value of 0.57 for measuring job retention probably low. But Nunnally (1967) recommended that minimally acceptable reliability for preliminary research should be in the range of 0.5 to 0.6 and therefore the reliability of this study should be acceptable.

Measurement of Job design.

Job design was measured with 5 items on a 5-point likert scale, respondents were asked to respond to the different aspects of their jobs like creativity, working style, interference, superior support and suggestion to superiors. The measure has good reliability properties. Cronbach's alpha value was .78

Measurement of Job performance

In this study, job performance was measured in two dimensions. Operational performance and financial performance. Operational performance was defined in terms of employee retention, achievement of the goals of organization, employee productivity and objectivity of performance evaluation system. Financial performance was measured in terms of monetary and non-monetary benefits of the employees.

Job performance was measured with 6 items on a 5-point likert scale, respondents were asked to respond to the different aspects of their jobs like performance enhancement on job, objective achievement, consistency with the goals of the organization, objectivity of the performance evaluation system, monetary and non-monetary benefits. The measure has good reliability properties. Cronbach's alpha value was .77

Measurement of Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction was assessed from the respondents indicated the degree to which they were satisfied with the six factors inner satisfaction, respect, sense of fulfilment, peer support, cared by the organization. A five point likert scale was used. 1(strongly disagree), 2(disagree), 3(neither agree nor disagree), 4(agree) and 5(strongly agree). Cronbach's alpha was calculated to test the reliability of the data and was found to be .72

Measurement of Job Retention

Retention was measured with 6 items, respondents were asked to respond, on a 5-point likert scale, 1(strongly disagree), 2(disagree), 3(neither agree nor disagree), 4(agree) and 5(strongly agree). The measure has moderate reliability properties. Cronbach's alpha value was .57

Results

Table 2 below details the average value of variables, standard deviations and correlation analysis between variables, which work out the following. Job design has a value of M = 3.63 while job performance has a value of M =3.68 which are closer to each others. Also, the two variables of job design and job performance present a highly significant positive correlation. This supports hypothesis 1, which says that the Job design is positively related to the job performance.

These two constructs are highly related and harmonizing to the whole management system. The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance constructs is also positive and highly significant. Therefore, in the correlation analysis, hypothesis 2 is also supported.

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Table 2 about here

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As for the job retention and job performance constructs, it was revealed that job retention is positively related to job performance but the value of r= .23 was not as high as in the case of job design r=.53 and job satisfaction r=.52. However, hypothesis 2 is also supported.

In order to support the hypothesis made by this study on job performance, a further step is taken to test the hypothesis by regression analysis. The study seeks to apply job design, job satisfaction and job retention in determining whether these three variables have predictive strength on job performance. Table 3 presents a linear regression analysis using job performance as dependent variables. Results indicate that the Δ R2 for independent variables is 0.979 and correlation is also highly significant, therefore job design exerts more degree of influence on the dependent variable. As for the job satisfaction construct, it exerts less degree of influence on the dependent variable whereas job retention exerts medium degree of influence on the dependent variable but achieving a significantly positive correlation. Job satisfaction is not indicating an important prediction variable as compare to the other two variables.

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Table 3 about here

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As indicated above, Job design effects positively with Job performance, Beta value was found 0.538 which is a strong effect size. It explained 53.8 percent of the total variance. The overall p-value of model is <0.001 which shows that job design has highly significant effect on job performance. Hence hypothesis 1 is proved

It was hypothesized that Job satisfaction effects positively with Job performance. As presented in Table 3, Beta value was found 0.074 which is a low effect size. It explained 7.4 percent of the total variance. The overall p-value of model is <0.001 which shows that job satisfaction has a positive significant effect on job performance. Hence hypothesis 2 is proved

Job retention effects positively with Job performance was hypothesized. As presented in Table 3, Beta value was found 0.383 was found which is a medium effect size. It explained 38.1 percent of the total variance. The overall p-value of model is <0.001 which shows that job retention has significant effect on job performance. Hence hypothesis 3 is proved

Discussion

This study attempts to examine the relationship of job design, job satisfaction and job retention in order to determine whether these constructs are able to enhance the employees job performance. In many jobs, employees lack the skill variety, task significance, task identity and autonomy that are proposed to contribute to internal work motivation and job satisfaction through their effects on the psychological states of experienced meaningfulness and responsibility. For example, new accountants often begin with relatively narrow tasks that require few skills, have little impact on others, and are closely supervised. Similarly, new engineers and management trainees often have little decision-making responsibility while learning narrow subsets of tasks that require a small set of skills and benefit few people.

This study have shown high effect size between job design and job performance r=0.53, job design with job satisfaction r=0.48 and moderate with job design and job retention r=0.31 which is in support to the previous research. Relationship between job design and job performance is positively significant correlated which indicates that a step would be taken toward explaining how employee's reactions to job design may differ as a function of temporal contexts that play out in career dynamics. It is proposed that employee's attitudinal and behavioural reactions to job design may be more complex, as they may be contingent on career dynamics that unfold over time. Employees may react more favourably to jobs that provide little stimulation early in their careers, if they perceive their current jobs as instrumental to their career growth, if they expect to advance in the near future and if their advancement occurs in line with occupational norms. Within later career stages, employees are likely to build up preferences for some stimulating job characteristics (task significance) and against others (task and skill variety, complexity).

Wall and Jackson (1995) have shown their concerned on job design theories to the current environments. In their view, job design theory has failed to keep pace with some jobs which are increasingly dominated by information technology, and by management practices such as just-in-time (JIT) and total quality management (TQM). Job design affects the speed of delivery of service or product very significantly. Job design encourages informal communication and strong working relationships among the professionals. They gain a sense of group identity and employees extend their readiness to help each other because the success of the individual depends on the efforts of all. The style of work is very significant because it affects employee retention and service quality through teamwork and competence respectively.

A major weakness of leading theories of job design and work motivation is that they tend to be relatively static, failing to incorporate the important context of time (Avital, 2000; Fried & Slowik, 2004; George & Jones, 2000; Pettigrew et al., 2001). In an era of increased globalization and dynamic change associated with constant generation and application of new knowledge and rapid changes in employee's careers, the failure to incorporate the context of time may seriously affect the validity and explanatory power of these theories. In this study, an attempt has been made to demonstrate how systematic incorporation of the context of time into theories of job design, in the specific case of individual job satisfaction, can improve in understanding of employee's reactions.

Human resource professionals can also use job redesign to foster person-job fit and create meaningful job for employees. If jobs can be redesigned so that employees use a greater amount of skills and talents, job tasks have greater significance, and employees exercise greater levels of autonomy, it is more likely that they will experience self-concept- job fit and experienced meaningful work. The relationship between perceived job characteristics and psychological outcomes, such as job performance and job satisfaction, has been criticized by Wall and Jackson (1995). In light of a series of empirical studies of jobs within advanced manufacturing settings, they suggested that increases in autonomy are associated with qualitative changes in employee behaviour consistent with learning (Jackson & Wall, 1991; Wall, Corbett, Clegg, & Jackson, 1990; Wall, Jackson & Davids, 1992), and call for job design researchers to incorporate ''knowledge-based'' mechanisms in their guiding frameworks.

Regression results show that job design correlates positively with Job performance. Adjusted R-squared was 0.979 which is same as the value of R2. All the values are positive and significant hence predictor job design is making a highly significant contribution to the model. The smaller the value of Significance 0.000 is also showing the greater contribution of job design. Beta value for job design also provided a better insight into the importance of a job design in the model.

The study of the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has a controversial history. Most of the earlier reviews of the literature suggested a weak and somewhat inconsistent relationship between job satisfaction and performance. A review of the literature in 1985 suggested that the statistical correlation between job satisfaction and performance was about 0.17 (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985). Correlation between job satisfaction and job performance in this study is 0.52 which does not support to the previous findings. This study had an important impact on researchers, and in some cases on organizations, with some managers and HR practitioners concluding that the relationship between job satisfaction and performance was trivial.

In addition, in a comprehensive review of 301 studies, Judge, Thoresen, Bono, and Patton (2001) found that when the correlations are appropriately corrected (for sampling and measurement errors); the average correlation between job satisfaction and job performance is a higher 0.30. This finding is supportive of current study sampling and measurement as results of job satisfaction and job performance (0.52) is a higher than 0.30 thus, contrary to earlier reviews, it does appear that job satisfaction is, in fact, predictive of job performance and the relationship is stronger.

Evidence from theoretical and empirical studies indicates that turnover intentions represent a reliable indicator of actual voluntary turnover and are heavily influenced by job satisfaction (Allen, Shore and Griffeth 2003; Cohen 1993; Hom and Griffeth 1995). Hom and Griffeth (1995) maintained that employees decide to leave their organization when they become dissatisfied with their Jobs. Likewise, Meyer and Herschovitch (2001) argued that when employees are dissatisfied with their jobs, their desire to remain in their organization starts to erode. In fact, initial consequences of these negative affects, in the form of low job satisfaction are turnover cognitions. Research by Allen and Griffeth (2001), Allen et al. (2003), and Chiu and Francesco (2003) have shown that job satisfaction is a strong predictor of turnover intentions. The present study has shown a positive significant correlation between job retention and job satisfaction r=0.34 This reflect that due to satisfaction with the current job is an indicators to predict employee turnover in the organizations may be low in finding another job due to a positive experience with their organization's policies.

Methodologically, the above discussion suggests that in future job design research should collect and analyze data on employees' career dynamics, stages, and expectations. Examining the process of change in job characteristics and employee reactions over time will require longitudinal designs across organizations and occupations. Researchers may also use role-playing and scenario designs to gain initial insight into how temporal career dynamics affect job design reactions and job crafting efforts.

Acknowledgement

The author would like to thank Aqil Kan, Chief Editor, Pakistan Science Foundation for his help in editing and proofreading and Muhammad Aasim, statistical Office, Pakistan Medical Research Council in statistical techniques.


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