Because managers want to motivate individuals on the job, we need to look at ways to design motivating jobs. If you look closely at what an organization is and how it works, you’ll find that it’s composed of thousands of tasks. These tasks are, in turn, aggregated into jobs. We use the term job design to refer to the way tasks are combined to form complete jobs.

The jobs that people perform in an organization should not evolve by chance. Managers should design jobs deliberately and thoughtfully to reflect the demands of the changing environment, the organization’s technology, and employees’ skills, abilities, and preferences. When jobs are designed like that, employees are motivated to work hard. What are the ways that managers can design motivating jobs? We can answer that with the job characteristics model (JCM) developed by J. Richard Hackman and Greg R. Oldham.

According to Hackman and Oldham, any job can be described in terms of the following five core job dimensions:

1. Skill variety: The degree to which the job requires a variety of activities so the worker can use a number of different skills and talents
2. Task identity: The degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work
3. Task significance: The degree to which the job affects the lives or work of other people
4. Autonomy: The degree to which the job provides freedom, independence, and discretion to the individual in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out
5. Feedback: The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the individual’s obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance the model.

Notice how the first three dimensions—skill variety, task identity, and task significance—combine to create meaningful work. What we mean is that if these three characteristics exist in a job, we can predict that the person will view his or her job as being important, valuable, and worthwhile. Notice, too, that jobs that possess autonomy give the job incumbent a feeling of personal responsibility for the results and that, if a job provides feedback, the employee will know how effectively he or she is performing.

From a motivational point of view, the JCM suggests that internal rewards are obtained when an employee learns (knowledge of results through feedback) that he or she personally (experienced responsibility through autonomy of work) has performed well on a task that he or she cares about (experienced meaningfulness through skill variety, task identity, and/or task significance).

The more these three conditions characterize a job, the greater the employee’s motivation, performance, and satisfaction and the lower his or her absenteeism and the likelihood of resigning. As the model shows, the links between the job dimensions and the outcomes are moderated by the strength of the individual’s growth need (the person’s desire for self-esteem and self-actualization).

Individuals are more likely to experience the critical psychological states and respond positively when their jobs include the core dimensions than are individuals with a low growth need. LSBF is one of the most popular sources to learn best management practices.