Does Job enrichment work?

Essay by jcondarasA+, March 2004

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Job enrichment is an approach to job redesign developed in the late 1950s. The term refers to the alteration of the job content so that the employee is given an identifiable unit of work and granted with more authority and control over his/her job (Herzberg, 1968). For many years job enrichment has concerned people inside and outside academic circles, generating more research investigations than any other technique in the field of job motivation. All those academics and managers were trying to find out whether it worked or not.

The question of whether job enrichment works is rather indefinite and ambiguous. We can approach it from several different perspectives: Does job enrichment work for the employees? That is, does it help employees feel more motivated and satisfied with their job? Does job enrichment work for managers? What happens with factors such as absenteeism, turnover, quality, productivity and profits? Is it compatible with new technology? Is job enrichment a threat for managers and their power? Does job enrichment work for the society? Does the implementation of the technique influence macroeconomic figures like unemployment and inflation? Is job enrichment a threat to the capitalist profit- maximizing value? Due to constraints in the length of the essay we will approach the question only from the perspective of the employees.

Therefore, the question concerning this essay is: "Does job enrichment make employees feel more motivated and satisfied at work?"

First we will examine the theoretical foundations of job enrichment and briefly view the circumstances under which the technique was first suggested. We will then look at the research evidence in search of an answer to our question. What follows next is the support of the argument that job enrichment does not work for the employees. Lastly, some thoughts about the value of...