Explain the Job Characteristics Model

The five core job characteristics are explained as follows:

  • Skill variety :  The degree to which a job includes difficult activities and involves the use of multiple skill and talents of the employee.
  • Task identify : The degree to which the job requires completion of a whole and identifiable pieces work that is doing a jobs from beginning to end with a tangible outcome.
  • Task significance : The degree to which a job has a substantial impact on the likes or work of other people.
  • Autonomy : The degree to which the job provides the employee with substantial freedom, independence and discretion in scheduling the work and in determining the procedure to be used in carrying it out.
  • Feedback : The degree to which the employee possesses information of the actual results of his or her performance.



Hackman and Oldham’s  model seeks to integrate the five job characteristics to give an overall Motivating Potential Score (MPS) for each job’s potential for motivating the incumbents.


The Job Characteristics Model contains a moderator – growth need strength. This moderator explains why jobs theoretically high in MPS  will not automatically generate a high level of motivation and satisfaction for all workers. This means that employees with a low growth need are less likely to experience a positive outcome when their job is enriched.

The job characteristics theory further suggest that core job dimension stimulate 3 critical psychologies states based on the relationship specifies in the model.

•    Meaningfulness of the work : The extent to which the employee experiences the job as the one which is meaningful, valuable and worthwhile.
•    Responsibility for work outcomes: The extent to which the employee feels accountable for the outcome of the  work he or she does.
•    Knowledge of results: The extent to which the employee has feedback on his or her performance on the job.

Contemporary issues in Job Design :
Telecommuting, task revision and skill development are the contemporary issues to job design which firms use to motivate their employees.

Telecommuting : Facilitates the employees work away from company’s main location, telecommuting may extend working in a combination of satellite, office and main office locations. This approach facilitates better fit between organization’s demands and employee expectations.

Task revision : seeks to modify an incorrectly designed  job. Where there is role ambiguity task revision seeks to rectify it and make the task more specific and meaningful. Task revision is a form of role innovation that modifies the job to achieve better performance.

Skill Development : Employees are constantly trained to gain technical expertise. However, technical skills alone are not enough. The trend now a days  is that the economy is increasingly becoming service oriented. Service oriented jobs demand interpersonal skills from the incumbents. Any job design effort needs to consider employee skill development besides work demands. Job design and employee skill development are interrelated.