Job characteristics theory
By Darren Lee-Ross
From Organization Behaviour for Leisure Services
Job characteristics theoryTurner and Lawrence (1965) and Hackman and Lawler (1971) first introduced the idea of building into jobs attributes alleged to create conditions for high work motivation, satisfaction and performance. Hackman and Oldham (1974) developed this idea into
job characteristics theory (JCT) upon which their JCM is based. Their construct deals with internal work motivation, whereby the presence of certain job attributes motivates workers. It postulates that the more effort expended by workers on their jobs, the more motivated they become, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of motivation. It also accounts for individual differences conceptualizing them as someone s desire to achieve and grow . Hackman and Oldham refer to this as a worker s growth need strength which moderates the relationship of model specified variables.
The JCM focuses upon the interactions between three classes of variables:
- psychological states of employees that must exist for internally motivated work behaviour to develop ( critical psychological states )
- characteristics of jobs that can create these psychological states ( core job dimensions ), that is, skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, job feedback, agent feedback and dealing with others
- attributes of individuals that determine how positively a person will respond to a complex and challenging job irrespective of their psychological state (employee growth need strength).