Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science

By Jerald Greenberg | Go to book overview
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Ricky W. Griffin Texas A&M University

Gary C. McMahan University of Southern California

Job design is one of the most discussed and studied concepts in the entire field of organizational behavior ( O'Reilly, 1991). Indeed, job design has become one of the core topics, alongside the study of individual differences, motivation, leadership, group dynamics, and a few others, that comprises the fundamental literature in the field. This chapter summarizes the historical development of job design theory and research, describes current theory and research regarding job design, and suggests new directions that job design theory and research might more fruitfully pursue in the future.


Although job design has a generally accepted meaning in the field, there is also some ambiguity as to its meaning. Thus, we begin by defining job design and highlighting its importance. We then discuss the motivational basis of job design and summarize early approaches to job design.

The Meaning of Job Design

Over the years, the term job design has been used interchangeably with terms such as task design and work design. In general, this usage is usually meant to convey an approach to structuring the individuals' jobs so as to optimize such organizational outcomes as efficiency, quality, and productivity with such


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Organizational Behavior: The State of the Science


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