Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Investigating the Influence of Job Rotation on Career Development among Production Workers in Japanese Companies

Academic journal article International Journal of Business and Society

Investigating the Influence of Job Rotation on Career Development among Production Workers in Japanese Companies

Article excerpt


The current study aims to investigate the influence of job rotation on career development. Toward this objectives, a survey was carried out amongst 209 production workers in Japanese manufacturing companies in Malaysia. Factor analysis resulted in four distinct dimensions of job rotation namely interest, business knowledge, technical knowledge and administrative knowledge, while career development resulted as unidimension. Multiple regression results indicated that all dimensions of job rotation except business knowledge influence career development. Implications of the findings, potential limitations of the study, and directions for future research are discussed.

Keywords: career development, job rotation, knowledge and skills, Japanese management style, production workers


The process of career development in an organisation relies on a variety of interventions due to the differences in employee career needs and varying in the career development resources available to them. The most widely used career development interventions include assessment centers, career coaching/counseling, cross-training, flexitime, job enlargement, job enrichment, job rotation, job sharing, sabbaticals and temporary assignments (Olorunsula, 2000; Thamhain, 1992). Numerous firms have used job rotation as a tool to motivate employees by providing task variety and enhancing employee socialization (Susan, 1996). In addition the value of job rotation has long been espoused in promoting employee learning, and career development (Campion, Cheraskin & Stevens, 1994). According to Raduan (2002) and Lai Wan (2001) job rotation is recognized as an important training method for production and general workers among Japanese electronics companies operating in Malaysia. This claim is further strengthen by Cosgel and Miceli (2000), where their study found the practice of job rotation contributed to the success of Japanese firm activities.

However, limited research examined the influence of practice of job rotation on career development in Malaysia (Raduan, 2002; Lai Wan, 2001). For instance, Lai Wan (2001) studied to what extent job rotation is introduced and practiced in Malaysian auto manufacturing companies. Meanwhile, Raduan (2002) focused on the job rotation as one of the key elements of employee training and development systems. However these studies did not attempt to examine the influence of job rotation on career development specifically in the Japanese manufacturing companies. Hence a gap exist in the literature pertaining to job rotation in the Malaysian context, thus, this study fills the gap by incorporating the job rotation model by Campion et al. (1994) to provide a basis for examining the influence of job rotation on career development prospects among Japanese manufacturing company in Malaysia.


Job rotation refers to the systematic movement of employees from one job to another or any change in assignment, job content or department within the organisation (Olorunsula, 2000). It implies to a systematic change of employee by transferring employee between various area of responsibility on the premise to enhance employee experience in the job. From the view of human resource management, many researchers have described job rotation in broader perspective. For instance, Noe and Ford (1992) described job rotation as opportunities for employee to gain an overall appreciation of organisational goals, to generate a broader knowledge of different functional areas, to develop a network of organisational contacts and to enhance employee skills. This is based on the argument that employees can use the information and skills acquired at one task to improve their performance at other tasks (Lindback & Snower, 2000). Much of this 'inter-task learning' takes place through job rotation within and between teams of workers in production, management and marketing department in an organisation. …

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