Job Analysis: Changing Nature of Work
Cronshaw, Steven F., Canadian Psychology
This paper reviews the potential and possibilities for job analysis in Canada under five sections. In the first section, future needs for job analysis information are explored from individual, organizational, professional, and societal perspectives. In the second section, epistemological and ontological assumptions underlying job analysis are critically examined. In the third section, a Work Modelling approach is recommended to augment job analysis in future, where this approach will help meet needs reviewed in Section One and at the same time address the epistemological and ontological limitations of current job analysis methodologies discussed in Section Two. In Section Four, a response is given to assertions about the future of job analysis presently circulating through the Canadian I-O community and some key practitioner issues are reviewed. In the fifth and last section, conclusions and recommendations are offered for future practice and research in job analysis. It is concluded that, ultimately, if work modelling is to be successful (whatever the specific processes involved), it must give the I-O practitioner the information needed to better resource worker and manager decisions and activities in Canadian organizations of the new millennium.
Dr. Rick Hackett, who edited this special I-O issue of Canadian Psychology, asked that the following issues be addressed in this paper:
... [w]hat are the implications of changes in the Canadian workplace into the next millennium for job analysis? Will the role, methods, procedures and outcomes of job analysis change? What workplace changes are likely to have the most direct impact (i.e., workplace empowerment, move to work teams, multi-skilling, changing workforce demographics, socio-economic environment, legal climate, alternative work arrangements such as telework, worksharing and the increase in part-time and contract work). What practical assistance can Canadian I/O psychologists provide in assisting new employers, employees, unions, and society in tailoring job analysis to meet these new emerging needs? (R.D. Hackett, personal communication, August 29, 1996)
Dr. Hackett raises questions that are highly relevant and important to the future efforts of I-O psychologists in Canada. As the point of departure for this paper, this series of questions will be categorized into two types. The first type of question has to do with the "why" of job analysis; that is, the ends or purposes to which job analysis is put. Dr. Hackett refers to these ends or purposes as "emerging needs". The second type of question involves the "what" and "how" of job analysis; that is, the means or methods that have been proposed by job analysts for meeting individual, organizational, professional, and societal needs. Of course, the means serve the ends and should be carefully developed with them in mind.
This paper is organized into five sections with the above means-end distinction in mind. In the first section, the ends of job analysis are discussed in terms of future individual, organizational, professional, and societal needs. In the second section, future means of job analysis, and especially requisite epistemological and ontological developments, are suggested. In the third section, specific recommendations are made for broadening the coverage of job analysis so that future needs are addressed. In the fourth section, some contemporary concerns and questions about job analysis are addressed. In the fifth and last section, overall conclusions are drawn and recommendations are made for future theory development, empirical research and practical application by I-O psychologists in Canada. For information on various job analysis methods themselves, the reader should consult other sources (e.g., Cronshaw, 1991; Catano, Cronshaw, Wiesner, Hackett, & Methot, 1997). …