Techniques of Job Crafting: An Exploratory Study on Management Consultants

By Singh, Vijay Lakshmi; Singh, Manjari | South Asian Journal of Management, April-June 2016 | Go to article overview

Techniques of Job Crafting: An Exploratory Study on Management Consultants


Singh, Vijay Lakshmi, Singh, Manjari, South Asian Journal of Management


INTRODUCTION

"Employees do not just let life happen to them, rather, they try to affect, shape, curtail, expand, and temper what happens in their lives." (Grant and Ashford, 2008)

The above quote indicates the importance of individuals in shaping their own jobs and work lives. In the rapidly changing knowledge economy, employee proactivity is becoming increasingly attractive and important for organizations (Grant and Ashford, 2008). Rather simply reacting to a set of fixed job responsibilities, the proactive initiatives of employees have the potential to benefit organizations by inducing adaptability and innovativeness (Oldham and Hackman, 2010; and Berg, Dutton and Wrzeniewski, 2013). One such approach is that of job crafting, defined as the "employee initiated physical and cognitive changes made to tasks and relationships at work" (Wrzesniewski and Dutton, 2001).

Through job crafting, employees foresee and make changes in their tasks and relationships in order to create a work environment that enables to achieve both job and personal goals (Bakker, Tims and Derks, 2012, and Petrou, 2013). Existing research has identified various antecedents and outcomes of job crafting (see Ghitulescu, 2006; Bakker, Tims and Derks, 2012; Petrou, Demerouti, Peeters, Schaufeli, and Hetland, 2012; Bandura and Lyons, 2014; and Tims, Bakker and Derks, 2014). However, only few studies (e.g., Berg, Dutton, and Wrzesniewski, 2013; and Wrzesniewski, LoBuglio, Dutton and Berg, 2013) have zoomed in the process of job crafting, i.e., as to what changes are made or what initiatives are adopted to craft one's tasks, relationships and perceptions at work. For example, scholars have identified the adaptive techniques in managing proactivity between lower ranked and higher ranked employees (Berg, Wrzesniewski and Dutton, 2010) and the techniques used for crafting a balance between work and life (Sturges, 2012). This study focuses on identifying the techniques of crafting at the task, relational and cognitive levels in the context of management consultants. In "active" jobs, characterized by high levels of job demand and job control, employees are in a continuous flux of managing work pressures as well as their professional development such as in the case of management consultants. The extent, approach and understanding of individual techniques or strategies in crafting or balancing the myriad demands, pressures and opportunities at work would extend important insights into individual strategies for job management, especially for professionals in the context of knowledge work, boundary spanning roles and advisory services.

This study contributes in taking a process view of job crafting by providing self-reported evidence on the various techniques adopted by job incumbents in crafting their tasks and relationships at work. The study also presents a classification of these techniques in terms of their usage at the structural, social and personal levels, i.e., suggesting differences within task, relational and cognitive crafting depending on whether the focus is on core task execution, or whether it involves others or if it is directed at the self. Further, the study provides an understanding of the factors that drive such crafting techniques, as well as insights on the extent and approach in the adoption of job crafting techniques.

JOB CRAFTING

Organizations are recognizing that employee initiated or bottom-up job redesign should be encouraged to make the workforce more adaptable and proactive (Demerouti and Bakker, 2014). According to Hall and Heras (2010), the personal involvement as well as accountability of employees in designing their own jobs should increase efficiency and effectiveness for both, individuals and their organizations. Review of job design theories, such as by Grant and Parker (2009), and Oldham and Hackman (2010) recognize job crafting as a promising approach to organizational research.

The concept of job crafting points towards the proactive ways in which employees alter their tasks, relationships, and perceptions at work. …

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