Is Job Specialization Really Beneficial

Nowadays, in an increasingly competitive market all over the world, the employer try to efficiency maximize the profit to stakeholders by using different methods of job design. The technique of job specialization or simplification is the one way that most HR manger use to reduce the training cost and increase the speed of productivity for making more profit. Basically they divide the work into the smaller components, and then distribute the different task to the specific individual workers. However, this kind of method can also bring some negative impact to the organization, long period of time to repeat same work may cause worker feel bored, frustration, low satisfaction and lack of challenge to learn anything new ,all these factors may induce lower productivity and increase cost. Thus, before we designing a job we must be very careful and understand both negative and positive aspect of methods and apply it in a properly way.

The importance and challenge of job design

The job design defined as a work arrangement which helps the organization to reduce and overcome job satisfaction and employee alienation increases from repetitive and mechanistic tasks. It plays a very important role of HRM in an organization as the good or poor job design may effects the organization¡¯s productivity, employees¡¯s stress and quality of work life. The organizations is trying to increase the productivity levels through different methods of job design, such as job specialization, job enlargement, job rotation and job enrichment. By applying these techniques to provide such non-financial rewards as higher satisfaction from sense of individual achievement in meeting the increased challenge and responsibility of one¡¯ work. Regardless, ¡°poorly designed jobs result in lower productivity, employee turnover, absenteeism, sabotage, resignations and unionization.¡±(John W 2005)

Job specialization or simplification

Job specialization also called job simplification, which is one of the most important and broadly used methods to design work in order to support standardized production procedures. ¡°Job simplification refers to breaking complex work down into a sequence of simplier tasks to be conducted by different employees.¡±(Stephen, E 2007) It usually involved lower job characteristics, smaller job responsibilities and fewer technique requirements. ¡°It involves using standardized work procedures and having employees perform repetitive, precisely defined and simplified tasks. This job design method is used by industrial engineers and time and motion analysts.¡±(Raymond, J 2005) So qualified employees are necessary to be carefully observed since the time and motion study required. The HR manager records the various movements made in contributing the job, account for the plenty of time taken for each step and make a reasonable decision to rearrange the work and task to make it easier and faster to perform while making these patterns of movements efficiently, so the job will be easily performed with less time consume, the organization should make a norm for that specialized job that the manager can easily control and determine the individual performance appraisal and pay rates. Develop thorough job descriptions and job specifications to facilitate employee recruitment, selection, orientation and training.

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The positive impact of job specialization

It is believed that the job specialization can bring many benefits for the organization. Due to the specialization work requires that tasks should be separated in a smaller and easier components, each resulting subunits just required a few operations by the labors. For example, each employee work in KFC has their own responsibilities to perform different component of task, such as two employees work in cashier, other two employees prepare the order, and three employees are responsible for cooking food in the kitchen. Such job design can basically improve operating efficiencies through the use of low skill and low cost labor, and to reduce the cost on the employee training and development. Moreover, it also can increase the quantity of productivity and task completion since each employee is performing only a small part of the task and the fewer mistakes made when workers perform simple routine jobs. According to the research, ¡°the result from 304 valid samples of job specialization in high-tech industry in fact raises professional efficacy and reduces employee’s feeling of job burnout, which is opposed to the benefits of job design purposed in past management systems.¡±(Hsieh, A & Chao H 2004 ) Performing a method of job simplification in high-tech industry is more appropriate for employee to improve their psychological aspect, such as feeling if meaningfulness, feelings of responsibility and knowledge of result, as well as the positive outcomes from technical training can be improved, which will reduce employees¡¯ job burnout. Thus, the benefits of using job specialization are considerable for organization since it can improve the productivity and reduce the labor cost.

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The negative impact of job specialization

Is job specialization an effective way to design a job? I believe this question have been discussed by many organizations. It is undeniable that the method of job specialization also brought some disadvantages to the organization, especially the condition of the job design isn¡¯t implement perfectly. An assistant professor of management at Florida State University Stephen E Humphrey has state that various efforts to increase efficiency by simplifying workers’ job responsibilities may in fact be leading to lower employee job satisfaction and productivity over time.(Stephen, E 2007) According to the recent study we have found that the job simplification may cause many problems on the employee¡¯s attitude and productivity. Firstly, the employee may feel bored and less motivation by repeating same little work everyday, and there are very less challenges for them to learn new things from work. Secondly, the employees have to continuously follow the regular work peace without a chance to take a break or replace by others. Especially when the employees have to leave and take a break for some special reasons, it is really a challenge for company to decide either makes employee awful or affect the whole production line. Because the employees are not qualified and lack experience with other part of the task, so usually it is hard for employee to transfer their attention to others and replace with other. And the employees have to keep same speed in the production line to maintain the operation efficiently. Many employees complain that the production line requires them to work continuously, so they don’t have a chance to socialize with others. This may contribute to the job dissatisfaction and the poor working environment. In addition, there are a few opportunities and freedom for employees to schedule and manager their work procedures. ¡°Lack of autonomy decreases job satisfaction and worker interest in introducing job improvement. Workers become powerless and dependent.¡±(Raymond, J 2005) indeed, it may increase the expense on recruitment, selection and training process if the employee dissatisfy with their work and often absent which will contribute to the high level of the turnover rate, or unsatisfied customer service and poor performance of the job may also increase the cost of the company. Thus, organizations apply the simplification method of job design and independent completion of work will be discovered that the employees will be dissatisfies with their work and will perform at a lower level over time with higher level of stress.

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Uses of the job specialization in practice

Since many negative impacts may be caused by the organization, so, the organization has to take an action try to prevent and control those problems. Especially the high levels of managerial control and surveillance become necessary. The other key factors to design a work by job specialization are minimize the job skill requirement and time to perform job. Since the employee may feel bored, less motivation and dissatisfied with their work environment, so what company need to do is to offer them a flexibility job environment and give them a freedom to socialize each other in the organization and to improve the interpersonal relations between the colleges. As well as the performance appraisals are necessary for the employee to give feedback for each others¡¯ performance, which will improve and motivate them to work harder.


From earlier study we can conclude that using the specialization or simplification method to design a job may make efficient productivity in a short term, on the other hand it might create a number of new problems in the longer term. Once the organization implement the specialization job design method, HR manager should deeply consider those problems and find a way to measure and prevent those phenomenons happen. ¡°It should be noted, however that research indicates that the negative relationship between job specialization and job satisfaction is not universal.¡±(Raymond, J 2005)

it is believed that the everyone has their own taste, highly simplified work cause job dissatisfaction for a lot of employees, but other employees who with low growth need may prefer to work in a less competitive and challenge environment.

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