Job Analysis – Meaning, Definitions, Features, Purpose, Process and Techniques

Techniques  of Job  Analysis (Methods of Data  Collection)

A variety of sources  and  methods  are  used  to collect data  relating to a job.  The  main methods are  given  below:

  1. Job Performance.   

In  this  method, the job  analyst actually performs the job under   study   to  obtain a first  hand   experience of the  actual tasks,   physical and social demands  and  the  environment  of the job.  This  method  can  be  used  only for jobs  where  skill   requirements   are  low  and   can,   therefore,  be  learnt    quickly and easily. This  is  a time-consuming  method  and  is not  appropriate  for jobs   requiring extensive training. It is not suitable  for jobs that are hazardous (e.g., fire fighters) or for jobs that require extensive training (e.g. doctors, pharmacists).

  1. Personal  Observation    

Here  the  analyst directly observes  the  worker  or  a group engaged in  doing  the  job.  The  tasks   performed,  the  pace   at which activities are  carried  out,   the  working  conditions,  the  hazards  involved, etc.  are  observed during  a  complete  work   cycle. The  information  thus   obtained  is  recorded  in  a standard format. This  method is appropriate for jobs  which involve manual/physical, standardized    and   short   job   cycle   activities.  Draftsman,   mechanic,   weaver, are examples of such  jobs.   There are,  however, many  aspects  of a job  involving mental  process  and   unforeseen  circumstances   which cannot  be  directly  observed.  Such jobs  do not  have  an  easily observable and  complete job  cycles. Observation method can be effective only when  the job  analyst is skilled enough to know  what  to observe and  how  to  analyze what  is observed.

  1. Interview

The interview method consists of asking questions to both incumbents and supervisors in either an individual or a group setting. The reason behind the use of this method is that job holders are most familiar with the job and can supplement the information obtained through observation. Workers know the specific duties of the job and supervisors are aware of the job’s relationship to the rest of the organization. Although the interview method provides opportunities to elicit information sometimes not available through other methods, it has its limitations.

i. It is time consuming and hence costly.

ii. The value of data is primarily dependent on the interviewer’s skills and may be faulty if they put ambiguous questions to workers.

iii. Interviewees may be suspicious about the motives and may distort the information they provide. If seen as an opportunity to improve their position such as to increase their wages, workers may exaggerate their job duties to add greater weightage to their positions.

  1. Questionnaire

 In this  method, properly drafted questionnaires  are  sent  out to jobholders.  After  completion  these   are  returned  to  supervisors.   As  the  data  is often  incoherent  and   disorganised,   it is  discussed  with  the  jobholders.   After  due corrections,  the  same   is submitted  to the job  analyst.

Structured  questionnaires  on different aspects of a job,  e.g.,  manual  and  mental processes,  coordinating  and  negotiating behaviour, etc.  are  developed. Each  task  or behaviour is described in terms  of characteristics  such  as frequency, significance, difficulty and  relationship  to overall performance.  The jobholders  give their  ratings of these  dimensions.  The rating  thus  obtained are  analysed and  a profile of actual  job  is developed.  Data  obtained  through  a questionnaire  can  be  quantified  and  processed  with the help  of a computer. But  it is time-consuming  and  costly  to develop standardized questionnaires.  Direct  rapport  between the analyst and  respondents   is not possible. In the  absence of a personal  touch,   the  cooperation  and  motivation  of respondents tend  to be  low.

Some of the standard questionnaires that are widely used are discussed below:

i. The Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ)

The PAQ is a standard questionnaire developed at Purdue University to quantitatively sample work oriented job elements. It contains 194 items divided into six major divisions. The PAQ permits management to scientifically and quantitatively group interrelated job elements into job dimensions. These are explained below:

a) Information Input :

Where and how does the employees get the information he/she in performing his/her job.

b) Mental Processes :

What reasoning, decision making, planning and information processing activities are involved in performing the job?

c) Physical activities :

What physical activities does the employee perform and what tools or devices does he/she use?

d) Relationships with other people :

What relationships with other people are required in performing the job?

e) Job context

In what physical and social context is the work performed?

f) Other Job characteristics :

What activites, conditions or characteristics other than those described above are relevant to the jo?

ii. Management Position Description Questionnaire (MPDQ)

MPQD isa standardized instrument designed specifically for use in analyzing managerial jobs. The 274 item questionnaire contains 15 sections. It would take 2 ½ hours to complete the questionnaire. In most cases the respondents are asked to state how important each item is to the position.

iii. Fuctional Job Analysis (FJA)

FJA is a worker oriented job analysis approach that attempts to describe the whole person on the job. It tries to examine the fundamental components of “data, people and things”. There are five steps to be followed:

  • The first involves the identification of the organization’s goals for the FJA analysis. This analysis describes what should be, as well as, what is.
  • The second step is the identification and description of tasks, wherein tasks are defined as actions. The task actions may be physical (operating a computer), mental (analysis data ) or interpersonal (consulting another person).The task statements developed in FJA must conform to s specific written format.
  • The third step deals with analysis of tasks. Each task is analysed using 7 scales. This include three worker function scales ( data, people, things) , a worker instruction scale ( degree of supervision imposed ) and three scales of reasoning, mathematics and language.
  • In the fourth step, the analyst develops performance standards to assess the results of a worker’s tasks.

FJA is frequently used for government jobs. It provides a quantitative score of each job as a function of its complexity in relationship with people, data and things. The results are helpful in fixing wage rates and in developing employee succession plans. On the negative side, FJA takes a lot of time. Training in its use may mean considerable investment of money.

5.  Critical Incidents

In this  method, jobholders are  asked  to describe incidents  concerning the job  on  the  basis   of their  past  experience. The  incidents  so collected are  analysed and  classified  according to the  job  areas   they  describe.  A fairly  clear picture of actual  job  requirements  can be obtained by distinguishing between effective and   ineffective behaviours  of workers  on  the  job.   However, this   method  is  time- consuming. The  analyst  requires   a  high  degree of skill   to  analyse  the  content  of descriptions given  by workers.

  1. Log Records 

 In this  method,  a diary  or logbook is given  to each  jobholder. The jobholder  daily  records  the  duties   performed  making  the  time  at  which   each task  is started  and  finished.  The  record  so maintained  provides  information  about the job.  This   method  is  time-consuming.   Moreover, it  provides  incomplete  data because information concerning working conditions, equipment used  and  supervisory relationship is not  available from  the  logbook. Most  employees are  not  disciplined enough to maintain  a regular  diary.  But if kept  up-to-date,  the  diary  provides useful information on  the job.  This  method  is useful  for jobs  that  are  difficult to observe, e.g., engineers,  scientists,  research  men,  senior   managers,  etc.

  1. Panel of experts

This method utilizes senior job incumbents and superiors with extensive knowledge of the job. To get the job analysis information, the analyst conducts an interview with the group. The interaction of the members during the interview can add insight and detail that the analyst might not get from individual interviews.

Job Analysis – Meaning, Definitions, Features, Purpose, Process and Techniques

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