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:
- 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).
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.