As previous mentioned, job specialization will result in low job satisfaction but companies are still using job specialisation to job design. There must be some reasons on it. Firstly, the specialised jobs are very economical. Specialised job is designed to be simple and easy; anyone can learn and master it in a short period of time. Therefore, the company can hire unskilled workers for doing those specialised part and the wages paid can remain low (Williams & McWilliams 2010). The cinema ticket checker’s job is a good example of this. What a cinema ticket checker need to do is just checking the validity and number of ticket and let the customers go in. It is simple and easy. So, the cinema usually will hire unskilled worker as the ticker checker, therefore the cinema can pay the low wages. Secondly, job specialization can improve productivity. How? It can be explained by the characteristic of easy and high repetition of specialised job. Since specialised job is easy, the company will not lose productivity when there is quit or absence worker as the other or new employee will replace their work quickly (Williams & McWilliams 2010). For example, in the case that the cinema ticket checker is absent; the cinema can easily find another employee to replace him or her job. The new employee can master the task quickly and so the cinema will not lose any productivity. In another way, when the worker is keep repeating the specialised job a number of times, probably the specialised job worker can do the task in high speed, consequently improve productivity. The last but not least reason is specialised job consists of high degree of task identity which will effectively reduce job burnout (Hsieh & Chao 2004). According to Hsieh and Chao (2004), job specialisation is negatively related to job burnout. In simple words, the higher the degree of job specialisation, the lower the feeling of exhaustion (Hsieh & Chao 2004).
In 1975, Hackman and Oldham introduced their Job Characteristics Model (JCM) which is still commonly used today. Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model is an approach that used to redesign jobs in order to motivate the employees and perform positive work outcomes (Williams & McWilliams 2010). “Of these, the central concern of the JCM is the internal motivation.” (Williams & McWilliams 2010, p. 189). Internal motivation or internal work motivation refer to the motivation forces which the worker will gain from the job itself (Casey, Hilton & Robbins 2012). If a worker feel that his or her well performance on the work is itself rewarding, then the job has internal work motivation (Williams & McWilliams 2010). In other words, an internally motivated employee will experience positive feelings when the worker performs effectively in the job (Cleave 1993). So, how a work to be internally motivating? There are three critical psychological states (CPS) which must occur in order to have internal motivation. And the three CPS are enhanced by the five core job characteristics (Williams & McWilliams 2010). The first CPS is experienced meaningfulness of the work which mean the worker view their job as important, valuable and worthwhile. This CPS is enhanced by three core job characteristics which are skill variety (different activities involving different skills), task identity (completion of an identifiable piece of work) and task significance (impact on the others) (Cleave 1993). The second CPS is experienced responsibility for the outcomes of work and it enhanced by the autonomy of the work (Williams & McWilliams 2010). In simple, it means that the worker will feel personal responsible or accountable to the result of work performed when the worker has the autonomy (freedom and discretion in work performance) of his or her work (Cleave 1993). Besides that, another CPS is knowledge of the actual result of work activity which means the worker has the awareness on how well is the performance (Casey, Hilton & Robbins 2012). And it is enhanced only by the core characteristics which is feedback (information from job on worker’s performance). In short, there are five core job characteristics in JCM and it will enhance the three critical psychological states. When the three CPS are present in a work, then the worker will has high internal motivation (Cleave 1993).
Specialised job will lead to low job satisfaction because specialised job is lack of internal work motivation. In order to have higher internal motivation for specialised job, redesign technique which introduced in Hackman and Oldham’s JCM can be used to strengthen the core job characteristics and therefore enhanced the three CPS (Williams & McWilliams 2010). As stated in previous paragraph, job specialization consists of high degree of task identity (Hsieh & Chao 2004). So, the following paragraphs will focus only on the redesign technique that strengthens the other four core job characteristics.
The first redesign technique is combining task. Combining task will increase two core job characteristics which are skill variety and task identity but this paragraph will focus only on the part of skill variety. Combining task simply means joining few separate specialised parts together and forms a larger work module. This action allows employee to use a wider range of skills to finish their job and consequently make them view their job more meaningful and important (Williams & McWilliams 2010). For example, the workers in Subway. People had been to Subway should know that the workers are separately in-charge their own particular part such as asking what flavor wanted, adding toppings, packing and etc. However, Subway can actually combining the task and let each worker to in-charge a customer which mean each worker has to do all the separate tasks for that customer. This action will eventually increase skill variety of the Subway workers and make the worker view the job more meaningful, therefore reduce the boredom of workers. In other words, companies can use this redesign technique to modify the specialised job become a ‘more skill’ specialised job (Williams & McWilliams 2010). When skill variety is strengthen, then the workers will view their works as an important job therefore increase the internal motivation of work and so reduce boredom.
Secondly, the redesign technique, establishing client relationships can also be used by the companies in order to modify specialised job to an internally motivated job. Put it simply, establishing client relationships means permit the employees to have direct contact with the client or customer. And this redesign technique will consequently increase skill variety, autonomy and feedback (Williams & McWilliams 2010). Let’s look at the example. Some of the daigou company in China which helps people to purchase things oversea let their employee to direct communicate to their clients. Instead of just receive order and make order such specialised part, the employee can direct communicate with the customers, they will not feel bore easily. When the employees have direct contact with the customer, they feel that they have responsibility to make the orders and they can hear the feedback on their work performance. In fact, when companies permit their employee to have direct contact with the client, it will involve more skill such as communication skill and other. On the other hand, when the employee can directly communicate with the client, the employee will feels that the job has degree of freedom. The employee can also get lots more feedback from the client since they communicate direct to the client. In short, establishing client relationships is a good way to increase internal motivation of job since it increase skill variety, autonomy and feedback of the job (Williams & McWilliams 2010). Hence, increase job satisfaction.
Lastly, another redesign technique which can increase task significance is forming natural work units. This technique is commonly used in most companies. Forming natural work units is similar to combining task but forming natural work units is arranging the task according to logical or meaningful groups (Williams & McWilliams 2010). The trucking company assigns their driver to particular geographic locations. It is an example of forming natural work units, the truck drivers’ work is arranged according to geographic area. The daigou company in China mentioned in previous paragraph also used this technique; they arrange the employee’s task according to shipment type of parcel. Forming natural work units is an action that focuses on creating the sense of ‘ownership’ and so increase task identity and task significance of workers (Slocum 1981).
In conclusion, job specialisation will lead to low job satisfaction but it is still commonly used in companies because specialised job is economical, provide productivity (Williams & McWilliams 2010) and reduce degree of job burnout (Hsieh & Chao 2004). Hackman and Oldham’s JCM can be used as an approach to redesign specialised job in order to eliminate boredom and low job satisfaction of specialised job. To modify the specialised job to an internally motivated job, redesign techniques in JCM can be used (Williams & McWilliams 2010). These redesign techniques can strengthen the core job characteristics and therefore enhanced the three CPS. When the CPS are present in the specialised job, then specialised job worker will has internal work motivation and consequently eliminate boredom and low job satisfaction (Cleave 1993).