A Contingency Look at Job Design

by John Morse

Fall 1973

Volume 16
Issue 1

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The article presents a contingency look at job design. Organization and management theorists may have done a disservice to the practitioner when they proposed universal organization and management models. Proponents of these kinds of model, in designing organization structures, processes and jobs, suggest that their model can be applied equally well to all organizations and to all management settings. They also suggest that there is a best way to organize and manage and a best way to specify the content, methods and relationships of jobs. The two frameworks most commonly used in practice today to design organization structures, processes and jobs are the classical or bureaucratic model and the participative model. Chances are that if one asked a manager to explain how his organization is structured, how he manages and how he specifies jobs, he would describe aspects of either the classical or the participative approach. When a manager thinks about the kind of job behavior implied in each of the two models, he quickly concludes that they are very different approaches.

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