Task identity

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Task identity
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Task identity can be described as one of five elements of Job Characteristics Model (JCM) created by Hackman and Oldham in 1976. This job design model mainly involves developing jobs that are motivating, satisfying and also performed well (M. C. W. Peeters, J. de Jonge, T. W. Taris 2014, p. 65).

Elements of JCM model

The JCM model includes five core job dimensions that are proposed to have motivational effects on employees (S. J. Lauby 2005, p. 10):

  1. Skill variety - represents the extent to which a job requires using a wide range of different skills, abilities and also knowledge. A good example of it is the job of a research scientist which requires much more skill variety than the job of a food server.
  2. Task identity - relates to the extent to which a job requires an employee to perform all necessary tasks to complete the job from the beginning to the end. For instance, the job of a crafts worker who takes a piece of wood and transforms it into a custom-made piece of furniture is distinguished by high task identity. Whereas, low task identity may be found in the job of a worker who performs only one of the numerous operations required to assemble a television.
  3. Task significance - refers to the degree to which an employee feels his or her job really matters because of its impact on people inside the organization (e. g. associates) or to people outside the organization (e. g. customers). For example, a teacher who sees the influence of his or her efforts in well-educated students has high task significance in contrast to the job of a dishwasher who tediously washes dishes when they come to the kitchen.
  4. Autonomy - concerns the degree to which a job allows an employee the freedom and discretion needed to plan various tasks and to decide how to complete those tasks. For instance, salespeople arranging their schedules and allocating their time among different customers have comparatively high autonomy, whereas assembly-line workers whose job is determined by the speed of the production line have low autonomy.
  5. Feedback - refers to the extent to which performing a job provides an employee with clear information about how well he or she has completed the task. A good example of this is an air traffic controller who immediately receives feedback on job performance in case of mistakes resulting in a mid-air collision. In turn, a person who creates statistics for a magazine often does not know if he or she has made a mistake .

JCM equation

According to Hackman and Oldham's model, the motivating potential of the job is stated by the following equation (M. C. W. Peeters, J. de Jonge, T. W. Taris 2014, p. 66):\[MPS = \frac{(SV + TI + TS)}{3}\cdot AU \cdot FB\]


MPS - motivating potential score,

SV - skill variety,

TI - task identity,

TS - task significance,

AU - autonomy,

FB - feedback.


Author: Klaudia Nycz