Job scope

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Job scope
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Job scope is "the extent to which a job requires the jobholder to be mentally and physically involved to get it done effectively. Typically, a job characterised by a high job scope would be non-repetitive, would need a great deal of independent thought/action and training, would entail the job holder to keep track of his/her progress, and others (Afsar, B., 2010, p. 5). It is important to match one's personality and expertise to a given job type in order to ensure the employee's commitment and involvement.

Employees who enjoy meeting new challenges will welcome work in dynamic environments and their motivation to work will improve with new tasks and projects. On the other hand, it is difficult to define a scope that would be optimal and well-balanced for all employees. Doing a job characterised by a high job scope may be also connected with significant stress levels, making the job not fulfilling for some workers (Afsar, B., 2010, p. 6).

Xie indicated that "high job scope (is) functional for organisations" and that generally it is a motivating and stimulating factor rather than a stressor (1995, p. 1288). At the same time, he points out that the stress related to high job scope needs to be properly managed as the excessive exposure to stress is negative not only to individuals, but to the entire business (Xie, J., 1995, p. 1289).

Designing a job scope - challenges

Designing a job scope is becoming more challenging for companies nowadays due to (Peeters, M., 2014, p. 414):

  • growing independence of teams,
  • their flexibility and
  • a rapid development of technology.

All of these factors contribute to significant difficulty in designing a job scope. A job design has been described as a "top-down process in which organisations create jobs and form the conditions under which the job holders/incumbents execute their tasks" (Peeters, M., 2014, p. 415).

Bakker stresses that "organizations should offer their employees sufficient job resources, including feedback, social support, and skill variety (2012, p. 1360). All of these elements allow management to boost employees' efficiency and job satisfaction. However, workers can also shape the working environment and thus play an active part in designing a job through (Bakker, A., 2012, p. 1361):

  • demonstrating proactive attitude at work
  • selecting projects they want to be involved in
  • negotiating the scope of their responsibilities.

Interestingly, allowing employees to take part in shaping the character of the job is one of the most effective ways in which managers can build trust in a team and demonstrate their appreciation to workers and their expertise.


Author: Małgorzata Goryl