Friday, August 24, 2007

Job Description

Job Description

A job is a collection of tasks and responsibilities that an employee is responsible to conduct. Jobs have titles. A task is a typically defined as a unit of work, that is, a set of activities needed to produce some result, e.g., vacuuming a carpet, writing a memo, sorting the mail, etc. Complex positions in the organization may include a large number of tasks, which are sometimes referred to as functions. Job descriptions are lists of the general tasks, or functions, and responsibilities of a position. Typically, they also include to whom the position reports, specifications such as the qualifications needed by the person in the job, salary range for the position, etc. Job descriptions are usually developed by conducting a job analysis, which includes examining the tasks and sequences of tasks necessary to perform the job. The analysis looks at the areas of knowledge and skills needed by the job. Note that a role is the set of responsibilities or expected results associated with a job. A job usually includes several roles.

Typically, job descriptions are used especially for advertising to fill an open position, determining compensation and as a basis for performance reviews. Not everyone believes that job descriptions are highly useful. Read Dr. John Sullivan's article listed at the end of the following links. He points out numerous concerns about job descriptions that many other people have as well, including, e.g., that too often job descriptions are not worded in a manner such that the employee's performance can be measured, they end up serving as the basis for evaulation rather than performance, etc. Read the following links to buid your own impression.

Effectively developed, job descriptions are communication tools that are significant in your organization's success. Poorly written job descriptions, on the other hand, add to workplace confusion, hurt communication, and make people feel as if they don't know what is expected from them.

Job descriptions are written statements that describe the duties, responsibilities, required qualifications, and reporting relationships of a particular job. Job descriptions are based on objective information obtained through job analysis, an understanding of the competencies and skills required to accomplish needed tasks, and the needs of the organization to produce work. Job descriptions clearly identify and spell out the responsibilities of a specific job. Job descriptions also include information about working conditions, tools, equipment used, knowledge and skills needed, and relationships with other positions. Still uncertain about the value of job descriptions? Consider these tips about employee job descriptions.

Job descriptions provide an opportunity to clearly communicate your company direction and where the employee fits inside of the big picture.

Whether you're a small business or a large, multi-site organization, well-written job descriptions will help you align employee direction. Alignment of the people you employ with your goals, vision, and mission spells success for your organization. As a leader, you assure the interfunctioning of all the different positions and roles needed to get the job done for the customer.

Job descriptions set clear expectations for what you expect from people. According to Ferdinand Fournies in Why Don't Employees Do What They're Supposed to Do and What To Do About It," (see sidebar) this is the first place to look if people aren't doing what you want them to do. He says you need to make certain that they clearly understand your expectations. This understanding starts with the job description.

Job descriptions help you cover all your legal bases. As an example, for compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), you'll want to make certain the description of the physical requirements of the job is accurate. Whether you're recruiting new employees or posting jobs for internal applicants, job descriptions tell the candidate exactly what you want in your selected person.

Clear job descriptions can help you select your preferred candidates and address the issues and questions of those people who were not selected.

Well-written job descriptions help organization employees, who must work with the person hired, understand the boundaries of the person's responsibilities.

People who have been involved in the hiring process are more likely to support the success of the new employee or promoted co-worker. Developing job descriptions is an easy way to involve people in your organization's success.

Job descriptions are essential. Job descriptions are required for recruitment so that you and the applicants can understand the role. Job descriptions are necessary for all people in work. A job description defines a person's role and accountability. Without a job description it is not possible for a person to properly commit to, or be held accountable for, a role.

As an employee you may have or be given the opportunity to take responsibility for your job description. This is good. It allows you to clarify expectations with your employer and your boss.

The process of writing job descriptions is actually quite easy and straight-forward. Many people tend to start off with a list of 20-30 tasks, which is okay as a start, but this needs refining to far fewer points, around 8-12 is the ideal.

Smaller organisations commonly require staff and managers to cover a wider or more mixed range of responsibilities than in larger organisations (for example, the 'office manager' role can comprise financial, HR, stock-control, scheduling and other duties). Therefore in smaller organisations, job descriptions might necessarily contain a greater number of listed responsibilities, perhaps 15-16. However, whatever the circumstances, the number of responsibilities should not exceed this, or the job description becomes unwieldy and ineffective.

Any job description containing 20-30 tasks is actually more like a part of an operational manual, which serves a different purpose. Job descriptions should refer to the operational manual, or to 'agreed procedures', rather than include the detail of the tasks in the job description. If you include task detail in a job description you will need to change it when the task detail changes, as it will often do. What would you rather change, 100 job descriptions or one operational manual?

Similarly, lengthy details of health and safety procedures should not be included in a a job description. Instead put them into a health and safety manual, and then simply refer to this in the job description. Again, when your health and safety procedure changes, would you rather change 100 job descriptions or just one health and safety manual?

A useful process for refining and writing job descriptions responsibilities into fewer points and ('responsibilities' rather than 'individual tasks'), is to group the many individual tasks into main responsibility areas, such as the list below (not all will be applicable to any single role). Bold type indicates that these responsibility areas would normally feature in most job descriptions:

Bold type indicates that these responsibility areas would normally feature in most job descriptions:

  • communicating (in relation to whom, what, how - and this is applicable to all below)
  • planning and organizing (of what..)
  • managing information or general administration support (of what..)
  • monitoring and reporting (of what..)
  • evaluating and decision-making (of what..)
  • financial budgeting and control (of what..)
  • producing things (what..)
  • maintaining/repairing things (what..)
  • quality control (for production roles normally a separate responsibility; otherwise this is generally incorporated within other relevant responsibilities) (of what..)
  • health and safety (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)
  • using equipment and systems (what..)
  • creating and developing things (what..)
  • self-development (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)
plus any responsibilities for other staff if applicable, typically:
  • recruiting (of direct-reporting staff)
  • assessing (direct-reporting staff)
  • training (direct-reporting staff)
  • managing (direct-reporting staff)

You will find that you can cluster most of the tasks on your (initially very long) list into a list of far fewer broad (but still specific) responsibilities according to the above examples of typical job description activity areas.

Obviously the level of authority affects the extent of responsibility in the job description for determining strategy, decision-making, managing other people, and for executive roles, deciding direction, policy, and delivering corporate performance.

Wherever possible refer the detail of standards and process to your 'operational manual' or 'agreed procedures' or 'agreed standards' rather than allowing the job description to become a sort of operating manual. If your boss or employer is asking for you to detail your tasks at length in a job description, encourage him/her/the organisation to put this level of detail into an operational manual - it will save a lot of time.

Writing or re-writing a job description is a good opportunity to frame the role as you'd like it as well as reflect how it is at the moment, so try to think outside of the normal way of thinking, and if this is difficult seek the input of somebody who is less close to things.

Job descriptions are important

Job descriptions improve an organisation's ability to manage people and roles in the following ways:

  • clarifies employer expectations for employee
  • provides basis of measuring job performance
  • provides clear description of role for job candidates
  • provides a structure and discipline for company to understand and structure all jobs and ensure necessary activities, duties and responsibilities are covered by one job or another
  • provides continuity of role parameters irrespective of manager interpretation
  • enables pay and grading systems to be structured fairly and logically
  • prevents arbitrary interpretation of role content and limit by employee and employer and manager
  • essential reference tool in issues of employee/employer dispute
  • essential reference tool for discipline issues
  • provides important reference points for training and development areas
  • provides neutral and objective (as opposed to subjective or arbitrary) reference points for appraisals, performance reviews and counselling
  • enables formulation of skill set and behaviour set requirements per role
  • enables organisation to structure and manage roles in a uniform way, thus increasing efficiency and effectiveness of recruitment, training and development, organisational structure, work flow and activities, customer service, etc
  • enables factual view (as opposed to instinctual) to be taken by employees and managers in career progression and succession planning

Job description template

  • Job Title
  • Based at (Business Unit, Section - if applicable)
  • Position reports to (Line Manager title, location, and Functional Manager, location if matrix management structure)
  • Job Purpose Summary (ideally one sentence)
  • Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities, (or 'Duties'. 8-15 numbered points)
  • Dimensions/Territory/Scope/Scale indicators (the areas to which responsibilities extend and the scale of responsibilities - staff, customers, territory, products, equipment, premises, etc)
  • Date and other relevant internal references

For senior job descriptions it is useful to break key responsibilities into sections covering Functional, Managerial, and Organisational areas.

The most difficult part is the Key Responsibilities and Accountabilities section. Large organisations have generic versions for the most common organisational roles - so don't re-invent the wheel if something suitable already exists. If you have to create a job description from scratch, use this method to produce the 8-15 responsibilities:

  1. Note down in a completely random fashion all of the aspects of the job.
  2. Think about: processes, planning, executing, monitoring, reporting, communicating, managing people/resources/activities/money/information/inputs/outputs/communications/time.
  3. Next combine and develop the random collection of ideas into a set of key responsibilities. (A junior position will not need more than 8. A senior one might need 15.)
  4. Rank them roughly in order of importance.
  5. Have someone who knows or has done the job well check your list and amend as appropriate.
  6. Double check that everything on the list is genuinely important and achievable.

Do not put targets into a job description. Targets are a moving output over which you need flexible control.

Do not put 'must achieve sales target' into a job description. This is a pure output and does not describe the job. The job description must describe the activities required to ensure that target will be met.

Do not have as one of the key responsibilities 'And anything else that the manager wants'. It's not fair, and no-one is ever committed to or accountable for such a thing.

Job description example 1:

Job Description - SNP Co Ltd

Title: Sales and Marketing Executive

Reports to: Sales and Marketing Director, Newtown.

Based at: Sparkly New Products Co Ltd, Technology House, Newtown.

Job purpose:

To plan and carry out direct marketing and sales activities, so as to maintain and develop sales of SNP's ABC machinery range to UK major accounts and specifiers, in accordance with agreed business plans.

Key responsibilities and accountabilities:

  1. Maintain and develop a computerised customer and prospect database.
  2. Plan and carry out direct marketing activities (principally direct mail) to agreed budgets, sales volumes, values, product mix and timescales.
  3. Develop ideas and create offers for direct mail and marketing to major accounts by main market sector and SNP's ABC products.
  4. Respond to and follow up sales enquiries by post, telephone, and personal visits.
  5. Maintain and develop existing and new customers through planned individual account support, and liaison with internal order-processing staff.
  6. Monitor and report on activities and provide relevant management information.
  7. Carry out market research, competitor and customer surveys.
  8. Maintain and report on equipment and software suitability for direct marketing and sales reporting purposes.
  9. Liaise and attend meetings with other company functions necessary to perform duties and aid business and organisational development.
  10. Manage the external marketing agency activities of telemarketing and research.
  11. Attend training and to develop relevant knowledge and skills.

Person-profile template:

  • Personality
  • Personal Situation
  • Specific Job Skills
  • Computer Skills
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • Commercial Skills
  • Management Ability

An example is shown here for the role above

sample person-profile

Person profile - Sales and Marketing Executive

Personality: Self-driven, results-oriented with a positive outlook, and a clear focus on high quality and business profit. A natural forward planner who critically assesses own performance. Mature, credible, and comfortable in dealing with senior big company executives. Reliable, tolerant, and determined. Empathic communicator, able to see things from the other person's point of view. Well presented and businesslike. Sufficiently mobile and flexible to travel up to a few days a month within the UK. Keen for new experience, responsibility and accountability. Able to get on with others and be a team-player.

Personal Situation: Must be mature and domestically secure. Able to spend one or two nights away per month without upsetting domestic situation. Able to commute reliably to office base. Able to work extended hours on occasions when required. May be striving financially but not desperate or in serious debt. Must have clean or near clean driving licence.

Specific Job Skills: Able to communicate and motivate via written media. Understands the principles of marketing and advertising cost-effectiveness, including market sector targeting, product offer development, features-benefits-solutions selling, cost per response, cost per conversion, etc. Appreciates need for consistency within company's branding and marketing mix, especially PR and the Internet. Experience of managing marketing agency activities useful.

Computer skills: Must be adept in use of MS Office 2000 or later, particularly Excel and Word, and ideally Access or similar database to basic level, Internet and email.

Literacy and Numeracy: Able to understand profit and loss calculations and basic business finance, eg., gross margin percentages and calculations, depreciation, capital and revenue expenditure, cash-flow, overheads, etc. Must be a very competent writer of business letters, quotations and proposals.

Business and Selling Skills: Must be an excellent face-to-face and telephone communicator. Able to demonstrate success and experience managing major accounts customers and large contracts or even a business, particularly achieving genuine sales development. Ideal background would be in business support services; experience of washroom and contract cleaning industries would be particularly helpful. Experience of tenders would also be useful.

Management Ability: Though internal staff management is not initially part of the job, responsibility and opportunity could grow with the development of the business, for example the prospect of recruiting and managing support telesales staff. Some people-management skills, experience and natural ability will be useful.

Tips on creating, introducing and agreeing job descriptions

There are several ways to approach the need for new or updated job descriptions within an organization or department, and these methods can achieve some other useful benefits too. The workshop method is particularly effective and time-saving.

Workshop (see the sections on workshops an brainstorming) - people brainstorm and draft job descriptions in pairs or threes - ideas are shared, best formats agreed and senior management is able to participate, guide and approve. This process for creating or revising job descriptions is also very good for creating a sense of ownership of responsibilities and accountabilities, and for clarifying mutual understanding and expectations.

Cascade a basic empty template down through staff, asking for each staff member to draft what they believe is there own JD, and for each person to provisionally agree/modify JD with their line boss. These drafts then come back up to centre for review, adjustment and re-issue. Also promotes useful discussion and clarification of expectations between staff members and their line-managers.

Draft provisional generic formats at centre - then cascade through staff via line managers for comment/agreement, between staff members and line managers.

General points on creating or updating job descriptions:

Where you have a number of similar job functions, try to limit the main job description types to as few as possible. Reflect job differences in levels of authority, seniority and scale etc, in the parameters section of the main job description.

Encourage line managers to hold their own workshop meetings to arrive at shared best ideas and consensus.

Your trade association(s) might be able to assist with some generic job description samples. It's also worth asking large partners/customer organisations if they can show you their equivalent job descriptions, where they have similar jobs.

Directors responsibilities, corporate responsibility and job descriptions

Arguably there are some special aspects of a company director's role which should be reflected in job descriptions aside from normal functional duties or job tasks. This is not least because board directors are personally liable for corporate activities, and so issues of ethics, morality, legality, safety, duty of care, etc., are the responsibility of all directors, in addition to their normal functional responsibilities.

How you incorporate these aspects into directors' job descriptions (and logically into directors' appraisals too) is a matter of interpretation and policy. A catch-all phrase is an option, for example: 'Execute the responsibilities of a company director according to lawful and ethical standards, as referenced in ... (whatever director policy and standards document you might use).

And/or with growing significance, for example: 'Uphold, safeguard and promote the organisation's values and philosophy relating particularly to ethics, integrity, corporate (social) responsibility, 'Fair Trade', etc., as referenced in ... (whatever organisational values and philosophy standards document you might use).

However, in this modern age there is an increasing need for organisations to be more specific about what all this means for directors.

Most if not all of the great corporate scandals of recent times can be attributed one way or another to directors neglecting or being unaware of their responsibilities for some of less obvious but crucial areas of ethics, integrity, morality and organisational responsibility. When such responsibilities are spelled out clearly, and the assessment of directors' performance against them made properly transparent, then organisations are far less open to risks of corporate scandal, fraud, and other disasters.

In addition, employees and customers are growing increasingly aware and demanding of corporations' performance in these non-financial 'humanity and planet' areas, and the increasing visibility of corporate culture and behaviour, through the development of modern communications and phenomena such as blogging, grows each year.

There are few corporate secrets any longer - nearly everyone has access to nearly everything. Soon there'll be no corporate secrets at all. It makes sense therefore for all organisations to assess and improve their own standing in relation to corporate responsibility, before the world at large does it for them.

Directors' responsibilities, their relative importance and how they are shaped, in the 'non-functional' areas (ethics, environment, people, planet, community, etc) naturally reflect the corporate philosophy of the organisation concerned, and this is the mechanism by which change and improvement can be made. In other words, the organisation needs to have a clearly stated position (from which stems the culture and 'spirit' - the philosophy - of the corporation) that clearly explains the relative priority within organisational aims of responsibility to staff, customers, shareholders, community, environment, etc., and also the significance of morality and ethics within the organisational ethos. These critical non-functional 'humanity and planet' responsibilities stem from the philosophy at the top of the organisation, not the PR department.

Corporate Responsibility (or whatever description you care to use) is a challenging and fluid subject, surrounded by much debate, characterised by various converging perspectives, notably, the 'Triple Bottom Line' (Profit People Planet), ethics and integrity, CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility - increasingly shortened simply to Corporate Responsibility), sustainability, Fair Trade, etc.

Interpreting all this and creating a workable platform for it all within an organisation is the responsibility of the CEO (or equivalent). In an institutional not-for-profit organisation the trustees or governors would ultimately carry the can for any serious failures. In a club it would be the committee members. The buck always stops somewhere, and if it's with you then check that your responsibilities and remit adequately reflect your accountability.

In conventional profit driven corporations the accountability rests with the directors, which is why directors' job descriptions need to spell out these responsibilities - to whatever extent the organisation (the CEO typically) deems appropriate.

Middle managers trying to make sense of of it all and wondering how to apply it to their strategic planning and decision-making will find it tricky to fill a vacuum in this area one exists, which is often the case.

The default 'corporate philosophy' is usually profit alone, with no genuine reference to humanitarian and planetary issues, which is ultimately a recipe for disaster. The bigger the corporation and its potential liabilities, then the greater the disaster when and if it occurs. Chemicals, healthcare, transport, automotive, pharmaceuticals, financial services, food and drink, consumer technology, and tobacco products are obvious examples of high-liability industries, each of which has produced at a number of massive corporate debacles in recent years, and these won't be the last.

Directors, (and thereby managers and all other staff) need a wider and more subtle frame of reference than profit alone, to enable and encourage them to plan, direct, manage and act in a more inclusive and philosophically acceptable way than simply being focused on profit or costs.

Shareholder return (or financial performance) is vital of course, but it must never be the sole aim.

As regards the more straightforward issues (safety, legal etc), in the UK various bodies can help in determining the traditional director's responsibilities. The Institute of Directors produce specific guidelines on responsibilities of directors ( Other possible sources of input from different perspectives: ACAS - Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (, Business Links and the Department of Trade and Industry ( I mention these because they provide a certain level of advice free. If you are new to the HR or personnel role, check whether your organisation (or for example your parent company) has corporate membership to IOD, CIPD, Business Link etc., or retains the services of a specialist employment advisory consultancy. You'll need help in interpreting a suitable response to these new challenges, both in persuading senior people that these are significant issues, not just a PR thing or passing trend, and also in formulating a practicable and relevant approach to it all.

As regards corporate responsibility in a truer wider sense (people, planet, ethics, etc), standards and terms of reference are still fluid - it's difficult to measure the benefit of these things, therefore they are taking a long time being accepted and adopted (like the abolition of slavery, votes for women, etc). But that doesn't mean you cannot take the lead and formulate your own standards. Organisations which seek to pioneer ethical and humanitarian standards and practices will increasingly be the suppliers and employers of choice for all right-minded people.

Organisations which fail to address these vital questions of ethics, humanity, social and environmental responsibility, etc., and which fail to reflect these accountabilities within director's (and thereby all other employees') responsibilities, are taking some big risks, whereas the organisations which embrace and adopt these 'higher-order' values will almost
inevitably create for themselves a more sustainable future.

HR (human resources) head or director - typical job description duties

  1. Plan, develop and implement strategy for HR management and development (including recruitment and selection policy/practices, discipline, grievance, counselling, pay and conditions, contracts, training and development, succession planning, morale and motivation, culture and attitudinal development, performance appraisals and quality management issues - add others if relevant)
  2. Establish and maintain appropriate systems for measuring necessary aspects of HR development
  3. Monitor, measure and report on HR issues, opportunities and development plans and achievements within agreed formats and timescales
  4. Manage and develop direct reporting staff
  5. Manage and control departmental expenditure within agreed budgets
  6. Liaise with other functional/departmental managers so as to understand all necessary aspects and needs of HR development, and to ensure they are fully informed of HR objectives, purposes and achievements
  7. Maintain awareness and knowledge of contemporary HR development theory and methods and provide suitable interpretation to directors, managers and staff within the organisation
  8. Contribute to the evaluation and development of HR strategy and performance in co-operation with the executive team
  9. Ensure activities meet with and integrate with organisational requirements for quality management, health and safety, legal stipulations, environmental policies and general duty of care.
  10. (If formal director) Execute the responsibilities of a company director according to lawful and ethical standards, as referenced in ... (whatever director policy and standards document you might use).

Training and development manager- typical job description duties

  1. Plan, develop and implement strategy for staff training and development, establish and maintain appropriate systems for measuring necessary aspects of staff training and development
  2. Monitor, measure and report on staff training and development plans and achievements within agreed formats and timescales
  3. Manage and develop direct reporting staff
  4. Manage and control departmental expenditure within agreed budgets
  5. Liaise with other functional/departmental managers so as to understand all necessary aspects and needs of staff training and development, and to ensure they are fully informed of staff training and development objectives, purposes and achievements
  6. Maintain awareness and knowledge of contemporary staff training and development theory and methods and provide suitable interpretation to directors, managers and staff within the organisation
  7. Ensure activities meet with and integrate with organisational requirements for quality management, health and safety, legal stipulations, environmental policies and general duty of care

Trainer/training manager - typical job description responsibilities

  1. Plan departmental/funcional training budgets, forecast costs and delegate numbers as required by organisational planning and budgeting systems.
  2. Assess relevant training needs for staff individuals and organisation, in consultation with departmental heads, including assessment methods and measurement systems entailed.
  3. Stay informed as to relevant skill and qualifications levels required by staff for effective performance, and circulate requirements and relevant information to the organisation as appropriate.
  4. Produce organisational strategy and plans to meet training and development needs, and manage training delivery, measurement and follow-up as necessary.
  5. Design training courses and programmes necessary to meet training needs, or manage this activity via external provider(s).
  6. Identify, select and manage external training and accreditation bodies, agencies and providers necessary to deliver required training to apprpriate standards.
  7. Organise training venues, logistics, transport, accommodation as required to achieve efficient training attandance and delivery.
  8. Plan and deliver training courses personaally where necessary to augment that provided externally or internally by others.
  9. Arrange for the maintenance of all necessary equipment and materials relating to the effective delivery and measurement of training.
  10. Recruit, manage and develop direct-reporting staff (if applicable).
  11. Ensure all training activities and materials meet with relevant organisational and statutory policies, including health and safety, employment and equality laws.
  12. Monitor and report on activities, costs, performance, etc, as required.
  13. Develop self, and maintain knowledge in relevant field at all times

Writing job descriptions - summary guidelines

A good job description must be a brief concise document - not lots of detail of how each individual task is done, which should be in an operational manual, which can of course then be referenced by very many different job descriptions, saving lots of time, especially when operational details change, as they inevitably do.

A job description is in essence a list of 8-15 short sentences or points which cover the main responsibilities of the role, not the detailed processes.

Follow the job description structure and guidelines on this webpage - don't get side-tracked or persuaded into writing an operational manual. Detailed tasks belong in an operational manual, not a job description. If your boss or organisation thinks your job description should contain the detail of how you do your job, then encourage him/her/your organisation to produce an operational manual instead, and explain the logic and time-saving benefits that are shown on this page.

Use the job description structure on this webpage as a template into which you should put your main 8-15 responsibilities.

If you need to re-write job descriptions (or your own job description) then structure it in terms of main responsibilities - not the detail. If you wish, or if helpful to arrive at your main responsibilities, you can list the detail of your job tasks elsewhere, as this effectively represents a section in an operations manual - which shows the detail of how the job is done. You can use use the detail to indicate (to yourself) the main responsibilities, but for the job description you must summarise the detail into broad descriptions, for example:

All the detail concerned with, for instance 'invoicing', could be covered by: 'manage and report on all invoicing activities using agreed systems and processes (as defined in the operational manual).'

All the detailed process concerned with, say 'cash management', could be included in 'manage movement, security and accounting of cash in accordance with agreed processes and standards (as defined in the operating manual).'

See what I mean? Try to identify the main activities by type, not the detail.

Where appropriate refer to where the detail is held (for example the operational manual, safety manual, or say 'agreed procedures/standards') - do not attempt to include the detail in the job description.

It might help to see things in terms of the main types of activities (rather than your specific task detail), as listed at the top of the webpage and listed here again:

Bold type indicates that these responsibility areas would normally feature in most job descriptions:

  • communicating (in relation to whom, what, how - and this is applicable to all below)
  • planning and organizing (of what..)
  • managing information or general administration support (of what..)
  • monitoring and reporting (of what..)
  • evaluating and decision-making (of what..)
  • financial budgeting and control (of what..)
  • producing things (what..)
  • maintaining/repairing things (what..)
  • quality control (for production roles normally a separate responsibility; otherwise this is generally incorporated within other relevant responsibilities) (of what..)
  • health and safety (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)
  • using equipment and systems (what..)
  • creating and developing things (what..)
  • self-development (normally the same point for all job descriptions of a given staff grade)

plus any responsibilities for other staff if applicable, typically:

  • recruiting (of direct-reporting staff)
  • assessing (direct-reporting staff)
  • training (direct-reporting staff)
  • managing (direct-reporting staff)

Senior roles will include more executive aspects:

  • developing policy
  • duty of care and corporate responsibility
  • formulation of direction and strategy

You will find that you can cluster most of the tasks on your (initially very long) list into a list of far fewer broad (but still specific) responsibilities according to the above examples of typical job description activity areas.

The tendency when having to create or re-write job descriptions is to under-estimate the strategic nature of the role and responsibilities, and to be too detailed.

If writing your own job description, especially if you perform a wide range of responsibilities in a small company, then try to be bold in the way you describe what you do - use the sort of terminology that is found in senior-level job descriptions - it is likely that you could have a similar type of strategic responsibility without realising it or being recognised for it.

Doing this will help you and others to recognise, formalise and acknowledge the importance of what you do, and therefore your value to the organisation. It will also suggest several ways in which you could grow and to develop (into) the functions involved, and also indicate ways that the responsibilities activities can be developed, whether you do them or not, although you may be surprised at the high level of your own influence to drive and decide these decisions. Empowerment is often what you make it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

HRM Books


Human Resource Management: An International Comparison - Page 1by Rüdiger Pieper - 1990 - 285 pagesHuman Resource Management as a Strategic Factor In the past few years, Human Resource Management (HRM) has become significantly more important world-wide, ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Human Resource Management in China: Past, Current, and Future HR Practices in the Industrial Sector - Page 1by Cherrie Jiuhua Zhu - 2005 - 285 pages... explore the emerging role of human resource management (HRM) in Chinese industrial enterprises through the examination of human resource (HR) practices ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

A Handbook of Human Resource Management Practice - Page 1by Michael Armstrong - 2003 - 979 pages... and Chapter 5 deals with methods of evaluating the services provided by the function. The part ends with an analysis of international HRM. HRM ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

International Hrm: Contemporary Issues in Europe - Page 1by Chris Brewster, Hilary Harris - 1999 - 320 pagesDr Hugh Scullion is a Reader in International HRM at the School of Management and Finance, Nottingham University. Paul R. Sparrow is Professor of ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Human Resource Management: a strategic approach to employmnet - Page 3by Chris Hendry - 1995 - 300 pagesThis chapter sets out the background of ideas on which HRM is based. ... HRM is then compared with personnel management, identifying the special ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Global Human Resource Management: Managing People in Developing and Transitional Countries - Page 1by Willy McCourt, Derek ( Eldridge - Business & Economics - 2003 - 382 pages... Figure The HRM sequence Human resource planning (Chapter 3) I Job analysis (Chapter 4) I Managing pay (Chapter 5) I Recruitment and selection (Chapter ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Strategic Human Resource Management: A Guide to Action - Page 6by Michael Armstrong - 2000HRM DEFINED HEM can be defined as a strategic and coherent approach to the management ... Hard HRM VERSIONS OF HRM The hard approach to FIRM emphasizes the ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Human Resource Management - Page 64by Robert L. Mathis, John Harold Jackson - 2006 - 606 pagesDavid E. Bowen and Cheri Ostroff, “Understanding HRM—Firm Performance Linkages: The Role of the “Strength of the HRM System,” Academy of Management Review, ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book

Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice - Page 3by John Bratton, Jeffrey Gold - Business & Economics - 2001 - 432 pagesDescribe the history of human resource management. 4. Explain the theoretical debate surrounding the HRM model. ...Limited preview - Table of Contents - About this book[ More editions ]

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Job Analysis

Job Analysis

The general purpose of job analysis is to document the requirements of a job and the work performed. Job and task analysis is performed as a preliminary to successive actions, including to define a job domain, write a job description, create performance appraisals, selection and promotion, training needs assessment, compensation, and organizational analysis/planning.

In the fields of (HR) and Industrial Phychology, job analysis is often used to gather information for use in personnel selection, training, classification, and/or compensation.

Job Analysis is a process to identify and determine in detail the particular job duties and requirements and the relative importance of these duties for a given job. Job Analysis is a process where judgements are made about data collected on a job.

Job analysis can result in a description of common duties, or tasks, performed on the job, as well as descriptions of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics (KSAOs) required to perform those tasks. In addition, job analysis can uncover tools and technologies commonly used on the job, working conditions (e.g., a cubicle-based environment, outdoor work), and a variety of other aspects that characterize work performed in the position(s). When used as a precursor to personnel selection (a commonly suggested approach), job analysis should be performed in such a way as to meet the professional and legal guidelines that have been established (e.g., in the U.S., the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures).

In the context of vocational rehabilitation, the output of the job analysis is usually evidence. The evidence is used to support a determination regarding the injured worker's vocational choices.

In certification testing, the results of the job analysis lead to a document for candidates laying out the specific areas that will be tested (named in various ways, such as the "exam objectives") and to a "content specification" for item writers and other technical members of the exam development team. The content specification outlines the specific content areas of the exam and the percentage of the exam (i.e., the numbers of items) that must be included on the exam from that content area.

The Job; not the person An important concept of Job Analysis is that the analysis is conducted of the Job, not the person. While Job Analysis data may be collected from incumbents through interviews or questionnaires, the product of the analysis is a description or specifications of the job, not a description of the person.

Purpose of Job Analysis

The purpose of Job Analysis is to establish and document the 'job relatedness' of employment procedures such as training, selection, compensation, and performance appraisal.

Determining Training Needs

Job Analysis can be used in training/"needs assessment" to identify or develop:

  • training content
  • assessment tests to measure effectiveness of training
  • equipment to be used in delivering the training
  • methods of training (i.e., small group, computer-based, video, classroom...)

Job Analysis can be used in compensation to identify or determine:
  • skill levels
  • compensable job factors
  • work environment (e.g., hazards; attention; physical effort)
  • responsibilities (e.g., fiscal; supervisory)
  • required level of education (indirectly related to salary level)

Selection Procedures

Job Analysis can be used in selection procedures to identify or develop:

  • job duties that should be included in advertisements of vacant positions;
  • appropriate salary level for the position to help determine what salary should be offered to a candidate;
  • minimum requirements (education and/or experience) for screening applicants;
  • interview questions;
  • selection tests/instruments (e.g., written tests; oral tests; job simulations);
  • applicant appraisal/evaluation forms;
  • orientation materials for applicants/new hires

Performance Review

Job Analysis can be used in performance review to identify or develop:

  • goals and objectives
  • performance standards
  • evaluation criteria
  • length of probationary periods
  • duties to be evaluated

Methods of Job Analysis

There are several ways to conduct a job analysis, including: interviews with incumbents and supervisors, questionnaires (structured, open-ended, or both), observation, and gathering background information such as duty statements or classification specifications. In job analysis conducted by HR professionals, it is common to use more than one of these methods. For example, the job analysts may tour the job site and observe workers performing their jobs. During the tour the analyst may collect materials that directly or indirectly indicate required skills (duty statemenets, instructions, safety manuals, quality charts, etc). The analyst may then meet with a group of workers or incumbents. And finally, a survey may be administered. In these cases, job analysts typically are industrial psychologists or have been trained by, and are acting under the supervision of, an industrial psychologist.

Several methods exist that may be used individually or in combination. These include:

  • expert panels
  • structured questionnaires
  • task inventories
  • check lists
  • open-ended questionnaires
  • observation

  • incumbent work logs

A typical method of Job Analysis would be to give the incumbent a simple questionnaire to identify job duties, responsibilities, equipment used, work relationships, and work environment. The completed questionnaire would then be used to assist the Job Analyst who would then conduct an interview of the incumbent(s). A draft of the identified job duties, responsibilities, equipment, relationships, and work environment would be reviewed with the supervisor for accuracy. The Job Analyst would then prepare a job description and/or job specifications.

The method that you may use in Job Analysis will depend on practical concerns such as type of job, number of jobs, number of incumbents, and location of jobs.

What Aspects of a Job Are Analyzed?

Job Analysis should collect information on the following areas:
  • Duties and Tasks The basic unit of a job is the performance of specific tasks and duties. Information to be collected about these items may include: frequency, duration, effort, skill, complexity, equipment, standards, etc.
  • Environment This may have a significant impact on the physical requirements to be able to perform a job. The work environment may include unpleasant conditions such as offensive odors and temperature extremes. There may also be definite risks to the incumbent such as noxious fumes, radioactive substances, hostile and aggressive people, and dangerous explosives.
  • Tools and Equipment Some duties and tasks are performed using specific equipment and tools. Equipment may include protective clothing. These items need to be specified in a Job Analysis.
  • Relationships Supervision given and received. Relationships with internal or external people.
  • Requirements The knowledges, skills, and abilities (KSA's) required to perform the job. While an incumbent may have higher KSA's than those required for the job, a Job Analysis typically only states the minimum requirements to perform the job.

Job Analysis Techniques

Job observation
How can we have a view about a job if we have have never seen it in action! Observation is a starting point (data capture) for most job analysis work.

Observation works best where activities being performed can be seen and there is a definite sequence. Observation is harder for conceptual/managerial work (not readily open to observation).

We can oberve if this is permissable but the mere fact of observing somebody affects the way they do their work. The subject becomes aware and may modify their behaviour/responses - sometimes to give the observer what they think they want. Thus we have to think through the issues of

  • participant and
  • non-participant obsevation

Observation works best where activities being performed can be seen and there is a definite sequence. We might see things being done but we may not comprehend why they are being done, the knowl-how the person is using, the basis and derivation of the methods they are using or how they feel about their job.

Thus observation is harder for conceptual/managerial work. Many aspects of job occupancy and performance are not readily open to observation.

Reliability of observations

Recording process must be designed for reliability reliable. There are problems of subjectivity.

  • we have to identify the behaviours to be observed
  • make reliable recordings
  • interpret results - interpretations of different observers may differ.
  • we might present observation findings to jobholders and seek their interpretations.

Behavioural analysis

  • time-consuming
  • requires observer preparation and training.
  • observation of someone at work involves permission from the job-holder's and controller of the workplace!
  • we can structure the method by using a task or time-oriented checklist - if we design these! Design means defining categories and construing a model of things we are trying to observe/record.

Simple observation

Place yourself where you can see/record everything a jobholder does. Write up your notes/data. This gives an overview but may not go far enough. Is the importance or difficulty task revealled. A wider survey may need to establish such matters.


Gather more information.

  • observe tasks/duties being performed. What is done, movements, sequences, information used, contacts, speeds, the environment? Probe to clarify and explain. Arrange a separate time to interview (ask/talk with) the job holder, or their boss or others.
  • talking to the job-holder while they are doing the job is frought. There are problems of concentration, safety, error, continuity and irritation for the job holder. Questions interfere with observation.

The method depends on the work. In a analysis of factory workers, noise may limit shop-floor interviews. How can you interview a telephonist?

Complete the observations - be non-participant, a fly-on-the wall (but follow proper introductions and courtesies) then carry out the interview in a proper, quieter, uninterruptable spot. Be aware of the job-holder's needs - pressure of work, tension, other priorities.

It may be possible to interview a telephone dealer between calls but if calls are flooding in and the tension is high - then the analyst is a nuisance.

Observing Behaviour

Here you are interested in behaviour of jobholders rather than tasks they do. Behavioural analysis usually involves pre-determined behavioural criteria and a checklist.

Editor - Insert Rackham and Morgan's and Bayles checklists here.

Selecting behavioural factors to be observed

  • Are they meaningful? What relevance do they have for the research task and the people being observed?
  • Can the behaviour be observed reliably? How much interpretation will be required? What will be the problems of interpretation?
  • Are the categories separate and distinct?
  • Is there a relationship between the behaviour being observed and the objective of the work analysis. If not why define such a category to observe?

Behavioural analysis requires preparation and knowledge of work processes. For reliability and consistency, all analysts must agree on what each behaviour involves. The behavioural categories should be comprehensive but not so many to make it impossible to observe. Behaviour analysis forms have to be finalised as recording devices.


Trained analysts are needed for best objectivity to be secured. We need also to comprehend the whole cycle of activities to guide further depth research.

Data generated and sampling

This depends on the type of observations and (for behavioural observation) sampling. We may

  • time-sample
    the observer records at set intervals of the activity or behaviour e.g. every minute the observer records what the jobholder is doing.
  • Unit sampling
    Noting a unit of behaviour as per checklist categories whenever they occur.
  • behaviour sequences
    the frequency and sequence of each behaviour is noted (more complex)

Observational analysis results can be

  • presented as a narrative
  • if quantified, we can chart each type of behaviour and perhaps compare performance between good/less good jobholders.
Job Performance

Under this method the job analyst actually performs the jobs under study to obtain a first hand experience of the actual tasks,Physical and social demands and the enviroment of the job.
this method is require only for job where skill requirement are low and can,therefore,be learnt quickly and easily.

Job Analysis Interviews

Interviews commonly feature in job analysis. The interview focuses on

Tell me about your job...?

An job analysis interview does't need a checklist or structured questionnaire but it can be so structured. It may be:

  • unstructured or structured or a mixture of both
  • it may involve co-workers with one co-counselling the other from a job analysis viewpoint. A special job analysis is not needed.

In all cases preparation is likely and advantageous for the job analysis interview e.g. information on similar jobs or a job description has been considered or the job-holder observed working.

Unstructured Interviews

Here the interview is a conversation with no pre-prepared questions or predetermined line of investigation. Nevertheless the interviewer should explain

  • what the purpose of the study is and
  • what the particular focus of this interview will be

The roles and the purposes give structure. The interviewer generally uses a questioning strategy to explore the work the job holder performs. Listening and noting is vital. These enable probe/follow up questions to be posed. The questions and responses - with summaaryies enable the interview to be controlled. The conversation takes on a structure with areas being considered, explored, related to each other and revisited to secure the depth of information required in job analysis.

An unstructured interview involves question and response. It may be free flowing but its structure comes from the interviewers purpose and posing of well-defined open ended questions. We are still likely to find the interviewer controlling the interview through questions, summaries and non-verbal communication. Thus the interviewer needs skill not to lead and direct in ways that bring significant bias to the interview. He/she has to:

  • establish a relationship
  • ask well-structured questions to generate a conversational flow in which the interviewee offers information - factual, opinion, subjective and objective about aspects of the job
  • to ensure information recieved is heard and understood - listening, clarifying and reflective summarising
  • Interpret the information obtained in ways that are not biased and partial.

Effective listening requires concentration and this can be disturbed by interruptions, the interviewer['s own thought processes and dificulty in remaining neutral about what is being said. Notes need to be taken without loss of good eye contact. Cues need to be picked up so that further questions can be asked to probe issues and areas of interest.

Structured Interviews

So if an unstructured interview has a structure - what then are structured interviews? An interview may assume a definite format involving:

  • charting a job-holder's sequence of activities in performance
  • an inventory or questionnaire may be used
  • two jobholders are brought together to interview one another about the work that they carry out (co-counselling). They may be asked to undertake a management by objectives analysis or a job evaluation analysis.

Care is needed to set up such interactions. A specialist analyst is not involved and participants need to know what they are doing, why and what is expected as a result. They may be intrained as interviewers and not structure the interview as recommended. Notes and records may be needed for subsequent analysis.

A structured interview may be akin to a staff appraisal or job evaluation interview carried out by a manager with a subordinate. The manager is the analyst.

Interview Outcomes

Interviewing is a flexible method for all levels and types of job. An interview may focus on what a hypothetical job might involve.

Interviews generate descriptive data and enable job-holders to interpret their activities. A good interviewer can probe sensitive areas in more depth. Structured questionnaires cannot easily do this. Jobholders can give overviews of their work and offer their perceptions and feelings about their job and the environment. Rigid questionnaires tend to be less effective where the more affective aspects of work are concerned.

However information from different interviews can be

  • hard to bring together
  • there is potential for interviewer bias
  • certain areas of the work may fail to be picked up
  • an interview may stress one area and neglect others.
  • there are problems in interpretation and analysis with the possibility of distorted impressions
  • the subjectivity of the data captured needs to be considered

Interviewing as the sole method of job analysis in any particular project has disadvantages. Interviews are time consuming and training is needed. Co-counselling may remove the analyst and enable jobholders to discuss work between themselves. Through inexperience however they may miss items and there is the natural problem of people not establishing and maintaining rapport with each other during an interview.

Log Records

In this method a diary and logbook is given to each job holder.The job holder daily records the duties performed marking the at which each task is started and finished. The record so maintainde provides information about the job.This method is time consuming. Moreover, it provides incomplete data becouse information concerning working condition,equipment used and supervisory relationship is not available from the logbook.This method is useful for jobs that are difficult to observe like engineers,Scientists,Research men,Senior Manager etc.

Critical Incidents in Job Analysis


If we can record and analyse the components and processes, technical and human, involved in critical incidents that occur in a job, then we may discover new insights about the job. We may be able to design it better, train people for it better or even - from - an scholarly perspective - develop better models against which we can test propositions about work relationships and elements.

Critical incident analysis is a common method. A typical approach involves gathering data on observed or narrated incidents reveal important or critical elements of performance.

What is a Critical Incident?

  1. a critical incident is simply one which has occured that the job holder must respond to (performance). It is critical in that it is selected as being the type of event and involving the type of issue or behaviour that you are interested in. The range of incidents could be wide. They could come from a particular narrow band of job events.
  2. The incident is observable. We can record its components and examine information about it.
  3. Conclusions can be reached about actions, processes, results, consequences etc evident from the incident. We can identify sequences, objects, tools, transactions, sub-events, skills, cues, response times and a myriad of other factors.
  4. the incident needs to be an event occuring in a situation where purposes, intentions, activities/actions and effects/consequences can be defined objectively.
  5. The recorded incidents are snap-shots in the general flow of events. They are case studies from which we can see the elements of the incident and its performance, how the situation was handled and relationships to other events, conditions and the job as a whole.

Using the Method

  • Why - what are your aims and purposes. The people being observed or asked about critical incidents will want to know the purpose of the research inquiry. Explanations must be absolutely clear and acceptable.
  • Identify observers/recorders (researchers) the type of incidents you are seeking to observe. Just observe for anything is too loose. This is a research problem i.e if you are going to look for incidents - are these real, relevant incidents, could they be made up just because you are watching?
  • The researcher needs to understand the background to the job/work. Those who will be asked about "incidents" need to know the job. The "subjects" will be jobholders or supervisors, people who have a significant interface with the performance of the job..
  • Data collection methods may include
    • individual or group interviews - free-form or to a structure.
    • jobholders or other people completing proforma recording sheets. A structured proforma has the danger of "leading" the respondent. Formatted requirements might include:
      • describe a (particular type of) incident
      • give the background to it
      • what the person do which was effective or ineffective (actual behaviour observed)?
      • when did when the situation occur and in what sequence with other things
    • when data on one incident is gathered the interview can continue to gather more incidents. If a "fill in the sheet" approach is being taken the "subject" may complete several of these according to the number of incidents.


Some of these have been identified already. The approach depends on

  • Memory. Recent events may be recalled better but what if few critical incidents have happened recently
  • people's patience and committment
  • if the subject fills in a proforma - their ability to record
  • if a description is full and detailed - does this mean we can place more reliance on its accuracy?
  • how do we analyse the data? What principles should be applied?

    • The incident described may be analysed from the perspective of a frame of reference or the purpose of the analysis may be to construct a model or frame of reference for the first time
    • categorising and classifying the elements of incidents involves subjective judgement. A sample of incidents can be placed into categories or classes e.g. defined by the frame of reference being used. The procedure may reveal that classes overlap or that the class definitions are poorly framed. The class definitions may thus need to be redefined. We may find that an incident involving the same kind of behaviour can be placed into two categories.
    • categories may be simple or too complex.

When and Where might Critical Incident Method be used?

It is:

  • flexible and suitable for analysis of all types of jobs and arrangements of work.
  • it concentrates on observables, incidents, things have happened.
  • it can contribute data to personnel selection, the ergonomic design of equipment and work spaces e.g. a train drivers cab, warehouse security,training needs analysis and staff development. Critical incident method has value in the job performance appraisal situation.

Critical incident data is anecdotal i.e. a story of how someone acted or responded to an event. Obtain observations from more than one person or one group e.g. in a particular area or project. Take to supervisors and other internal and external clients" as well as jobholders. Provided they know the job and have observed "incidents" of performance then cross checking improves the reliability of data and how questions of effective/ineffective, significant/insignificant caan be interpreted.

Critical incident analysts need some prior learning about the method and the nature of observations because of the subjectivities involved. This can be readily done and should not present a barrier to the method. Two diferent researchers might for example sort/categorise the same incident data and compare results.

Proper procedures It is important that proper procedures are followed.
  • ensure that information on what the person actually did not what they think they did is described in detail. Without this component behaviours/actions cannot be defined and subsequent analysis suffers from generalisation and unreliable data.
  • a large sample of incidents may be needed for a comprehensive analysis.How many would be needed for a senior management job or the job of an airline pilot?
  • one interview is unlikely to reveal more than 4 good incidents in an interview or ten if they complete proformas. This kind of possiility illustrates the time demand of the technique and how impracticalities may loom large.

Volumes: An example of a Pilot Programme

Complete a series of ten interviews. If each identify ten critical behaviours, 100 are avaiable to be classified. A new or modified behavioural classification may be generated. This can then be used for proforma analysis and so lessen the time involved in interview analysis.


Critical incident is seldom going to be used on its own. It is interesting for the reseracher and subjects. The data may enable them, through reflection, to explore many facets of job performance. As a "conversational" approach the anecdotes and stories often colourfully reveal the humour, excitment and drama of working life.

Some subjects learn the method quickly and may revel in it. This adds to the danger of over-elaboration of anecdotes and the problems of reliability, subjectivity and interpretation. Sometimes people cannot think of relevant incidents or are unwilling to discuss certain types of incident with outsiders e.g. instances of of failure. Confidentiality must be stressed and information on how results are to be used may need to be given.

Cited incidents may be ones which tend to reference positives rather than negatives e.g. in performance or in relationships. People may find it easier to narrate incidents that had not gone well. These may be more vivid in recollection. Normal, successful work incidents may be taken for granted and under-stressed. Data from other techniques may provide information on understated aspects of work.

The Value of Job Analysis Techniques

Jobs are organisational components. Many organisational studies involve looking at job structures, relationships and behaviours associated with jobs. Job analysis techniques are useful for

  • the examination of work experience. Job roles can be defined in terms of

    • responsibilities,
    • accountability
    • communications networks
    • decision-making
    • their relationship to operational and information systems in use and
    • their hierarchical and team position within business systems and programmes
    • the learning and developmental opportunities they offer.
    • expectations, conflicts, ambiguities and tensions manifested.
    • relationships with policies, business imperatives and changes
    • contributions to work systems and information systems.

  • Discussion about job roles, perceptions about roles and role experience involves you in a learning conversation. The content, process and interpretation of the elements of the conversation may contribute to many lines of research.

Analysing a Job?

What kind of data/information can be obtained when you analyse a job (e.g. your own) and report on its form, content, problems, performance, delights, loves and tensions?

The following questions/headings are a starting point for you to reflect on your job role discuss it with others and - from the notes that you generate - subsequently write your job analysis report for your self-development portfolio.

What is the job title?

Is the title appropriate/sifficiently explanatory? Does it need a title? What does the title indicate in terms of status, authority - both within your "firm" and to the world in general?

How is the job "placed" within the "firm "?

What is its grade/salary?

How does the grade and salary compare to other jobs both within the " firm " and externally in relation to comparable jobs both within the industry and other industries?

What are the comparable jobs?

Why are they - legitimately in your view - comparable jobs?

Organisation chart

Draw an organisation chart for your "firm " and identify your job; its level and position within it.

What are the formal (internal) reporting relationships with the job - (up, down, sideways relationships)? For your job - explain

  • who do you report to in the hierarchy (formally - boss and key others)?
  • who are you responsible (number of full-time and part-time staff and their job titles)?
  • What others are members of, what might be termed, your job network or role set: (list the contacts/other jobs - internal and external - that form your job's network of contacts). These might include:

    • External (customer groups, agencies, suppliers etc)
    • Internal (other departments who are your internal clients or who must work with you or service your needs.)

    Write brief notes on the significance of the relationships. Why are they significant?

Job ownership

How permanent is the job? In what way is this a significant question for you? What are your expectations about permanence? In what way is the job a "job for life "? How wedded to the job are you? If not, why not? How is the job changing or likely to change in terms of permanence? What are the implications for you and "the firm"?


What physical mobility is involved with the job?

What mental mobility is involved with the job?


What are the main responsibilities (routine/non-routine) of the job

  • Routine (daily, weekly)

  • Yearly - and responsibilities that arise from time to time.

  • Other Key events/points in job cycle that you are responsible for.

Key Result Areas

Now focus on the really important - key areas - those that are crucial for good job performance and success overall

  • LIST the key result areas (KRAs)
  • For each KRA, LIST the key duties and tasks that have to be carried out

  • For each KRA, write brief notes on the main "indicators " that would show that key performance standards/critical success standards have been met
  • What would be the indicators if these standards of performance had not been met?

Information systems
What information systems do you use in your job in order to carry out your responsibilities? List them and write a brief explanatory note about them. The information systems can be manual, paper-based or computerised.

  • Which of these systems information systems

    1. service the needs of customers?
    2. enable the "firm" to obtain efficiency, consistency, cut costs and make better profits?
    3. How many transactions do you make (entering, obtaining data) with these information systems each day?

    Which information systems does your boss and others use to monitor your performance and progress in the job?

    What would result if these information systems - suddenly were not available?

    What steps are taken to ensure the security of both the data and the fabric of the information systems themselves?

  • What meetings do you attend and why?

    Describe each of the meetings.

    How do formal meetings compare with informal, daay to day interaction in terms of significant decision making and managerial co-ordination?

    What contributions must you - because of your job responsibilities - bring to these meetings?

    What personal qualities do you bring to these meetings and the others who attend the meetings?


    What supervision and support processes are you involved with? Consider:-

    • your boss to you
    • you to your boss
    • you to your staff
    • your staff to you
    • you to others
    • others to you


    • What "decision-making authority" do you have over staff and resources e.g.

      • to give instructions (explain briefly)
      • allocate work (explain briefly)
      • make rewards available (explain briefly)
      • fix/change terms and conditions of employment (explain briefly)

      • give feedback (explain briefly)
      • assess and appraise and discipline? (explain briefly)
      • Other? (explain briefly)

    • Even if you do not have formal authority - what influence e.g. by way of expertise/advice, personal qualities - are you still expected to have over others?

      In each case describe the personal qualities you bring to bear to apply such influence.

    • What responsibility do you have for


      • the fabric of the workplace; fixtures and fittings etc
      • maintenance,cleaning, security etc.
      • expenditure on services and consumables?
      • expenditure on other major items?

      Describe each of these and give details of what, how much etc.

    • Do you have a budgetary recording and monitoring system? Explain this briefly.

      What are its strengths and weakness?

    Given your present job and your experience of it:

    • What differences in expectation are you currently experiencing between:
      • Your staff and yourself and vice versa
      • Your boss and yourself and vice versa
      • Your customers/clients and yourself and vice versa (internal and external clients)

    Role Tensions

    • What role ambiguity are you facing?
    • What role incompatibilities do you perceive between yourself (your personal make-up and your role)?
    • What role conflicts are you facing? What is causing these? Why are they conflicts?
    • What role overload are you experiencing? What is causing these?
    • What role underload are you experiencing? What is causing these?
    • What role ensignia do you use/display (both physical and in terms of mannerisms/behaviours)?

    Strategies for Change

    What strategies are you using to cope with job changes?

    Strategies for Stress

    What strategies are you using to cope with job stresses?

    Strategies for Achievement

    • What scope for achievement (in areas of certainty and uncertainty) do you have?
    • What are the things that are blocking your potential for achievement at the moment?
    • What scope is there for advancement?
    • What is blocking advancement?
    • What do you think you might do about this?
    Strategies for Learning

    Other than starting your BSc in Business Administration what strategies do you use to open up and take advantage of learning opportunities in relation to:

    • your current job?
    • your career in a wider sense?
    • your interests and life commitments in a wider sense?

    Books to read

    Job Analysis: A Guide to Assessing Work Activities

    Job Analysis: A Guide to Assessing Work Activities - by Sidney Gael - Business & Economics - 1983 - 282 pages

    Job Analysis at the Speed of Reality

    Job Analysis at the Speed of Reality - Page 1by Darin E. Hartley - Business & Economics - 1999

    Job Analysis of Chiropractic: A Project Report, Survey Analysis, and Summary of the Practice of ...

    Job Analysis of Chiropractic: A Project Report, Survey Analysis, by Mark G. Christensen, National Board of Chiropractic Examiners - Medical - 2000 - 210 pages

    Manual of Job Evaluation: Procedures of Job Analysis and Appraisal

    Manual of Job Evaluation: Procedures of Job Analysis and Appraisal - Page 3by Eugene Jackson Benge, Samuel L. H. Burk, Edward Northrup Hay - 1941 - 198 pages