Job Enlargement, a job design technique in which the number of tasks associated with a job is increased (and appropriate training provided) to add greater variety to activities, thus reducing monotony.
Job enlargement is considered a horizontal restructuring method in that the job is enlarged by adding related tasks. Job enlargement may also result in greater workforce flexibility.
Job enlargement is another method of job design when any organization wishes to adopt proper job design it can opt for job enlargement. Job enlargement involves combining various activities at the same level in the organization and adding them to the existing job. It increases the scope of the job. It is also called the horizontal expansion of job activities.
Job Enlargement is the horizontal expansion of a job. It involves the addition of tasks at the same level of skill and responsibility. It is done to keep workers from getting bored. It is different than job enrichment.
Examples: Small companies may not have as many opportunities for promotions, so they try to motivate employees through job enlargement. Beside that if there is shortage or suffering from dearth of staff, in such case additional duties and responsibilities would be added to available employees which amount to job enlargement.
Job enlargement can be explained with the help of the following example -
If Mr. A is working as an executive with a company and is currently performing 3 activities on his job after job enlargement or through job enlargement we add 4 more activities to the existing job so now Mr. A performs 7 activities on the job. It must be noted that the new activities which have been added should belong to the same hierarchy level in the organization. Through job enlargement we provide a much variety of activities to an employee, besides we have an advantage to make maximum use of employee’s skill Job enlargement contradicts the principles of specialisation and the division of labour whereby work is divided into small units, each of which is performed repetitively by an individual worker.
Some motivational theories suggest that the boredom and alienation caused by the division of labour can actually cause efficiency to fall. Thus, job enlargement seeks to motivate workers through reversing the process of specialisation. A typical approach might be to replace assembly lines with modular work; instead of an employee repeating the same step on each product, they perform several tasks on a single item.
Methods or Techniques of Job Design
In order for employees to be provided with Job Enlargement they will need to be retrained in new fields which can prove to be a lengthy process. However results have shown that this process can see its effects diminish after a period of time, as even the enlarged job role become the mundane, this in turn can lead to similar levels of demotivation and job dissatisfaction at the expense of increased training levels and costs. The continual enlargement of a job over time is also known as 'job creep,' which can lead to an unmanageable workload.
Advantages of job enlargement
Variety of skills :- Job enlargement helps the organization to improve and increase the skills of the employee due to organization as well as the individual benefit.
Improves earning capacity :- Due to job enlargement the person learns many new activities. When such people apply foe jobs to other companies they can bargain for more salary.
Wide range of activities :- Job enlargement provides wide range of activities for employees. Since a single employee handles multiple activities the company can try and reduce the number of employee’s. This reduces the salary bill for the company.
Disadvantages of job enlargement Increases work burden :- Job enlargement increases the work of the employee and not every company provides incentives and extra salary for extra work. Therefore the efforts of the individual may remain unrecognized.
Increasing frustration of the employee :- In many cases employees end up being frustrated because increased activities do not result in increased salaries.
Problem with union members :- Many union members may misunderstand job enlargement as exploitation of worker and may take objection to it.
Difference Between Job Enlargement and Job Enrichment
The difference between job enrichment and job enlargement is quality and quantity. Job enrichment means improvement, or an increase with the help of upgrading and development, whereas job enlargement means to add more duties, and an increased workload. By job enrichment, an employee finds satisfaction in respect to their position and personal growth potential, whereas job enlargement refers to having additional duties and responsibilities in a current job description.
Job enlargement is a vehicle employers use to put additional workload on employees, perhaps in economical downtime. Due to downsizing, an employee might feel lucky to have a job at all, despite the fact that his duties and responsibilities have increased. Another approach is that by adding more variety and enlarging the responsibilities will provide the chance of enhancement and more productivity. Job enrichment involves organizing and planning in order to gain more control over their duties and work as a manager. The execution of plans and evaluation of results motivates workers and relieves boredom. Job enlargement and job enrichment are both useful for motivating workers to perform their tasks enthusiastically.
Although job enlargement and enrichment have a relationship with each other, they also possess some distinct features that differentiate them, such as area of expansion, mutual reliance, allocation of duties and responsibilities, motivation and profundity. Job enrichment is largely dependent on job enlargement, whereas job enlargement has no such dependency. Job enlargement expands horizontally when compared to job enrichment, which expands vertically. Vertical growth of job or augmentation is helpful to obtain managerial rights. In spite of mutual dependency, managerial duties are sanctioned, as in the case of enhancement. The employee focuses more on job depth, which does not happen in job enlargement. Job enrichment has a greater motivational impact than job enlargement. The job enlargement theory involving horizontal expansion to increase job satisfaction and productivity is relatively simple, and applied in numerous situations. Job enrichment, when compared to job enlargement, not only includes more duties and responsibilities, but also gives the right of decision making and control.