Job Analysis Techniques

Introduction

The area of job analysis techniques in human resource management focuses on the systematic assessment of various aspects of a job that an employee is expected to accomplish. Studying the area of job analysis is important since it reveals the skills, knowledge, experience, and qualifications that employers require when allocating tasks employees. The subject of job analysis plays an integral role in the recruitment and selection of qualified candidates for a specific position in a company. It facilitates the provision of information about the job activities that employees need to undertake, the required resources to facilitate the accomplishment of the job, the supervision needed for the job, and the required skills for performing the respective tasks exceptionally. Different organizations apply diverse job analysis techniques to facilitate the effective and efficient management of human resources.

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The notable job analysis techniques include observation, interview, and questionnaire methods. However, the paper will not address the critical incident technique, owing to its many limitations such as the inability to capture precise information since entries are only made after a certain behavior has been observed, rather than noting it immediately it is manifested. In other words, this study regards this method as ineffective in helping to present reliable job analysis results. The observation technique of job analysis involves taking note of the employee’s performed, unperformed, achieved, and unachieved duties and responsibilities, including the techniques, approaches, and skills that the particular worker applies to undertake his or her duties. The interview technique of job analysis involves the administration of a talk concerning a particular job to gain employees’ opinions and perceptions regarding the styles, difficulties they experience, the application of skills in the performance of their job, and the fears and insecurities surrounding their careers. Importantly, questions used in the interview should cover the relevant areas of the job to gain valid insights from the respondents, in this case, employees. Moreover, the questionnaire technique entails the administration of structured or unstructured questions to employees, supervisors, as well as managers. Nonetheless, the element of bias in the questionnaire approach undermines its efficiency and effectiveness in analyzing a particular job.

Inconsistencies have been reported concerning the best job analysis approach to use in organizations. However, the current studies have delved much on unveiling whether a universal job analysis approach exists whereby all companies can be comfortable when adopting a particular method. Nonetheless, it is crucial to appreciate the prevailing job diversities whereby various factors such as the type of job to be analyzed, the cost of administering the method, and its effectiveness have to be considered when selecting the most applicable job analysis technique. As such, conducting a review of the literature addressing the various job analysis approaches is relevant to understanding the input of such approaches in fostering the effectiveness and efficiency of human resource management activities. Important to note, job analysis needs to incorporate a technique that bolsters the efficacy of human resource management actions such as employee selection, training and development, and job design and description. Therefore, this paper compares and contrasts the different job analysis techniques before discussing the most appropriate methods for various human resource management activities. The questionnaire job analysis method is presented as the most favorable relative to the other discussed methods.

Review of Literature

Various scholars have delved into studies that seek to unmask the usefulness of different job analysis techniques. Additionally, researchers covering the topic also incorporate relevant theoretical frameworks that bolster an understanding of how job analysis influences the area of human resource management. Therefore, conducting a literature review of sources that address the implications of the methods of collecting data and information about specific jobs is relevant in the context of this paper.

The Observation Job Analysis Method

The observation technique of job analysis involves monitoring and recording employees’ performance. It helps to create a description of the duties and tasks they perform. In other words, according to Landau and Rohmert (2017), the observation technique of work analysis facilitates the gathering of first-hand information regarding employees’ activities, as well as the movement of equipment and machinery. Thus, job analysts acquire a primary impression of employees’ performance of duties and responsibilities ascribed to them, including how they use other resources in their line of work. The observation method is reliable since analysts closely observe employees’ assigned activities, materials, equipment, hazards, working conditions, and coordination (Landau & Rohmert, 2017).

This technique of analyzing works is also advantageous, owing to its simple administration, less time consuming, and cost-effectiveness. Nonetheless, according to Landau and Rohmert (2017), the observation technique of job analysis faces an array of limitations. Distortion of information is possible in case employees are pre-informed about the administration of the program. According to Fligstein (2016), the field theory presents the interdependence of various tasks, employees, or units within an organization to the extent that distortion in one field will end up interfering with the results in other job areas. Furthermore, it is not easy to observe managerial jobs. Moreover, the approach has the potential of influencing work outputs negatively (Landau & Rohmert, 2017). Overall, the observation method of work analysis poses an array of advantages, as well as disadvantages that analysts need to take into consideration in the evaluation of the outcomes.

Technological advancements have fostered the effectiveness and efficiency of the observation approach to job analysis. In a study, Puig-Ribera et al. (2015) sought to assess the influence of a web-based intervention for observing the way in which sedentary office employees performed their duties and tasks. Notably, the need for encouraging employees to “sit less and move more” is identified as an important human resource management approach since it seeks to improve workers’ productivity (Puig-Ribera et al., 2015). In this concern, Puig-Ribera et al. (2015) reveal that the integration of evidence-based interventions of observing employees’ performance of duties and tasks is crucial towards fostering their output. In addition, the technology-aided observation technique of job analysis helps in promoting the occupational health of sedentary office employees by encouraging them to move more rather than only sitting as they perform their duties and tasks.

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Work sampling is an aspect of the observation technique of job analysis that has been considerably embraced in the field of human resource management. Cheng, Teizer, Migliaccio, and Gatti (2013) investigate the role of work sampling in fostering the collection of data regarding the productivity of the workforce in the construction industry. Important to note, human resource managers in the construction industry apply the work sampling tactic of job analysis to observe workers’ level of activity. The approach is integral towards streamlining the day-to-day management of the organization, including assisting in the estimation of costs and the evaluation of claims. According to Cheng et al. (2013), the automation of work sampling is integral to the translation of activity-at-task information into productivity. Furthermore, the automation of the observation technique of job analysis offers human resource experts the spatial information regarding the resources utilized for particular operations of a company. Importantly, the automation of work sampling promotes the real-time assessment of workers’ productivity (Cheng et al., 2013). Therefore, technological changes that facilitate the fusion of work sampling with automation enhance the reliability of the observation method of job analysis, especially by providing a framework that streamlines the identification and comprehension of employees’ activity type over a given period.

Ekuma (2012) underscores that job analysis methods such as work sampling foster the selection of the best employees, thus bolstering the competitive edge of an organization. The researcher asserts that work sampling as part of the observational job analysis approach facilitates the realization of predictive and face validity in the process of employee selection. Notably, Ekuma (2012) holds that the work-sampling tactic as an observational method of job analysis incorporates aspects of predictive and face validity in the activities associated with the employee recruitment process. Thus, in the wake of talent search in the labor market, an organization that embraces the work sampling technique streamlines the efficiency and effectiveness of its human resource management strategy. Nonetheless, analysts need to appropriately design and administer the job analysis method to foster the attainment of extrapolative and face legitimacy during employee selection processes.

The administration of employee diaries or logs is another form of the observation approach to work analysis. The diary or log technique requires employees to maintain a journal or an activity log that records all job duties and tasks, the frequency of performing the related activities, and the time consumed in performing each task. The approach is crucial in the area of human resource management since it supports the creation of a sense of responsibility among employees. Furthermore, employees who maintain the activity logs reduce the need for close supervision since the management assumes that they know what task they need to perform at a given time (Buller & McEvoy, 2012). Thus, the approach of self-reported observation is useful in yielding important information about the job. Nonetheless, this technique has limitations since it burdens employees with the task of recording all duties and tasks they perform.

In an inquiry, Thorp et al. (2012) assessed the impact of activity logs administered to employees on the reduction of their sitting time to bolster occupational health. The scholars identified the need for employees to engage in work-related activities that cut the sedentary time they spend while executing their duties and responsibilities. Thorp at al. (2012) uncovered that observing the activities in which employees engage is effective towards understanding the extent to which sedentary time influences their performance. As such, there is a need for raising awareness regarding the importance of movement in the workplace setting to foster employees’ health and consequently their productivity. For this reason, the use of diaries or activity logs is identified as one of the strategic approaches to raising the awareness of employees about the importance of movement amid the sedentary nature of their duties and responsibilities.

The Interview Job Analysis Method

The interview technique of job analysis entails face-to-face interactions between analysts and employees to gather information regarding the job that they (employees) perform. Additionally, the interview technique may also involve a supervisor who provides relevant information regarding the job design, description, and expectations that employees need to meet in their lines of work. In this respect, the interview approach to analyzing jobs is integral in the field of human resource management since it offers employees or supervisors detailed explanation of particular aspects of a job (Buller & McEvoy, 2012).

Thus, the approach fosters the accuracy and reliability of the information collected through the administration of interviews. Furthermore, the interview tactic of job analysis lessens the misconception of observation by providing the analyst with an opportunity to gain a better understanding of aspects that surround a particular job. Additionally, the observation method of analyzing jobs in the organizational environment is effective and efficient since it incorporates a checklist that guides the process of gathering information. Nonetheless, conducting interviews to secure information for analyzing a job is time-consuming and costly. Thus, it is inefficient to a considerable extent. In addition, according to Buller and McEvoy (2012), the distortion of information provided by employees during the interviewing process may undermine the reliability of the information gathered for job analysis. As such, the interview approach to job analysis has more advantages than limitations. Thus, it is one of the useful strategies for fostering the efficiency and effectiveness of human resource management activities in a given organization.

Efficient employee selection is one of the important activities of human resource management. As such, organizations identify the interview job analysis approach as integral in ensuring that they capture the most talented and competent applicants. In their study, Roulin, Bangerter, and Levashina (2015) investigated the influence of honest and deceptive impression management (IM) on the interview job analysis approach of human resource management. As presented by Kim, Kim, and Kim (2014) research, the impression management theory is manifested in Roulin et al.’s (2015) article whereby an employee’s image as presented to the public (his or her employer and colleagues) may influence the way the view his or her suitability for a particular task. In other words, in line with this theory, impression management may lead to the selection of either honest or incompetent employees, owing to their IM during the administration of interviews. Roulin et al. (2015) suggested that the failure of the interviewer to identify the deception could lead to the hiring of incompetent employees.

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Such human resource management errors have the potential of undermining the performance of the organization substantially. In this respect, the difficulty of the interviewer in identifying deceptive responses of the interviewee undermines the effectiveness and efficiency of the interview technique of job analysis. Additionally, it is easy for evaluators to detect honest IMs compared to deceptive ones during the interview process. In this concern, Roulin et al. (2015) underline the need for assisting interviewers in the identification of IM tactics employed by applicants since they enhance the validity of employment interviews. Furthermore, the type of interview question affects the detection of either honest or deceptive IM to a considerable extent rather than the experience of the interviewer. Moreover, interviewers’ perceptions regarding the IM tactics used by applicants during the interview affect performance evaluation in the selection process. In a similar study, Roulin Bangerter, and Levashina (2014) focused on uncovering the influence of interviewers’ perception of the applicants’ IM tactics on the outcomes of the employment interview.

Notably, the scholars seek to fill the gap in research regarding the interviewer’s perception of the job seekers’ use of IM tactics to enhance their chances of successfully going through the employee selection process. As such, Roulin et al. (2014) analyzed the convergence of interviewers’ IM perceptions of the applicants’ behaviors. The research results reveal that a lack of convergence between the perceptions of the interviewer and the self-reported IM of the applicant exists. In addition, self-promotion and the applicants’ transparency perceptions influence positively the interview evaluations. However, applicants’ use of slight image creation tactics denotes a negative association with the outcomes of the interview process. In this view, Roulin et al. (2014) suggest that it is difficult for interviewers in the area of human resources management to take care of the instances when job seekers use IM. Moreover, the overconfidence of the job analyst in judging the self-report of the applicant and the belief that the investigator’s judgment is based on the respondent’s responses undermine the identification of their IM.

In a related study, Ekuma (2012) identifies the importance of the interview method of job analysis in integrating elements of predictive and face validity of human resource actions associated with employee selection processes. Thus, apart from the IM perceptions of the interviewers, incorporating aspects of the face and predictive validity is crucial towards understanding the applicant’s sincerity or spuriousness when administering job interviews. In this respect, designing interviews in a way that captures the significance of face and predictive validity streamlines the competitiveness of an organization in capturing the most talented applicants in the labor market. As a result, the organization raises its edge in the market, owing to the competitiveness of skills inherent in the most talented employees.

The Questionnaire Job Analysis Method

The questionnaire tactic of job analysis is commonly applied in contemporary organizational settings. The job analysis method entails the administration of particular questions to respondents to facilitate the acquisition of information. As such, analysts who apply the questionnaire tactic design an array of questions that help them to collect information regarding specific aspects of the job. In most cases, job analysts include multi-choice questions in the questionnaires, owing to the difficulty of administering open-ended questions. Concerned employers send the questionnaires to the selected respondents (employees) who fill them at their convenience before returning the filled documents to the analyst.

In a study, Sharif and Karim (2017) assess the influence of job analysis programs administered through the questionnaire technique on employees. Particularly, the researchers investigate the perceptions of employees in various companies in Bangladesh regarding the influence of the questionnaire approach to job analysis. In most cases, the filling of questionnaires initially prompts employees to develop negative perceptions regarding the essence of job analysis programs in their organizations. However, a human resource management action that fosters the enthusiasm of employees in participating in the job analysis programs develops their appraisal of the questionnaire method (Sharif & Karim, 2017). The results reveal that the questionnaire approach of job analysis assists employees in the proper identification of job duties, as well as responsibilities. Additionally, the technique of analyzing jobs using questionnaires enhances the awareness of employees regarding career development.

Critical Discussion of the Preferred Method

Relative to other methods presented in this paper, this study emphasizes the need for human resource departments to regularly administer job analysis questionnaires to foster employees’ effective and efficient performance of their duties and responsibilities apart from heightening awareness regarding their career development. The observation job analysis technique, especially the activity logs approach, may face the issue of the inaccurate recording of the duties and tasks performed by employees. Moreover, some workers identify the technique as unnecessary documentation, thus disrupting their attention to the jobs they need to perform. Concerning the interview approach to job analysis and with reference to the impression management theory, the inability of the interviewer to identify the IM of the applicant in the course of employee selection undermines the usefulness of the technique in human resource management.

Notably, the questionnaire technique of job analysis is recommended since it has the capability of facilitating the acquisition of important information from a substantial number of employees. The convenience of providing information after receiving the questionnaire makes it a time-saving approach to job analysis. The questionnaire is also useful in facilitating the collection of sensitive information regarding employees’ performance of specific duties and tasks. Importantly, the questionnaire technique of work analysis is also cost-effective. In this respect, a job analyst can apply the technique to obtain information from various jobs in a time-saving way. Furthermore, it is easy to collect information concerning the effectiveness of the management, owing to the confidentiality aspect of administering questionnaires. However, the questionnaire technique is disadvantageous since the employee may misunderstand or misinterpret some questions, thus responding inaccurately, a situation that undermines the reliability of the job analysis.

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In a study, Suthar, Chakravarthi, and Pradhan (2014) sought to investigate the degree to which job analysis influences the performance of an organization. Particularly, the researchers embraced the questionnaire research approach to uncover the impact of job analysis on employees’ motivation and job satisfaction. The questionnaires focused on addressing issues such as job evaluation, job specification, organizational practices and policies, job description, job design, and job performance. The quantitative research approach facilitated the collection of data, as well as the analysis of the extent to which the questionnaire technique of job description fosters the realization of desirable organizational performance.

The findings uncover that this technique of job analysis facilitates organizational performance by simplifying the identification of the areas of improvement in human resource management (Suthar et al., 2014). Importantly, the administration of questionnaires covering the various human resource activities such as organizational policies, practices, job design, and job description in a way that seeks to assess the impact of such actions on a company’s performance is a strategic job analysis approach. The approach ensures that respondents provide feedback on the specific questions relating to human resource practices and the impact of such actions on employees’ productivity. Thus, since the productivity of employees goes a long way in determining the performance of an organization, this study recommends using the questionnaire job analysis to assess employee productivity, as opposed to the other discussed methods.

Conclusion

The articles reviewed have contributed considerably to the subject of job analysis presented in this paper. From the articles’ findings, job analysis is a crucial aspect of human resource management since it facilitates the preparation of job description, development of job specification, determination of the performance standards, facilitation of job evaluation, development of the job design and redesign, and the maintenance of good labor relations. Various job analysis techniques exist to foster the effectiveness of human resource management strategies. From the studied materials, the notable job analysis techniques include observation, interview, and questionnaire methods. The observation method involves the analyst taking note of employees’ activities associated with the execution of their tasks and duties. Employees here may engage in self-observation and reporting of the tasks and duties they perform at a given time using tools such as diaries and activity logs. Additionally, technological advancements have fostered the reliability of the observation method in assessing the productivity of employees as denoted by the automation of recording the activity-at-task in the workplace environment.

Furthermore, the work sampling approach to the observation job analysis fosters employee assessment during the recruitment processes. It incorporates predictive and faces validity elements. In addition, work sampling is regarded as useful in evaluating the employees’ productivity in various industries as the analyst observes the convergence of their (employees) level of activity with their assigned tasks and duties. The interview technique of work analysis is also pivotal in human resource strategy. The current study recommends it as the best for various human resource management activities that include training and development, employee selection, and job design. The questionnaire approach fosters the collection of detailed information regarding a particular job. The literature review has been insightful in instilling a comprehensive understanding of the different techniques of job analysis and their influence on human resource management activities. Importantly, the literature review shows that the various job analysis techniques streamline the implementation of the human resource strategy by fostering actions such as employee selection, job design and redesign, and career development among other aspects.

References

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Cheng, T., Teizer, J., Migliaccio, G. C., & Gatti, U. C. (2013). Automated task-level activity analysis through fusion of real time location sensors and worker’s thoracic posture data. Automation in Construction, 29, 24-39.

Ekuma, K. J. (2012). The importance of predictive and face validity in employee selection and ways of maximizing them: An assessment of three selection methods. International Journal of Business and Management, 7(22), 115-122.

Fligstein, N. (2016). The theory of fields and its application to corporate governance. Seattle University Law Review, 39, 237-237.

Kim, M., Kim, D., & Kim, J. (2014). CSR for sustainable development: CSR beneficiary positioning and impression management motivation. Corporate Social Responsibility & Environmental Management, 21(1), 14-27.

Landau, K., & Rohmert, W. (2017). Recent developments in job analysis. Oxford, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Puig-Ribera, A., Bort-Roig, J., González-Suárez, A. M., Martínez-Lemos, I., Giné-Garriga, M., Fortuño, J.,…Gilson, N. D. (2015). Patterns of impact resulting from a ‘sit less, move more’ web-based program in sedentary office employees. PloS one, 10(4), 1-15.

Roulin, N., Bangerter, A., & Levashina, J. (2014). Interviewers’ perceptions of impression management in employment interviews. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 29(2), 141-163.

Roulin, N., Bangerter, A., & Levashina, J. (2015). Honest and deceptive impression management in the employment interview: Can it be detected and how does it impact evaluations? Personnel Psychology, 68(2), 395-444.

Sharif, A. M., & Karim, M. M. (2017). Influence of job analysis program on employees: A study on selected companies of Bangladesh. International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, 8(5), 1221-1225.

Suthar, B. K., Chakravarthi, T. L., & Pradhan, S. (2014). Impacts of job analysis on organizational performance: An inquiry on Indian public sector enterprises. Procedia Economics and Finance, 11, 166-181.

Thorp, A. A., Healy, G. N., Winkler, E., Clark, B. K., Gardiner, P. A., Owen, N., & Dunstan, D. W. (2012). Prolonged sedentary time and physical activity in workplace and non-work contexts: a cross-sectional study of office, customer service and call centre employees. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 9(1), 128.

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