Work design to maximize workers’ taking responsibility for the consequence of their actions

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Work design to maximize workers’ taking responsibility for the consequence of their actions.

The term work design, also called job design refers to an arrangement in the workplace that has the objective of overcoming employee alienation and job dissatisfaction that comes about from mechanical and repetitive tasks in the workplace. Work design is used by organizations to boost productivity by offering employees non- monetary rewards such as satisfaction from a greater sense of personal achievement ( 2011). Though the term is majorly targeting at boosting the work efficiency and employee motivation, here we talk about another aspect of this term, in the perspective of “maximizing the workers’ taking responsibility” for the work that they have done.

Increasing employees’ motivation to be responsible and productive can be achieved through increased job satisfaction. To this end, the Two-Hygiene Theory by Herzberg (1971) describes two sets of factors, satisfying and dissatisfying, that affect an employee’s self-esteem and opportunity for self-actualization in the workplace ( 2010). Below we will talk about the job design in these two categories to enhance the sense of responsibility by the employees.  

Dissatisfying factors

Salary and compensation

Compensation refers to rates or scales of pay and benefits (Craythorne 2006). Since monetary compensations tend to have strong impacts over the employee decisions, here we focus on the design of this kind of compensations. There are two forms of monetary compensation: direct and indirect. Direct compensation refers to salaries or wages, incentive awards, bonus payments, and sales commissions. Indirect compensation refers to benefits provided by the companies in the forms of medical and dental insurance and so on (Bogardus 2004, p. 92).

In term of the salary determination, there are usually three methods: seniority based pay, performance based pay and skills based pay. Seniority based pay is usually used in the state owned companies or in the organizations that offer public service. It is not very popular to be used in the for-profit companies or organizations. In addition we also not advising companies to adopt this type of pay determination method since it encourages to protect its interests to stay as longer in the company as possible to wait for the promotion rather than promoting work efficiency that really adds value to the company in the long run. The skill based pay is to design the pay level based on the specific skills such as the obtainment of the particular professional qualification (i.e. the CPA certificate) to encourage the obtainment of the needed skills or knowledge based on the needs of the organizations in the strategic plan. The last method is the performance based pay which is the incentive pay that ties at least part of the compensation to employee effort and performance (Kendrick & Vershinina 2010, p. 462). To make sure that the pay design promotes individual responsibility in the workplace, I will encourage the adoption of the performance based pay to link the individual or team performance to the individual pay. In some work, tasks are in most cases done by groups or team rather than by an individual, it would be necessary that the pay are influenced by the group performance. On the other hand, in some specific positions such as the R&D related positions, employee compensations are usually strongly determined by the skills that they have and hence the adoption of the skill based pay is usual, but in my understanding, if the performance of their job could be measured, I will strongly recommend that their pay should be partially tied with their measurable individual or group performance to make them responsible for the results of their jobs and works.

Company policy

To promote individual responsibility, the company needs to focus on designing the company policy in such a way that it contains clear and powerful rules that punish those irresponsible behaviors. For example, one of my friends used to work in a trading company that dealt with trades between Chinese company and US and EU counterparts, he told me that the company had strict rules that punish work behaviors that harmed the company interests. The company policy clearly states that one needs to follow up his or her own orders and clients at any time. If one needs to have long leaves or holidays, he or she is strongly advised to highlight the pending cases to the immediate management, usually their team leader, or ask other teammates to follow up the related cases to make sure that all each case especially those urgent ones are taken good of and followed timely before the clients or clients are annoyed by the change of the responsible agents. If an agent does not transfer the pending cases to other teammates or his or her leader for further following up, punishment such as bad internal records, deduction of salary and other kind of punishments would be utilized to warn the agents of these irresponsible behaviors. In contrast to the


Supervision means overseeing the performance of a person or a group, it consists of developing skills and knowledge of the employed workers. Supervision means to check the performance of workers and to guide them accordingly. As compared to administration is used to implement the policies, rules and techniques passed by management (Schreiner 2010). Based on the description of this term, supervision is actually a supplementary component to the company policy and its the implementation of the company policy, based on my personal working experience, to maximize the individual sense of work related responsibility the supervision should be regular, frequent and effective. Regular and frequent supervision means that the supervisors need to carry out routine check on the employee work performance to spot the irresponsible ways of work and behaviors, and if necessary, such supervision job could be done frequently in particular when some signs of responsibilities have been identified by the management through routine checks. And effective supervision requires the company to have effective and efficient supervision mechanism and related human talents to perform the supervising job and tasks.

Satisfying factors


Formal recognition refers to structured, scheduled activities or events with specific criteria used to recognize employee contributions for desired performance (Kothari 2008). In term of recognition, in my opinion a company could use the internal communication channel such as the bulletin and internal corporate email system to deliver the information regarding the employee performance in term of taking up responsibilities. Commitment within the company could be a strong motivator among the peers to encourage good responsibility conducts by creating a sense of recognition to those who provide good performance in taking their own responsibilities in their positions.

Advancement and promotion

The internal promotions are the active HR Process. The promotion process is based on the performance management in the organization. HR identifies the high potential employees and top performers. They are promoted to new job positions to utilize their potential fully as the organization builds the competitive advantage ( 2010). And to maximize the individual responsibility in the working environments, promotion should be not only based on the individual performance but also candidates’ performance in term of taking up group responsibilities which is a critical character and requirement of a good manager or supervisor.

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