Assembling jobs: a model of how tasks are bundled into and across jobs


Authors: Cohen, Lisa


How are tasks bundled into and across jobs within organizations? In this paper, I develop a model of this process of job design by drawing on a multisite qualitative study of task allocation following the installation of a DNA sequencer. The model that emerges is one of the assembly of tasks through multiple subassembly processes with multiple assemblers. Four activities produced requirements and requests for job designs and propositions about how to meet these: actively searching, passively receiving, doing work, and invoking preexisting ideas. The ideas that emerge from these processes are further transformed through reconciliation, interpretation, and performance. My observations show that this overall process is far reaching and incorporates many elements, not all of which are explicitly intended for job designs. The arrangements that emerge from this process are not the product of a deliberate and controlled job design process within the boundaries of a single organization.

Read full article: Organization Science, April 3, 2012