Job Crafting : A new look at job and workplace design

A job allowing you to contribute with everything you've got ?

Nowadays organizations are looking at ways to improve their innovative power, their capacity to change, their ability to share knowledge, learn from each other, collaborate effectively... or in short to create a Learning Organization, where each and every employee and manager, regardless of level or role, feels entitled to initiative and is effectively contributing to sustainable performance and business development.

Amy Wrzesniewski on creating meaning in your own work Amy Wrzesniewski on creating meaning in your own work

Amy Wrzesniewski, Justin M. Berg, & Jane E. Dutton., (2010). Turn the Job you Have into the Job you Want.  Harvard Business Review.

Justin Berg, Jane Dutton and Amy Wrzesniewski, (2013).  Job Crafting and Meaningful Work.  In : Dik, Byrne & Steger., (2013).Purpose and Meaning in the Workplace. APA.

That means that we are looking for new ways of organizing, no longer based on ‘managing and controlling’ what people do in organizations, but on intrapreneurship, innovation, ownership, shared leadership, ... We realize gradually that in a fast moving knowledge economy control is slowing down innovation and costs ultimately a lot more then confidence and autonomy.
That will not only result in very different organizational features such as the desired organizational structure, culture, processes, job and workplace design, management and leadership practices, information sharing, decision and problem solving processes, etc…It will also affect the process we use to ‘shape’ our organizations in the future : How we do it, who does it, how often we do it, how much it is prescribed or actually emerging as we go, etc…
If we look at one of those organizational features : JOB & WORKPLACE DESIGN we see mainly two challenges :

  • How to create engaging, challenging, rewarding jobs and workplaces for everybody, so people can maximize the use and development of their talents, energy and experience. And in that way optimizing their contribution to the organization TOGETHER WITH experiencing personal fulfillment.

  • How to make sure that jobs and workplaces are flexible enough to cope with rapidly changing environments and customer demands. How do we change timely objectives, tasks, priorities, internal customers and suppliers relationships, etc… in order to keep up organizational performance.

That the classical ‘job-descriptions’ and yearly individual objectives will probably not longer do the trick, is becoming obvious.
An interesting alternative for DESCRIBING JOBS as a process initiated from HR or somewhere centrally in the organization might be JOB CRAFTING. Job Crafting indicates a process by which an individual is shaping his own job in such a way that it is a better fit for his/her needs, talent, energy and interest as individual.


A few more articles, exploring the nature of Job Crafting and how it can contribute to sustainable performance and job satisfaction in organizations : 

Job crafting is not an individual exercise but treats with the customer / supplier relationships and influences the overall culture in teams and organizations.

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