The Four Spans of Job Design

This article from HBS is surprising because I think it overlooks a huge key to maximizing the effectiveness of employees. Here's an excerpt

To understand what determines whether a job is designed for high performance, you must put yourself in the shoes of your organization's managers. To carry out his or her job, each employee has to know the answer to four basic questions:

* "What resources do I control to accomplish my tasks?"
* "What measures will be used to evaluate my performance?"
* "Who do I need to interact with and influence to achieve my goals?"
* "How much support can I expect when I reach out to others for help?"

Those questions do matter, and they do affect employee performance. But employees aren't rob_businessots on which we just tweak some parameters – they are people with different interests, skills, ideas, and emotions. Those things all matter as well. So what is missing from the list? How about aligning the goals of a job along with the personal development goals of an employee? How about channeling people into work that they find interesting and challenging? I'm a big fan of "flow" and I think it is important on the job.

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Of course, some people think flow is a bunch of BS.

  • the spans of control for managers back at the head office are relatively narrow, covering only logistics, the supply chain, global contracts, and accounting and finance.