Hackman and Oldham Model

Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model, also called The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core Characteristics Model, was created in the 1970s and is one of the key models of employee motivation at work. This model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole. Hackman and Oldham believe that the implementation of core job characteristics in job design will increase employees’ work satisfaction.

Hackman and Oldham Model Hackman and Oldham Model

Create learning materials about Hackman and Oldham Model with our free learning app!

  • Instand access to millions of learning materials
  • Flashcards, notes, mock-exams and more
  • Everything you need to ace your exams
Create a free account
Table of contents

    Hackman and Oldham Model

    The Hackman and Oldham job characteristics model is made up of five key elements that are believed to influence employees’ satisfaction at work. The five elements of the model that can increase or decrease employee satisfaction are:

    • Skill variety,

    • Task identity,

    • Task significance,

    • Autonomy, and

    • Feedback.

    Five Elements of Hackman and Oldham’s Model

    Let's look at these elements in more detail. The five elements are:

    • Skill variety - Jobs should be designed in the way that they require a variety of skills and talents from employees to be performed. As that will make jobs more interesting and less repetitive.

    • Task Identity- Organisations should incorporate tasks that have clearly defined start and finish meaning that employees will be aware of when the task is completed. Employees’ job satisfaction may increase as they will be able to see the outcomes of the completed tasks.

    • Task significance - Task must be significant, task should matter and have a meaning to the company or the society.

    • Autonomy - This is the level of freedom for employees to choose a method and time of how and when to complete a task. Hackman and Oldham believed that jobs that are made more flexible bring greater satisfaction for employees.

    • Feedback - Employees should have access to sufficient feedback regarding their performances. As that will assist them in knowing what areas they need to improve on.

    These five elements are positively related to job satisfaction as once incorporated into the job design they result in employees experiencing positive psychological states. Which are:

    Experience of Meaningfulness

    This psychological state is influenced by job characteristics such as skill variety, task identity and task significance.

    Skill variety

    The job should incorporate a variety of skills that employees are required to have to perform their roles. This is to make employees engaged, multiskilled and feel important in the organisation.

    However, managers should be careful not to incorporate too many skill requirements into one job role as it may be too challenging for employees. On the other hand, incorporating not enough skills required for the role will cause employees to be bored.

    An example, of low skill variety, is an assembly line worker that only needs one or a few sets of skills to perform a task and high skill variety would be a small business owner that needs a variety of skills to be in charge of finance, sales and marketing.

    Task identity

    Task identity means that tasks that are assigned to employees should feel whole and complete. Meaning that employees’ involvement in the task should be from start to the finish rather than only being responsible for adding small parts to the task. Employees will feel that their jobs are meaningful once they can see the outcomes of their work.

    Assembly line workers have a low task identity as they are adding only a small part to the task and will not be aware of the complete product. On the other hand, an artist who is drawing a painting from the start to finish has a high task identity, as they are aware of the whole and complete outcome of their tasks which is a finished painting.

    Task significance

    Tasks significance explains to what extent a task has importance in the organisation.

    Temporary employees such as administrators have low task significance as the majority of people will have the ability to send emails and answer phone calls. On the other hand, the doctor has a high task significance as not everyone will be able to do their job and their roles require qualifications. Moreover, doctors’ everyday tasks of consulting patients are important for hospitals to function.

    The higher the significance of the task the more meaningful employees will feel to the organisation.

    These five elements are positively related to job satisfaction as once incorporated into the job design they result in employees experiencing positive psychological states. Which are:

    Experience of Responsibility

    This is experienced by employees once the job characteristic Autonomy is incorporated into the job design.

    Autonomy

    This job characteristic explains to what extent employees can make decisions in the organisation rather than being micromanaged by the managers.

    Low autonomy occurs for assembly line workers as they are not able to make any significant decisions and are always controlled by the managers. On the other hand, high autonomy is when employees can make their own decisions. Such as doctors have to make important decisions every day. These decisions can include giving medicine to their patients and making quick and rational decisions when patients are in emergencies.

    Knowledge of outcomes

    This psychological state is experienced by employees once the job characteristic of feedback is incorporated in the job design.

    Feedback

    Feedback is important for employees as it communicates how well they have performed on the job and what areas require further development.

    If the marketing manager gives feedback every few months to their department employees, they will be aware of how they can improve and what were the outcomes of their performance. This is a very important job characteristic as it guides employees to improve further in their jobs. On the other hand, if feedback is not communicated to employees it can create a barrier for them to improve further in their jobs.

    Outcomes

    Once these positive psychological states are experienced by employees it will lead to positive outcomes regarding their jobs. That includes:

    • Increased Satisfaction with the job

    • Increased motivation

    • HIgher work effectiveness

    These outcomes will have a positive influence on organisational performance as the more motivated the employees are the better they perform in the organisation.

    Hackman & Oldham's Model, Hackman and Oldham's job characteristics model, StudySmarterHackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model, StudySmarter

    Advantages of the Hackman and Oldham Job Characteristics Model

    • The model provides a clear and simple structure of the job characteristics that can be easily applied and implemented into the job design. Human Resource (HR) managers can use these job characteristics as a checklist when designing a new job.

    • This Hackman and Oldham’s model has a clear connection between the job characteristics and outcomes of employees’ satisfaction at work.

    • This job characteristics model communicates how to design jobs in the way that they are motivating, engaging and challenging for employees. Therefore, organisations can design any job to be more motivating for employees.

    • This job characteristics model can influence improved employees’ performance. As if employees are more satisfied with their tasks included in the job role they are more likely to perform better.

    Limitations of Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model

    • Firstly this model is outdated as it was created in the 1970s, at that time jobs designs were fixed therefore Hackman and Oldham’s model assumed that all organisations should incorporate similar job characteristics in their job designs. However, now organisations design jobs based on their core competencies and each job design includes different features to be effective. The job characteristics model follows the ‘one fits all approach’ this approach to job design may not be effective in today’s world.

    • This model does not take into account that not all employees require these job characteristics to be fulfilled in their jobs. Some employees may not desire to have job characteristics incorporated in their jobs such as flexibility of organising their work or be required to have a variety of skills to perform a job. This may even cause employees burdensome and dissatisfaction.

    • Hackman and Oldham’s model does not address the individual employee’s needs. Meaning that this model can not predict what requires to be included in the job design to maximise job satisfaction regarding individual employees.

    Hackman and Oldham Model - Key Takeaways

    • Hackman and Oldham’s job characteristics model was created in the 1970s and are one of the key models regarding employees’ motivation at work.

    • This model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole.

    • Hackman and Oldham’s models can also be named The Job Characteristics Theory (JCT) and Core characteristics model.

    • Hackman and Oldham’s model includes five job characteristic principles which are 1) Task variety 2) Task identity 3) Task significance 4) Task autonomy 5) Task significance.

    • The five job characteristics of this model lead to three psychological states experienced by employees which are: Experience of meaningfulness, the experience of responsibility and experience of outcomes.

    • The key advantages are: The model provides a clear and simple structure that can be easily incorporated into the job design and has a clear connection between the job characteristics and outcomes of employees’ satisfaction at work. Additionally, this model communicates how to design jobs in the way that they are motivating, engaging and challenging for employees and that can positively influence employees’ performance.

    • The limitations of this model are: This model may be outdated and may not fit the current trends of effective job design. Additionally, this model does not take into account that some employees do not need these job characteristics to be satisfied at work and this model does not focus on individual employees needs in regards to job satisfaction.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Hackman and Oldham Model

    What are the 5 features of a job described by Hackman & Oldham's model?

    The 5 features of a job described in Hackman & Oldham's model are skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. 

    What is meant by task significance according to the Hackman Oldham job enrichment model?

    Task significance according to the Hackman-Oldham job enrichment model means that the task must have significance and contribute to the goods of the company or the society. 

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model is also called...

    Hackman & Oldham's Model was created in...

    Hackman & Oldham's Model focuses on looking closer into the individual task design included in the job role rather than the job as a whole.

    Next
    1
    About StudySmarter

    StudySmarter is a globally recognized educational technology company, offering a holistic learning platform designed for students of all ages and educational levels. Our platform provides learning support for a wide range of subjects, including STEM, Social Sciences, and Languages and also helps students to successfully master various tests and exams worldwide, such as GCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, Abitur, and more. We offer an extensive library of learning materials, including interactive flashcards, comprehensive textbook solutions, and detailed explanations. The cutting-edge technology and tools we provide help students create their own learning materials. StudySmarter’s content is not only expert-verified but also regularly updated to ensure accuracy and relevance.

    Learn more
    StudySmarter Editorial Team

    Team Hackman and Oldham Model Teachers

    • 9 minutes reading time
    • Checked by StudySmarter Editorial Team
    Save Explanation

    Study anywhere. Anytime.Across all devices.

    Sign-up for free

    Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.

    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App

    The first learning app that truly has everything you need to ace your exams in one place

    • Flashcards & Quizzes
    • AI Study Assistant
    • Study Planner
    • Mock-Exams
    • Smart Note-Taking
    Join over 22 million students in learning with our StudySmarter App