Work Analysis and Design -Bernardin HRM Chapter – Review Notes

Human Resource Management Revision Article Series



Work analysis is a systematic process of gathering information about work, jobs, and the relationships among jobs.

The chronological Steps in Work Analysis (given in the form of questions)

1. What are the required outcomes/measures for assessing strategy execution (e.g., customer requirements for products/services derived from the strategic plan)?
2. What are necessary, critical, essential tasks, activities, behaviors required to meet or exceed the requirements established at step 1? what the relative importance, frequency, and essentiality of these tasks for achieving measures at step 1?
3. What are the necessary knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics or competencies required to perform the activities at step 2?
4. How should jobs/work be defined? Where does the work get done to maximize efficiency/effectiveness? Do we use individual jobs, work teams, independent contractors, full-time/part-time? Do we outsource?

Major Goals of Work Analysis

1. Description of observables
2. Description of job characteristics
3. Verifiable and reliable data

Major Products of Work Analysis

Job description
Job classification
Job evaluation
Job specification

Job description

Job descriptions define the job in terms of its content and scope. Job descriptions are often summarized in employment ads.

Job specification

Job specifications consist of the KASOCs need to carry out the job tasks and duties.

Strategic Job Analysis – Work Analysis

Strategic job analysis comes into picture when a new business is started as a separate unit or as a separate division. It also comes into picture when jobs are changing dramatically or when a new job is being created. In this case, the analysis takes on a rather predictive bent and the job is described through the anticipated tasks that need to be performed in order to meet organizational goals. If a job currently exists, then a conventional or routine job analysis procedure is used.

If the job isn’t in existence, then subject matter experts (SMEs) and the primary customers (users of outputs of the job) are brought together to identify the tasks and output of the new job. While internal customers described their requirement, SMEs help in bringing the external customer and environment into the analysis. Detailed description of job tasks and the required KASOCs are developed with the help of SMEs. The results of this strategic analysis are compared with existing job descriptions if the analysis is carried for existing jobs expected to have a big change. If the jobs are changing due to introduction of new technology, the experts from hardware and software supplies are also consulted in the process of job analysis.

Formal Approaches to Work Analysis

Position Analysis questionnaire
Management position description questionnaire
Competency modeling
Critical Incident Technique
Job compatibility questionnaire (JCQ)
Job Diagnostic Survey
Multimethod Job Design Questionnaire

Competency Modeling

Most experts contend that competency modeling is more focused on how objectives are accomplished rather than what is accomplished. Competency modeling attempts to identify and define competencies that are common for an occupational group. The concept of competencies is also used in the case of organizations. But here our concern is with competencies required for a job position and competencies that an individual in the job possesses. Thereby, the most common purpose for competency modeling will be to derive training and development programs.

Even though the derivation of competencies lacks rigor, use of competency modeling is very popular. Peoplesoft, SAP and Oracle have competency modeling components to help HR managers. But Bernardin points out that there is difficulty in distinguishing between competencies and psychological traits.

O*Net and DOT

Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) classifies job based on a nine-digit code and provides job descriptions.

O*NET – The Occupational Information Network was developed as a replacement of the DOT. It is  positioned as a tool for job analysis and career exploration.

O*NET is based on a six-domain content model.

Worker requirements
Experience requirements
Worker characteristics
Occupational requirements
Occupation specific requirements
Occupation characteristics

Visit online onetcenter for more information

A presentation on Work and Job Analysis by J.Bowen


Chapter Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

Understand what work analysis is and what its major products are.

Explain the purposes and uses for work analysis data.

Compare and contrast methods for collecting data.

Describe commonly used and newer methods for conducting work analysis, including O*NET.

Explain how work analysis information is applied to job design efforts.

Understand that different procedures emphasize different kinds of information that may be more or less useful for different HRM functions.

Conduct and prepare a work analysis report.

H John Bernardin, Human Resource Management, Fourth Edition, McGraw Hill, 2007

Related Chapters
Human Resource Planning and Recruitment
Personnel Selection

Updated 2 September 2019,  6.1.2012