What is the Objective of Job Enlargement? [Its Role in Employee Development]

what is the objective of job enlargement

Job enlargement is a human resources strategy aimed at increasing the range of tasks and responsibilities assigned to an employee.

By broadening the variety of tasks, rather than adding more of the same type of task, employees can experience greater diversity in their roles.

The objective of job enlargement is to enhance job satisfaction and motivation, and potentially improve performance by leveraging the expanded array of duties to make work more interesting and engaging for employees.

The philosophy behind job enlargement holds that a wider spectrum of activities can help combat the monotony that often accompanies highly specialized and repetitive jobs.

Broadening the scope of an employee’s job can instill a greater sense of responsibility and ownership.

Additionally, it can contribute to skill development and provide pathways for career advancement within an organization.

Key Takeaways

  • Job enlargement aims to increase job satisfaction and motivation.
  • It involves expanding the range of tasks and responsibilities.
  • Job enlargement can enhance skill development and career pathways.

Defining Job Enlargement

Job enlargement is a strategic approach in job design aimed at increasing the diversity and number of tasks an employee performs, enhancing the horizontal dimension of a job.

A female professional, appearing curious and engaged, participating in a workshop with a small group. She's examining different task cards spread out on a table, symbolizing the exploration of a broader range of job responsibilities.

Concept and Objective

The concept of job enlargement is rooted in providing employees with a greater variety of tasks to perform, thereby reducing the monotony of work.

The primary objective is to make work more stimulating and engaging by expanding the breadth of tasks, which can lead to increased job satisfaction and productivity.

Horizontal Expansion

Horizontal expansion, a fundamental aspect of job enlargement, involves increasing the scope of an employee’s duties while maintaining the same level of complexity.

This approach contributes to a broader skill set and a more comprehensive understanding of the work process.

It’s designed to encourage flexibility and discourage the fatigue that comes with task repetition.

Job Enlargement Vs. Job Enrichment

Job enlargement and job enrichment are both methods of job design used to enhance employee satisfaction and performance. However, their approaches differ significantly in scope and application.

Two professionals (a male and a female), standing in front of a whiteboard, collaboratively drawing a diagram that distinguishes job enlargement from job enrichment. Their expressions are focused and collaborative, emphasizing the strategic differences between the two concepts.

Contrasting Features

  • Job Enlargement:
    • Definition: The addition of more tasks of a similar level of complexity to an employee’s role.
    • Focus: Horizontal expansion in the number of tasks.
    • Objective: To reduce monotony by varying an employee’s activities.
  • Job Enrichment:
    • Definition: Enhancing a job by adding tasks that increase the amount of employee responsibility and autonomy.
    • Focus: Vertical expansion by increasing the depth of tasks and providing more control over work.

These strategies incorporate varying degrees of skills, responsibility, and autonomy but differ in their approach to job design.

While job enlargement adds tasks laterally, job enrichment brings a vertical expansion to the role.

Complementary Strategies

Job enlargement and job enrichment can complement each other:

  • Combination: Adopting both can lead to a more fulfilling job structure, enhancing skills, responsibility, and autonomy.
  • Result: Employees may experience increased satisfaction and productivity as they enjoy a wider variety of tasks and greater decision-making power.

Using job enlargement, employees may avoid task monotony, while job enrichment can make their work more meaningful by adding layers of complexity and autonomy.

Benefits of Job Enlargement

Job enlargement is designed to enhance job satisfaction and employee motivation by expanding the variety of skills workers use and increasing their autonomy in the workplace.

A male professional, looking satisfied and accomplished, working at his desk surrounded by diverse tools and documents. This setting illustrates the enhanced skills and autonomy achieved through job enlargement.

Combatting Monotony

Job enlargement combats workplace monotony by diversifying the tasks that an employee performs.

This approach can lead to a more engaging work environment as it breaks the monotony of repetitive work.

Employees are less likely to experience boredom if they are challenged with a wider range of responsibilities.

Enhanced Employee Skills

Through job enlargement, employees develop a broader skill set, which is beneficial for both the employee and the company.

Broadening an employee’s skill set can enhance their versatility within the company, making it easier to adapt to changing roles and responsibilities.

Promoting Autonomy and Job Satisfaction

By increasing the scope of their job, employees often gain more autonomy, which can lead to a greater sense of personal achievement and job satisfaction.

Autonomy in the workplace is closely tied to motivation, as employees who feel they have control over their work are more likely to take initiative and be invested in their roles.

Implementing Job Enlargement

Implementing job enlargement strategically broadens the variety of tasks for employees, aimed at enhancing job satisfaction and productivity.

This process involves a methodical approach focused on training, management oversight, and active dialogue with employees to ensure success.

A manager (female) and an employee (male) in a one-on-one coaching session. The manager is presenting a new set of tasks on a tablet, both showing expressions of constructive discussion and planning.

Training Requirements

Initial Training: To ensure that employees acquire a diverse skill set, comprehensive training is crucial.

Training can range from in-house workshops to external courses, tailored to align with the newly added responsibilities.

Ongoing Development: Post-implementation, continuous professional development should be made available to help employees keep pace with evolving job roles and maintain proficiency across a wider scope of tasks.

Management’s Role

Supportive Environment: Management must cultivate an environment that supports job enlargement.

This includes providing clear direction and resources necessary for employees to succeed in their expanded roles.

Performance Evaluation: Managers should regularly evaluate employee performance to identify areas for improvement and to ensure that job enlargement is meeting its objectives.

Employee Feedback and Engagement

Gathering Feedback: Actively seeking and addressing employee feedback is essential for refining job enlargement initiatives.

Feedback mechanisms can include surveys, one-on-one meetings, and focus group discussions.

Encouraging Engagement: Employee engagement can be boosted by involving team members in decision-making processes and recognizing their successes, which can lead to enhanced job satisfaction and output.

Outcomes of Job Enlargement

Job enlargement can significantly influence several aspects of organizational functioning, including productivity, employee morale, and the overall quality of work.

A male professional, appearing energized and productive, working in a dynamic office environment. He's multitasking with ease, switching between different projects on his computer and notepad, symbolizing the positive productivity outcomes of job enlargement.

On Productivity

Job enlargement often aims to increase productivity by expanding the number of different tasks that an employee performs.

With a broader range of responsibilities, employees may utilize a more extensive set of skills, leading to increased efficiency in workflow and potentially a reduction in job monotony.

On Employee Morale

When discussing employee morale, job enlargement can play a dual role.

It can enhance morale through the diversification of tasks, giving employees a sense of mastery and autonomy.

This can contribute to improved performance as employees are less likely to feel disengaged or bored with their work.

On Quality of Work

Finally, the quality of work can be impacted by job enlargement.

When employees are involved in a variety of tasks, they can develop a better understanding of the different aspects of their job.

This comprehensive insight can lead to a more cohesive approach to tackling tasks, ultimately improving the quality of the output.

Challenges of Job Enlargement

While job enlargement can diversify employee tasks, it brings its unique set of challenges. From increasing the complexity of workloads to resistance from employees, there are several drawbacks that organizations must consider.

A female professional, looking slightly overwhelmed but determined, sitting at her desk piled with various project files. This reflects the potential challenge of workload increase due to job enlargement.

Potential Overload

Job enlargement often means adding more tasks to an employee’s role, which can lead to a heavier workload.

Without proper assessment, this increase can become unmanageable, possibly resulting in burnout.

It’s critical that managers recognize the fine line between enriching a job and overwhelming an employee.

Resistance to Change

Employees might show resistance when they are required to take on additional tasks, especially if these tasks differ greatly from their current responsibilities.

The change demands cultural adaptability within the organization, as well as a willingness from employees to step outside their comfort zones.

Impact on Specialization

With job enlargement, the emphasis on specialization can diminish as employees are expected to perform a wider variety of tasks.

This dilution of specialized roles may impact efficiency and expertise, hindering the deeper development of specialized skills that could benefit the organization in the long term.

Evaluating Job Enlargement Impact

Job enlargement initiatives aim to enhance the scope of an employee’s responsibilities, theoretically promoting engagement and capability.

Accurate evaluation of such impact requires a systematic approach to identify changes in performance and employee satisfaction.

A small team (one male and two females), engaging in a focused group discussion with feedback forms and performance charts on the table. Their expressions convey a serious yet positive approach to evaluating the impact of job enlargement initiatives.

Performance Metrics

Evaluation begins with defining concrete performance metrics.

These indicators should be quantifiable, aligning with the organization’s productivity goals.

Analytics play a crucial role in this process, as data on output, quality, and efficiency before and after the implementation of job enlargement provide critical insights.

For instance, a rise in output or improved error rates can signal positive performance shifts due to job enlargement.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Employee satisfaction surveys then shed light on the subjective outcomes of job enlargement.

Focused feedback questions assess whether employees feel more challenged, fulfilled, or motivated.

Such surveys often include Likert-scale questions and open-ended responses to gather nuanced perspectives.

Analysis of this feedback helps organizations understand if and how job enlargement has affected job satisfaction.

Job Enlargement in Practice

Job enlargement as a concept often goes from theory to reality through strategic HR initiatives and organizational change programs.

It involves expanding an employee’s job responsibilities to add variety and opportunities to enhance skills.

A male professional, looking confident and versatile, working in a different department from his usual setting. He's interacting with new colleagues and equipment, demonstrating practical job enlargement through cross-training.

Case Studies

  • In a case study, nylon spinners underwent a productivity bargaining agreement, which included job enlargement aiming to reduce labour costs while expanding workers’ roles.
  • Research regarding “Merit pay and job enlargement” suggests job enlargement is implemented in educational settings as a way to motivate teachers by broadening their job scope.

Industry Examples

  • A technology firm initiated a job enlargement program to achieve assembly cost savings and production quality improvements, as noted in an industrial study.
  • The concept has extended beyond factory settings, as in service industries, where job enlargement may involve cross-training to enable employees to handle a wider range of services, improving operational flexibility.

Advance Strategies in Job Enlargement

In the realm of job enlargement, advanced strategies such as job rotation programs and career path planning stand out as effective ways to enhance employee capabilities and satisfaction.

They focus on broadening the scope of job duties to foster a well-rounded skill set.

A group meeting, where they are brainstorming over a career path planning chart. Their expressions show enthusiasm and forward-thinking, highlighting strategic planning for job enlargement.

Job Rotation Programs

Job rotation programs are strategically implemented to allow employees to work in different positions within a company.

This approach contributes to career growth by exposing individuals to a variety of skills and departments.

Through regular rotations, employees gain a comprehensive understanding of the organization, which can improve performance across the board.

  • Benefits:
    • Adds variety to daily work tasks
    • Promotes a holistic understanding of the organization
    • Cultivates a diverse skill set

Career Path Planning

Career path planning is a crucial component of job redesign that outlines potential pathways for employees to advance within the company.

It is not just about climbing the corporate ladder, but about expanding the employee’s role horizontally with new responsibilities and challenges.

  • Strategies:
    • Defining clear milestones for progression
    • Aligning job roles with individual career aspirations
    • Encouraging lifelong learning and development

In implementing these strategies, companies facilitate ongoing professional development and job satisfaction, leading to a more dynamic and adaptable workforce.

Role of Human Resource Management

Human Resource Management (HRM) plays a pivotal role in nurturing and expanding an organization’s human capital.

This function is instrumental in aligning workforce capabilities with the strategic objectives of a company.

A HR manager (female), conducting a training session for a small group of employees. She's using a flip chart to outline the strategic role of HR in job enlargement, showing a mix of inspiration and leadership.

Strategic Planning

HRM serves as a key proponent in strategic planning, ensuring that human resources align with the company’s long-term goals.

The HR professional is tasked with understanding the broader business strategy and translating it into a coherent HR strategy that supports overall growth and success.

They conduct workforce planning to meet current and future demands, addressing gaps through talent acquisition and internal workforce adjustments.

Training and Development

Training and development are crucial for the ongoing improvement of employees and the organization as a whole.

HRM identifies skill gaps and devises training programs that facilitate both personal growth and career advancement.

By investing in the development of their employees, HR professionals enhance job performance, encourage job enlargement, and prepare employees for more complex roles, ultimately contributing to the company’s adaptability and competitive edge.

Future of Work and Job Enlargement

Job enlargement, as a strategic approach in job design, responds to evolving work patterns strongly influenced by automation and remote work. This adaption aligns with the broader future of work initiatives.

A professional (male) working remotely, displaying adaptability by managing a variety of tasks from his home office. His setup includes multiple screens and a notepad, representing the integration of job enlargement with future work trends.

Automation and Job Design

Automation significantly impacts job design, potentially leading to broader and more versatile roles.

The integration of automation allows for the reassignment of repetitive tasks to machines, prompting a redesign where jobs are expected to encompass a variety of more complex tasks.

This enlargement leverages innovation and automation to enrich job roles, ultimately aiming to create engaging and fulfilling work experiences that can improve employee satisfaction and performance.

Remote Work Dynamics

The shift to remote work has altered job specifications and design, increasingly encouraging an enlargement of job responsibilities.

As remote employees often operate with greater autonomy, job enlargement becomes an essential tactic to provide a wider range of tasks which can enhance workers’ sense of purpose and productivity.

This change complements the future of work, underscoring the need for dynamic job design strategies that account for the flexibility and cross-functionality that remote work environments demand.


Job enlargement as a career development strategy seeks to enhance job satisfaction and employee performance. Its primary aim is to add variety to a worker’s job by incorporating additional tasks at the same skill level.

This approach counters the monotony that often accompanies repetitive work tasks, with the goal of making a position more fulfilling.

The research indicates that job enlargement can influence employee performance because it diversifies their activities, potentially leading to greater engagement.

This management strategy is particularly effective when its implementation is carefully planned and tailored to the organization’s and employees’ needs.

Effective job enlargement should also be accompanied by appropriate training programs to ensure that employees are prepared for their expanded roles and can continue to perform effectively.

The desired result is a workforce that not only has a larger scope of skills but also a higher level of motivation due to the reduced repetitiveness of their tasks and the perception of career growth and investment.

Job enlargement is not universally effective, and its success heavily depends on the individual and the specific job context. However, when applied judiciously, it has the potential to improve job satisfaction and productivity.

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