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Methods of Collecting Job Analysis Data

In: Business and Management

Submitted By Jacquelineyeung
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Methods of Collecting Job Analysis Data A variety of methods are used to collect information about jobs. None of them, however, is perfect. In actual practice, therefore, a combination of several methods is used for obtaining job analysis data. These are discussed below. Job performance In this method the job analyst actually performs the job in question. The analyst, thus, receives first hand experience of contextual factors on the job including physical hazards, social demands, emotional pressures and mental requirements. This method is useful for jobs that can be easily learned. It is not suitable for jobs that are hazardous (e.g., fire fighters) or for jobs that require extensive training (e.g., doctors, pharmacists). Personal observation The analyst observes the worker(s) doing the job. The tasks performed, the pace at which activities are done, the working conditions, etc., are observed during a complete work cycle. During observation, certain precautions should be taken The analyst must observe average workers during average conditions. The analyst should observe without getting directly involved in the job. The analyst must make note of the specific job needs and not the behaviors specific to particular workers. The analyst must make sure that he obtains a proper sample for generalization. This method allows for a deep understanding of job duties. It is appropriate for manual, short period job activities. On the negative side, the methods fail to take note of the mental aspects of jobs. Critical incidents The critical incident technique (CIT) is a qualitative approach to job analysis used to obtain specific, behaviorally focused descriptions of work or other activities. Here the job holders are asked to describe several incidents based on their past experience. The incidents so collected are analyzed and classified according to the job areas they describe. The job requirements will become clear once the analyst draws the line between effective and ineffective behaviors of workers on the job. For example, if a shoe salesman comments on the size of a customer’s feet and the customer leaves the store in a huff, the behavior of the salesman may be judged as ineffective in terms of the result it produced. The critical incidents are recorded after the events have already taken place – both routine and non-routine. The process of collecting a fairly good number of incidents is a lengthy one. Since, incidents of behavior can be quite dissimilar, the process of classifying data into usable job descriptions can be difficult. The analysts overseeing the work must have analytical skills and ability to translate the content of descriptions into meaningful statements. Interview The interview method consists of asking questions to both incumbents and supervisors in either an individual or a group setting. The reason behind the use of this method is that job holders are most familiar with the job and can supplement the information obtained through observation. Workers know the specific duties of the job and supervisors are aware of the job’s relationship to the rest of the organization. Due diligence must be exercised while using the interview method. The interviewer must be trained in proper interviewing techniques. It is advisable to use a standard format so as to focus the interview to the purpose of analyst. Although the interview method provides opportunities to elicit information sometimes not available through other methods, it has limitations. First, it is time consuming and hence costly. Second, the value of data is primarily dependent on the interviewer’s skills and may be faulty if they put ambiguous questions to workers. Last, interviewees may be suspicious about the motives and may distort the information they provide. If seen as an opportunity to improve their positions such as to increase their wages, workers may exaggerate their job duties to add greater weightage to their positions. Questionnaire method The questionnaire is a widely used method of analyzing jobs and work. Here the job holders are given a properly designed questionnaire aimed at eliciting relevant job-related information. After completion, the questionnaires are handed over to supervisors. The supervisors can seek further clarifications on various items by talking to the job holders directly. After everything is finalized, the data is given to the job analyst. The success of the method depends on various factors. The structured questionnaire must cover all job related tasks and behaviors. Each task or behavior should be described in terms of features such as importance, difficulty, frequency, and relationship to overall performance. The job holders should be asked to properly rate the various job factors and communicate the same on paper. The ratings thus collected are then put to close examination with a view to find out the actual job requirements. Questionnaire method is highly economical as it covers a large number of job holders at a time. The collected data can be quantified and processed through a computer. The participants can complete the items leisurely. Designing questionnaires, however, is not an easy task. Proper care must be taken to see that the respondents do not misinterpret the questions. Further, it is difficult to motivate the participants to complete the questionnaires truthfully and to return them.

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