Saturday, 19 May 2012

Job Enlargement vs. Job Enrichment

Job Enlargement vs. Job Enrichment

The modern interest in quality of work life was stimulated through efforts to change the scope of people’s jobs in attempting to motivate them. Job scope has two dimensions – breadth and depth. Job breadth is the number of different tasks an individual is directly responsible for. It ranges from very narrow (one task performed repetitively) to wide (several tasks). Employees with narrow job breadth were sometimes given a wider variety of duties in order to reduce their monotony; this process is called job enlargement. In order to perform these additional duties, employees spend less time on each duty. Another approach to changing job breadth is job rotation, which involves periodic assignment of an employee to completely different sets of job activities. Job rotation is an effective way to develop multiple skills in employees, which benefits the organisation while creating greater job interest and career options for the employee.
Job enrichment takes a different approach by adding additional motivators to a job to make it more rewarding. It was developed by Frederick Herzberg on the basis of his studies indicating that the most effective way to motivate workers was by focusing on higher-order needs. Job enrichment seeks to add depth to a job by giving workers more control, responsibility and discretion over hoe their job is performed. The difference between enlargement and enrichment is illustrated in the figure on the next page.

Difference between job enrichment and job enlargement

Job enrichment

Jon enrichment and enlargement

Routine job

Job enlargement


                                        Few                                Many
Number of tasks
(Focus on Breadth)
In the above figure we see that job enrichment focuses on satisfying higher-order needs, while job enlargement concentrates on adding additional tasks to the worker’s job for greater variety. The two approaches can even be blended, by both expanding the number of tasks and adding more motivators, for a two-pronged attempt to improve QWL.
Job enrichment brings benefits, as shown in the below figure.

Benefits of job enrichment emerge in three areas

  • Growth
  • Self-actualisation
  • Job satisfaction

  • Intrinsically motivated employees
  • Better employee performance
  • Less absenteeism and turnover; fewer grievances

  • Full use of human resources
  • More effective organisations



Its general result is a role enrichment that encourages growth and self-actualisation. The job is built in such a way that intrinsic motivation is encouraged. Because motivation is increased, performance should improve, thus providing both a more humanised and a more productive job. Negative effects also tend to be reduced, such as turnover, absences, grievances and idle time. In this manner both the worker and society benefit. The worker performs better, experiences greater job satisfaction and becomes more self-actualised, thus being able to participate in all life roles more effectively. Society benefits from the more effectively functioning person as well as from better job performance.

Applying Job Enrichment

Viewed in terms of Herzberg’s motivational factors, job enrichment occurs when the work itself is more challenging, when achievement is encouraged, when there is opportunity for growth and when responsibility, feedback and recognition are provided. However, employees are the final judges of what enriches their jobs. All that management can do is gather information about what tend to enrich jobs, try those changes in the job system and then determine whether employees feel that enrichment has occurred.

In trying to build motivational factors, management also gives attention to maintenance factors. It attempts to keep maintenance factors constant or higher as the motivational factors are increased. If maintenance factors are allowed to decline during an enrichment program, then employees may be less responsive to the enrichment program because they are distracted by inadequate maintenance. The need for a systems approach in job enrichment is satisfied by the practice of gain sharing.     
Since job enrichment must occur from each employee’s personal viewpoint, not all employees will choose enriched jobs if they have an option. A contingency relationship exists in terms of different job needs, and some employees prefer the simplicity and security of more routine jobs.