What is job analysis?
Job analysis is defined as the process of identifying what tasks and activities are included in the content of a job. Job analysis also identifies what psychological or mental attributes are required to perform the content of a job and are considered to be included as job requirements. The process of job analysis was not officially developed until the early 20th century when two of the major founders of business psychologically, Frederick Taylor and Lillian Gilbreth, explored the concept of job analysis as a way to identify job content and identify mental or psychological job requirements. Since the early 20th century, job analysis has been used by professionals in the business field to help develop job requirements and use job analysis to determine how to improve productivity and happiness among employees. Job analysis has also been used to figure out which employees are suited to particular jobs, mentally and otherwise.
Although job analysis was not officially developed until the early 20th century, it is considered today to be one of the most practical and important aspects of business psychology. Although some business psychological concepts do not have a practical use, job analysis can be used in a variety of practical ways in the business world.
What is the purpose of job analysis?
Job analysis is essentially designed to provide employers with information about the content of their company’s jobs and how to use that content to find employees who are suited to those jobs. Job analysis is intended to match up employees with jobs which they are suited for and which they will be able to, at the very least, adequately performed. Information about the content of a job is gathered through a variety of means, including objective data from companies and subjective data gathered through observation, common sense and even practical application such as performing the content of that job on a trial basis.
The content of the job is essentially any tasks which are required and any tasks which may be encountered during the course of that job. The content of a retail position at a popular toy store, for example, may read something like this: Workers are required to have knowledge of cash registers and item scanning procedures; Workers are required to stand for long periods of time; Workers are required to interact with customers on a daily basis; Workers may encounter high-stress situations during peak shopping periods and holiday hours. In this case, the content of the job can be used to determine what type of employee is best suited for the position. The employee must not only be able to meet the physical requirements, such as standing for long periods of time, but be able to meet the psychological requirements as well. An employee who does not deal well with stressful situations, such as a Christmas rush at a toy store, would not be suited for this job according to the concept of job analysis.
Job analysis is also often used for certification exams for specific vocations, such as nursing or a certain trade. Job analysis is used in this way to determine what questions or other problems should be included in a certification exam in order for that exam to adequately cover all aspects of the specific job. For example, a certification exam for nursing would use job analysis to determine what duties the job will cover—which would be used for questions such as “What should a nurse do when…”—as well as why the job is important and what information someone working that job should expect to know and encounter throughout their career.
Regardless of how it is being used, job analysis is meant to ask questions about job content which are designed to prove helpful to employers, employees and countless others. These questions include the following vital queries: Why does this job exist?; What physical and psychological/mental tasks will an employee do for this job?; When will the job be performed?; Where will the job be performed?; How will employees do this job?; What qualifications, physical and mental, are necessary for this job?; What are the working conditions for this job? (Working conditions include information such as safety, lighting, loud noises or other potentially harmful factors, etc); What kinds of equipment, machinery or tools will be needed for this job?
By answering the following questions, job analysis is able to provide enough information for employers to match employees to the right job, hire the right people, in addition to other parties—such as those writing certification exams—to take advantage of this information about job content.
What are task oriented procedures?
When job analysis is conducted, it tends to focus on one of two major psychological perspectives: task and worker oriented. A task oriented job analysis focuses much more on the activities which are being performed during a job. This includes information such as specific job duties, worker responsibilities, and other functions which they may be required to perform during the course of their job. These tasks are rated on various scales which are specially designed for job analysis.
What are worker oriented procedures?
A worker oriented job analysis focuses on what human characteristics are necessary in order for the job to be performed well. People performing job analysis typically use a system called KSAO for worker oriented job analysis. KSAO stands for Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Other Characteristics. These mental attributes are intended to help determine what mental characteristics a worker must have in order to perform their job. Worker oriented analysis also classifies physical characteristics, such as strength, agility and other physical characters which are required in a job performance.