Job Analysis

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Category: Business and Industry

Date Submitted: 11/20/2011 10:11 PM

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Job analysis methods can be categorized into four basic types: (1) observation methods; (2) interview techniques; (3) questionnaires, including job inventories or checklists. This section describes and discusses these methods.

Observation Methods

Observation of work activities and worker behaviors is a method of job analysis which can be used independently or in combination with other methods of job analysis. Three methods of job analysis based on observation are: (1) direct observation; (2) work methods analysis, including time and motion study and micro-motion analysis; and (3) the critical incident technique. Though they employ the same method, these methods differ in terms of who does the observing, what is observed, and how it is observed.

Direct observation. Using direct observation, a person conducting the analysis simply observes employees in the performance of their duties, recording observations as they are made. The observer either takes general notes or works from a form which has structured categories for comment. Everything is observed: what the worker accomplishes, what equipment is used, what the work environment are a like, and any other factor relevant to the job.

Direct observation methods have certain natural limitations for job analysis purposes. First, they cannot capture the mental aspects of jobs, such as decision making or planning, since mental processes are not observable. Second, observation methods can provide little information relating to personal requirements for various jobs because this kind of information is also not readily observable. Thus, observation methods provide little information on which to base job specifications.

Work methods analysis. A sophisticated observation method, work methods analysis is used to describe manual and repetitive production jobs, such as factory or assembly-line jobs. These methods are used by industrial engineers to determine standard rates of production which...