What is Job Analysis and How Can It Help?

Job analysis is the use of any of a number of structured techniques to study the work of an organization.  The unit of study in Job Analysis is, of course, the JOB, or more precisely, the positions making up the structure of an organization.  Job analysis organizes information about positions, such as relevant behaviors (tasks), knowledges, skills, abilities, and other attributes, (sometimes referenced as KSAOs), required of incumbents holding positions.  The information gathered during job analysis provides a foundation for such necessary human resource management activities as selecting personnel to fill positions, training them to perform job-specific tasks, developing performance evaluation standards, determining appropriate compensation, and promoting personnel within career families.

Many tools and approaches have been developed to perform Job Analysis.  E.J. McCormick, in the 1976 edition of Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (M.D. Dunnette, ed: Rand McNally: Chicago), pointed out that Job Analysisi could be classified by the type of information to be obtained about jobs, the form in which the job information would be obtained (and possibly, presented), the method to be used in analyzying the information, and the agent (trained job analyst, camera, automated data collection tool) to be used in analyzing the job.  Among Information Types, McCormick suggested the following as some of the types of job information that may be used:
Most Job Analyses can be characterized as either qualitative (emphasizing the norm or prescribed job characteristics) or quantitative (emphasizing empirically obtained information about tasks, worker behaviors, characteristics of workers, production rates, environmental conditions, size of work groups).

The usual Methods of performing Job Analysis include:
Some of the Agents used in conducting Job Analysis include:

With the advent of the Information Age, the field of Cognitive Task Analysis as distinguished from Behavioral Job Analysis, has become a major consideration.  Behavioral Job Analysis focuses on What People Do; whereas Cognitive Task Analysis examines the mental structures (Cognitive Architectures, or taxonomies of information) and mental processes (perceiving, attending, associating, recognizing patterns, remembering, deductive and inductive analyses, synthesizing and predicting)  that go into  successful job performance.

So the question "What can Job Analysis do for you" depends on what you want/need to be done.  Job Analysis can supply "front end analysis" to address the challenge of most efficiently organizing jobs (job classification); of improving inefficient processes (job redesign); of planning training to indoctrinate new workers in existing processes, or existing workers in new or improved processes; of establishing realistic and defensable criteria to evaluate workers' performance (job performance evaluation); to ensure appropriate and equitable compensation (job compensation
policies ), and plan for orderly progression of workers throughout their careers (job utilization policies).  With the proper Job Analysis foundation established, systematic reevaluation can provide evidence of progress toward performance improvement goals and provide insight into the efficacy of improvement initiatives.  If you are responsibile for the outcomes of your organization, responsible, tailored job analysis is right for you.  Ultimately, however, we come back to the begining: Job Analysis is performed with the end in mind.  Almost anyone can gather job information, but the Art and Science of responsible, effective Job Analysis requires substantial education, training and experience.  Independent Job Analysis is available today to consult with you on the best way to address your Job and Occupational Analysis needs.


backbutton Back to IJoA Information
backbutton Back to homepage