Job Enlargement

What is Job Enlargement?

Job enlargement is one of the earliest concepts associated with the job design scheme. A job Opens in new window is enlarged when an employee carries out a wider range of activities of approximately the same skill level.

Job enlargement is an alternative to job specialization that involves extending a job’s range so that the number and variety of different activities an employee perform is increased.

Job enlargement consists in two aspects: vertical and horizontal enlargement.

Vertical Enlargement

The first aspect of job enlargement deals with expansion of the job contents by allowing employees to inspect their work, affect minor repairs on the work and equipment and to select their own work methods or ‘set ups’. These refer to vertical enlargement and are designed to involve the employees much more in their work by control on the pace of their activity and greater responsibility.

Horizontal Enlargement

The second aspect of job enlargement is horizontal in nature. Under this scheme one simply adds a larger number of somewhat similar tasks to the present job. Examples include a traveling salesperson who is given an additional territory to cover, a secretary who is assigned work from a second manager, and an assembly-line worker who bolts on car bumpers as well as wheels.

The basic difference between vertical and horizontal involvement is that in the first case the additional inputs demand greater involvement while in the latter case they convert a non-attention job to a surface attention job. In other words, it requires relatively more attention because the job becomes less mechanical.

The underlying assumption in each case is that an expanded job will be more interesting because it is more varied. As a result, all workers perform a wide variety of tasks, which presumably reduces the level of job dissatisfaction.

Job enlargement Opens in new window is a more comprehensive approach in which jobs may be enhanced. It involves extending a job’s depth so that employee control is increased.