Fundamentally, modern organizations are defined by elements such as rapid technological innovations, increased competition, team-based and dynamic organizational structures, widely distributed market shares and shorter product life-cycles, among others. Indeed, survival and success of firms in the rapidly changing and highly dynamic modern business environment is tied to factors such as the use of technology and effective utilization of resources especially the human resource, which is a principal creator of value in firms. This implies that search and recruitment for specific qualified people to fill vital vacant positions in companies is vitally important, for accomplishment of various firm goals and objectives. This is because varied personnel inputs, their efforts as well as the quality of interactions are a strong determinant in a firm’s growth and eventual success. As such, effective job analysis, identified as the process by which job requirements involving duties, knowledge and skills and the characteristics of appropriate candidates are determined as well as being a strategic human resources management (HRM) practice as shown by Siddique (2004, p.219-24), must be done.
Mitchell, Alliger & Morfopoulos (1997, pp.5-7) identify job analysis as underlying almost all HRM practices including compliance with regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the recruitment, determination and assignment of specific job responsibilities. The need for job analysis is identified by its functions in many HRM practices ranging from personnel recruitment, selection, training and termination, job design and redesign to job evaluation, specification and description as well as performance appraisal, among others. Job contexts and design are also subject to specificity regarding the aforementioned elements including rapid production and utilization of new technological innovations, among others, implying that information collected on jobs and candidates must reflect this aspect. This explains why many researchers (Shippmann et al. 2000, p.723) advocate taking job analysis seriously as the modern business environment is subject to numerous unprecedented changes especially technological ones, where a more proactive and strategic approach is favored.
The ties between job analysis and other numerous HRM activities including job design and description, performance evaluation, Equal Employment Opportunity compliance as well as personnel planning are further explained. For instance, it aids management in personnel planning through identification of job demands in terms of duties, responsibilities, skills and other qualifications that enable an appropriate match between jobs and people. Considering the importance of firm leadership and direction, job analysis aids in the creation of effective organizational structures where ranks, hierarchies and relationships between jobs, personnel and departments, provide order and effective work flow for firm goal achievement. Information collected on various jobs during job analysis further provides a framework for present and future recruitment and selection of qualified/best-fit/appropriate personnel through job specification and description activities, as supported by Carless (2007, pp.153-7). Job analysis results can also be used in work and employee appraisal, where training and development as well as career development or counseling needs can be identified for the betterment of the employee, as an important link to organizational success.
Further, the information can also provide a strong basis for employee termination decisions as well as application of suitable motivator elements such as transfers and promotions, and even increases in salaries and fringe benefits, among others. This evidently demonstrates how job analysis, indeed underlies many HRM activities which Clifford (1994, pp.321-6) affirms, is able to enhance overall modern HRM practices including communication and change while ensuring cost efficiency and effectiveness is maintained. Collection of relevant job-related information during job analysis serves to illuminate potential risk factors that may invite ruinous litigations especially factors that may have arisen between periods of job evaluation. As such, job analysis acts as a precursor to the improvement of working conditions among other vital elements in the workplace especially those related to personnel health and safety, which reduces potential negative company-wide consequences while enhancing the firm’s reputation. Therefore, HRM practices and activities such as performance evaluation, compliance with set regulations as well as personnel planning underscores the importance and support of job analysis to an organization.
The significance of job analysis and design approaches in modern organizations is to enable firms to employ qualified and appropriate personnel for identified job vacancies, in a manner that firm goals are accomplished with minimum costs, efficiently and effectively. Job analysis and design are closely related with design aimed at organizing duties and responsibilities and integrating them with suitable skills and qualifications, which can be viewed through the motivational and mechanistic approaches, among others (Campion & Thayer 1987, p.). On the other hand, job analysis incorporates quantitative as well as qualitative approaches such as interviews and the Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) respectively, among other methods. The significance of job analysis and design approaches in modern organizations, which builds on effective identification of job requirements and matching them up with appropriate skills and qualifications involves the costs and benefits involved in choosing one or the other.
With researchers calling for changes in utilization of better job analyses approaches that are cognizant of dynamic changes in the modern business environments, competency modeling has been chosen as such an approach. In this case, the relevance of job analysis is exemplified by defenses involved in a firm’s choice of qualified individuals in case of potential litigation, and where competencies can be leveraged through their indirect link to formal duties. Job analyses are indeed a vital part of a firm’s HRM and its effective performance especially due to their influence on other HRM activities such as performance appraisal as well as training and development, among others (Oswald, 2003).
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