31 Mac 2017

Flat UI Design Resources 


The main purpose of this paper is to identify and assess the Core Job Dimension of the jobs performed by workers in CBM Engineering Services and to recommend methods to increase their Critical Psychological States. The identification and assessments conducted using the Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristic Model. The model describes the relationship between job characteristics and individual response to work. There are five job dimensions prompting three psychological states that lead to some beneficial personal and work outcomes. (Hackman, J.R. And Lee, M.D, 1979)

CBM Engineering Systems Sdn. Bhd. was established in 1995 and has grown under the supervision of Mr Ganesan Muthi, the founder. The firm is operating from the location shown by the address and map below:-

202-0-13, Jalan 1/89C Off Jalan Sungei Besi, Jalan Sungei Besi, 57100, Kuala Lumpur.
Map 1: Location of CBM Engineering Services
Source: http://cbmengineeringsystems.com/

The company’s work interest is comprehensive building maintenance and service. They concentrate and specialise in Air-conditioning and Mechanical Ventilation (ACMV) services. The company has more than 15 years of experience with personals of 30 years’ experience. They have expertise in design, supply and install of all type air condition and mechanical ventilation for residential, commercial, hospital, hotel, shopping centre and industrial. The company provide all types of service and maintenance programmes for all air-conditioning systems and associated equipment (cbmengineeringsystems.com, 2013).

List of the services offered by the company, are:-
·         Design, Supply And Install
·         Comprehensive Building Maintenance (Total Maintenance)
·         Original Equipment Re-Manufacture (OER) And Overhauling
·         Thermography, Ultrasonic And Vibration Analysis And Testing
Thee organisational chart of CBM Engineering Services is as below:-

Assistant Technicians/ Handyman



Project Engineer

Maintenance Engineer



Assistant Technicians/


Figure 1.1: CBM Engineering Systems Organization Chart
For the purpose of this work, the author chosen Maintenance division of the company to be assessed and evaluated based on Hackman & Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model. 
All employees are skilled workers and working full-time with the company. Generally, the type of job carried out is Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. The Manager obtains potential clients, handles Human Resource issues and budgeting. In the event of a request which didn’t fall into any category and need to custom design, the Engineers will liaise with the customer to meet the challenge and create unique, custom designed solutions. Engineer also prepare work schedule and deal with technology application. Whereas technicians attend complaints while handyman assist technicians.
2.0   Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model  
The Job Characteristics Model, developed by organisational psychologists J. Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, is a normative approach to job enrichment. It specifies five core job dimensions that will lead to critical psychological states in the individual employee. The model is one of the most influential attempts to design jobs with increased motivational factors. 
An outline of the model is given in figure 1:-
Figure 2.1: An outline of The Job Characteristics Model
Source: Hackman and Oldham (1980: 90)
The model explains that workers achieve a high internal work motivation, high general job satisfaction, high growth satisfaction and high work effectiveness if they experience the following factors in their work:-
·         Perceive their work to be meaningful
·         Experience responsibility for the outcomes of their work
·         Have knowledge of the outcomes of their work.
These three factors are created and enhanced by five factors inherent in the design of the job itself namely: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback.
A. Core Job Dimension
Skill variety
The degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work which involves the use of a number of different skills and talents of the employee.
Task identity
The degree to which the job requires completion of a ‘whole’ and identifiable piece of work. I.e.; doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome.
Task significance
The degree to which the job has a significant impact on the lives or work of other people, whether in the immediate organisation or in the external environment.
The extent to which the job allows the employee substantial freedom, independence and discretion in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.
The extent to which performing the work activities required by the job results in the employee obtaining direct and  clear information from the job about the effectiveness of his/her performance.

B. Critical Psychological States
Experience meaningfulness of the work
The degree to which the employee experiences the job as one which is generally meaningful, valuable and worthwhile.

Experience responsibility for work outcomes
The degree to which the employee feels personally accountable and responsible for the results of the work he/she does.
Knowledge of results
The degree to which the employee knows and understands, on a continuous basis, how effectively he or she is performing the job

C. Personal & Work Outcomes
Internal work motivation
The degree to which the employee is self-motivated to perform effectively on the job, that is, the employee experiences positive internal feelings when working effectively on the job.
General job satisfaction
An overall measure of the degree to which the employee is satisfied and happy with the job
Growth satisfaction
The degree to which an individual is satisfied with opportunities for growth in the job.
High Quality Work Outcomes
The degree an employee fulfils the task in an efficient and effective way to be more productive.
Low Absenteeism/Turnover
The degree of time lost or number of missed days and the frequency of the employee in doing it. Employees more likely to be actively searching for another job if they have low satisfaction; whereas, those satisfied with their job is less likely to be job seeking.

Co-Relations/Influences of CJD, CPS and PWO on One Another
Meaningfulness of work is caused by skill variety, task identity and task significance, that is, the former are the dependent and the latter the independent variables. Experiencing responsibility for work outcomes is a dependent variable of autonomy and knowledge of results the dependent variable of feedback. It is worth considering further the concept of internal motivation. This is the kind of motivation influence employees that only need coaches not managers because they do what is required and more without having to be asked. The rewards tend to be internal not external. Three of the psychological states required for high motivation. Hackman and Oldham state that it is remarkable that even people who consider themselves relatively lazy will put in a great deal of effort when these three factors are richly experienced.
The Role of Individual Need for Growth
In Hackman and Oldham there are three moderating variables namely: knowledge and skill, growth need strength and “context satisfaction”. It’s important to see workplace learning as a self-directed process of personal and professional development for getting concrete benefits of active participation in everyday work relations. There are quiet typical learning opportunities related to job improvement activities such as work competence development during organised courses or independent usage of work-related materials.
3.0   Identification & assessment of CJD in CBM Engineering Systems
The Maintenance Divison of CBM Engineering Systems Sdn. Bhd. consist of full time employee groups ranging from a manager/owner, mechanical engineers, technicians and assistant technicians (handyman). Even though there is not a large pool of employees present in this division, the author finds it interesting and important to identify and assess CJD in the working environment. We will analyse the presence of CJD according to the different group of employees respectively.
A.    Mechanical Engineers
The engineers are responsible for the mechanical, electrical and health and safety aspects of buildings. They ensure that these services performed effectively and efficiently during the company’s projects. The role includes the design and maintenance of air conditioning, elevators and other mechanical systems, the distribution of electricity and water supply and the provision of lighting and heating.
Skill Variety
·         Designing the layout of energy distribution, water pipes and ventilation systems.
·         Mathematical, Technical, Computer Science, Creativity skills including physics.
·         Report writing skills and making presentations & attending meetings with clients.
·         Problem-solving skills and analytical thinking.
Task Identity
Organise and oversee the construction, operation and maintenance of mechanical and process plant and installations, establish programs for the coordination of manufacturing activities. Coordinate and oversee each and every task in completing jobs.
Task Significance
The engineer appreciates his job in generating, transmitting and using the electricity that powers the world.
·         Establish work measurement and analyse work samples to develop standards for labour utilisation.
·         Judgment and Decision Making in considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Direct and clear information from the job about the effectiveness of his performance from the manager and clients.
Image 3.1: An Engineer Evaluating Theoretical Design
Source: CBM Engineering Services
From the author’s observation, the engineers tend to be more satisfied as they always deal with real situations where they can improve and influence. Their task significance gives tremendous job satisfaction because it combines creative innovation, technological expertise and relevance to clients. Front-end engineering work, big projects and big pieces of equipment contributions make a direct impact on the success of a project, so job satisfaction and value are high for this group.
B.     Technicians
Technicians in CBM Engineering Services assist in engineering research, design, manufacture, construction, operation and maintenance of machines, manufacturing equipment, mechanical installations and facilities. They prepare drawings, plans and designs for mechanical engineering work under the direction of the engineer. They also responsible in selecting tools and equipment, assembling and installing new and modified mechanical assemblies, components, machine tools and controls, and hydraulic power systems.
Skill Variety
·         Design techniques, tools, and principals involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
·         Skills in machines and tools, including their designs, repair, and maintenance.
·         Skills in methods and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures.
Task Identity
·         Fully assist and involve throughout the construction, operation and maintenance of mechanical and process plant and installations.
·         Produces a final set of accurate drawings for each stage of the production process.
Task Significance
·         Technicians fill the gap between the significant tasks performed by engineers and handyman.
·         Their part is essential to complete any work carried out by the company.
·         Consult with engineers the best way to develop and plan a design, and once the design has been created, independently create the drawings that machinists use as reference when building a tool or piece of machinery.
·         Also undertake some basic administrative work such as creating and updating lists of parts without direct instructions.
Direct and clear information from the job about the effectiveness of his performance from the manager and engineer.

Image 3.2: Technicians Positioning a Semi Hermetic Compressor
Source: CBM Engineering Services
The author finds that the technicians get job satisfaction because in the end the profession is customer service. According to one of the company’s technicians, “seeing people happy with the task that you made makes any technician’s day worthwhile." Significant task to review project instructions and blueprints to ascertain test specifications, procedures, and objectives, and test nature of technical problems, such as redesign ultimately lead to their high internal motivation. Skills variety of techniques and doing project-oriented jobs also simulate high quality work performance of technicians. Hence, job satisfaction relates to CJD is found to be on medium level for this group.
C.    Assistance Technicians/Handyman
Assistance Technicians or Handyman in CBM Engineering Services does odd jobs such as cleaning, painting, repairing and maintain buildings, grounds and facilities. Works like fixing any safety hazards, putting together equipment, installing appliances and machinery as well as doing minor plumbing and spraying also done by these handymen. They also maintain work records; operates trucks and related building maintenance equipment; keeps tools and equipment in clean and safe working conditions; responds to emergency calls after normal duty hours. They often assist technicians in completing given tasks successfully.

Skill Variety
·         Physically capable of moving equipment
·         Plumbing, carpentry, painting, spraying and electrical skills
·         Using hand and power tools in a safe and effective manner
Task Identity
·         Inspect drives, motors, and belts, check fluid levels, replace filters, and perform other maintenance actions, following checklists.
·         Perform routine preventive maintenance to ensure that machines continue to run smoothly, building systems operate efficiently, and the physical condition of buildings does not deteriorate.
Task Significance
·         On call to respond to emergency issues like power failures, broken plumbing, breakdown etc.
·         Respond immediately to fire alarm systems; disengage electrical, water, or gas systems to protect building occupants and property.
·         Plan and lay out repair work using diagrams, drawings, blueprints, maintenance manuals, and schematic diagrams.

·         Prioritises repair requests and plans work to ensure necessary parts are available and tasks are completed quickly and efficiently.
v  (Subject to approval from superiors)
Direct and clear information from the job about the effectiveness of his performance from the manager, engineer and technician.

Image 3.2: An Assistant Technician is Cleaning the Infill of Cooling Tower Using Water Jet
Source: CBM Engineering Services
This group of employees enjoys high degrees of CPS from the 1st 3 criteria above. The need to use variety of physical skills such as plumbing, carpentry and electrical skills ultimately contributes to experience meaningful of the work done and boost internal work motivation. But the level of autonomy is still bound to constraints because the layout of their work is still subject to be approved by their superiors. This aspect in a way limits the level of satisfaction in their work. Apart of it, the feedback on their job outcomes from the superiors happens regularly. This group also learns the outcome directly from the clients on occasions when attending emergency issues. This ultimately enables them to learn the actual results of the work activity and lead to low absenteeism and turnover. Overall, the satisfaction level relates to CJD for this group is still in low level compared to engineers and technicians.

4.0   Recommendations
Upon identifying and assessing the levels of CJD, CPS and PWO according to Hackman and Oldham’s The Job Characteristics Model, the author provides a few recommendations for CBM Engineering Services. These recommendations are to improve CJD of the group of workers in order to increase their CPS.
A.    Skill Variety
Job Rotation – the company must take measures to enable workers the opportunity to use a variety of skills, and perform different kinds of work. The most common way to do this is through job rotation. Engineers, technicians and handyman must be moved through a variety of jobs that allow them to learn different skills and acquire different experiences. This can be very motivating, especially to these people who are in jobs that are very repetitive.

B.     Task Identity
Combine Tasks - Work activities should be combined to provide jobs that are more challenging and complex. Task identity can be improved because engineers, technicians and assistant technicians will involve in a job through from start to finish. This allows them to understand the work seem more meaningful and important. Expanding their roles gives them responsibility for the entire process and let them experience meaningfulness towards their work. This state will lead to high quality work performance from them.

C.     Task Significance
Implement Participative Management - The Company may allow engineers and technicians to participate in decision making and get involved in planning of project undertakings. This is an excellent way to make them realise that their input is important. It can work in such small company, with a manager/owner who holds a close and direct communication with all the employees. Contributing to the organization’s overall business goals can give employees a clearer sense of their role (e.g., how their work fits into the bigger picture) and the significance and relevance of their work to business goals.

D.    Autonomy
Engineers and technicians enjoy a higher level of autonomy in this company. But the lower level employees (Handymen) don’t enjoy as much flexibility in their work process. The author suggests:-
Provide Options/Choice - When job design itself is predetermined by Management, employees should be allowed to decide how they will complete the job. This can create the feeling of choice necessary to be intrinsically motivated.  Allowing handymen to tailor their approach to their preferences and abilities will also give them a heightened sense of control over the situation they find themselves in, which benefits performance.  If the situation can’t give them total free reign, then the company must try to give them a choice between two options for how to proceed. 
Adjustment of Work list - This group of employees must be given the opportunity to adjust the appearance of work items in their work lists to their own preferences. This measure provides assistant technician/handymen with more autonomy. When there is a possibility to adjust the appearance of work items in the work list they create a better overview of the things they have to do according to their own preferences. This makes it easier to decide for oneself how and which work item should be performed next.
E.     Feedback
Natural/Emphasise Need For Growth - The management should ensure that the results of work done are accurately fed back to employees and highly visible thus allowing unobstructed feedback. As far as possible this feedback should be a natural, on-going part of the job not the type which is given by a superior in a job appraisal. Emphasis should be placed on increasing the opportunities for growth. These vary from one employee to the next so the process should be structured to include input from the individual.
Focus more on leveraging employee’s strengths than trying to fix their weaknesses - When offering feedback to employees, it’s only natural to want to mention elements of an employee’s performance that is in need of some improvement. A  better approach to CBM Engineering Services is to look at the areas where employees are excelling to find out why they are performing so well in that particular task, and figuring out how that can be applied to the part of their work they are having difficulty with. This will allow the company to help their employees to learn to use their strengths across different areas, while gaining a better appreciation for what aspects of their work will require the help of their colleagues for them to complete the task. It’s important to remember that the opportunity for growth for employees lies not in addressing their weaknesses, but on building their ability to contribute their existing strengths.

The presence of Core Job Dimensions among different employee groups varying from Mechanical Engineers, Technicians as well as Assistant Technicians/Handyman identified in the author’s findings. The assessment was carried out on each group of employees separately based on the five core dimensions.
The author found that practically all groups evaluated are skilled workers and uses various skills according to their job level to perform tasks. Skill Variety among engineers, technicians and also handymen are clearly identified. Employees named opportunities to use their skills and abilities as one of the top five factors influencing job satisfaction. In order to improve this element in leading to better CPS, the author recommended Job Rotation method to enable workers the opportunity to use a variety of skills, and perform different kinds of work.
As for task identification, each group of employees is very clear about the degree to which their job requires completion of a whole and identifiable piece of work. The engineers organise and oversee the whole work projects while technicians fully assist and involve throughout it. Whereas the assistant technicians give their input at every level from the beginning to completion as a whole even though not as much as the previous 2 groups. To further enhance this dimension, the author recommends the company to combine tasks by expanding their roles which give them responsibility for the entire process and let them experience meaningfulness towards their work.
Besides that task significance for each group were carefully analysed. The engineers believe that engineering and art should be combined. Every work has its own beauty at the end and the satisfaction of perfect finishing should be seen and appreciated by all. The technicians believe the final set of accurate drawings for each stage by them is crucial for every project by the company. Whereas, the assistant technicians understand the significance of their job in responding to emergency issues. They ultimately become the bridge between the company and clients whenever there is a break-down. To boost up the level of meaningfulness of the work, the company recommended to Implement Participative Management which allows engineers and technicians to participate in decision making and get involved in planning of project undertakings.
The level of autonomy in performing jobs and the feedback on their job results found to be another motivation and job satisfaction aspect of all the groups. Freedom and discretion to make decisions, such as scheduling work and determining how it is to be done gives the employees a greater sense of responsibility for the outcomes of their work and, in turn, their satisfaction. Engineers and technicians found to be more independent in performing their jobs compared to assistant technicians. The levels of feedback from all the groups are found to be in a satisfactory level. All the employees in the company receive direct and clear information from the job about the effectiveness their performance from the manager, superiors and clients.
Finally, recommendations to maximise responsibility for work outcomes and knowledge of the actual results of work activities among the engineers, technicians and especially assistant technicians summarised below:-
Provide Options and Choice - to tailor an employee’s approach to their preferences and abilities and give them heightened sense of control over the work.
Adjustment of Work list - Assistant Technicians must be given the opportunity to adjust the appearance of work items in their work lists to their own preferences.
Natural/Emphasise Need For Growth should be focused in direct feedbacks to increase the opportunities for growth of employees.
Leveraging employee’s strengths than trying to fix their weaknesses to help employees optimise their strengths while gaining better appreciation for overcoming weaknesses.

As evidenced by this study using Hackman and Oldham’s Job Characteristics Model, Core Job Dimension influence employee’s Critical Psychological States and these factors ultimately lead to Personal and Work Outcomes of employees. Job satisfaction can contribute to multiple organisational gains and has been associated with increased internal work motivation, quality performance and low absenteeism or turnover. This ultimately benefits the organization such as CBM Engineering Services in terms of excellent performance and increased productivity.                                                                                                               (3637 Words)

About Us. (2013). Retrieved from: http://cbmengineeringsystems.com/aboutus.php
Hackman, J.R. And Lee, M.D. (1979), ‘‘Redesigning work: a strategy for change” Studies in Productivity, Work in America Institute.
Hackman, J.R. And Oldham, G.R. (1975), ‘‘Development of the job diagnostic survey” Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 60, pp. 159-70.
Hackman, J.R. And Oldham, G.R. (1976), ‘‘Motivation through the design of work: test of a theory” Organizational Behaviour and Human Performance, Vol. 15, pp. 250-79.
Hackman, J.R. And Suttle, J.L. (1977), Improving Life at Work: Behavioural Science Approaches to Organizational Change, Goodyear Publishing, Santa Monica.
Hackman, J.R., & Oldham, Greg. R. (1980). Work Redesign, Addison-Wesley.

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