Job descriptions are a critical tool used for job orientation and training and, importantly, in annual employee performance evaluations. When the duties and responsibilities listed in the job description do not reflect current job content, employee/management disagreements can arise as this case illustrates.
Both employees and managers agree that Brenda Batten has been an exceptional employee. As a senior technical representative (STR) for Blackhawk Aironics, she is valued for her knowledge in airplane instrumentation. One manager described her as “simply an expert in the complex technology of satellite weather systems”.
In May 2007, Blackhawk Aironics implemented a new work reorganization plan. STRs such as Brenda now work largely by telecommuting with managers and engineers at company headquarters and with customers scattered throughout North America. Additionally, under the new work plan, STRs were given more freedom to deal directly with customers and engineers without supervisory intervention. This freedom greatly facilitated customer service needs demands in an aviation market everyone considers highly dynamic. Brenda’s current job description reflects the technical dimensions of her position but not the telecommuting requirements now performed. Personal competencies such as decision making, self-motivation, problem-solving and communication skills are not covered.
In May 2008, Brenda met with her manager, Martin Eaton, for her annual performance review. Unfortunately, unlike past meetings, which were highly satisfactory, this meeting quickly developed into a disagreement. At the centre of the controversy were the factors to be used to measure Brenda’s new job demands. Martin wanted to place major emphasis on the tasks and duties listed in her current job description. As he explained to Brenda, “I hardly see you anymore, and I have no objective criteria or performance data by which to measure those behaviours you now use”. Brenda, in response, acknowledged that some things in the current job description were still important aspects of her job, but, overall, the current job description did not capture the full scope of her new duties and responsibilities. Brenda concluded that she was satisfied with Martin’s evaluation of the technical aspects of her job, but she was clearly not pleased with the overall evaluation of her performance. As she told Martin, “It’s simply not fair, you just don’t know what I do now”.
Using the Job Characteristics Model discuss in detail how Brenda’s job was affected by the change. That is, making specific reference to each of the five elements of the JCM, discuss how each were affected by the change. Make any assumptions required.(20 marks)