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Job Enlargement: Definition, Advantages & Examples

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Carol Woods

Carol has taught college Finance, Accounting, Management and Business courses and has a MBA in Finance.

Job enlargement is the process of making a position more interesting and fulfilling by expanding the number of tasks the staffer needs to complete. In this lesson we'll discuss how and why it's done.

We also recommend watching Types of Job Redesign: Job Enrichment, Enlargement & Rotation and Job Flexibility in the Workplace

What Is Job Enlargement?

Job enlargement is an increase in job tasks and responsibilities to make a position more challenging. It is a horizontal expansion, which means that the tasks added are at the same level as those in the current position.

Why Enlarge Jobs?

After performing the same position for a while, employees can get bored. As an example, we'll look at John, an accountant in a large corporation. For his position John is responsible for posting entries and creating financial statements for several small companies the corporation owns. He's been doing this for a couple of years now, and the tasks required each month are found in a checklist he works down for each company. Although he likes accounting, his work is getting a bit monotonous.

Sometimes a change in work tasks can add a much-needed boost of enthusiasm, due to the change in daily activities, and can improve morale. The employee will also need to increase his or her productivity to accomplish the new tasks, so he or she has a chance to implement methods that speed up his or her output. It also shows the employee that management is aware of the work he or she is doing, and feels he or she can accomplish more - which can add to job satisfaction.

Back to our story…John's boss senses his boredom and decides to enlarge John's current position. He identifies a couple of additional small companies that could use the high quality of attention John's boss asks John to take them on as well. John has to adjust his checklists to add in the additional companies, and he looks for faster ways to accomplish some of the larger tasks so he can complete the additional work and still go home on time. Once he adjusts his work processes so he can complete the additional work, he goes home feeling like he has accomplished a lot during the day. He's also more motivated due to the interesting new tasks and to the feeling of value he has now that his boss has noticed his high quality of work and asked him to take on more responsibility.

Advantages of Job Enlargement

Some of the advantages will have jumped out at you from our story above. Here are some of the positive outcomes of a job enlargement effort:

  • Employees are more likely to stay with the company, since their needs for personal growth and accomplishment are met.
  • Productivity increases because employees streamline their methods to take on the new tasks.
  • Job satisfaction increases, since work becomes more challenging and contributions to the company are acknowledged.

Summary

Job enlargement is the addition of horizontal tasks to a position. Horizontal tasks are those of a similar level of skill and responsibility to those already in the position. This change in the job tends to increase job satisfaction, due to the change in an employee's position and the acknowledgment of his or her abilities.

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