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Job design research and theory: Past, present and future


  • Oldham, Greg R.
  • Fried, Yitzhak


This article reviews the research and theory that have focused on the design of jobs in organizations. We begin by summarizing some of the earliest work on this topic and then move to a discussion of several approaches to job design that attempted to address the shortcomings of this work. Next, we discuss several streams of contemporary research that have expanded the scope or deepened our understanding of job design. We conclude with a discussion of some future directions for research with an emphasis on job crafting, the effects of new work arrangements on the design of jobs, generational differences and reactions to job design, cultural differences and job design, and the impact of job design on organizational structures and employees’ personal characteristics.

Suggested Citation

  • Oldham, Greg R. & Fried, Yitzhak, 2016. "Job design research and theory: Past, present and future," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 20-35.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jobhdp:v:136:y:2016:i:c:p:20-35
    DOI: 10.1016/j.obhdp.2016.05.002

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Babbage, Charles, 1832. "Economy of Machinery and Manufactures," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number babbage1832.
    2. Boas Shamir & Robert J. House & Michael B. Arthur, 1993. "The Motivational Effects of Charismatic Leadership: A Self-Concept Based Theory," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 4(4), pages 577-594, November.
    3. Oldham, Greg R. & Kulik, Carol T. & Ambrose, Maureen L. & Stepina, Lee P. & Brand, Julianne F., 1986. "Relations between job facet comparisons and employee reactions," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 28-47, August.
    4. Grant, Adam M. & Campbell, Elizabeth M. & Chen, Grace & Cottone, Keenan & Lapedis, David & Lee, Karen, 2007. "Impact and the art of motivation maintenance: The effects of contact with beneficiaries on persistence behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 53-67, May.
    5. Taylor, Frederick Winslow, 1911. "The Principles of Scientific Management," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number taylor1911.
    6. Cristina B. Gibson & Jennifer L. Gibbs & Taryn L. Stanko & Paul Tesluk & Susan G. Cohen, 2011. "Including the “I” in Virtuality and Modern Job Design: Extending the Job Characteristics Model to Include the Moderating Effect of Individual Experiences of Electronic Dependence and Copresence," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 22(6), pages 1481-1499, December.
    7. Shantz, Amanda & Alfes, Kerstin & Truss, Catherine & Soane, Emma, 2013. "The role of employee engagement in the relationship between job design and task performance, citizenship and deviant behaviours," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 48156, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Karl Pajo & Louise Lee, 2011. "Corporate-Sponsored Volunteering: A Work Design Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 99(3), pages 467-482, March.
    9. Barry L. Bayus, 2013. "Crowdsourcing New Product Ideas over Time: An Analysis of the Dell IdeaStorm Community," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 226-244, June.
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    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:10:p:3411-:d:171911 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:eee:jbrese:v:92:y:2018:i:c:p:168-178 is not listed on IDEAS


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