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The Adoption of Job Rotation: Testing the Theories

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  • Tor Eriksson
  • Jaime Ortega

Abstract

This paper tests three possible explanations for why firms adopt job rotation: employee learning (rotation makes employees more versatile), employer learning (through rotation, employers learn more about individual workers' strengths), and employee motivation (rotation mitigates boredom). Whereas previous studies have examined either establishment characteristics or a single firm's personnel records, this study merges information from a detailed survey of Danish private sector firms with linked employer-employee panel data, allowing firm characteristics, work force characteristics, and firms' human resource management practices to be included as explanatory variables. The results reject the employee motivation hypothesis, but support the employee learning and, especially, the employer learning hypotheses. Firms allocating more resources to training were more likely to rotate workers; rotation schemes were more common in less hierarchical firms and in firms with shorter average employee tenure; and both firm growth rates and firms' use of nation-wide recruitment were positively associated with rotation schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Tor Eriksson & Jaime Ortega, 2006. "The Adoption of Job Rotation: Testing the Theories," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 59(4), pages 653-666, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:59:y:2006:i:4:p:653-666
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2004. "What's driving the new economy?: the benefits of workplace innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(493), pages 97-116, February.
    2. Maury Gittleman & Michael Horrigan & Mary Joyce, 1998. "“Flexible†Workplace Practices: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(1), pages 99-115, October.
    3. David Neumark & Peter Cappelli, 1999. "Do "High Performance" Work Practices Improve Establishment-Level Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 7374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli, 1999. "Job Rotation: Cost, Benefits, and Stylized Facts," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 155(2), pages 301-301, June.
    5. Paul Osterman, 1994. "How Common is Workplace Transformation and Who Adopts it?," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(2), pages 173-188, January.
    6. Jaime Ortega, 2001. "Job Rotation as a Learning Mechanism," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(10), pages 1361-1370, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Koch, Michael & Egger, Hartmut, 2013. "Trade and the Firm-Internal Allocation of Workers to Tasks," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79841, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Grund, Christian & Harbring, Christine & Thommes, Kirsten, 2015. "Cooperation in Diverse Teams: The Role of Temporary Group Membership," IZA Discussion Papers 8761, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. DeVaro, Jed & Farnham, Martin, 2011. "Two perspectives on multiskilling and product-market volatility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 862-871.
    4. Brilon, Stefanie, 2015. "Job assignment with multivariate skills and the Peter Principle," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 112-121.
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:424-441 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Martin Ruckes & Thomas Rønde, 2015. "Dynamic Incentives in Organizations: Success and Inertia," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(4), pages 475-497, July.
    7. Anil Arya & Brian Mittendorf, 2006. "Project Assignments When Budget Padding Taints Resource Allocation," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(9), pages 1345-1358, September.
    8. Ruzita Selamat Author_Email: ruzita@utm.my & Norhalimah Idris & Nur Naha Abu Mansor, 2011. "Comparative Findings From Focus Group Discussions: A Research Evidence," 2nd International Conference on Business and Economic Research (2nd ICBER 2011) Proceeding 2011-504, Conference Master Resources.
    9. Stefanie Brilon, 2010. "Job Assignment with Multivariate Skills," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2010_25, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
    10. Ruckes, Martin & Rønde, Thomas, 2010. "Dynamic incentives in organizations: Success and inertia," Working Paper Series in Economics 7, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    11. Katolnik, Svetlana & Hakenes, Hendrik, 2014. "On the Incentive Effect of Job Rotation," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100574, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • M12 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Personnel Management; Executives; Executive Compensation
    • M54 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Labor Management

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