Job analyses are a way to create detailed job descriptions used by businesses to promote efficiency and best match potential between the employer and employee; but there are many other reasons to complete a job analysis. According to Ash and Levine (1980) there are 11 common uses for job analysis: career development; performance appraisal; legal issues; recruitment and selection of employees; training; setting salaries; efficiency/safety; job classification; job description; job design; and planning (Spector, 2008) There are many ways to complete a job analysis and the method used usually depends on the type of job or business.
The four most common job analysis types are the; job component inventory; functional job analysis; position analysis questionnaire; and task inventory (Spector, 2008). For this paper this writer has chosen to use the functional job analysis method, utilizing the O*NET electronic database which was previously found in the Dictionary or Occupational Titles (DOT) and is produced by the United States Department of Labor (Spector, 2008). The occupation chosen is Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor. This paper will also look at the reliability and validity of the Functional Job Analysis as well as some of the pros and cons surrounding the four common methods mentioned above.
Functional Job Analysis-Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
The functional job analysis is a comprehensive method that makes use of observation, interviews, and scores on several dimensions; these dimensions are relevant to all jobs making this a uniform method to obtain information no matter what the job may be (Spector, 2008). The functional job analysis of a substance abuse specialist is as follows. (Note: due to the extensive amount of information provided much information will be paraphrased and writer will not include 100% of the data provided by O*NET.gov. – Also, the information provided is to show an understanding of the Functional Job Analysis along with the six domains utilized by the O*NET website.)
Job Description The analysis begins with a job description as well as some of the titles associated with this vocation. In this case the job is to provide counseling to those struggling with addictions that include substances but also addictions to gambling, or other process addictions (Onetonline.gov, 2012). Job titles include: Counselor; Substance Abuse Counselor; Chemical Dependency Professional (Onetoneline, 2012).
Tools & Technology
The next section discusses the tools & technology generally used for this occupation. They include: Alcohol Breathalyzers; Personal Computers; and Spreadsheet Software. While this is an extremely comprehensive source there are items that are missing this writer noted the absence of Urine analysis kits used often in the field.
Tasks Tasks according to the O*net website include but are not limited to: Completion and Maintenance of Records and Reports; Conduct Chemical Dependency programs; and Coordination with other Mental Health Professionals or Health Professionals as Needed (Onetonline, 2012).
Knowledge Knowledge is next and the competencies include: Therapy and Counseling; Psychology; Customer Service; and Law and Government (Onetonline, 2012).
Skills Skills include but are not limited to: Active Listening; Social Perceptiveness; Critical Thinking; and Speaking (Onetonline, 2012).
Abilities Some of the abilities are: Oral Comprehension; Oral Expression; Problem Sensitivity; and Speech Clarity (Onetonline, 2012).
Work Activities The work activities include: Assisting and Caring for others; Communicating with Peers, subordinates, and others; Documenting/Recording Informations; and Getting Information (Onetonline, 2012).
Work Context The work context appears to be questions one would ask a prospective employer about the nature of any particular position. Questions center on particular job duties such as the length of time spent on the telephone, or how often one would be called upon to work with external customers and even if there would be time constraints or deadlines (Onetonline, 2012).
Job Zone The job zone is devoted to the educational requirements, related experience, and a general look at the type of job it is. In this category some of the examples include: accountants; sales managers; and chemists (Onetonline, 2012).
Education Looks at the levels of education required in the field (Onetonline, 2012) Interests This job is categorized as SAI: Social; Artistic; and Investigative (Onetonline, 2012).
Work Styles Work styles are mainly characteristics held by people within the field. Self Control, Stress Tolerance, Concern for Others, and Dependability are just some of them (Onetonline, 2012).
Work Values People that work in the field are said to value relationships, achievement, and independence (Onetonline, 2012).
Wages & Employment Trends Lastly this job analysis discusses wages and employment trends on a national and local level (Onetonline, 2012).
Reliability and Validity
In order to understand the reliability and validity of job analyses one must have an understanding of who provides the information and who is responsible for gathering and making sense of the data. According to Spector (2008) Job analysis information is collected in several ways by people trained “in quantifying job characteristics and the KSAOs necessary to accomplish the different aspects of jobs”. These people either survey the employees who do the jobs in question or experience the job firsthand by doing it themselves or observing it being done”. The information is provided by job analysts, supervisors, job incumbents, and/or trained observers. Because supervisors and job incumbents have experience in the field they can be known as subject matter experts or SMEs (Spector, 2008).
According to the research Dierdoff and Wilson (2003) found that when creating job analysis there is a reliability factor of .83 showing consistency. Depending on the type of rater inter-rater reliability was lower. Task inventory ratings varied depending on the scale given, or importance of a task and inter-rater reliabilities also varied quite a bit (Spector, 2008). So it seems that if a task inventory rating is used it should be done with great care.
Validity is fairly high but comes with a caution. Once again the issue of people’s judgments and bias comes up (Spector, 2008). Job analysis is useful to I/O’s but must be carefully considered to assess validity (Spector, 2008).
The job analysis provided by O*NET.gov was accurate and comprehensive but one could see that it is not possible to pinpoint every aspect of the job. Some parts may not apply or may apply to one place of employment and not another. Of course there are also the possible omissions such as the Urine Analysis under tools and equipment. This writer does feel that this particular analysis was reliable and valid based on first-hand knowledge of the field.
Performance Appraisal Methods
There are two types of appraisals; one is objective and the other subjective. Objective appraisals are a way to measure things like absences, or productivity. This would be a simple way of rating people in certain vocations where showing up and meeting a quota is important. Take people that work in a factory and need to produce high volume; this is one example of where this type of appraisal method would be beneficial. Certain aspects of performance can be measured very well using an objective approach but several weaknesses stand out. One is that the object being measured is not always clear; the other is that it is prone to human error (Spector, 2008) There are several subjective appraisal methods: the graphic-rating form; and many behavior-focused rating forms. These are more likely to be used and measure both trait performance and general aspects of performance (Spector, 2008).
A graphic rating form is a chart with several areas that can be rated with choices either numbered or with other terms such as frequently to never at all (Spector, 2008). It is a way to make an evaluation on many dimensions relating to a particular job. This is an efficient way to get an overall picture.
Behaviorally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)
The BARS is a way of evaluating performance on a behavioral level. Relevant job expectations or behaviors are listed and the evaluator will find the choice that best describes an employee’s level of performance along a continuum (Spector, 2008).
Mixed Standard Scale (MSS)
A MSS has several statements that describe performance or behaviors with three choices that describe a particular level of performance (Spector, 2008). The three choices are randomly placed but they represent good performance, satisfactory performance and poor performance (Spector, 2008). This method like others gives a good overall picture but lacks the details that may surround poor performance.
The BOS is a way to measure behaviors using a percentage. Instead of describing how well a person responds it describes how often the behavior is seen. One rating could be “Stays on Task” and the evaluator or observer is to estimate using percentages how well the employee stays on task (Spector, 2008). The BOS is also similar to a mixed-standard scale because it uses critical incidence and either a poor or efficient behavior but; instead of rating behaviors the BOS rates frequency (Spector, 2008). One of the criticisms of the BOS is that to an outsider it may be hard to interpret (Spector, 2008) Conclusion
This has been an overview of job analysis, perforamance appraisal, and the concepts of reliability and validity. We have seen that job analysis can be a great source of information. Not only does it provide details pertaining to a particular job but the job analysis can also help in the business world by providing possible legal and ethical issues, training program development and to help establish salaries just to name a few. We also know that there are several methods used to rate an employee’s performance which one is utilized depends on how detailed and what type of information needs to be measured. Lastly as with most other assessments, ratings, and measurements the reliability and validity of any job analysis is open to bias, and other human factors. All of these things must be taken into consideration and critical thinking generally applies.
Courtney from Study Moose
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