There are many different types of occupations; each one requiring specific tasks to perform on the job. For example to become a social worker, not only must you have specific educational requirements but to obtain a job as a social worker you must also need specific knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics to perform the tasks at hand. In order for an organization to hire an employee with the best qualification necessary to perform the task needed for job, the organization uses the help of Industrial and Organization psychology. To identify these characteristics I/O psychologists have developed the concept of a job analysis and other assessments such as performance appraisals, for organizations to choose the best employees that are most beneficial to the organization. A job analysis is explained as methods used to describe specific jobs and the characteristics of a person necessary to perform the tasks on the job (Spector, 2012).
There is no one way to create a job analysis as long as it includes three elements: the job analysis must be systematic, the job must be broken down in smaller units and the analysis must be written out electronically or on paper (Spector, 2012). Either way each job analysis has two approaches; to gather information that is job-oriented or to gather information that is person oriented. At times the job analysis is used to gather information about one or the other approach but it can also be used for both. The job-oriented approach provides information about the specific tasks that are performed on the job (Spector,2012). Whether it be describing the task itself or describing the characteristics of the task.
For example of a task for a secretary would be writing letters to the cliental and the characteristics of that task would be the use of a computer and the program Word. The person-oriented approach provides a description of the necessary characteristics or KSAO’s that are needed to perform the job well (Spector, 2012). KSAO’s stands for knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics that are needed to perform the job successfully. Knowledge is what a person should know about the job, skill is what the person is able to do on the job, ability is how capable a person is able to perform the job and other characteristics are the other traits a person has that may be beneficial on the job (Spector, 2012).
A job analysis has many different purposes such as defining the KSAO’s necessary for advancement in career development, providing descriptions of applicant characteristics that are necessary for hiring and recruiting employees, suggests areas for training and even sets criteria to evaluate employee performance for performance appraisals. Performance appraisals are methods used by organizations to examine and evaluate an employee’s work performance by comparing it with present standards. The organization then documents the results of the evaluation and uses those results to improve the employees work performance where it is needed (Zedeck, 2011).
Performance appraisals are not only beneficial to the employee by creating improvement in behavior/work performance, but it is also beneficial to the organization by providing research on how to improve the work place as well.There are many ways to evaluate an employee’s performance but the most common ways are through objective performance and subjective judgment. Objective measures are recorded counts of various behaviors such as the number of absences an employee has had within the year or how many time an employee has come in late. Subjective measures are ratings by people such as a supervisor or manager, who witness the employee’s job performance (Spector, 2012).
An example of a rating form used in this process is called the graphic rating form. This form focuses on gaining information about an employee ‘s characteristics and performance. For example a graphic rating form may ask performance questions such as attendance and the supervisor would scale the employees attendance on a scale of one to five (one being poor, five being excellent). The supervisor may also be asked questions on the characteristics or traits such as appearance or motivation of the employee. The results are then used to better not only the employee’s performance but the organizations performance as well.
Job Analysis of a Probation Officer
There are many different methods used to conduct a job analysis. The Job Components Inventory (JCI) is an example of one of the popular methods used today and was developed to address the need to match job requirements to worker characteristics (Spector, 2012) In other words this method is used to assess a person’s KSAO’s that are required for the job, which means it focuses on collecting information from the job and the person. The JCI lists both the KSAO’s of the job and the individual needed to perform the job at hand. Depending of the degree of correspondence between the two lists helps determine if the person is right for the job or if the person needs additional training to perform the job correctly (Spector, 2012). The JCI covers many different features that assess the skills required for the job.
There are five components of job features that are given in the JCI: Use of tools and equipment, perceptual and psychical requirements, mathematics, communication and decision making (Spector, 2012).Almost any type of job can use a JCI to analyze a potential employee because the jobs skill requirements can be matched to those the potential employee may have. An example of what a JCI for a probation officer is as follows. The use of tools and equipment might have features listed such as the use of pens, the use of telephones and the use of a computer. Skills listed in the perpetual and physical requirements may be selective attention, have good physical coordination or being aware of ones actions and understanding those actions (“Career guide for,” 2012). Mathematical skills that may be listed are the use of whole numbers, the use of decimals and the Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Communication features that may be listed are communicating effectively not only verbally but written so that the audience can understand, teaching others how to do something, identify and understand the speech of another person. Lastly, decision making features may include considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one or Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action (“Career guide for,” 2012).The reliability for this type of job analysis is found to be quite reliable. I/O psychologists have found a mean test-retest reliability of .83 which suggests that job analysis rating of the JCI can be very reliable. Although reliability varies of the different rating scales studies have proven that most ratings are reasonably reliable (Spector, 2012). Although the reliability of the JCI has been found to be reliable the validity on the other hand has been found not to be very valid. Some research suggests that although job analysis ratings can provide useful information, they also can be bias because they are based on human judgment (Spector, 2012).
There are two different methods used to measure job performance, objective and subjective. When measuring the performance of a probation officer using objective measures one may observe the officers absences, incidents at work, lateness or how well the officer works with their clients. When measuring a probation officer’s job performance using subjective measure a supervisor may use a rating form such as the graphic rating forms (Spector, 2012). For example this form would ask questions that are to be rated on a scale from poor to excellent on the offices work quality and quantity. It also may include questions such as if the officer is punctual, comes to work with a good attitude or even on their daily appearance at work.
These appraisals make it so that the supervisor knows what skills are needed to be improved by the probation officer and what can be improved in the organization as well. There are many advantages when it comes to objective measure to assess job performance. The first is that it can be easy to interpret the meaning of adjective measures in relation to job criteria. For example being late more than once shows that the employee is giving a performance of unsatisfactory in lateness. Punctuality is a trait here that needs to be improved. Another advantage is that objective measures allow the comparison of job performances for other individuals in the same job (Spector, 2012).
However objective measures and subjective measures also have many limitations. For example many of the objective measure are not appropriate for all jobs. Also it can be bias because performance is being rated by human judgment. Conclusion Job analysis and performance appraisals are both extremely important tools when it comes to job, development, selecting and training employees, and many other reasons as well. I/O psychologists have worked hard to help organization improve their work place by developing such tools. They have made it possible for organization to insure high productivity and happy/hard working employees through the use of psychology.
Career guide for probation officer. (2012). Retrieved from http://jobs.virginia.gov/careerguides/ProbationOfficer.htm Spector, P. E. (2012). Industrial and organizational psychology: Research and practice (6th
ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Zedeck, S. (2011). Apa handbook of industrial and organizational psychology, vol 2: Selecting and developing members for the organization. Washington, DC: US: American psychological association. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org.ezproxy.apollolibrary.com/bookcollections/12170/