These three states, as originally proposed by Richard Hackman and Ed Lawler are as follows:
i) Experienced meaningfulness:
It is the degree to which the individual experiences and perceives his work as generally meaningful, valuable and worthwhile by some system of values which he accepts.
ii) Experienced responsibility for work outcomes:
It is the degree to which an individual feels personally responsible for the outcome of his efforts.
iii) Knowledge of results:
The employee must be able to determine the degree of quality of output of his efforts. He must receive frequent and regular feedback from his supervisors as to how satisfactory his performance continues to be.
As Hackman’ explains, “the model postulates that internal rewards are obtained by an individual when he learns (knowledge of results) that he personally (experienced responsibility) has performed well on a task that he cares about (experienced meaningfulness)”.
When these three states are present, the individual will feel good about himself when he performs his work well. The higher the level of these states, the higher will be the satisfaction that an employee will experience when he performs well.
This will result in increased and continuous intrinsic motivation. The relationship of these three states is such that when any of these states is reduced considerably, motivation drops markedly.
The Job Characteristic Model further proposes that these three psychological states are triggered by five characteristics of the job which are known as “Core Job Dimensions”. The first three of these characteristics contribute to the psychological state of “experienced meaningfulness” and the other two characteristic contribute towards the states of “experienced responsibility” and” knowledge of results” respectively. These five core job dimensions are:
1. Skill variety:
It refers to the degree to which the job contains a variety of different activities which would challenge the worker’s skills and abilities.
2. Task identity:
It is the degree to which the job requires completion of the “whole” identifiable unit of work from beginning to the end with visible and tangible outcomes.
3. Task significance:
It refers to the extent to which the job has a significant impact on the lives or work of other people either within the organization itself or in the outside environment. A worker who simply tightens nuts on some parts of spacecraft assembly perceives his job as more significant than a worker who tightens a nut on a table or a chair, even though both jobs require similar skills.
This is the core dimension which contributes towards the psychological state of “experienced responsibility” and is the degree to which the job allows the worker substantial freedom, independence and discretion in scheduling his own work and in establishing procedures to be employed in carrying it out. This way, the worker will feel responsible for the success or failure of his efforts, and of course, he will spare no efforts to make his work performance and outcome a success.
Feedback is the degree to which the work performance results in the worker obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his performance. The job characteristics model (JCM) is presented diagrammatically as follows:
Based on this model, it is possible to calculate a “Motivating Potential Score (MPS), which reflects the degree to which the employees see their jobs as motivating. It provides a summary index of a job’s overall potential for motivating employees and is calculated by the following formula.
According to this model, a high value for MPS is only possible if a job is high on at least one of the three dimensions that influence experienced meaningfulness and high on both autonomy and feedback. It can be seen that if there is no autonomy or no feedback, then the MPS score is zero.
MPS being a quantitative index can be very useful in diagnosing jobs and effectiveness of job activities. However, the presence of core dimensions in itself does not guarantee that it will generate intrinsic motivation.
It also depends a lot on the worker himself. In addition to these core dimensions, the psychological needs of the employees are very important in determining as to who can become internally motivated.
Some people have strong growth needs for accomplishment, challenge and self-actualization and others may have low growth needs or no growth needs at all. The extent of these growth needs influences the relationship between the characteristics of the jobs and work outcomes.