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Job design refers to the actual structure of jobs that people perform. At its most basic level, job design focuses squarely on the work itself—on the tasks or activities that individuals complete in their organizations on a daily basis. Individuals may be able to avoid contact with many aspects of the context in which they work, but not with their jobs. Therefore, the way jobs are structured and designed plays a significant role in determining how people respond in their employing organizations.

This focus on the work itself is undoubtedly most responsible for the popularity of job design as a research topic. For the past 50 years, few topics in the organizational sciences have received as much attention. This entry summarizes the most significant historical and ...

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