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Purposes of Job Descriptions

Job analysis is the beginning of developing job descriptions and specifications, and it is a necessary process for legally validating methods used in making employment decisions such as selection, promotion, and performance appraisal. It serves a number of other purposes as well. While there are clear advantages in the process of job analysis, there are also pitfalls and disadvantages to using this approach.

One of the reasons why interest in job analysis has increased recently is that is serves so many purposes and has such an extensive set of relationships with other human resource activities. Among the added purposes to which job analysis has been put are the following:

* It assists the supervisor and employee in defining each employee's duties and related tasks.

* It serves as a reference guide for moving employees in the correct work-related direction.

* It prescribes the importance and time requirements for a job.

* It identifies reporting relationships for supervisors and subordinates.

* It guides any change in work design and task management.

* It serves as a basis for establishing career development programs and paths for employees.

* It guides supervisors in writing references and preparing resumes for employees either leaving or seeking new employment (Schuler, 1991, 116).

Mondy and Noe (1993) state that a job consists of a group of tasks which much be performed for an organization so it can achieve its goals. A job may involve the efforts of one person or of many. The task of job analysis is the systematic process of determining the skills, duties, and knowledge required for performing jobs in the organization, and the authors state that it is an essential and pervasive human resource technique. They further state that job analysis is designed to answer six important questions:

1) What physical and mental tasks does the worker accomplish?

2) When is the job to be completed?


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