We can look at the kinds of behaviors that will result in the outcomes. Exhibit 4.6 categorizes employee data as employee characteristics, internal relationships, and external relationships. Exhibit 4.8 shows how communication can be described with verbs (e.g., negotiating, persuading). The verbs chosen are related to the employee characteristic being identified (e.g., bargaining skills, interpersonal skills). The rest of the statement helps iden tify whether the behavior involves an internal or external relationship. So both Exhibit 4.7 and Exhibit 4.8 focus on communication, but they come at it with different approaches.
The excerpt in Exhibit 4.8 is from the position analysis questionnaire (PAQ) , which groups work information into seven basic factors: information input, Mental processes, work output, relationships with other persons, job context, other job characteristics, and general dimensions. Similarities and differences among jobs are described in terms of these seven factors, rather than in terms of specific aspects unique to each job. The communication behavior in this exhibit is part of the relationships-with-other-persons factor.
The entire PAQ consists of 194 items. Its developers claim that these items are sufficient to analyze any job. However, you can see by the exhibit that the reading level is quite high. A large proportion of employees need help to get through the whole thing.
Another, more nuanced view of “communication” focuses on the nature of the interactions required plus knowledge underlying them. Interactions are defined as the knowledge and behaviors involved in searching, monitoring, and coordinating required to do the work. Some interactions are transactional—routine; “do it by the book.” The nine steps of a McFry job, shown in Exhibit 4.9 , seem transactional to us. Other interactions are more tacit—complex and ambiguous. Work content that involves more tacit interactions is believed to add greater value than more transactional tasks.
The content of communications that occurs between the Merrill Lynch financial advisor and a client to complete a stock transaction differs substantively from that between a Merrill Lynch senior vice president investor and client who aims to build a long-term relationship to manage a client’s $10 million in assets. Communication in both settings includes interactions with clients, but “building long-term relationships” versus “complete transactions” reveals substantive differences in content.
However appealing it may be to rationalize job analysis as the foundation of all HR decisions, collecting all of this information for so many different purposes is very expensive. In addition, the resulting information may be too generalized for any single purpose, including compensation. If the information is to be used for multiple purposes, the analyst must be sure that the information collected is accurate and sufficient for each use. Trying to be all things to all people often results in being nothing to everyone.
The McFry Nine-Step Program
1. Open a bag of fries.
2. Fill basket about half full (at McDonald’s, a machine does this step because we humans might make a mistake. At most places, the task is manual.)
3. Place basket in deep fryer.
4. Push timer button to track cooking time.
5. Play Pavlov’s dog—remove basket from fryer when buzzer rings and tip so fries go into holding tray. Be careful; this takes two hands, and hot grease can be flying about. Don’t spill even a drop of grease on the floor or you will be skating—not walking—in it for the rest of the day.
6. Salt fries.
7. Push another button that signals when 7 minutes are up, the “suggested holding time” for fries.
8. Check screen for size fries requested on next order.
9. Fill the corresponding fry container with fries and place in holding bin.