Job Design

Job design is essentially about the allocation of work tasks as well as the allocation of decision-making authority among the respective job holders. Regarding the latter, job design, much like organizational design, is about balancing the benefits of using superior decentralized knowledge against the downside of centralized loss of control and the importance of centralized coordination.

Similar to the allocation of tasks, where firms can choose between specialization and multitasking (or something in between), centralization and decentralization can be understood as antonymous concepts in the context of organizational design, i.e. they have a substitutive relationship to each other. Hence, more decentralization inevitably goes hand in hand with less centralization and vice versa. The understanding of job design now does not exclude this substitutive relationship, but adds to it the possibility of a coexistence of centralization and decentralization. Prominent examples for the coexistence of centralitzation and decentralization are decentralized workplace autonomy and centralized employee monitoring.

Research Papers:

Beckmann, Michael, and Matthias Kräkel (2022): Empowerment, Task Commitment, and Performance Pay. Forthcoming in Journal of Labor Economics vol. 40, no. 4. Download

Gerten, Elisa, Michael Beckmann, and Matthias Kräkel (2022): Technology, Hierarchy, and Job Design.