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Unhappy with your job: Can you job-craft?

Dez Pain

Changing the boundaries
"Job-crafting" is defined as "the physical and cognitive changes individuals make in the task or relational boundaries of their work" (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001, p. 179).

The concept of job-crafting is grounded in a social constructionist perspective, which focuses on how individuals psychologically construct (think about) the environments in which they experience the world (Gergen, 1994).

Implications for the workplace
Wrzesniewski & Dutton use the term "job-crafting" to "capture the actions employees take to shape, mold, and refine their jobs." They posit that employee motivation to job-craft arises from three individual needs: 1) Having some control over their job so that they do not feel alienated from it (Braverman, 1974), 2) Creating a positive self-image within the context of their work, 3) Connecting to others (Baumeister & Leary, 1995).

Thus, at the individual level of analysis, employees who are dissatisfied with aspects of their jobs may assess the extent to which their work allows for job-crafting in order to address relevant issues. For organizations, a chief implication is that employees do have opportunities to mold their jobs – and may be quite likely to do so if their needs are unmet or perceived as thwarted. Thus, organizational change initiatives may be more appropriately informed by examination of relevant work-environment issues versus culture-excellence interventions.


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