job_craftingThree weeks ago I participated in the conference organized by Polish Association of Organizational Psychology. It was two days of paper & poster sessions and discussions about organizational behavior, employee well-being, entrepreneurship, leadership and employee management. The theme that particularly intrigued me was the job crafting. This is a relatively new area of research, especially in the Polish organizations and that is why I decided to clear it up a little bit. Job crafting is a means of describing the ways in which employees utilize opportunities to customize their jobs by actively changing tasks and interactions with others at work*. In other words it is about all intentional activity of employees (mental and behavioral), through which they change their professional reality so that they think better of it and are more satisfied with what they are doing. What exactly do employees who are job crafters?
  • Firstly, they can take on more or fewer tasks, expand or diminish the scope of tasks or change the way they perform tasks. For example, a secretary could create a new method of filling documents to accelerate her work.
  • Secondly, they can change the nature of relationships at work or extend their interactions with other people. For example, an IT administrator could start teaching co-workers how to make their data safer to have more social interactions at work.
  • Thirdly, they can change their perception of their task. For example a florist may think that she helps people express their feelings and maintain positive relationships with other people rather than just selling flowers.
All in all, job crafting has an impact on which, how and with whom job tasks are completed. There are two thinks that should be highlighted. First, job crafting is not a single event but a process. Amy Wrzesniewski and Jane Dutton, organizational psychologists who first dealt with job crating, claims that to start job crafting employees should be motivated to change their views of the meaning of their work, their work identities, or both. Just then they are able to actively change their job designs. Research conducted by Justin Berg and colleagues shows three ways in which people craft their jobs to be able to fulfill their passion for what they do for a living. According to them they can do it by:
  1. giving more attention, spending more time and energy to tasks related to one?s passion;
  2. taking on additional tasks that are related to one?s passion;
  3. reframing the social purpose of one?s work to align with one?s passion.
Second, job crafting might have negative side-effects to both employees and employers. If a person takes too much additional tasks, even if interesting for her, it may cause exhaustion or too much stress. And If an employee creates a steady stream of new solutions (because he likes to be creative), but none of them are executed, it may be a waste of time and money for the company. To prevent these negative effects appropriate actions of direct superiors are needed – primarily creating conditions to foster resourceful job crafting. Source: *Berg, J. M., Dutton, J. E. and Wrzesniewski A. (2008). What is Job Crafting and Why Does It Matter? Retrieved form the website of Positive Organizational Scholarship. Graphic credit:

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