I have discussed Why We Work: Part 1, Part 2 and How do you look at your work? in this month earlier. This talk by Amy Wrzesniewski is related to these topics and I had mentioned Luke’s story in my detailed discussion of Why We Work as an example of Job Crafting. That story of a hospital custodian (Luke) was part of Wrzesniewski and her colleagues’ study about work, in which they described work-orientations/work-relations such as Job, Career and Calling.
Amy Wrzesniewski is an associate professor of organizational behaviour at the Yale School of Management. She studies how people work and behave in the organizations. She has done several studies for understanding relationship between employees, their attitude/approach, their work, organization culture and their interdependence.
In this talk she discusses Job Crafting in details with examples and also discusses how can we foster work culture that encourages job crafting. This is what she says about Job Crafting based on their study –
Job Crafting is what employees do to redesign their own jobs in ways that foster engagement at work, job satisfaction, resilience, and thriving.
~ Berg, Wrzesniewski & Dutton (2010)
In other words, people take control of their work and perform tasks to ensure that their work is personally meaningful and is aligned with the values and telos of the organization that they serve. Obviously, it requires work-culture that believes and supports certain degree of autonomy in work at any level of the organizational hierarchy. Often these tasks that the job crafters perform are not even part of their official job description. I absolutely loved this quote from one participant of the study –
“… that’s not part of my job. But that’s part of me. “
Wrzesniewski asserts that job crafting matters because it influences what, when, how and with whom work is done, and moreover it changes the meaning and purpose of the work. It is beneficial to the organization as well as individuals with several positive outcomes such as more satisfaction in work, better commitment, and attachment to the job.
This is what Wrzesniewski suggests we can do to encourage job crafting within an organizations –
- Boost autonomy and support,
- Build Developmental plan aligning employees’ work with their aspirations and organizational goals
- Communicate strategic goals to the employees
- Hold job crafting swap meets
You can watch her talk in the video below.
If you are really intrigued, you can read the original research paper about Job Crafting by Wrzesniewski, Dutton et al. It is an important study explaining why attitude and approach towards work matters more than the nature of work itself.
Featured image: Screenshot from Job Crafting talk by Amy Wrzesniewski.