Perth Town Hall
What is work design?
Work design concerns the "content and organization of one’s work tasks, activities, relationships, and responsibilities" (Parker, 2014).
Imagine designing the role of a police officer. Illustrative work design decisions include:
Which activities should be grouped together to form a meaningful police officer job?
Which decisions should be made by officers and which by their supervisors?
Should individual jobs be grouped together into a team?
Can one build in routine tasks amidst complex ones to ensure officers are not overwhelmed?
These decisions - about the content and organization of one’s work tasks, activities, relationships, and responsibilities - will affect outcomes at multiple levels including whether individual officers feel engaged or stressed at work, and whether the wider police service achieves its targets, such as how effectively crime is detected and prevented.
Often work design is described in terms of "job characteristics", or features of work that affect how people feel about their jobs. Research has identified many job characteristics that are positive, that result in work being more motivating or less stressful. Examples of positive job characteristics include:
Job autonomy: Being able to make decisions within the job
Task variety: Having a range of tasks in the job
Skill utilisation: The opportunity to use one's skills in the job
Task significance: Doing a job that is important
Task identity: Doing a whole job
Job feedback: Getting feedback whilst doing one's work
About the Project
The Centre for Transformative Work Design based in Perth (Western Australia) will work with Lynne Chapman, a talented illustrator and urban sketcher, over a two-month period. During this period of residence Lynne (accompanied by one of our researchers) will be immersed in workplaces across Perth and in rural and remote WA.
As sketching allows images to be captured quickly, the sketches will enable us to illustrate real people in real work places, which when combined with narratives, will provide a powerful way to communicate with the community about the importance of good work design and how it can be achieved. The residence will end with an exhibition of the sketches and narratives.
The Artist in Residence program will enable the Centre to:
Engage and communicate with the community – art is a powerful communication tool. We think it will be particularly useful in explaining abstract concepts such as the characteristics your work needs to have to be motivating and less stressful.
Educate the community – when looking at the art, we want managers and employees to have “aha” moments about the effects of good and bad work design. We hope they apply this knowledge back at their workplaces.
Foster inspiration for research - for example, by collecting people’s comments and narratives.
About the Artist
Lynne Chapman is a reportage artist, an award-winning children's illustrator with over 30 books, and UK correspondent for the international sketching organisation, Urban Sketchers. Lynne creates sketched-paintings live, on site, recording her immediate observations often at a fast and furious pace. She is interested in drawings which not only capture, but interpret or comment on the subject, telling the story of a situation or period of time. Lynne is based in Sheffield (UK). She is passionate about drawing and is founder of Urban Sketchers Yorkshire, encouraging others to draw out on-location. Her book “Sketching People” was published by Search Press and Barrons in 2016.