Summary of Work Without Jobs

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For many leaders, work is evolving faster than their organizations can adapt: Traditional jobs are fracturing, the demands of agility are stressing the boundaries of traditional roles, and people are becoming unwilling to conform to old work structures. In an insightful article for MIT Sloan Management Review, two authorities on the future of work, human capital and organizational effectiveness offer a game plan for redesigning work to support agility. 

About the Authors

Ravin Jesuthasan is a globally recognized futurist and consultant. He writes about the future of work and human capital. John Boudreau is professor emeritus at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and a senior research scientist at its Center for Effective Organizations.

 

Summary

Leaders need to deconstruct jobs to support agility.

The traditional concept of work design – workers doing jobs – is hampering organizations from acting with agility in response to change. Leaders need to recognize that traditional work design is inflexible, and by deconstructing jobs and redefining workers, organizations can enhance their agility.

The principles of agility, in turn, can point the way to implementing work redesign. Agile systems value individuals, interactions, collaboration and responding to change, and de-emphasize processes, tools, contract negotiations and planning. Agile work design allows workers to support goals rather than fulfill jobs.

To redesign work, base it on tasks and not current job descriptions.

In the traditional system, workers struggle to align their effort to tasks and goals that don’t match their job descriptions. Agile process design asks these...


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