- Shifting the job boundaries by a) reducing or increasing tasks, b) adjusting the scope of the tasks, c) changing how tasks are performed.
- Changing our relationships or interactions with people.
- Changing how we perceive tasks.
Whilst we might be overworked; and our current role seems rigid, or a future position unobtainable; for Berg et al (2007) even the most constrained jobs allow for some crafting. There is always wiggle room to create what a job means. The formal job requirements and description never fully encompass the boundaries of that job, its meaning, and how it is defined and inhabited and ‘crafted’ by the individual in the role. This crafting takes time (remember the worn shoes!), and occurs over a number of phases (Wrzesniewski & Dutton, 2001):
- Motivation to craft, where a desire to change and a sense of meaningful and beneficial modifications initiate action.
- Alterations: such as to the nature, type or number of tasks, relations with others, or cognition of work – this is moderated by motivation and perceived opportunities to craft.
- Outcomes: Berg et al, (2007), found evidence of improved resilience, achievement, fulfilment, as well as some unintended consequences, such as stress.
Job crafting then, is where an individual fits a job to their personal interests, and/or skills and knowledge. (We can distinguish this from ‘job design’, where a specific job is created in a top-down process and people are selected that fit with the skills and knowledge it needs). Praslova (2021) suggests that for neurodiverse employees, job crafting can be an excellent way for jobs to accommodate with spiky profiles where for different people some areas might coincide with high abilities and others with low abilities.
In Tims and Bakker’s (2010) approach to job crafting, all jobs create demands on employees, which require effort, and produce costs. However, jobs also offer employees resources e.g. job security, career opportunities, autonomy, which allow employees to reduce demands and achieve personal growth. The interaction between these impacts on health and motivation. Thus employees can decide in job crafting to increase resources, and/or decrease demands. They could also choose to increase job demands that they saw as positive challenges, such as high responsibility.