Disadvantages of job descriptions

Written by brenda priddy
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Disadvantages of job descriptions
Job descriptions can be repressive. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

There are many benefits to listed job descriptions. It makes it easier to fill the position and gives employees a clear description of what they would do on a day to day basis if hired. However, there are also some disadvantages to strict job descriptions. There are some cases in which it is better to eliminate the use of a job description for the good of a company.

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Assumed limitations

One of the main disadvantages of a job description is the limitations an employee may place on himself due to the job description. An employee may refuse to do other tasks not listed in the job description. This can be frustrating for managers and supervisors and limit the productivity of staff and employees.

Narrow

Typically, a job description summarises the tasks that someone does in a job. This summary can be very narrow, and in many cases it cannot encompass all the person does for the job or all that the job entails. This is bad for employees when they transfer jobs and bad for employees coming into a job. In the first case, a potential employer may look at the job summary and assume the employee has done little; in the second case, the employee may not expect the full responsibilities of a job and later resign or become discouraged.

Updating

Jobs change frequently and tasks are added or dropped as new and better ways of working are implemented. A job description must be updated each time a change is implemented. This can involve a large chunk of time when dealing with flexible jobs. An employee's time may be better spent working on a profitable task rather than updating the company's job descriptions.

Reduced flexibility

When individuals have their own job descriptions, it limits the types of work they are willing to engage in. In a company without job descriptions, employees may be more willing to help one another out when a department is overwhelmed or when extra help is needed. When employees have their own job descriptions, a segregated environment emerges, which breeds potential conflict between departments rather than a sense of the company as a whole.

Labor laws

A job description is a legal description of the job that employees must do. If the employer asks the employee to do a task that is not in the job description, this can be a labour law violation. It is important to know all labour laws before assigning a job description to a position.

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