The End of Jobs: Paradoxes of Job Deconstruction in Organizations | Academy of Management Perspectives

Talent Management Workforce Planning

This forthcoming manuscript, slated for publication in the 2024 issue of the Journal of Academy of Management Perspectives, covers the emerging concept of “job deconstruction,” which involves breaking down roles into tasks and projects to match workers based on their skill sets. The article addresses several challenges (and paradoxes) in deconstructing jobs into tasks and examines how organizations can navigate these challenges. While there are numerous insights to point out from this 44-page manuscript, one point raised is that job deconstruction exists on a continuum, as evidenced by companies such as Zappos, Unilever, Schneider Electric, and Seagate Technologies. For instance, Zappos operates without fixed jobs, emphasizing temporary functional roles based on projects and tasks rather than hierarchy or job descriptions, while Unilever’s U-Work Program blends the flexibility of contract roles with the security of permanent positions; individuals work varying assignments and are paid a monthly retainer and get benefits whether they’re working on an assignment or not. Page 32 summarizes the four company examples. As a supplement to the academic paper, here is also a shorter version that was just published in Forbes and based on the Academy of Management Perspectives version.