The Six Requirements for Productive Work

Based on the research and practice of Fred and Merrilyn Emery.

1. Adequate "elbow room" (discretion) for decision making: people can influence their own work and that, with the exception of specific circumstances, they don't have to ask permission for everything. Enough room or discretion to feel empowered but not so much that they do not know what to do. (Notice the similarity here to the requirements for flow in work - risk or challenge as compared with skill level ).

2. Opportunity to learn continually on the job. Such learning is enhanced when people can set goals that are reasonable challenges for them and get timely feedback on results.

3. An optimum level of variety. Through the avoidance of boredom and fatigue, people can gain the best advantages from settling into a satisfying and effective rhythm of work.

4. Mutual support and respect. Conditions where people can and do get help and respect from their co-workers.

5. Meaningfulness. A sense of one's own work meaningfully contributing to society. Also, to have knowledge of the whole product or service. Many jobs lack meaningfulness, because workers see only such a small part of the final product that meaning is denied to them.

6. A desirable future. Put simply, not a dead-end job, but one with a career path which will allow personal growth and increase in skills.

Copyright Ned Hamson, 2005

Take me back to the index page, Ned!