Job crafting theory states that employees have some autonomy in how they go about their tasks and job responsibilities and that shaping those work responsibilities to fit one’s strengths and passions can improve employee well-being, engagement and meaning at work(Wrześniewski et al., 2013). There are three different types of job crafters: 1) alignment crafter: aligns work responsibilities with their desired work identity and resources 2) aspirational crafer: adjusts work responsibilities to work towards a goal of future work meaning and identity 3) accidental crafter: accidentally discovers new meaning in one of their work responsibilities (Wrześniewski et al., 2013). You can also job craft by altering a specific work task, by altering your relationship with others (students, co-workers, administrators, etc.), or by altering your perception of work to better align with your personal strengths and values(Berg et al., 2008). Berg and colleagues(2008) have provided an example of how the job crafting process may look for a cook(p.6). The cook’s pre-crafting work model involves very formal, segmented tasks such as ordering supplies, preparing dishes, and cleaning the kitchen. Following a job crafting exercise, the cook’s work model looks very different. Each of the tasks is organized according to how they help the cook achieve their primary goal and passion of creating and displaying their culinary artwork.
As you review these examples, consider how you might reframe your work tasks and relationships to better align with your strengths, passions and personal values.
- List the tasks you must complete daily or weekly.
- Reflect on your passions and prioritize your tasks according to those that most align with those passions or adjust those tasks to cope with challenges.
- Reflect on your relationships with students, coworkers and others. Identify ways you can build more meaningful relationships and set boundaries.
- Reframe your thoughts and perceptions about your job, adversity and tasks in a more positive, motivating light. Align your work purpose with your passions.
Does it work?
Van Wingerden and colleagues (2017) evaluated the impact of a job crafting intervention on educator wellbeing (assessed as basic need satisfaction) and work engagement. In this study, 71 teachers, predominantly female, were assigned either to the job crafting intervention or a control group. The teachers in the intervention group participated in three training sessions over a six-week period, where they reflected on personal strengths and values and then matched these characteristics with their work tasks. It was discovered that the job crafting intervention significantly increased educator basic need satisfaction and work engagement, as compared to the control group (Wingerden et al., 2017).
An additional study aimed to address the impact of job crafting behaviors on wellbeing among school principals (Toyama et al., 2021). 518 school principals responded to an online questionnaire to evaluate their participation in job crafting strategies and their levels of need satisfaction or frustration, engagement and burnout. Four job crafting strategies assessed included increasing structural job resources, increasing social resources, increasing job demands that are challenging and motivating, and reducing job demands that are hindering. The strategies of increasing structural resources and challenging tasks were significantly associated with an increase in need satisfaction and decrease in need frustration, as well as an increase in work engagement.
Berg, J.M, Dutton, J.E., Wrześniewski, A. (2008). What is job crafting and why does it matter? University of Michigan.
Toyama, H., Upadyaya, K. & Salmela-Aro, K.(2021). Job crafting and well-being among school principals: The role of basic psychological need satisfaction and frustration. European Management Journal, in press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2021.10.003
Van Wingerden, J., Bakker, A.B. & Derks, D. (2017). Fostering employee well-being via a job crafting intervention. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 100, 164-174. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2017.03.008
Wrześniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J.E. and Berg, J.M. (2013). Job crafting and cultivating positive meaning and identity in work. Advances in Positive Organizational Psychology, 1, 281-302. https://doi.org/10.1108/S2046-410X(2013)0000001015