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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Is Job Enrichment Really Enriching?

Robert D. Mohr and Cindy Zoghi

Abstract

This study uses a survey of Canadian workers with rich, matched data on job characteristics to examine whether "enriched" job design, with features like quality circles, feedback, suggestion programs, and task teams, affects job satisfaction. We identify two competing hypotheses on the relationship between enriched jobs and job satisfaction. The "motivation hypothesis," implies that enrichment will generally increase satisfaction and the "intensification hypothesis," implies that enrichment may decrease satisfaction by increasing the intensity and scope of work. Our results show that several forms of enrichment, specifically suggestion programs, information sharing, task teams, quality circles and training, raise satisfaction. Therefore we argue that the data support the motivation hypothesis. Partitioning the data by education level or union membership further supports this conclusion, while a direct test of the intensification hypothesis does not support the competing hypothesis.