2.1 Influences on task and role
Job descriptions can be a useful guide to the work that has to be done, although they do not usually say how one should go about it. Occasionally, however, people complain that their job description lists activities without defining the overall task, or that it bears little relation to what they actually do, or that they have even had to write their own job descriptions. The reason for these complaints can usually be found in the things that influence the task.
Here is an example of task influence, which in turn affects someone’s overall role.
Box 1 An example of task influence
A marketing assistant in a small voluntary organisation has a number of tasks, most of which relate to marketing:
‘Over the last four years various fundraising activities have taken more and more of my time, but in my job description liaison with one funder is all that is mentioned.’
In other words, her overall role is as a marketing assistant. However, in a small organisation people often get asked to take on a range of tasks, and here the marketing assistant feels her role is being pulled into fundraising, leaving her with less time for her marketing tasks.
This shows a negative example, but influence can be positive too – perhaps if the changes in tasks lead to a promotion or the person doing the job finds they enjoy the variety.