Task (duty)

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A task is in the organization theory from a PTA perceived, permanently applicable requirement , chores to work objects to achieve certain objectives conduct.


Tasks are the central element in an organization . Organizations either have exogenously prescribed tasks ( authorities , military ) or tasks of their own choosing ( companies ). Tasks are legally derived from the general purpose of the company , the articles of association of companies, laws or the articles of association of legal entities under public law .

Persons and machines that take on work tasks independently come into question as task carriers. When performing the task, the task and the task holder form a work system with workflows that are as appropriate to the requirements as possible. People as transport authorities have next tasks competencies and responsibilities transferred to. REFA defines a requirement as "the totality of the physical and psychological requirements for performing the work". The performance states what has to be done, the object states what something has to be done about. Performing is any targeted activity that contributes to the fulfillment of the task. The object can be a real one ( car at the automobile manufacturer ) or an abstract one ( loan from a credit institution ). Erich Kosiol defines the work task as purposeful human action. Tasks are also characterized by the fact that they have to be carried out permanently and repetitively in order to achieve a specific goal ( company goal ). Permanent and repetitive means that the work task has to be restarted and completed over and over again after it has been completed. Their repetitive character is determined by their frequency and the occurrence of common elements.

Task content

According to Erich Kosiol, the performance process is aimed at changing the state or position of a work object in space and time. It can be manual, mental, executive or executive. Predominantly manual activity is associated with the use of physical strength and strength , such as manual labor in handicrafts , in construction , in metalworking or in some areas of agriculture ( grape harvest ). We speak of intellectual activity when employees focus on thinking or analysis and their physical tasks serve only to prepare for and support intellectual work. This includes administrative and office work or academic professions . Executive tasks are characterized in that the employees mainly to instructions are attached, wherein the employer to its employee work content , of work and work the work capacity by its discretion may determine in detail. Tasks are to be carried out by the lowest, most technically qualified position ( skilled worker , clerk ), only overarching or strategic aspects are taken care of by superiors . A managerial activity is when employees predominantly or entirely perform managerial tasks.

Components of the performance of tasks

Organizationally, the individual tasks are specified in the job description and / or work instructions . Tasks and more or less complex work processes must be described here in such a way that they can be executed without errors. Work processes are usually installed across companies, with people with similar or even identical tasks being grouped together in organizational units such as work groups or departments . Their division of labor contributes to specializing in certain tasks.

There is an assignment relationship between the task and its responsible party. Still Erwin Grochla was that only man was in a position to fulfill considers tasks independently. Machine tasks include computers , machine tools or trucks . Since machines do not develop activities on their own and cannot assume responsibility , they are better known as workers. People usually need a certain qualification in order to perform their tasks . The task holder uses work equipment ( tools , office supplies ) to perform the task , requires a room or workplace ( production hall , business premises or an outdoor location ), obtains task- relevant information , evaluates it in a target-oriented manner and must complete the task within a certain period of time using his or her specialist knowledge (maximum of the working time ). Grochla combines the workers and the responsible authorities to form action carriers. Thus, people, resources and situational influences of the work environment work together in the work task .

Competencies and responsibility

Assigned tasks can only actually be carried out with adequate skills and responsibility ( congruence principle of the organization ). A distinction must be made between implementation and management skills ( external decision-making , instruction and control skills ). Implementation skills enable the responsible body to cope with the tasks assigned to it. For this purpose, he is entitled to execution, disposal, application, decision-making and representation powers. Responsibility is divided into the consequences of actions and responsibility for tasks, the latter consists of the fulfillment of duties and independent action. Responsible employees differentiate between useful and harmful behavior for the organization. Responsibility for tasks is the duty of the person carrying out the tasks to be accountable for the proper performance of the tasks assigned to him .

Task analysis and synthesis

The content, volume and fulfillment requirements of tasks change over time. This triggers adjustments and reorganizations if there is a corresponding deviation between the target and the actual situation. One instrument for this is the task analysis developed by Erich Kosiol . A task is gradually broken down into sub-tasks. The work tasks assigned to a task holder usually consist of a large number of individual process sections ( work steps ), which can only be regarded as having been completed in their entirety through a final, complete work process . This creates a workflow that is characterized by a certain sequence, the sequence of operations . The work process is to be planned by the process organization and carried out by the responsible body. These (atomized) subtasks are put together and linked again in the following task synthesis.

Task goals

Task objectives can only be achieved if the required individual work steps of the workflow are processed one after the other and any obstacles to the task ( "job stoppers" ) are removed in order to be able to fulfill the assigned tasks on time and according to qualitative specifications. The controllability of tasks is one of the decisive factors for the scope and type of task performance behavior of the task holder. The controllability (routinization potential) of tasks depends on their complexity , variability and determination. If the structural and procedural organization have created the prerequisites for the fulfillment of the tasks, the task objective can be fulfilled by the task holder. The flawless fulfillment of tasks is the individual task goal, while the organizational task goal consists in the production of material goods and services and their distribution .


In contrast to tasks, orders are one-off requirements in the organizational sense. Once they are fulfilled, they do not have to be repeated without being asked. In organizational terms, work therefore represents the fulfillment of tasks and orders.

See also


  • Erich Frese: Task analysis and synthesis. In: Erwin Grochla (Hrsg.): Handwortbuch der Organization , 2nd edition, Stuttgart 1980, pp. 207-217, ISBN 3-7910-8016-4 .
  • Friedrich Hoffmann: Task. In: Erwin Grochla (Hrsg.): Handwortbuch der Organization , 2nd edition, Stuttgart 1980, pp. 200–207, ISBN 3-7910-8016-4 .
  • Götz Schmidt: Organization - organizational structures . 5th edition. Giessen 2011, ISBN 978-3-921313-79-4 .
  • Wiktionary: Task  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolf-Dieter Mangler, structural organization , 2010, p. 19 f.
  2. Erich Kosiol , Organization of the Company , 1962, p. 21
  3. REFA Association for Work Studies and Business Organization e. V. (Hrsg.), Methods of Business Organization: Lexicon of Business Organization , 1993, p. 14 - ISBN 3-446-17523-7
  4. Daniel Kneubühl, Organization - Management-Basiskompetenz , 2012, p. 21
  5. Erich Kosiol, Organization of the Company , 1962, p. 76
  6. Erich Kosiol, Organization of the Enterprise , 1962, p. 46
  7. Erwin Grochla, Unternehmensorganisation , 1972, p. 45
  8. Erich Kosiol, task holder , in: Erwin Grochla, Handwortbuch der Organization, 1969, Sp. 234
  9. Frank-O. Zimmermann, operational information systems in virtual organizations , 1999, p. 82 f.
  10. ^ Erwin Grochla, Unternehmensorganisation , 1972, pp. 45 f.
  11. Stefan Koch, Responsible Action by Managers , 2003, p. 21
  12. Jürgen Kaschube, Personal responsibility, a new professional achievement , 2006, p. 196
  13. Erich Kosiol, Organization of the Company , 1962, p. 63
  14. Wolf-Dieter Mangler, structural organization , 2010, p. 22