What Is the Paterson Job Grading System?

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The Paterson grading system is an analytical method of job evaluation, used predominantly in South Africa. It analyzes decision-making in job task performance or job descriptions, and sorts jobs into six groups that are graded and grouped into two to three sub-grades – such as stress factors, individual tolerance, length of job and number of job responsibilities – that correspond to organizational levels. The six grades, also called bands, define pay scales.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

The Paterson grading system is an analytical method of job evaluation, used predominantly in South Africa. The Paterson system places job decision-making into six groups or bands – policy making, programming, interpretive, routine, automatic and defined. Grade F is the highest level, consisting of top management like the CEO, while Grade A is for unskilled workers.

Identification of Groups of Jobs

According to "Classification of Jobs into Levels of Work: Four Reliability Studies," at the University of Zimbabwe, the Paterson system places job decision-making into six groups or bands – policy making, programming, interpretive, routine, automatic and defined. These groups correspond to the following organizational levels – top management, senior management, middle management, junior management and skilled positions, semi-skilled positions and unskilled positions.

Features of the Paterson Grading System

Comprised of grades A through F, Paterson's grading system is listed below with an explanation of the corresponding graded decision making. An upper grade reflects a job requiring coordination or supervision, and a lower grade reflects non-coordinating jobs.

A- Prescribed or defined decisions. Jobs are performed with limited training for grade A, and employees, such as unskilled workers, decide when and how fast to execute tasks.

B, lower- Automatic or operative decisions B, upper- Coordinating, automatic decisions. Theory or systems knowledge for grade B is not required, though employees, such as semi-skilled workers, can decide where and when to perform operations.

C, lower- Routine decisions C, upper- Coordinating, routine decisions. Theory and/or systems knowledge for grade C is required, and employees, such as skilled workers or supervisory personnel, decide what has to be done – through knowledge and experience – for deterministic outcomes .

D, lower- Interpretive decisions D, upper- Coordinating, interpretive decisions. Grade D involves middle management's ability to optimize resources through decision-making about processes and procedures with planning programs or budgets one year ahead.

E, lower- Programming decisions E, upper- Coordinating, programming decisions. Grade E consists of senior management's cross-functional coordination – coordinating many departments – and strategic policy decisions made by top management, with plans made five years in advance.

F, lower- Policy decisions F, upper- Coordinating, policy decisions. Grade F consists of top management, such as a board or CEO who manages organizational scope and goals.

Comparison to Castellion's Grading System

Paterson's grading system is more reliable than Castellion's grading system, based on a reliability study at the University of Zimbabwe. More students made errors in re-grading 18 jobs within the Castellion grading system, which is comprised of 16 grades.