Internal Vs. External Importance
One distinction between job title and function is that a title is often used to provide a label for an employee to the public. On business cards and in introductions, a title helps identify a person’s role within an organization. Job functions provide more benefit internally. A job description typically outlines the various functions of a particular job that an employee is expected to perform.
Substance or Style
Organizations sometimes serve job titles as a way to emphasize the prominent function or role in a given position. For instance, a sales associate in a retail store normally performs active sales processes, including questioning customers and making product recommendations. Job functions are detailed views of the various activities an employee performs. The process of working with customers and making product recommendations is a typical job function of a sales associate. A function is the substance within a given position or job title.
An obvious difference between job title and job function is that most employees have one job title, but may have many job functions. A store manager has one title, but his functions include hiring and training employees, motivating them, scheduling hours, overseeing merchandising and doing regular inventory checks. However, these same functions may be performed by a management employee with the title of store manager, general manager, manager or senior manager.
Both concepts play a role in the compensation system within an organization. People bearing the same job title often make the same salary or similar pay as designated on a formal or informal pay schedule. While the title is used to identify position on a pay schedule or compensation system, job functions are used to determine the appropriate level of pay. An entry-level office clerk may denote a pay range of X to Y, a salary commonly posted for this position. This pay range is based on a human resources assessment of the skills required and level of tasks performed in the position’s job functions.