Thesis Statement: Advances in technology along with shifts in the nations" social structure heavily impact the workplace environment, creating a need for new management models in Human Resources.
I. The Changing Workplace
A. An Historical Perspective of Jobs in America
B. Jobs in the 21st Century
II. Identifying Corporate Needs
A. The Emergence of Human Resource Management as a Component of General Management.
B. Corporate Expectations
III. Developing Human Resource Policy
A. What HRM Professionals Have to Say
IV. Identifying Worker Needs
A. Family VS Work
B. The Working Environment
C. Benefits and Compensation
V. Where to From Here? - HRM Models for Innovation
A. Motivation Theory
B. Alternate Work Systems - a Comparrison Table
This paper is written from the perspective that Human Resource Management (HRM) practices are continually evolving to meet the changes of dynamic work environments. New technologies, increasingly rapid exchanges of information, social paradigm shifts and the restructuring of family systems contribute heavily to the need to find and apply methods of HRM that meet the needs of industry, workers and consumers. To do so effectively, vision and creativity are required in addition to on-going awareness of the bottom line.
The Changing Workplace
At the opening of the 20th century, the majority of jobs in America were held in two areas, agriculture and industry. Population distribution tables for that time demonstrate that most of the nation inhabited rural areas rather than urban areas. This con...
tinued to be the trend up until WWII, when men left the country to fight and women left rural America to fill factory jobs as their contribution to the war effort. This movement was the beginning of nationwide workplace and societal changes that have accelerated during the last half of the 20th century.
The move from rural to suburban environments changed the way we did business as a nation. Where extended families resided in and supported each other in culturally defined rural settings, nuclear families found themselves alone in homogenous neighborhoods. (1) This created a demand for goods and services that were formerly provided by extended family and community members, opening up new markets and creating jobs. It also created the need to recognize the management of workers as a separate and formal discipline.
As we move into the 21st century we can trace our nations" business growth over the last 100 years. We moved from an agrarian base to an industrial one. By the mid-50s" the majority of jobs were found in factories. Manufacturing suffered heavy blows during the late 60"s and early seventies and was displaced by the service industry. With the closing of the 20th century those services have become increasingly technological.
Surviving those changes requires adaptation, not only in the retooling of physical plants and the retraining workers, but also in the way we manage those workers. Some feel that there appears to be an underlying theme in books and papers on the subject of HRM, that there is only one correct way to manage people. (2) Maslow on Management offers a much different approach, demonstrating conclusively that one siz
does not fit all; i.e., that different people need to be managed differently.
HMR models operating on the assumption that there is a single right way to manage people are using workplace criteria that are quickly becoming a thing of the past. The "one way" model views people working for an organization as employees who work full time and are solely dependent on that organization for their livelihood and their careers. These employees generally were viewed as subordinates with limited or very narrow skill sets. (3)
These images of the worker may have been valid several decades ago. However, today every one of these images has become insupportable. While the majority of people working for an organization may be classified as employees, a very large and steadily growing minority - by working for the organization - no longer work as employees, but instead as outsource contractors.
The concept of subordinate positions is fading as well, even in those areas that are considered fairly low level. As technology becomes increasingly more complex special knowledge is required in all operations. Subordinates, increasing their skill sets, become associates. The secretary, with knowledge of specialized software, becomes the Administrative Assistant. In order for the organization to run smoothly, the individual who does his job well, often has more knowledge about his job than his boss. (4) For example, the vice president of marketing may know a great deal about selling, but nothing about market research, pricing, packaging, service, or sales forecasting. Workers in these positions may report to the vice president, but are often experts in their own areas.
Identifying Corporate Needs.
Formerly, lower technological expectations and a firmly established hierarchy allowed general managers to delegate narrowly defined personnel responsibilities to those functioning as specialists. Today however, such practices would be inefficient to the point of being considered static, and must be replaced. To fail to do so would be to ignore and fail to address the many unprecedented pressures that demand a comprehensive and more strategic view in relation to the organizations" human resources.
From the view point of General Management, what does the organization need? The General Mangement picture of HRM is viewed from a global perspective, as demonstrated by a survey of Fortune 500 CEOs in 1989. The results of that survey determined that effective management of Human Resources must address corporate needs in the eight following areas:
1. Increasing international competition makes the need for greatly improved human production mandatory. The crisis experienced in both the automobile and steel industries serve as clear illustrations. Foreign management practices, particularly Japanese management models, are being used to guide developing HRM techniques, especially those that seem to increase employee commitment while providing companies with a long term source of workers with necessary competencies and skills.
2. As organizations increase in size and complexity layer upon layer of management has resulted in expensive, but not particularly effective, bureaucracies. Multiple layers of management also serve to isolate workers from the competitive environment in which organizations operate
as well as company policy makers. It"s hoped that a reduction of middle
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