Human Development Theories: A Framework for Managing People in Knowledge-Based Organizations
Human Development Theories: A Framework for Managing People in Knowledge-Based Organizations

Human Development Theories: A Framework for Managing People in Knowledge-Based Organizations

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Human Development Theories: A Framework for Managing People in a Knowledge-Based Organization MGMT. 8010 – Management in Human and Societal Development Winter Quarter, 2011 Dr. Kenneth C. Sherman, Professor Everett Cordy, everett. [email protected] edu Student ID #: A00186883 Walden University Abstract This paper critically examines how human development theories can provide a useful framework for managing people in a knowledge-based organization. Specifically, the paper examines the underlying assumptions of Theory X and Theory Y, and their implications for managerial behavior.

Other concepts such as the use of multiple intelligences in managing people in organizations is explored. The paper concludes that human development theories are useful in providing a framework for managing people in a knowledge-based organization. Human Development Theories: A Framework for Managing People in a Knowledge-Based Organization There are numerous theories


on human development that have implications for managing people in today’s knowledge-based organizations. Before we examine how human development theories impact managing people in a knowledge-based organization, it is useful to review ignificant theorists who have contributed to our knowledge of human development. According to Malcolm Watson (2011), six major theories have had a pervasive impact on the way we, both scientists and the general public, see ourselves. These theories are: Sigmund Freud’s Psychodynamic Theory. The lectures discuss this theory, the earliest of the six, including such concepts as the Oedipus Complex and Freud’s five stages of psycho-sexual development. Although now widely disputed, Freudian thinking is deeply imbedded in our culture and constantly influences our view of human nature.

Erik Erikson’s Psycho-Social Theory. This is the theory that gave rise to the term "identity crisis. " Erikson was the first to

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propose that the "stages" of human development spanned our entire lives, not just childhood. His ideas heavily influenced the study of personality development, especially in adolescence and adulthood. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth’s Integrated Attachment Theory. This was the first theory to focus primarily on the formation of parent-child relationships. It explains the connection between relationships that occur early in our lives and those that happen later, including romantic ones.

Attachment theory has generated thousands of scientific studies, and has led to changes in many childcare policies, such as those allowing parents to stay with their children in hospitals. Albert Bandura’s Social Learning Theory. This theory modified traditional learning theory developed by such behaviorists as B. F. Skinner, which was based on stimulus-response relationships. It considered learning to be no different among infants, children, adults, or even animals. Bandura’s approach is influential in such areas as the effect of media violence on children, and the treatment of problem behaviors and disorders.

Jean Piaget’s Cognitive-Developmental Theory. Piaget’s influence created a revolution in human development theory. He proposed the existence of four major stages, or "periods," during which children and adolescents master the ability to use symbols and to reason in abstract ways. This has been the most influential of the six major theories. In the 1970s and 1980s, it completely dominated the study of child development. Lev Vygotsky’s Cognitive-Mediation Theory. Alone among the major theorists, Vygotsky believed that learning came first, and caused development.

He theorized that learning is a social process in which teachers, adults, and other children form supportive "scaffolding" on which each child can gradually master new skills. Vygotsky’s views

have had a large impact on educators. (Watson, 2011). These theories have implications for management. Generally, an analysis of these theories has resulted in the development of two competing theories important to management of people in organizations, namely, Theory X and Theory Y. Theory X represents a negative view of human nature that assumes individuals generally islike work, are irresponsible, and require close supervision to do their jobs (Barnett, 2011). Under Theory X, employees must be “persuaded, rewarded, punished, and controlled” (McGregor, 1960). It is the duty of management to do the thinking in designing work to be performed, and it is the duty of employees to “do” the work, without thinking. This is a very mechanistic view of management. Theory Y denotes a positive view of human nature and assumes individuals are generally industrious, creative, and able to assume responsibility and exercise self-control in their jobs (Barnett, 2011).

Theory Y has as its core assumption that the physical and mental effort involved in work is natural and that individuals actively seek to engage in work (Barnett, 2011). It also assumes that that close supervision and the treat of punishment are not the only means or even the best means for inducing employees to exert positive effort; that the ability to be innovative and creative exists among a large, rather than a small segment of the population; and that rather than valuing security above all other rewards associated with work, individuals desire rewards that satisfy their self-esteem and self-actualization needs (Barnett, 2011).

Theory Y is an organic view of management. One would expect, then, that managers holding assumptions about human nature that are

consistent with Theory X might exhibit a managerial style that is quite different than managers who hold assumptions consistent with Theory Y (Barnett, 2011). The Concept of Multiple Intelligences The concept of multiple intelligences also has strong implications for managerial behavior. Generally speaking, intelligence is a term that is used loosely when describing an individual’s learning style, preference, aptitude, traits, skills, and competencies (Armstrong, 994; Jones, 2002). In 1983, Howard Gardner, a Harvard University professor and psychologist, began to suggest that intelligence is multidimensional. To depict this view, Gardner created a Multiple Intelligence Model (Green, et al. , 2005). Gardner’s (1983, 1999) multiple intelligences model (MIM) espouses that individuals possess at least eight multiple intelligences (MI) that are inherited as well as culturally derived (Green, et al, 2005). This suggests that in addition to being born with various MI, some of their intelligences are potentially determined by the cultural environment in which they are ocialized, including their work environment (Weller, 1999). If managers encourage team members to increasingly use their preferred modes of intelligences, the effort and creativity that are likely to follow could lead to enhanced team productivity (Green et al. , 2005). Enhanced team productivity is a goal of most organizations as they try to gain and sustain a competitive advantage in today’s global economy (Green et al. , 2005). Therefore, the challenge for most managers will be to find ways to maximize the human potential that each individual brings to the eam (Green et al. , 2005). The Theory Y is more aligned with Gardner’s Multiple Intelligence Model (MIM) than Theory X. Implicit in both MIM and Theory Y) is the belief

that workers should have the freedom to contribute their knowledge and intelligences to the overall benefit of the organization, and not just perform work in a mindless, mechanical way. Managers should value the knowledge and intelligences of employees, which eventually leads to the generation of diverse ideas on how to improve work to be performed, which leads to greater productivity.

The use of multiple intelligences, including linguistic (brainstorming, debates, scenarios, etc. ) and spatial intelligences the use of graphic symbols, slides, photos, other mental images), are found to enhance individual and team productivity” (Weller, 1999; Martin, 2001). This forms the foundation for a knowledge-based organization, and will thrive in a Theory Y organizational setting. Thinkers, who are free to explore their ideas, will be challenged in a Theory X setting, while thinkers are restricted from communicating and exploring their ideas, will be challenged in a Theory Y setting.

The concept of multiple intelligences also aligns well with Erik Erikson’s nine stage theory of human development. Erickson’s psychosocial theory basically asserts that people experience eight (a ninth stage was described by Erikson’s wife, Joan Erickson, after his death) ‘psychosocial stages’ which significantly affect each person’s development and personality (businessball. com, 2011). Each stage involves a crisis of two opposing emotional forces (businessball. com, 2011). Especially relevant to multiple intelligences are Erickson’s Stage 3 (Initiative v Guilt) and Stage 4 (Industry v Inferiority).

In Stage 3, initiative is the capacity to devise actions or projects, and a confidence and belief that it is okay to do so, even with a risk of failure (businessballs. com, 2011). In Stage 4, industry refers to purposeful or

meaningful activity (businessballs. com, 2011). It’s the development of competence and skills, engaging with others, and using tools and technology (businessballs. com). Clearly, these concepts are in concert with the Multiple Intelligences Model and Theory Y. The Knowledge-Based Organization According to Kochan, et al. (2002), the approach that dominated organizational theory, eaching, and practice for most of the 20th century looked at organizations from the top down, starting with a view of the CEO as the “leader” who shapes the organization’s strategy, structure, culture, and performance potential. “The nature of work and the role of the workforce enter the analysis much later, after considerations of technology and organization design have been considered” (Kochan, et al. , 2002). However, if the key source of value in the 21st century organization is to be derived from the workforce itself, an inversion of the dominant approach will be needed (Kochan, et al. , 2002). We will need to look at organizations from the perspective of where value is created - people and the work itself (Kochan, et al, 2002). Such an inversion will lead to a transformation in the management and organization of work, workers, and knowledge (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Accomplishing this inversion is among the most important challenges facing organization and management theory, research, teaching, and practice today (Kochan, et al. , 2002). With the knowledge gained from human development theories, how can organizations move to toward a human capital and knowledge-based model of organizing?

The following is a framework for managing people in a knowledge-based organization: People: Labor Costs or Human Assets? Conventional economic and organization theory views labor as a cost to

be controlled (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Moreover, since labor cannot be separated from its human motivation and free will, incentives are needed to ensure employees will commit their full energies and skills to the goals of the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Labor also brings its own interests and sources of power to the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Therefore, efforts on the part of mployees to use their collective power by forming unions or other organizations to represent their own interests need to be discouraged or defeated (Kochan, et al. , 2002). A human capital, knowledge-based perspective understands workers as human assets who create the value of the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). By joining and staying in the organization, employees invest and put at risk some of their human capital (Kochan, et al. , 2002). By taking advantage of opportunities for continued learning and development, their human capital is deepened and expanded (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

Since employees have interests and obligations outside of work - to their professions, families, communities, and themselves – they cannot and do not wish to commit their full energies to the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Therefore, efforts are needed to integrate work and personal aspects of life (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Employees also bring a variety of expectations to their jobs, including an interest in having meaningful influence and voice in matters that are important to them (Kochan, et al. , 2002). At the same time, employers can reasonably expect employees and their representative organizations to contribute o the continued viability and effectiveness of the enterprise (Kochan, et

al. , 2002). Therefore, efforts are needed to engage employees individually and collectively in ways that simultaneously address organizational and individual interests and expectations (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Work: Industrial or Knowledge-Based Systems? The early years of the 20th century witnessed the gradual movement from agrarian and craft to an industrial model of work organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). The latter part of the century has witnessed efforts to continue the transformation from the industrial to a knowledge- ased system of work organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). That transformation process continues today (Kochan, et al. , 2002). The industrial model created sharp legal and status distinctions between managers who conceived and directed how work was done and non-managers who executed their tasks as directed (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Productivity was maximized by organizing tasks into well-defined jobs and functions (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Efficiency gains were achieved through increased specialization and formalization of reporting relationships, romotion paths, and compensation rules (Kochan, et al. , 2002). The transformation in work systems underway today involves efforts to shift from industrial to knowledge-based work systems that blur the lines between managerial and non-managerial work (Kochan, et al. , 2002). These systems assume that in a knowledge-based economy, high levels of performance can only be achieved by organizing work in ways that allow workers to utilize and deepen their knowledge and skills, while working collaboratively on multiple, temporary projects to accomplish flexible and innovative operations (Kochan, et al. 2002). As a result, there is an emphasis on horizontal interrelationships among diverse groups (both internal and external), and the coordinated use of teams, cross-functional task

forces, and cross-organizational alliances and networks (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Technology: A Mechanistic or Integrative Perspective? Technology is conventionally viewed as a physical asset - a piece of machinery or an information system - that is initially developed and designed by technical experts and then implemented for use by the workforce (Kochan, et al. , 2002). This view emphasizes the echanistic dimensions of the technology, while disregarding or attempting to eliminate the human side (Kochan, et al. , 2002). For example, a major function of technology in this view is to reduce reliance on human inputs - both the quantity of labor and the variance (error) that can result from human judgment, fatigue, lack of motivation, or direct challenges or conflicts with management decisions or actions (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Even today, the dominant assumption in much of the machine tool industry, for example, involves designing people out of the process – even at the expense of flexibility and innovation (Kochan, et al. 2002). A human capital, knowledge-based view of technology is best captured by the Japanese saying that it is “workers who give wisdom to the machines. ” (Shimada and McDuffie, 1987). Technology is understood to be simultaneously physical and social, and its capabilities are only effective when utilized in practice by workers operating in a variety of social/organizational contexts (Kochan, et al. , 2002). This relational view of technology recognizes that technological outcomes are highly contingent and emergent - depending on how the technical capabilities interact with human hoices, political actions, cultural norms, and learning opportunities over time (Kochan, et al. , 2002). In this view, benefits from technologies can only

be realized when the technical and social dimensions are integrated through the design, implementation, and ongoing adaptation of the technologies employed in an organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Leadership: Exclusive Role of the CEO or a Distributed Capability? Leadership is conventionally viewed as being vested primarily in the role of the CEO and other top executives (Kochan, et al. , 2002). The CEO is to provide vision and broad strategic irection to the rest of the organization and in doing so shape the culture and values of the enterprise (Kochan, et al. , 2002). The search process for CEOs therefore focuses on identifying individuals in top positions in apparently successful organizations who appear to have these personal attributes (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Wall Street analysts, the business press, and business school case studies often attribute organizational success (or failure) to the quality of the CEO’s leadership, thereby perpetuating this image of what leadership is and where it resides in organizations (Kochan, et al. 2002). A human capital, knowledge-based view of the enterprise envisions leadership as a distributed capability that involves multiple people and groups at all levels of the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). To be sure, the CEO and other executives are critical players in leading a process which generates a clear and compelling shared vision for the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). However, such action by senior executives is not sufficient unless and until it engages the aspirations and energies of all organizational participants (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Leadership is hus more than a set of individual traits or abilities; it is a set of capabilities that extends

throughout the organization and over time (Kochan, et al. , 2002). In this view, a CEO would be seen to be effective if she/he creates the conditions that enable people at all levels in the organization to exercise leadership in their everyday activities (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Performance in the 21st century organization is a function of the quality of leadership capabilities in action throughout the organization (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Goals: Value for Shareholders or Multiple Stakeholders?

This brings us to a fundamental question: What purpose(s) do organizations serve (Kochan, et al. , 2002)? With the rise to prominence of the modern corporation, the answer that dominated American organizations and management education throughout most of the 20th century was that business organizations exist to maximize shareholder value (Kochan, et al. , 2002). This reflects a recognition of the role played by owners who provide and put at risk the critical resource - significant pools of financial capital – needed to build large corporations (Kochan, et al. , 2002). As a result, the governance structure and processes are seen to be the xclusive domain of the financial owners and their direct agents, the CEO and other top executives (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Knowledge-based organizations depend on employees to invest and put at risk their human capital in joining and remaining with the firm (Kochan, et al. , 2002). This places human capital in an analogous position in the 21st century organization to that of financial capital in the 20th century corporation (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Thus, employees could claim a legitimate role in shaping the objectives of the organization to

be consistent with their interests and values (Kochan, et al. 2002). Other stakeholders can make similar claims (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Suppliers, for example, are increasingly responsible for critical aspects of product design, inventory management, and other tasks that require long-term partnership agreements (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Communities have legitimate claims to the social and environmental impacts generated by the products and processes of organizations (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Viewed one way, these many embedded stakeholder relationships represent complex constraints on organizational flexibility and innovation (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

Viewed another way, these same stakeholder relationships constitute an extended enterprise capable of delivering value to the organization and to these many stakeholders in unprecedented ways (Murman, et al. , 2002). People: The Workforce of the 21st Century One word best captures the contemporary workforce: Diversity (Kochan, et al. , 2002). A second key word applies to the workforce of tomorrow: Scarcity (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Diversity and its Implications. Today and tomorrow’s workforce will depart dramatically from the 20th century image of the average (some would say “idealized”) worker as a male readwinner or organizational man with a wife at home attending to family and community affairs (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Today, workers are more diverse in gender, race, ethnicity, age, nationality and culture, just to mention the more obvious and visible features. The households that workers come from are equally diverse, with less than 20 percent fitting the old image. The majority have either both spouses/partners in the paid labor force and/or an individual who is a working, single parent (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Work and

family decisions are highly interdependent (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

Leading firms are recognizing the importance of both the need to attend to demographic diversity and work and family issues (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Research suggests that most firms have internalized the legal and social responsibilities introduced by the civil rights movement and laws enacted in the 1960s and 1970s (Kochan, et al. , 2002). For example, there is considerable training aimed at “valuing diversity” (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Today’s workforce generally also shares these values, especially younger workers who have grown up in more diverse cultural and racial settings (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

A More Diverse Pool of Future Leaders The current challenge in managing diversity is to go beyond efforts to change attitudes to focus on building the skills needed to facilitate work in diverse teams and to learn from the variety of backgrounds and knowledge people bring to their jobs (Kochan, et al. , 2002). This is how the diversity in our contemporary workforce can be used to add value to both workers and their organizations (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Learning Across Cultures People are also highly diverse in the expectations they bring to their work and organizations (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

As survey data and labor market behavior continue to demonstrate, good wages and benefits remain a high priority for all workers (Kochan, et al. , 2002). But these, by and large, are taken as a given - a necessary condition for individuals to consider a prospective job offer (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Beyond these essentials, jobs have to be tailored to

the priorities of different groups (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Young workers place highest priority on possibilities for learning and developing their skills; mid-career and mid-life workers value the opportunity to integrate work and family life; and older workers assign highest riority to long-term employment and income security (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Most workers, young and old alike, appear to have learned the lesson of the past decades’ breakdown in the prospect of long-term jobs (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Over 40 percent of those employed actively look at alternative job opportunities on a regular basis and few see it as their responsibility to stay with a given employer for any particular length of time (Towers Perrin, 2002). Fairness in employment decisions - layoffs, compensation, and promotion opportunities - are just as much an expectation today as in the past (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

Work-family integration serves as today’s frontier workforce issue (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Conclusion In today’s 21st century, knowledge-based organization, the old system of ‘top-down’, ‘command and control’ way of managing people in organizations is no longer viable. Managers can learn from the human development theories to adopt perspectives, knowledge, and tools that enable organizations to realize the potential value from the workforce and their knowledge. Managers must become sensitive workforce issues such as diversity and fair treatment, as well as career development and work-life integration (Kochan, et al. , 2002).

The management skills and tools needed today are straightforward: Engaging, listening to, negotiating, with, and facilitating different forms of individual and collective employee voice (Kochan, et al. , 2002). Skills in negotiations, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and

coordination of horizontal, cross- boundary interactions need to become the standard tools of the trade (Kochan, et al. , 2002). References * Armstrong, T. (1994), Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. * Barnett, T. (2011). Theory x and theory y. Encyclopedia of management.

Retrieved from http://enotes. com/management-encyclopedia/theory-x-theory-y. * Green, A. , Hill, A. , Friday, E. , & Friday, S. (2005). The use of multiple intelligences to enhance team productivity. Management Division, 43(3), 349-359. doi: 10. 1108/00251740510589742. * Kochan, T. , Orlikowshi, W. and Cutcher-Gershenfeld, J. (2002). Beyond mcgregor’s theory y: Human capital and knowledge-based work in the 21st century organization. Prepared for the Sloan School of Management 50th Anniversary Session, New York: McGraw Hill. Retrieved from http://mitsloan. mit. edu/50th/pdf/beyondtheorypaper. pdf. * McGregor, D. 1960), The human side of enterprise, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company. * Murman, et al. (2002). Lean enterprise value: Insight from mit’s lean aerospace initiative, New York: Palgrave/MacMillan. * Shimada, H. & McDuffie, J. (1987). Industrial relations and humanware. Sloan School of Management Working Paper. Retrieved from http://mitsloan. edu. * Towers Perrin. (2002). Talent report 2001: New realities in today’s workforce. Towers Perrin. * Watson, M. (2011). Theories of human development, The Great Courses, Retrieved from http://www. thegreatcourses. com/tgc/courses/course_detail. aspx? cid=197. *

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