goals of humanistic work reform
Can the goals of humanistic work reform be reconciled with the goals of productivity and profit?
Humanistic work-reform deals with meeting workers’ needs. A mentioned in Krahn, “Human relations theory strongly influenced work reform schemes such as job enlargement, job enrichment, participative management, sociotechnical planning, quality circles, and various quality-of-working-life programs” (Krahn 265). All of these schemes are satisfied when the employee is treated humanely and is provided with good working environment. This not only encourages the employees to be more productive, but also benefits the organization in making more profit. One of the major humanistic work-reform is the Swedish work-reform which fully realizes the potential of work humanization. A very good example of this reform was the Volvo’s Uddevalla factory which utilized sociotechnical design. This plant achieved high levels of productivity, and worker satisfaction. Small work teams were able to build entire cars at ergonomically designed stationary work locations. (Krahn pg. 265). Local unions played an essential role in the success of this work-reform. Humanization of work force is also implemented in North-America and is called by the name, Quality of working life (QWL) (Krahn 266).
Its main objective was to improve employee satisfaction, motivation and commitment. This results in higher productivity, better quality products, and bigger profits. A few major QWL techniques are, Job enlargement, Job enrichment, Job rotation, autonomous work team, Quality circles and workplace innovations (Krahn pg.266). These techniques give a chance to the worker to contribute, participate, acquire necessary skills to improve as an individual, and help the organization grow. High-performance Workplace (HPW) is a human resource management approach which fits all the elements of humanistic work habits into one. It provides employee with an opportunity to participate in decision making, team organization and flexible work design, extensive training and learning opportunities, open information sharing and communication, financial incentives for improved performance, support for family responsibilities, and a work environment that improves health and reduces stress (Krahn pg.270). This in return gives employers the benefits of higher productivity and profits. Therefore, we can conclude that humanistic work-reforms greatly improve the productivity and profits of an organization. Comment by Dr. Edna Djokoto-Asem: Elaborate. How do they address issues relating to participation and job satisfaction? Comment by Dr. Edna Djokoto-Asem: You have not demonstrated a direct link between profit and humanistic work reforms.
Humanistic work reform, one of the most commonly used work reforms in the industry provides managers with a novel approach to maximize production, and to align the interests of the organization with those of the employees. Building a strong connection outside of the work place and informal events helps establish good working relations in the workplace as well. The provision of ownership status to workers gives them a sense of pride and a fair share in the profits of the company such that they make significant efforts to boost company production. Different forms of recognition also allow the workers to gain an employee’s trust and good will and inspires them to perform better. While a balance needs to be struck between humanistic work reform and maximization of productivity, it can generally be said that it is hard to do both simultaneously. Consistent efforts have to be made by an organization to achieve better results in one quarter than the previous, for example and to have enough incentives for employees to keep them happy and satisfied with their work environment.
Which theoretical perspectives provide the most useful insights on the prospects or lack thereof, for work reform?
Bureaucracy which tends to fail to provide incentives to workers makes it impossible to avoid worker resistance and to achieve a manager’s goal of operational excellence and maximizing productivity. Failure for an employee to relate to the work they do, causes inefficiency in development of a product and tends to make them feel lethargic. Over the past decade, people have lost interest in performing work as well as creativity since bureaucracies like Fordism and McDonaldization were introduced to achieve more productivity. (Hartley, 1995, p. 409) These theories tend to favor material goods over human desires and makes workers feel unhappy about their work. Introduction of work reform will not only make workers feel relaxed in their work environment but boost their morale when incentives like maternity leave, paid vacation and even stocks of the company in the shareholder market are provided which makes their ownership in the company somewhat substantial. This aligns with the WOW approach where Workers are treated as Owners and Winners.