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The Changing of the Work

Work has made considerable changes since the start of the industrial revolution. From the time of interchangeable parts in mass production on the assembly line, work has steadily and increasingly become more segmented. The principles of scientific management started with Frederick Taylor wherein work based largely on scientific principles that include measurements, analysis, and understanding of interactions of variables went a long way to quantifying the work. Administrative principles focused more on total organization and grew from insights such as Henry Fayol and his proposed fourteen principles such as each subordinate receives orders from only one superior, as well as concepts of unity of command, that is similar activities of the organization grouped under a common manager.[1] The list is provided belowd

■ Division of work - the principle of specialization which can be seen in the functional organization even today.

■ Authority and responsibility - the manager has both authority of position as well as authority of experience and intelligence.

■ Discipline - respect for rules, hierarchy, and other outward marks of respect, good superiors, clear and fair agreements, and judicious application of penalties.

■ Unit of command - employee only receives orders from one superior (unlike today’s matrix organizations).

■ Unity of direction - each unit has one head, and one plan.

■ Subordination of individual interest - interests of the group supercede that of the individual.

■ Remuneration of personnel - fair payment and methods, maximum satisfaction of both employee and employer.

■ Centralization - level of centralization or dispersion of authority in the organization, and the optimum solution is situational dependent.

■ Scalar chain - the line of authority, the chain of superiors, or the corporate hierarchy from highest to lowest. No short circuiting of this chain.

■ Order - material and social order for the organization.

■ Equity - devotion from the employees, and a combination of kindliness and justice from the managers in dealing with subordinates.

■ Stability of tenure - instability due to bad management, costly with unnecessary turnover of personnel.

■ Initiative - thinking out and executing the plan; managers are to sacrifice personal vanity in order to permit subordinates to exercise it.

■ Esprit de corps - union of strength and extension of the unity of command, the need for teamwork.

These models of the organization in terms of command and control and economics are helpful. There was still much that was not addressed or understood about the organization from these myopic vantage points, and this would be hit upon in the 1920’s in the Hawthorne studies. This exploration led to the discovery that there was more to the organization than meets the eye. The studies showed that taking an interest in the employees and positive treatment of the employees resulted in increased productivity and motivation. In the 1950’s through the 1960’s, post- World War II, the competitive forces were not so strong as the world set about to rebuild the infrastructure and manufacturing capability that was decimated by the war. By the 1970’s and 1980’s it became clear in many organizations that the ratio of overhead workers for every worker was out of balance with some examples ranging from 1.3 overhead workers for every worker in the United States -based Xerox to

0.6 for Japanese affiliate[2]

Over the years the authors have been tracking the annual studies by Gallup in the State of the Global Workplace1. This is one of the factors influencing the book. This series of global surveys of the workforce identifies the three categories below. We encourage all that read this book to check out the results of the survey, and consider the implication of this survey on the work world and business at large. For example, consider an organization that may have 30% of the employees actively engaged. This made us wonder how much of this engagement issue is due to the way the work is undertaken. One of us has personally experienced a serious impact on the motivation when it seems like the organization at large is incapable of learning, distributing that learning, or acting on this learning effectively during some future project. The result is experiencing the same failures, over and over even when some part of the project team may have experienced that the course of action planned has, in the past, resulted in failure. To be sure past failures of taking a certain set of actions are not perfect predictors of future results. However, it is at least an inkling or portend what may happen and summarily disregarding proves learning is very difficult.

  • 1. Actively Disengaged
  • 2. Not Engaged
  • 3- Engaged

Modern work is now taking on a new flavor in many organizations, often described as a lean or agile approach to the work, that stresses learning throughout the project and product development effort. Software has been moving toward an approach that is often referred to as agile, with one version of that being scrum. These are both variants of lean, as well as an employee empowerment approach.

It is not the intent of this book to invent some new motivational technique, personnel/organizational development, or provide some guidance on how to manage either your people or a project, but to provide some insight into both and allow for self-development. There have not really been any new developments in any of these areas (motivation, personnel/organizational development, or project management). While there have been numerous new terms bandied about when explored they are or appear to be a rehashing of a previously discussed hypothesis. The term “Hypothesis” is used because when dealing with motivation and personnel development empirical data quite often contradicts itself from one group to another or in some cases. There is a replication crisis in psychology. In science, we perform multiple tests of a theory, the tests executed by others in other regions, using the same methods and arrive at another conclusion.”

Psychology has recently been viewed as facing a replication crisis because efforts to replicate past study findings frequently do not show the same result. Often, the first study showed a statistically significant result but the replication does not. Questions then arise about whether the first study results were false positives, and whether the replication study correctly indicates that there is truly no effect after all.

This lack of repeatability means the assertions made as a result of the test are questionable. We have provided many theories in this work, many cognitively satisfying, and perhaps even supported by our experiences; however that does not [3]

mean these theories apply perfectly or at all. However, knowledge of these theories does provide a different perspective from where a better understanding may begin.

It is to that end why we have taken the approach of first reviewing several different people who have been key in the area of motivation, personnel/organizational development, and project management and their hypothesis and then showing how these hypotheses can be applied to working with a person, a group, a team, a department, an organization, and projects.

This book also explores the difference between learning and knowledge and how these two different mindsets are commonly misunderstood. This approach is instrumental in knowing the what, when, where, why, and how to plan and execute a plan for motivating your personnel, developing your organization, and using your project to obtain both. While we know from years of experience working as team members and team leaders, one size does not fit all and must be tailored to not only the people, but the organization and the project; that is why the approach is to show opportunities and allow you to determine the when and how of the application. As important as the application is, so is the execution and flexibility of the application. The ability to respond to a needed change based upon performance and the ability to understand how any change will be perceived and what outcome it will produce. There is little ability to fully determine the outcome of any proposed change. The priorities and the plan for the change will point the team members to specific metrics. These metrics (measurements and data) will serve as validation points, that is serve as a comparison of the actual results with the desired. This will inform those involved as to whether the planned actions taken are producing the desired results. In the event the actions are not moving these key metrics in the desired direction, the team can perform analysis on the results for the reason and adjust the approach to the objective.

While this book will discuss the aforementioned processes and their application it will have a slant toward project management. It will also discuss the different styles of project management and how each has some opportunities and pitfalls with these processes. Having previously stated that every situation is different from another, even repeat situations, we again will not offer some magic bullet, but attempt to provide some insight into the opportunities available to you because of the project itself.

  • [1] Daft, R. L. (1998). Organization theory and design. Cincinnati: South Western CollegePublishing. Page 21. f lastaccessed 3/27/2019
  • [2] Daft, R. L. (1998). Organization theory and design. Cincinnati: South Western CollegePublishing. Page 21. ’ accessed 8/20/2019
  • [3] Maxwell, S. E., Lau, M. Y., & Howard, G. S. (2015). Is psychology suffering from a replicationcrisis? What does “failure to replicate” really mean? American Psychologist, 70(6), 487-498.
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