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Job-centered

The most popular and conventional method overwhelmingly adopted by most organizations is job-centered. I’d guess 80 per cent or more of learning activities carried out in most organizations could be classified as job-centered.

This dimension emphasizes superior technical performance and skill mastery. The justification for expending money on building technical capacity is the tangible link between job skills training and job performance. So the primary motive is to develop the employees’ job skills to directly improve performance on-the-job. Of the three dimensions, the job-centered approach is the one most directly related to the specifics of one’s job performance.

Training programs, for example, that improve an employee capacity to operate a piece of machinery, to master some form of technology or a work-related system or process, are job-centered. These activities specifically relate to a job task an employee does. These training programs promise to be job-centered in their orientation. Successfully learning anything straight from a job-holder’s job specification promises to have a direct pay-off in their increased job performance. Quality learning programs that are job-specific increase the employee’s efficiency and effectiveness in their job role. The ultimate triumph of job-centered training is a more technically proficient employee. So it’s pretty obvious why most enterprises invest heavily in job-centered training programs.

The employee benefits too, of course. Being technically proficient makes the job easier and reduces stress levels. Put simply, technical training assists an employee in performing their job with greater confidence and increased competence. Improved job performance often leads to promotion and more pay; it can, in other words, be beneficial career-wise. Job-centered training—attractive to both employer and employee—has many advocates who argue passionately for its virtues and application in the workplace, above the other two dimensions.2

Despite its popularity, a weakness of the job-centered approach is it primarily favors the interests of the organization over the interests of the employee. A predominantly job-centered training approach is based on Taylorism thinking that the employee is a small cog in the large-scale wheel of production. The employee is viewed as an abstract and anonymous job-holder or performer. The overriding expectation is that the employee passively reacts to stimuli in the organizational environment; there’s little room for original thought or autonomy. Of course, it’s true— as I pointed out—that the employee gains new skills that benefit them and their career. But job-centered training is based first and foremost on the needs and priorities of the business. The person doing the training is a secondary consideration.

 
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