Could work be made more satisfying and participatory?
An employer assumes a significant role in designing modern work environments since it settles on critical choices about personnel, objectives, structure, and innovation. The essential motivations and aim of work reform are to offer fuller play to the fundamental function of the market mechanism in the allotment of labour assets to make full and balanced utilization of these resources in enhancing the productivity of financial development (History.com, n.d.). From the employer’s viewpoint, the reform ought to make the market more open, ready to advance the work assets, and support the steady improvement of the productive forces.
The invention of the assembly line is arguable one of the largest causes of change in the world of work. With division of labour and developing management groups, a task that was originally completed by a few craftsmen is now taken over by a large group of unskilled workers. Taylorism focuses on production and efficiency of resources as a measure of effectiveness. In terms of increase in production, the new work reform was a huge success; the cost of production and speed of production has been improved by dividing jobs into simple tasks. However, one of the most important factors is ignored: Human behaviour. Taylorism assumes the pay factor alone is enough to push everyone to work harder, but it does not take into account of other factors such as working conditions, job security, and mental stress. (Rinehart, 2001). In order to find methods to make work more satisfying, participatory, and challenging, it is important to understand how to balance organization productivity with employee satisfaction, and factors that facilitate and inhibit these changes.
Unions should fight for good working conditions and remunerations for their members, governments should enact legislations that protect the welfare of workers (Council of Europe, 1998). Moreover, the management should implement those reforms that improve the working and living conditions of employees. These groups also have responsibilities of obeying set laws and allowing dialogue to take place following a conflict (Bennett & Kaufman, 2007). Employees receive higher compensation and enjoy enhanced working conditions when they are members of a union compared to their counterparts.
For instance, during the introduction of the assembly line in 1914, bureaucracy was the principal administration style in North America. The blend of innovation and organization prompted the arrangement of Fordism based on mechanical large-scale manufacturing (Krahn, Lowe, & Hughes, 2010). This administration strategy implied that companies had the capacity to gain high profits while labourers persevered with little say in business choices and experienced poor working conditions. Consequently, employees lost the ability to improve their skills, offer their views, or give ideas for business operation.
Additionally, in the course of Canada's industrialization, labourers had limited protection from dangerous working conditions (Krahn, Lowe, & Hughes, 2010). Work in different businesses was unsafe, and the threat of death or injury was high. Similarly, to industrializing nations, a managerial model of regulation developed gradually, where the state set guidelines for safety and health, and attempted to impose them. Frequently, managers opposed these endeavours, contending that they threatened their profits, and that the government had no privilege to meddle in employee-employer relations. Consequently, unions battled for change and mobilised the public. As a result, enactment of the Factories Act of the 1880s occurred which prompted improvements, for example, fencing around unsafe machines, ventilation measures for production lines, and the introduction of lounge and latrines in expansive working environments (Krahn, Lowe, & Hughes, 2010). Later, the state introduced more safety standards. In unionized work environments and businesses, collective bargaining additionally had a great impact because unions negotiated for the elimination of particular wellbeing and security principles and better working conditions.
Numerous workplaces have scarce protections set up against dangerous physical practices and processes (Krahn, Lowe, & Hughes, 2010). Besides, significant workload, the absence of manager responsibility, and the increase in insecurity are key causes of lack of satisfaction in jobs. Moreover, anxiety activated by circumstances in the work environment over which the labourer has no control and failure of innovation also aggravates the issue (Fraser, 2001). Besides, technology worsens patterns of job stress and overwork by expanding many white-collar staff member's meanings of "at work" to incorporate ranges a long way past the traditional restrictions of their office space. Indeed, Woodcock (1944) observes that even the movement of the watch sets the tempo of people’s lives- they turn into a servant of the notion of time that they made. Thus, it is important to carry out a reorganization of work (Berkeley, 2015).
Outside the world of work, many employees have to deal with other stresses such as family and financial needs. With additional stress, the mental and physical burden created can affect the productivity of work. To increase employee satisfaction, another method would be to increase employee benefits. In Canada, unionized workers are 24% more likely to have dental and medical health benefits compared to their non-union peers. In addition, the median weekly income of union full-time waged workers was 27% higher than non-union workers (Statistic Canada, 2009). Moreover, current government laws for minimum wages and occupational hazard and safety laws set standards for safe workplaces and work procedures. As a result, worker goals such as a higher wage, and more comfortable work environments can be met. Consequently, reducing stress of workers, employee turnover rates, and allows work to be more satisfying.
It is important to reconcile the goals of productivity and profit with work reform. Several observers propose that Canada's working environments are undesirable spaces. Since the late 1990s and mid-2000s, administrators have put significant emphasis on remaking commercial society. Whereas reform is essential, it should not contribute to losses to an organisation. Difference in beliefs, values, demographics, and culture all mould the atmosphere in which individuals work; while someone finds a task interesting, another may find it unsatisfying (Krahn et al., 2011). An example of this culture difference is the Canadian and Japanese automotive industry. The Total Quality Management (TQM) model has been used in Japan and was tested in the Canadian branches of Toyota and Honda. This model revolves around the idea of the managers and workers working together to improve both the quality of the product, customer satisfaction, necessary job redesign, and places emphasis on the need to develop a strong organization culture (Krahn et al., 2011).
Humanistic work reform can lead to the development of a sound environment, and this can enhance corporation performance. Labourers gain personal, social, and health benefits from such an environment (Christensen, 2009). However, businesses that fail to promote a positive atmosphere for workers risk impeding their capacity to succeed.
The nature of an individual relationship with work relies upon the quality of their associations with partners, supervisors, customers and the organizational culture. At the point when those connections and the environment nature in which workers interrelate are sound, they feel esteemed and valued (Abell, 2008). Moreover, they take pride in what they perform better, and consider their employer’s future. They also become connected to the association, results, co-workers, and clients. Productivity, profitability, low turnover, an outstanding safety record, and consumer loyalty result from worker engagement as a consequence of the positive workplace (Helmrich,2015). Issues, such as leaving early, call-offs, lower productivity, and lateness that originate from an adverse business environment act to the disadvantage of the corporation, since they reduce morale.
Quality of working life (QWL) is a strategy for humanizing work, improving employee-employer cooperation, redesigning jobs, and giving employees greater participation in management. Theoretically, QWL claims to combine both humanistic and economic objectives: challenging, involving and rewarding work experiences for employees and more productive utilization of the firm’s human resources, better quality products, and larger profits for the employer (Krahn et al., 2011). However, in reality, QWL resulted in both successes and failure. Positive effects include higher employee satisfaction, commitment, better earnings, and possibility productivity gains. But QWL initiatives also resulted in heightened union-management tensions, declining work performance, and a breakdown of communication (Krahn et al., 2011).
Three important theoretical perspectives provide the most useful insights on the prospects or lack thereof, for work-reform. The three aspects include radical, pluralist, Unitarian views (Rinehart, 2001.). Every viewpoint offers a particular insight of workplace relations, and translates such occasions as workplace conflict, the function of unions, and employment guideline differently. Firstly, in the Unitarian aspect, researchers view the association as an integrated and harmonious framework, perceived as one cheerful family. A central supposition of the unitary methodology is that administration and staff, and all individuals from the association have the same interests, targets, and purposes; subsequently cooperating, as an inseparable unit, towards the common objectives (Rinehart, 2001.). From the worker perspective, unitary methodology implies that: Working practices ought to be adaptable; and if it recognises a union, its function is that of an additional method for correspondence between the organization and employees (Kaufman, 2004). However, from manager perspective, unitary technique implies that: Staffing approaches ought to strive to bring together effort, motivate and inspire workforce; and that communication about the association's wider goals ought to be appropriately spoken and discussed with workers.
Secondly, the Marxist methodology considers industrial relations from a societal point of view. It perceives employee relations as a microcosm of the broad entrepreneur society (Rinehart, 2001.). The fundamental hypothesis of this methodology is that employment relations under capitalism are an endless and inevitable wellspring of conflict.
Thirdly, in pluralism, individuals perceive a corporation as comprised of divergent and dominant sub-groups - trade unions and administration. This method views disagreements and conflicts of interest between administrators and labourers over the distribution of profits as inevitable and healthy (Rinehart, 2001.). The function of administration would lean less towards controlling and enforcing, and more toward coordination and persuasion. Individuals deal with conflict by collective bargaining. Likewise, they do not perceive it necessarily as a terrible thing, since, after proper management, they can divert it towards positive change and advancement. Realistic administrators ought to accept disagreement to happen. Moreover, there is a greater inclination for strife as opposed to harmony.
In conclusion, work can be more satisfying and participatory. From the employer’s standpoint, reforms should make increase demand for products, raise the work assets, and promote the regular improvement of the productive forces. However, the purpose of reformations in employees’ perspective is to look for job security, profession stability, and work with decent working conditions. In such an environment, unions struggle for safe working conditions and pay of their members; governments establish legislations that consider the welfare of workers; while the management implements reforms in the workplace. Sometimes, the creation of a sound environment may require the reorganization of work to make it more participatory and satisfying. Besides, it is vital to reconcile the goals of profit and productivity with work reform. Whereas change is necessary, it should not present losses to business. The three aspects that give the most valuable insights on the prospects or lack thereof, for work reformation include unitarian, radical, and pluralist views.
Abell, S. V. (2008). “Moving Up to Management: Leadership and Management Skills for
New Supervisors.” USA: Inside Jobs Coaching Company.
Belzer, M. H. (2000). “What if the Rest of the World Looked Like Trucking?” Toronto:
Oxford University Press. Print.
Bennett, J. T., & Kaufman, B. E. (2007). “What Do Unions Do?: A Twenty-Year
Perspective.” New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers.
Brunot, T. (2015). “Business Management: The Importance of a Positive Environment in the
Workplace.” Retrieved from
Christensen, M. (2009). “Validation and Test of Central Concepts in Positive Work and
Organizational Psychology: The Second Report from the Nordic Project Positive
Factors at Work. Nordic Council of Ministers.” Nordic Council of Ministers.
Kaufman, B. E. (2004). “Theoretical Perspectives on Work and the Employment
Relationship.” Ithaca, NY: ILR..
Krahn H. J., Lowe G. S, Hughes, K. D. (2010). “Work, Industtry, and Canadian Society.”