Bus 651: Work Organisation and Management . Key management roles and functions and current trends in management methods. Part 1 Managing Work Organisations. Nature of management Planning, organising, directing and controlling Management :a function and social group
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Bus 651: Work Organisation and Management Key management roles and functions and current trends in management methods
Part 1 Managing Work Organisations • Nature of management • Planning, organising, directing and controlling • Management :a function and social group • The process of management • ‘What do managers do and why?’ • A rational and politically neutral activity? • Gender /cross cultural variations (Knights and Willmott, 1986) • Integrated model of management
Part 2: Debates about current trends Deskilling/Enskilling • Deskilling - Points toward stark divisions of mental and manual labour and breaking of complex tasks into smaller more discrete ones with aid of new technologies. • Braverman argues Taylorism led to a deskilling of craftworkers by fragmenting the work process. Jobs that had previously been carried out from conception to completion by a worker possessing a variety of skills were broken down into discrete tasks. Bravermanargues that ‘It is impossible to overestimate the importance of the scientific management movement in the shaping of the modern corporation and indeed all institutions of capitalist society which carry on labor processes’ (Braverman 1974).
Upskilling and Enskilling • Enskilling - Sees technology positively, unskilled jobs will simply be ‘automated away’ • In contrast to Bravermans deskilling thesis others have argued that in a ‘post-industrial society’ work has been upskilled. • Daniel Bell, ‘The Coming of Post-Industrial Society’ 1973 • Knowledge is the key factor in production • Services • White collar
1980s/1990sUpskilling: flexible specialisation • In the 1980s there was a move away from the ‘pessimistic, notion of deskilling towards the more optimistic notion of ‘flexible specialisation’. • Proponents of flexible specialisation maintain that Fordist production techniques are no longer relevant because they can not meet the ‘specialised demand for customised quality goods’ (Thompson and McHugh, 2002). • Mass production has been replaced by ‘adaptable craft-based production utilising new technology’ (Leopold, et al, 2005).
Deskilling and using ‘low quality labour’ could result in inflexibility (Littler and Innes, 2003). • and ‘…fragmented and repetitive work organisation is no longer appropriate. Collaboration between designers, producers and managers is both feasible and necessary, while craft and ‘the worker’s intellectual participation is enhanced’. In turn that creates the need for high-trust work relations ..’ (Thompson and McHugh, 2002).
Current trends: The new economy and the dominance of knowledge work • Concept of post-industrialist ‘knowledge economy’(Reich, 1991) • Argued that ICT revolution emerged • Some saw benefits – new jobs and skills • Others feared redundancies
The dominance of knowledge work? • Castells, who is perhaps the leading theorist of the ‘informational society’, argues that profound changes to industrial society have given rise to a ‘new economy’. He contends that one of the features of this new economy is growth in productivity ‘derived from the application of knowledge and from the practice of innovation’ (Castells, 2000/2004) • Drucker argues the ‘next society’ will be one where knowledge is the key resource and borderless and upwardly mobile knowledge workers will dominate (2001). • Charles Leadbeater, former adviser to British Prime Minister Tony Blair, attributes the rise of the knowledge economy to three factors - finance, knowledge, and social capital - and claims that ‘the generation, application and exploitation of knowledge is driving modern economic growth’ (1999).
The key features of the knowledge economy included: • uncertainty • the spread of up-skilling outside of ‘traditional high-tech heartlands’. • it represents a definitive break with the past: control and hierarchy have been replaced by creativity and networks.
Knowledge is the engine of modern economic growth and is central to ‘the economies of advanced capitalism’; see Noon and Blyton, 2002. ‘Knowledge has become the most important factor in economic life. It is the chief ingredient of what we buy and sell, the raw materials with which we work. Intellectual capital – not natural resources, machinery or even financial capital – has become the one indispensable asset of corporations (Stewart, 1997).’ (see also Thompson and McHugh, 2002
Knowledge work • The term knowledge worker was first used by Peter Drucker over thirty years ago. • Knowledge workers process information to create new information. • Frenkel et al. offer this definition: ‘Knowledge workers rely predominantly on theoretical knowledge, and their work requires a high level of creativity for which they mainly use intellective skill (cited in Noon and Blyton, 2002). • Examples of knowledge workers include those who work in information technology (system analysts, researchers); doctors and lawyers can also be classified as knowledge workers
Pessimistic arguments about the new/knowledge economy • Pessimistic -Technology increasing unemployment -insecurity -powerlessness
Criticism of Knowledge work • Much of the growth in knowledge work is in routine areas. It is not a new phenomenon. • Focus on high paying jobs ignores parallel growth of low paid service work. • Higher levels of education does not mean higher levels of knowledge are needed to perform the job. • Industries that rely on information and communication technology do not always require highly skilled workers. Call centre work is an example (Warhurst and Thompson, 2006) Consider debates about low end service work. • Many workers fall between knowledge and routine work
Conclusion • Regardless of debates about deskilling and knowledge it is important to remember knowledge is important in all jobs. (even the most menial work requires knowledge about how to achieve it). • And that knowledge represents a valuable commodity for all organisations. • For this reason management seeks to capture knowledge: Braverman’s discussion of the separation of conception and execution demonstrates a means management have used to capture and control knowledge.
The Management of customer service • In Australia jobs in manufacturing have declined • Service sector jobs have grown • Service sector jobs are located in areas such as retail and hospitality and call centres (greater use of part time and casual staffing arrangements) • See Watson et al, 2003)
Customer service skills • Service industries generally require different skills to those used in manufacturing. • ‘The ability to regulate one’s own and other’s feelings is seen as a core competence for emotion workers in the global drive for competitive advantage through excitement, calm, deference, congeniality and even persuasion’ (Bolton, 2004)
Emotional Labour • An element of work activity in which the worker is required to display certain emotions in order to complete work tasks in the way required by an employer’ (Watson, 2003) • ‘the management of feeling to create a publicly observable facial and bodily display … [which is] sold for a wage’ (Hochschild, 2003) • Hochschild contends that ‘This labor requires one to induce or suppress feeling in order to sustain the outward countenance that produces the proper state of mind in others. … [It] calls for a coordination of mind and feeling (2003).’
Surface and deep acting • Hochschild identified two different types of emotional labour. The first, which she termed ‘surface acting’, andentails pretending to feel an emotion one does not actually experience: there is no self-deception in surface acting. (Hochschild, 1983). • Her second type, ‘deep acting’, involves deceiving oneself as well as others: real emotion has replaced feigned emotion (Hochschild, 1983).
What do organisations gain • Hochschild suggests that deep acting, or ensuring that workers genuinely believe the company’s propaganda, offers tangible benefits to employers and senior management, particularly in industries where a competitive edge may be gained through service: ‘[i]n jobs that require dealing with the public, employers are wise to want workers to be sincere, to go well beyond the smile that’s “just painted on”’ (1983: 33). The costs of emotional labour • The term labour implies that the management of emotion can be demanding and requires expertise or acumen (Bolton 2004) • Emotional labour, however, may be exacted to the detriment of the worker’s psychological or physical health.
Aesthetic labour • Nickson et al. (2001; see also Witz et al. 2003) refine the concept of emotional labour by examining its corporeal dimensions. They argue that service workers are expected to manage not only their feelings but also their ‘corporealness’ in order to ‘produce the desired service encounter’ (Nickson et al, 2001) • They define this as aesthetic labour which, in its simplest expression, is ‘looking good or sounding right’ (2001:170).
Aesthetic labour • Warhurst and Nickson (2007) state ‘Aesthetic labour is the employment of workers with desired corporeal dispositions. With this labour , employers intentionally use the embodied attributes and capacities of employees as a source of competitive advantage. These dispositions are, to an extent, possessed by workers at the point of entry to employment. However, and importantly, employers then mobilize, develop and commodify these dispositions through processes of recruitment, selection, training, monitoring, discipline and reward, reconfiguring, them as ‘skills’ intended to produce a ‘style’ of service encounter that appeals to the senses of customers, most usually visually or aurally
Implications of aesthetic labour • Discrimination or exclusion from certain forms of work because of social class, or appearance (accent, dress codes, age, style and shape) • Appearance and economic status: Studies indicate that overweight women and short men earn less than there tall and thin counterparts (see Laabs, 1995).
Conclusion • It is however more difficult for management to expropriate knowledge from knowledge workers, this leads us back to one of the central concerns of management - how to elicit commitment and consent • Reflect on the material covered in this lecture when we explore the impact of technology