11 Leading and managing people
In this chapter, we attempt to get an overview of the
manager’s task (Section 1). What is management? How
should people be managed? What do managers actually
do to manage resources, activities and projects?
Section 2 traces the development of management theory
from its focus on efficiency and control (classical and
scientific management), through a recognition of the
importance of people factors (human relations and neohuman relations), to a more complex understanding that
a variety of factors influence the managerial role.
In Section 3, we note the difference between a manager
and a supervisor: the interface between managerial and
non-managerial levels of the organisation.
The theories discussed in this chapter are noted
specifically in the syllabus Study Guide, and some are
particularly useful as a framework for understanding
management in general. The major challenge of this topic
is learning the detail of the various theories.
In today’s organisations, managers are also called on to
be ‘leaders’. We explore leadership as a separate function
(and skill-set) of management in Sections 4 and 5
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D1 Leadership, management and supervision
(a) Define leadership, management and supervision and explain the distinction between these terms.
|(b) Explain the nature of management.||K|
|(i) Scientific/classical theories of management Fayol, Taylor
(ii) The human relations school – Mayo
(iii) The functions of a manager – Mintzberg, Drucker
(c) Explain the areas of managerial authority and responsibility.
|(d) Explain the situational, functional and contingency approaches to leadership with reference to the theories of Adair, Fiedler, Bennis, Kotter and Heifetz.||K|
|(e) Describe leadership styles and contexts using the models of Ashridge, and Blake and Mouton.||K|
|1||The purpose and process of management|
|Management is responsible for using the organisation’s resources to meet its goals. It is accountable to the owners: shareholders in a business, or government in the public sector.|
1.1 Managing organisations
An organisation has been defined as ‘a social arrangement for the controlled performance of collective goals.’ This definition suggests the need for management.
- Objectives have to be set for the organisation.
- Somebody has to monitor progress and results to ensure that objectives are met.
- Somebody has to communicate and sustain corporate values, ethics and operating principles.
- Somebody has to look after the interests of the organisation’s owners and other stakeholders.
QUESTION Management structure
John, Paul, George and Ringo set up in business together as repairers of musical instruments. Each has contributed $5,000 as capital for the business. They are a bit uncertain as to how they should run the business and, when they discuss this in the pub, they decide that attention needs to be paid to planning what they do, reviewing what they do and controlling what they do.
Suggest two ways in which John, Paul, George and Ringo can manage the business assuming no other personnel are recruited.
The purpose of this exercise has been to get you to separate the issues of management functions from organisational structure and hierarchy. John, Paul, George and Ringo have a number of choices. Here are some extreme examples.
- All the management activities are the job of one person.
In this case, Paul, for example, could plan, direct and control the work and the other three would do the work.
- Division of management tasks between individuals could be carried out (repairing drums and ensuring plans are adhered to would be Ringo’s job, and so on).
- Management by committee. All of them could sit down and work out the plan together etc. In a small business with equal partners this is likely to be most effective.
Different organisations have different structures for carrying out management functions. For example, some organisations have separate strategic planning departments. Others do not.
In a private sector business, managers act, ultimately, on behalf of shareholders. In practical terms, shareholders rarely interfere, as long as the business delivers profits year on year.
In a public sector organisation, management acts on behalf of the Government. Politicians in a democracy are in turn accountable to the electorate. More of the objectives of a public sector organisation might be set by the ‘owners’ – ie the Government – rather than by the management. The Government might also tell senior management to carry out certain policies or plans, thereby restricting management’s discretion.
It is the role of the manager to take responsibility and organise people to get things done. This involves the use of authority and power and implies a hierarchy in which power is delegated downwards while accountability is rendered upwards.
Authority is the decision-making discretion given to a manager, while responsibility is the obligation to perform duties. Sufficient authority should be granted to permit the efficient discharge of the appointed responsibility. Delegation is essential wherever there is a hierarchy of management. Power is the ability to do something whereas authority is the right to do something; expert power is possessed by those acknowledged as experts.
Authority, accountability and responsibility
It is easy to confuse authority, accountability and responsibility since they are all to do with the allocation of power within an organisation.
Organisational authority: the scope and amount of discretion given to a person to make decisions, by virtue of the position they hold in the organisation.
The authority and power structure of an organisation defines two things.
- The part which each member of the organisation is expected to perform
- The relationship between the members
A person’s (or office’s) authority can come from a variety of sources, including from above (supervisors) or below (if the position is elected). Managerial authority thus has three aspects.
- Making decisions within the scope of one’s own managerial authority
- Assigning tasks to subordinates
- Expecting and requiring satisfactory performance of these tasks by subordinates
1.4 Responsibility and accountability
Responsibility is the liability of a person to discharge duties. Responsibility is the obligation to do something; in an organisation, it is the duty of an official to carry out assigned tasks.
With responsibility, we must associate accountability. Managers are accountable to their superiors for their actions and are obliged to report to their superiors how well they have exercised the authority delegated to them.
Delegation of authority occurs in an organisation where a superior gives a subordinate the discretion to make decisions within a certain sphere of influence. This can only occur if the superior initially possesses the authority to delegate; a subordinate cannot be given organisational authority to make decisions unless it would otherwise be the superior’s right to make those decisions. Delegation of authority is the process by which a superior gives a subordinate the authority to carry out an aspect of the superior’s job. Without delegation, a formal organisation could not exist.
When a superior delegates authority to a subordinate, the subordinate is accountable to the superior. However, the superior remains fully accountable to their superiors; responsibility and accountability cannot be abdicated by delegation.
As well as being essential for running an organisation, delegation brings a number of other benefits.
- Training. Subordinates gain experience of problems and responsibility, which helps to prepare them for promotion and contributes to the avoidance of crises of management succession.
- Motivation. Herzberg found that responsibility was an important factor in job satisfaction and motivation.
- Assessment. Subordinates’ performance in relation to delegated responsibility can be used as a measure of their need for further training and experience and their readiness for promotion.
- Decisions. Delegation brings decisions closer to the situations that require them, potentially improving them by having them made by those with most knowledge of the problems and factors involved.
1.6 Authority and power
If an organisation is to function as a co-operative system of individuals, some people must have authority or power over others. Authority and power flow downwards through the formal organisation.
- Authority is the right to do something; in an organisation it is the right of a manager to require a subordinate to do something in order to achieve the goals of the organisation.
- Power is distinct from authority, but is often associated with it. While authority is the right to do something, power is the ability to do it.
Weber put the kind of authority we see in organisations into a wider context, proposing that there were three ways in which people could acquire legitimate power (or authority).
- Charismatic authority arises from the personality of the leader and their ability to inspire devotion through, for example, sanctity, heroism or example.
- Traditional authority rests on established belief in the importance of immemorial tradition and the status it confers.
- Rational-legal authority raises from the working of accepted normative rules, such as are found in organisations and democratic governments.
1.7 Power and influence
Influence is the process by which one person in an organisation, A, modifies the behaviour or attitudes of another person, B. An individual may have the ability to make others act in a certain way, without having the organisational authority to do so: informal leaders are frequently in this position.
The following types of power can be found in organisations.
|Physical power||This is the power of superior force.|
|Resource power||This is the control over resources which are valued by the individual or group.|
|Coercive power||This is power based on fear of punishment.|
|Reward power||This is related to resource power. Senior managers may have the power to grant pay increases to subordinates.|
|Position power or legitimate power||This is the power which is associated with a particular job in an organisation. It is more or less the same as authority.|
|Expert power||This is power which is based on expertise, although it only works if others acknowledge that expertise.|
|Referent power||This power lies in the personal qualities of the individual.|
|Negative power||This is the use of disruptive attitudes and behaviour to stop things from happening.|
What kind of power is used by a manager who promises a pay increase if productivity rises?
- Position power C Reward power
- Resource power D Referent power
C Reward power: reward power is an aspect of resource power so, while Option B is not incorrect, it is not as good an answer as Option C.
1.8 Power centres
The degree of power people exercise, and the types of power they are able to exploit, differ depending in part on their position in the organisation hierarchy. The effects of personal power vary: the chief executive’s use of personal power will be more far reaching in the organisation as a whole than that of a junior manager.
1.8.1 Senior management
Senior managers have coercive and reward powers, and most importantly take decisions relating to personnel.
1.8.2 Middle managers
Middle managers have a number of power sources. They have some reward power over their own subordinates. They may have expert power and negative power to delay or subvert decisions taken by senior managers. They need legitimate power, hence the need for formal job descriptions, authorisation limits, and so on.
1.8.3 Interest groups
There are also formal interest groups; that is, groups which are perceived to represent the interests of their members. Such groups tend to wield greater power in conflict situations than their members as individuals. Examples include trade unions and occupational and professional groups.
1.8.4 Departmental power
The power exercised by individual departments will vary.
Some departments in the technostructure exercise power by the use of functional authority, for instance, by specifying procedures. Other departments are important as they deal with key strategic contingencies.
1.9 The manager’s role in organising work
|Managers have key roles in work planning, resource allocation and project management.|
1.9.1 Work planning
Work planning is the establishment of work methods and practices to ensure that predetermined objectives are efficiently met at all levels.
- Task sequencing or prioritisation ie considering tasks in order of importance for achieving objectives and meeting deadlines
- Scheduling or timetabling tasks, and allocating them to different individuals within appropriate time scales
- Establishing checks and controls to ensure that:
- Priority deadlines are being met and work is not ‘falling behind’
- Routine tasks are achieving their objectives
- Contingency plans: arrangements for what should be done if changes or problems occur, eg computer system failure or industrial action
- Some jobs (eg assembly line work) are entirely routine, and can be performed one step at a time, but for most people some kind of ongoing planning and adjustment will be required.
Co-ordinating the efforts of individuals: integrating plans and schedules so that data and work flows smoothly from one stage of an operation to another
1.9.2 Assessing where resources are most usefully allocated
In broad terms, managers and supervisors have access to the following resources, which can be allocated or deployed to further the unit’s objectives.
- Human resources: staff time and skills
- Material resources, including raw materials, equipment, machine time and office space
- Financial resources, within budget guidelines
The first three of these are sometimes called ‘the 4Ms’: Manpower, Machine capacity, Materials and Money.
A manager or supervisor may be responsible for allocating resources between:
(a) Different ways to achieve the same objective (eg to increase total profits, sell more – or cut costs)
(b) Competing areas, where total resources are limited
A piece of work will be high priority in the following cases.
- If it has to be completed by a certain time (ie a deadline)
- If other tasks depend on it
- If other people depend on it
- If it has an important potential consequence or impact
Routine priorities or regular peak times (eg tax returns) can be planned ahead of time, and other tasks planned around them.
Non-routine priorities occur when unexpected demands are made. Thus planning of work should cover routine scheduled peaks and contingency plans for unscheduled peaks and emergencies.
A project is ‘an undertaking that has a beginning and an end and is carried out to meet established goals within cost, schedule and quality objectives’. (Haynes, 1997).
The main difference between project planning and other types of planning is that a project is not generally a repetitive activity. Projects generally:
- Have specific start and end points
- Have well-defined objectives, cost and time schedules Cut across organisational and functional boundaries
The relocation of offices, the introduction of a new information system or the launch of a new product may be undertaken as a project. Other examples include building/capital projects, such as factory construction or bridge building.
1.9.4 Project management
The job of project management is to foresee as many contingencies as possible and to plan, organise, co-ordinate and control activities.
|Outline project planning||• Developing project targets such as overall costs or timescale (eg project should take 20 weeks)
• Dividing the project into activities (eg analysis, programming, testing) and placing these activities into the right sequence, often a complicated task if overlapping
• Developing the procedures and structures, managing the project (eg plan weekly team meetings, performance reviews)
|Detailed planning||Identifying the tasks and resource requirements; network analysis for scheduling|
|Teambuilding||The project manager has to meld the various people into an effective team|
|Communication||The project manager must let key project stakeholders know what is going on, and ensure that members of the project team are properly briefed|
|Co-ordinating project activities||Between the project team and clients/users, and other external parties (eg suppliers of hardware and software)|
|Monitoring and control||The project manager should determine causes of any departure from the plan, and take corrective measures|
|Problem resolution||Unforeseen problems may arise, and it falls on the project manager to sort them out, or to delegate the responsibility for doing so to a subordinate|
|2||Writers on management|
|The classical writers on management and organisation were largely concerned with efficiency.|
2.1 Henri Fayol: five functions of management
|Fayol was an administrator and proposed universal principles of organisation.|
Fayol was a French industrialist who put forward and popularised the concept of the ‘universality of management principles‘: in other words, the idea that all organisations could be structured and managed according to certain rational principles. Fayol himself recognised that applying such principles in practice was not simple: ‘Seldom do we have to apply the same principles twice in identical conditions; allowance must be made for different and changing circumstances.’
|Planning||Determining objectives, and strategies, policies, programmes and procedures for achieving those objectives, for the organisation and its sub-units|
|Organising||Establishing a structure of tasks which need to be performed to achieve the goals of the organisation; grouping these tasks into jobs for individuals or teams; allocating jobs to sections and departments; delegating authority to carry out the jobs; and providing systems of information and communication, for the co-ordination of activities|
|Commanding||Giving instructions to subordinates to carry out tasks, for which the manager has authority (to make decisions) and responsibility (for performance)|
|Co-ordinating||Harmonising the goals and activities of individuals and groups within the organisation. Management must reconcile differences in approach, effort, interest and timing in favour of overall (or ‘super-ordinate’) shared goals.|
|Controlling||Measuring and correcting the activities of individuals and groups, to ensure that their performance is in accordance with plans. Deviations from plans are identified and corrected|
Fayol (1967) classified five functions of management which apply to any organisation.
You may be struck by two key ‘omissions’ from Fayol’s classification, from a more modern viewpoint.
- ‘Motivating‘ is not mentioned. It is assumed that subordinates will carry out tasks when ‘commanded’ or instructed to do so, regardless of whether or how far they may ‘want’ to.
- ‘Communicating‘ is not mentioned, although it is implied by the process of commanding (giving instructions), co-ordinating (sharing information) and controlling (giving feedback).
Fayol’s classification reflects the classical view that saw the act of management as the controlling of resources and processes. The idea that management is an interpersonal process, involving communication and the ability to influence and motivate, is a more recent concept.
EXAM FOCUS POINT
Although Fayol’s ‘managerial functions’ may seem like a minor topic – and rather old-fashioned – it is a foundational model. The five functions are a helpful framework or starting point for discussing the nature of management and supervision – even if you prefer more modern alternatives such as Mintzberg’s more fluid managerial roles or more interpersonally-based interpretations (including ‘leadership’, discussed later in this chapter).
2 F W Taylor: scientific management
|Taylor was an engineer and sought the most efficient methods.|
Frederick W Taylor pioneered the scientific management movement in the US. He was among the first to argue that management should be based on ‘well-recognised, clearly defined and fixed principles, instead of depending on more or less hazy ideas.’ Taylor was a very skilled engineer and took an engineering efficiency approach to management.
The principles of scientific management (Taylor, 1911) include the following.
- The development of a true science of work. ‘All knowledge which had hitherto been kept in the heads of workmen should be gathered and recorded by management. Every single subject, large and small, becomes the question for scientific investigation, for reduction to law.’
- The scientific selection and progressive development of workers. Workers should be carefully trained and given jobs to which they are best suited.
- The application of techniques to plan, measure and control work for maximum productivity
- The constant and intimate co-operation between management and workers: ‘the relations between employers and men form without question the most important part of this art’ In practice, scientific management techniques included the following key elements.
- Work study techniques were used to analyse tasks and establish the most efficient methods to use. No variation was permitted in the way work was done, since the aim was to use the ‘one best way’.
- Scientific management as practised by Taylor and contemporaries such as Gilbreth and Gantt was very much about manual work. However, elements of scientific management are still practised today, whenever there is a concern for productivity and efficiency.
Planning and doing were separated. It was assumed that the persons who were intellectually equipped to do a particular type of work were probably unlikely to be able to plan it to the best advantage: this was the manager’s job.
- Jobs were micro-designed: divided into single, simple task components which formed a whole specialised ‘job’ for an individual, rather than permitting an individual to perform whole or parttask processes. (Task ‘meaning’ and ‘significance’, now considered essential to job satisfaction, had not yet emerged as important values.)
- Workers were paid incentives on the basis of acceptance of the new methods and output norms; the new methods greatly increased productivity and profits. Pay was assumed to be the only important motivating force.
It has been argued that elements of Taylorism – maximising managerial control through the micro-design of jobs, automation and close supervision – can be seen in the management of junior staff in businesses such as:
- Large fast-food franchises (such as McDonald’s).
- Call centres, where calls are scripted, timed and monitored – and (in some reported cases) staff must ask permission to leave the ‘floor’ to go to the toilet
2.3 Elton Mayo: human relations
|Mayo and his colleagues investigated individual and group behaviour at work, as a factor in productivity.|
In the 1920s, research began to show that managers needed to consider the complexity of human behaviour. It was recognised that an exclusive focus on technical competence (under scientific management) had resulted in social incompetence: managers were not taught how to manage people. At the same time, it emerged that being a ‘small cog in the machine’ was experienced as alienating and demoralising by workers – whatever the financial incentives offered. A more complex picture of human motivation began to emerge.
Elton Mayo was Professor of Industrial Research at the Harvard Business School. He was involved in a series of large-scale studies at the Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne works in Chicago between 1924 and 1932. These studies were originally firmly set in the context of scientific management in that they began with an experiment into the effect of lighting on work output. However, it rapidly became apparent that worker attitudes and group relationships were of greater importance in determining the levels of production achieved than the lighting itself.
An important element in the Hawthorne studies (Mayo, 1933) was the investigation of the dynamics of work groups. The group was very effective in enforcing its behavioural norms in such matters as ‘freezing out’ unpopular supervisors and restricting output. It was concluded that people are motivated at work by a variety of psychological needs, including social or ‘belonging’ needs. This became the basis of the human relations school of management theory.
2.3.1 Neo-human relations
The human relations approaches contributed an important awareness of the influence of the human factor at work (and particularly in the work group) on organisational performance. Most of its theorists attempted to offer guidelines to enable practising managers to satisfy and motivate employees and so (theoretically) to obtain the benefits of improved productivity.
Later writers focused on a wider variety of workers’ ‘higher-order’ needs, including the need for challenge, responsibility and personal development in the job. This became known as the neo-human relations school, which proposed important theories of motivation and job satisfaction.
However, the approach tends to emphasise the importance of work to the workers without really addressing the economic issues: there is still no proven link between job satisfaction and motivation, or either of these and productivity or the achievement of organisational goals, as we will see in Chapter 15.
2.4 Modern writers on management
|Subsequent writers have taken a more flexible view of what managers do.|
In the second half of the 20th century, writing on management became more diverse.
- The early emphasis on the organisation of work has been continued in the field of supervisory studies and the development of specific management techniques, such as project management. The search for efficiency continues in the field of work study and industrial engineering.
- Human relations theory has been enhanced by developments in the study of motivation, group and individual behaviour, leadership and other aspects of industrial psychology.
- There has been much new writing on the nature of the manager’s task: what it is to be a manager and what managers do, in increasingly complex and chaotic business environments.
2.5 Peter Drucker: the management process
|Drucker emphasised the economic objective of managers in businesses.|
Drucker argued that the manager of a business has one basic function – economic performance. In this respect, the business manager is different from the manager of any other type of organisation. Management can only justify its existence and its authority by the economic results it produces, even though as a consequence of its actions, significant non-economic results occur as well.
2.5.1 Management tasks
Drucker (1993) described the jobs of management within this basic function of economic performance as follows.
- Managing a business. The purposes of the business are to create a customer and innovation.
- Managing managers. The requirements here are:
- Management by objectives (or performance management)
- Proper structure of managers’ jobs
- Creating the right spirit (culture) in the organisation
- Making a provision for the managers of tomorrow (managerial succession)
- Arriving at sound principles of organisation structure
- Managing workers and work
2.5.2 Management processes
A manager’s performance in all areas of management, including management of the business, can be enhanced by a study of the principles of management, the acquisition of ‘organised knowledge’ (eg management techniques) and systematic self-assessment.
Drucker (1989) also grouped the work of the manager into five categories.
- Setting objectives for the organisation. Managers decide what the objectives of the organisation should be and quantify the targets of achievement for each objective. They must then communicate these targets to other people in the organisation.
- Organising the work. The work to be done in the organisation must be divided into manageable activities and manageable jobs. The jobs must be integrated into a formal organisation structure, and people must be selected to do the jobs.
- Motivating employees and communicating information to them to enable them to do their work.
- The job of measurement. Management must:
- Establish objectives or yardsticks of performance for all personnel
- Analyse actual performance, appraise it against the objectives or yardsticks which have been set, and analyse the comparison
- Communicate the findings and explain their significance both to subordinate employees and to superiors
- Developing people. The manager ‘brings out what is in them or he stifles them. He strengthens their integrity or he corrupts them’.
Every manager performs all five functions listed above, no matter how good or bad a manager they are.
However, a bad manager performs these functions badly, whereas a good manager performs them well. Unlike Fayol, Drucker emphasised the importance of communication in the functions of management.
2.6 Mintzberg: the manager’s role
|Mintzberg described managerial roles, arguing that management is a disjointed, non-systematic activity.|
Based on manager’s formal authority or position
|A large part of a Chief Executive’s time is spent representing the company at dinners, conferences, and so on.
Hiring, firing and training staff, motivating employees, and reconciling individual goals with the objectives of the organisation.
Making contacts outside the vertical chain of command. Some managers spend up to half their meeting time with their peers rather than with their subordinates.
Based on managers’ access to:
• Upward and downward channels
• Many external contacts
|The manager monitors the environment, and receives information from subordinates, superiors and peers in other departments. Much of this information is of an informal nature, derived from the manager’s network of contacts.
The manager provides information on behalf of the unit and/or organisation to interested parties.
The manager disseminates relevant information to subordinates.
Based on the manager’s formal authority and access to information, which allow him to take decisions relating to the work of the department as a whole.
|A manager initiates projects to improve the department or to help it react to a changed environment.
A manager has to respond to unexpected pressures, taking decisions when there is deviation from the plan.
A manager takes decisions relating to the mobilisation and distribution of limited resources to achieve objectives.
Both inside and outside the organisation, negotiation takes up a great deal of management time.
Henry Mintzberg (1989) did a study of a relatively small sample of US corporations to see how senior managers actually spend their time. He suggests that in their daily working lives managers fulfil three types of managerial role.
Mintzberg’s research challenged the classical view of the manager as separate to, or above, the routine demands of day-to-day work.
- Managers are not always able to be reflective, systematic planners.
- Managerial work is disjointed and discontinuous.
- Managers do have routine duties to perform, especially of a ceremonial nature (receiving important guests) or related to authority (signing cheques as a signatory) – contrary to the myth that all routine work is done by juniors.
- Managers prefer verbal and informal information to the formal output of management information systems. Verbal information is ‘hotter’ and probably easier to grasp.
- Management cannot be reduced to a science or a profession. According to Mintzberg, managerial processes cannot be analysed scientifically or codified into an examinable body of theory.
Mintzberg states that general management is, in practice, a matter of judgement and intuition, gained from experience in particular situations rather than from abstract principles. ‘Fragmentation and verbal communication’ characterise the manager’s work.
QUESTION Managerial roles
Who suggested that a primary managerial role is ‘developing people’?
A Handy C Herzberg B Taylor D Drucker
The correct answer is D. Drucker.
|3||Management and supervision|
There are different levels of management in most organisations. A finance department in an organisation might be headed by the finance director (A) supported by a chief financial accountant (B) and chief management accountant (C). Lower down in the hierarchy assistant accountants might report to (B) and (C).
|Supervision is the interface between the operational core (non-managerial workers) and management.|
3.1 The supervisor’s role
The supervisor is the lowest level of management, at the interface between managerial and nonmanagerial staff.
The key features of supervision are as follows.
- A supervisor is usually a front-line manager, dealing with the levels of the organisation where the bread-and-butter work is done. They will deal with matters such as staffing and health and safety at the day-to-day operational level, where a manager might deal with them at a policy-making level.
- A supervisor does not spend all their time on the managerial aspects of their job. Much of the time will be spent doing technical/operational work.
- A supervisor is a gatekeeper or filter for communication between managerial and non-managerial staff, both upward (conveying reports and suggestions) and downward (conveying policies, instructions and feedback).
- The supervisor monitors and controls work by means of day-to-day, frequent and detailed information: higher levels of management plan and control using longer-term, less frequent and less detailed information, which must be ‘edited’ or selected and reported by the supervisor.
Above the supervisor there may be several levels of management. Authority, responsibility and the timescale for decision-making all increase as the scalar chain is ascended. However, all managerial work may be considered to have some elements of similarity: it may be argued that supervisors carry out Fayol’s five functions of management at a lower level.
QUESTION Supervising work
Bert Close has decided to delegate the task of identifying the reasons for machine ‘down’ time (when machines are not working) over the past three months to Brenda Cartwright. This will involve her in talking to operators, foremen and supervisors and also liaising with other departments to establish the effects of this down time. What will Bert need to do to delegate this task effectively? List at least four items he will need to cover with Brenda.
- Identify task objectives
- Formats of reporting results
- Explain limits within which Brenda will work
- Progress monitoring
|4||What is leadership?|
|There are many different definitions of leadership. Key themes (which are also used to distinguish leadership from management) include: interpersonal influence; securing willing commitment to shared goals; creating direction and energy; and an orientation to change.|
Management and leadership
The terms ‘management’ and ‘leadership’ are often used interchangeably. In some cases, management skills and theories have simply been relabelled to reflect the more fashionable term. However, there have been many attempts to distinguish meaningfully between them. It has been suggested that leadership and management involve two distinct sets of action. Management is about coping with complexity: its functions are to do with logic, structure, analysis and control, and are aimed at producing order, consistency and predictability. Leadership, by contrast, is about coping with change: its activities include creating a sense of direction, communicating strategy, and energising, inspiring and motivating others to translate the vision into action.
Management can be exercised over resources, activities, projects and other essential non-personal things. Leadership can only be exercised over people.
- Key leadership skills
|Key leadership skills may be identified in a range of interpersonal and business areas.|
There are a range of business and managerial skills important to a good leader, including:
- Entrepreneurship: the ability to spot business opportunities and mobilise resources to capitalise on them
- Interpersonal skills, such as networking, rapport building, influencing, negotiating, conflict resolution, listening, counselling, coaching and communicating assertively
- Decision-making and problem-solving skills, including seeing the big picture
- Time management and personal organisation
- Self-development skills: the ability to learn continuously from experience, to grow in selfawareness and to exploit learning opportunities
4.3 Theories of leadership
|There are three basic schools of leadership theory: trait (‘qualities’) theories, style theories and contingency (including situational and functional) theories.|
|Trait theories||Based on analysing the personality characteristics or preferences of successful leaders|
|Style theories||Based on the view that leadership is an interpersonal process whereby different leader behaviours influence people in different ways. More or less effective patterns of behaviour (or ‘styles’) can therefore be adopted|
|Contingency theories||Based on the belief that there is no ‘one best way’ of leading, but that effective leaders adapt their behaviour to the specific and changing variables in the leadership context: the nature of the task, the personalities of team members, the organisation culture, and so on|
There are three basic ‘schools’ of leadership theory.
|5||Leadership skills and styles|
5.1 Trait or ‘qualities’ theories
|Early theories suggested that there are certain personal qualities common to ‘great men’ or successful leaders. In other words, ‘leaders are born, not made’.|
Various studies have attempted to determine exactly which qualities are essential in a leader. One American study cites the following.
| Judgement|| Initiative|| Integrity|| Foresight|
| Drive|| Human relations skill|| Decisiveness|| Dependability|
| Fairness|| Ambition|| Dedication|| Objectivity|
| Energy|| Emotional stability|| Co-operation|
Trait theory has been more or less discredited.
- The premise that certain traits (or qualities) are absolutely necessary for effective leadership has never been substantiated.
- The lists of traits proposed for leaders have been vast, varied and contradictory.
- Trait theories ignore the complexities of the leadership situation, and not everybody with leadership ‘traits’ turns out to be a good leader.
5.2 Style theories of leadership
|Leadership styles are clusters of leadership behaviour that are used in different ways in different situations. While there are many different classifications of style, they mainly relate to the extent to which the leader is focused primarily on task/performance (directive behaviour) or relationships/people (supportive behaviour). Key style models include:
• The Ashridge Model: tells, sells, consults, joins
• Blake and Mouton‘s Managerial Grid: concern for task, concern for people
There are various classifications of leadership style. Although the labels and definitions of styles vary, style models are often talking (broadly) about the same thing – a continuum of behaviours from:
- Wholly task-focused, directive leadership behaviours (representing high leader control) at one extreme, and
- Wholly people-focused, supportive/relational leadership behaviours (representing high subordinate discretion) at the other
5.2.1 The Ashridge Management College model
The Research Unit at Ashridge Management College distinguished four different management styles (Goold and Campbell, 1988). (These are outlined, with their strengths and weaknesses, in the following table.) The researchers labelled their styles:
- Tells (autocratic)
The ‘tells’ style is where the leader makes all of the decisions and issues instructions which must be obeyed without question. Quick decisions can be made when speed is required but it does not encourage initiative and commitment from subordinates.
- Sells (persuasive)
This style is where the leader still makes all of the decisions but believes that subordinates have to be motivated to accept them and carry them out properly. Employees are made aware of the reasons for decisions but they may not accept the decisions.
This style is where the leader confers with subordinates and takes their views into account but retains the final say. This encourages motivation and employees can contribute their knowledge but it may take much longer to reach decisions.
- Joins (democratic)
This style is where the leader and followers make the decision on the basis of consensus. This can provide high motivation and commitment from employees but decision-making might become a very long process.
The Ashridge studies found that:
- In an ideal world, subordinates preferred the ‘consults’ style of leadership.
- People led by a ‘consults’ manager had the most favourable attitude to their work.
- Most subordinates feel they are being led by a ‘tells’ or ‘sells’ manager.
- In practice, consistency was far more important to subordinates than any particular style. The least favourable attitudes were found among subordinates who were unable to perceive any consistent style of leadership in their superiors.
QUESTION Styles of leadership
Suggest an appropriate style of leadership for each of the following situations. Think about your reasons for choosing each style in terms of the results you are trying to achieve, the need to secure commitment from others, and potential difficulties with both.
- Due to external factors, the budget for your department has been reduced and 25% of your staff must be made redundant. Records of each employee’s performance are available.
- There is a recurring administrative problem which is minor, but irritating to everyone in your department. Several solutions have been tried in the past, but without success. You think you have a remedy which will work, but unknown problems may arise, depending on the decisions made.
- You may have to ‘tell’ here: nobody is going to like the idea and, since each person will have their own interests at heart, you are unlikely to reach consensus. You could attempt to ‘sell’, if you can see a positive side to the change in particular cases: opportunities for retraining, say.
- You could ‘consult’ here: explain your remedy to staff and see whether they can suggest potential problems. They may be in a position to offer solutions – and, since the problem affects them too, they should be committed to solving it.
5.2.2 Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid
Robert Blake and Jane Mouton (1964) carried out research (The Ohio State Leadership Studies) into managerial behaviour and observed two basic dimensions of leadership: concern for production (or task performance) and concern for people.
Along each of these two dimensions, managers could be located at any point on a continuum from very low to very high concern. Blake and Mouton observed that the two concerns did not seem to correlate, positively or negatively: a high concern in one dimension, for example, did not seem to imply a high or low concern in the other dimension. Individual managers could therefore reflect various permutations of task/people concern.
Blake and Mouton modelled these permutations as a grid. One axis represented concern for people, and the other concern for production. Blake and Mouton allotted nine points to each axis, from 1 (low) to 9 (high).
A questionnaire was designed to enable users to analyse and plot the positions of individual respondents on the grid. This was to be used as a means of analysing individuals’ managerial styles and areas of weakness or ‘unbalance’, for the purposes of management development.
The managerial grid
The extreme cases shown on the grid are:
- 1 impoverished: the manager is lazy, showing little interest in either staff or work.
- 9 country club: the manager is attentive to staff needs and has developed satisfying relationships. However, there is little attention paid to achieving results.
- 1 task management: almost total concentration on achieving results. People’s needs are virtually ignored.
- 5 middle of the road or the dampened pendulum: adequate performance through balancing (or switching between) the necessity to get out work with team morale.
- 9 team: high work accomplishment through ‘leading’ committed people who identify themselves with the organisational aims.
The managerial grid was intended as an appraisal and management development tool. It recognises that a balance is required between concern for task and concern for people, and that a high degree of both is possible (and highly effective) at the same time.
5.2.3 Evaluating the managerial grid
The grid thus offers a number of useful insights for the identification of management training and development needs. It shows in an easily assimilated form where the behaviour and assumptions of a manager may exhibit a lack of balance between the dimensions and/or a low degree of concern in either dimension or both. It may also be used in team member selection, so that a 1.9 team leader is balanced by a 9.1 co-leader, for example.
However, the grid is a simplified model, and as such has practical limitations.
- It assumes that 9.9 is the desirable model for effective leadership. In some managerial contexts, this may not be so. Concern for people, for example, would not be necessary in a context of comprehensive automation: compliance is all that would be required.
- It is open to oversimplification. Scores can appear polarised, with judgements attached about individual managers’ suitability or performance. The grid is intended as a simplified ‘snapshot’ of a manager’s preferred style, not a comprehensive description of their performance.
- Organisational context and culture, technology and other ‘givens’ (Handy) influence the manager’s style of leadership, not just the two dimensions described by the grid.
- Any managerial theory is only useful in so far as it is useable in practice by managers: if the grid is used only to inform managers that they ‘must acquire greater concern for people’, it may result in stress, uncertainty and inconsistent behaviour.
Here are some statements about a manager’s approach to meetings. Which position on Blake and Mouton’s grid do you think each might represent?
- I attend because it is expected. I either go along with the majority position or avoid expressing my views.
- I try to come up with good ideas and push for a decision as soon as I can get a majority behind me. I don’t mind stepping on people if it helps a sound decision.
- I like to be able to support what my boss wants and to recognise the merits of individual effort.
When conflict rises, I do a good job of restoring harmony.
(a) 1.1: low task, low people (c) 1.9: high people, low task (b) 9.1: high task, low people
5.2.4 Limitations of style approaches
Perhaps the most important criticism of the style approach is that it does not consider all the variables that contribute to the practice of effective leadership.
- The manager’s personality (or ‘acting’ ability) may simply not be flexible enough to utilise different styles effectively.
- The demands of the task, technology, organisation culture and other managers constrain the leader in the range of styles effectively open to them. (If their own boss practices an authoritarian style, and the team are incompetent and require close supervision, no amount of theorising on the desirability of participative management will make it possible …)
- Consistency is important to subordinates. If a manager adapts their style to changing situations, they may simply perceive him to be fickle, or may suffer insecurity and stress.
In practice, it is often noted that there is no simple solution that an individual manager can use to decide which style to adopt to be most effective.
It is the consideration of this wide set of variables that has led to the development of the contingency approach to leadership.
5.3 Contingency approaches to leadership
In essence, contingency theory sees effective leadership as being dependent on a number of variable or contingent factors. There is no one right way to lead that will fit all situations. The ability of a manager to be a leader, and to influence their subordinate work group, depends on the particular situation and will vary from case to case.
5.3.1 F E Fiedler
Perhaps the leading advocate of contingency theory is Fiedler (1967). He carried out extensive research on the nature of leadership and found that people become leaders partly because of their own attributes and partly because of their situation. He studied the relationship between style of leadership and the effectiveness of the work group and identified two types of leader.
- Psychologically distant managers (PDMs) maintain distance from their subordinates.
- They formalise the roles and relationships between themselves and their superiors and subordinates.
- They choose to be withdrawn and reserved in their interpersonal relationships within the organisation (despite having good interpersonal skills).
- They prefer formal consultation methods rather than seeking the opinions of their staff informally.
PDMs judge subordinates on the basis of performance, and are primarily task oriented: Fiedler found that leaders of the most effective work groups tend to be PDMs.
Fiedler also argued that the leadership style adopted is relatively stable, and a feature of a leader’s personality that could therefore be predicted.
- Psychologically close managers (PCMs) are closer to their subordinates.
- They do not seek to formalise roles and relationships with superiors and subordinates.
- They are more concerned about maintaining good human relationships at work than ensuring that tasks are carried out efficiently.
- They prefer informal contacts to regular formal staff meetings.
Fiedler suggested that the effectiveness of a work group depended on the situation, made up of three key variables.
- The relationship between the leader and the group (trust, respect, and so on)
- The extent to which the task is defined and structured
- The power of the leader in relation to the group (authority, and power to reward and punish) A situation is favourable to the leader when:
- The leader is liked and trusted by the group
- The tasks of the group are clearly defined and unambiguous
- The position power of the leader (ie to reward and punish with organisation backing) is high Fiedler suggested that:
- A structured (or psychologically distant) style works best when the situation is either very favourable, or very unfavourable to the leader.
- A supportive (or psychologically close) style works best when the situation is moderately favourable to the leader.
- ‘Group performance will be contingent upon the appropriate matching of leadership styles and the degree of favourableness of the group situation for the leader.’ (Fiedler) This is summed up in the diagram below.
John Adair: action-centred leadership
The ‘action-centred’ or ‘functional’ leadership model (Adair, 1973) is part of the contingency school of thought, because it sees the leadership process in a context made up of three interrelated variables: task needs, the individual needs of group members and the needs of the group as a whole. These needs must be examined in the light of the whole situation, which dictates the relative priority that must be given to each of the three sets of needs. Effective leadership is a process of identifying and acting on that priority, exercising a relevant cluster of roles to meet the various needs.
Adair argued that the common perception of leadership as ‘decision-making’ was inadequate to describe the range of action required by this complex situation. He developed a scheme of leadership training based on precept and practice in each of eight leadership ‘activities’ which are applied to task, team and individual: hence, the ‘action-centred leadership‘ model.
- Defining the task
- Setting an example
5.3.3 Bennis: the distinction between management and leadership
Warren Bennis puts forward some specific differences between the role of the manager and the role of the leader.
- The manager administers and maintains, by focusing on systems and controls and the short term.
- The leader innovates, focuses on people and inspires trust, and holds a long-term view.
As a further distinction, Bennis distinguishes between the manager as someone who ‘does things right’ and the leader who ‘does the right thing’.
Bennis studied leadership by examining leaders of every description in the hope of finding some common characteristics and concluded that there is no one right way to lead, but it does set out common competencies displayed by leaders. Bennis (1985) calls them:
- The management of attention: a compelling cause or vision, to give focus
- The management of meaning: the ability to communicate
- The management of trust: being consistent and honest
- The management of self: being aware of personal weaknesses and strengths Other tasks of the leader that Bennis sees as important are:
- Constantly reminding people why their work is important
- Creating an atmosphere of trust
- Encouraging curiosity and risk taking in the organisation culture
- Fostering an atmosphere of ‘hope’ which can be particularly helpful when things go wrong
Bennis believes that leadership in the modern age is a shared task, with power spread around rather than centralised. It could be that the most important role of modern leaders is deciding who will be in their teams.
5.3.4 Heifetz: dispersed leadership
This approach recognises the importance of social relations, the need for a leader to be accepted and the fact that nobody will be an ideal leader in every circumstance. Also referred to as ‘informal’ or ’emergent’, it proposes that individuals at all organisational levels can exert a ‘leadership influence’.
Heifetz (1994) distinguishes between the exercise of ‘leadership’ and the exercise of ‘authority’. This separates leadership from the formal organisational hierarchy and traditional positions of ‘power’. The leader can only be identified by examining relationships with the ‘followers’ in the group – they could quite easily be someone who ’emerges’, rather than someone who has been predefined as the leader from the outset.
This approach is more sociological and political in its basis than traditional management thinking, drawing as it does upon the prevailing organisational culture and context. A leader’s individual qualities are less important than the leadership process, and the relationships created and sustained within it.
5.3.5 An appraisal of contingency theory
Contingency theory usefully makes people aware of the factors affecting the choice of leadership style. However, Schein has pointed out that:
- Key variables such as task structure, power and relationships are difficult to measure in practice.
- Contingency theories do not always take into account the need for the leader to have technical competence relevant to the task.
Perhaps the major difficulty for any leader seeking to apply contingency theory, however, is actually to modify their behaviour as the situation changes.
|N||Management is responsible for using the organisation’s resources to meet its goals. It is accountable to the owners: shareholders in a business, or government in the public sector.|
|It is the role of the manager to take responsibility and organise people to get things done. This involves the use of authority and power and implies a hierarchy in which power is delegated downwards while accountability is rendered upwards.
Authority is the decision-making discretion given to a manager, while responsibility is the obligation to perform duties. Sufficient authority should be granted to permit the efficient discharge of the appointed responsibility. Delegation is essential wherever there is a hierarchy of management. Power is the ability to do something whereas authority is the right to do something; expert power is possessed by those acknowledged as experts.
|N||Managers have key roles in work planning, resource allocation and project management.|
|N||The classical writers on management and organisation were largely concerned with efficiency.|
|N||Fayol was an administrator and proposed universal principles of organisation.|
|N||Taylor was an engineer and sought the most efficient methods.|
|N||Mayo and his colleagues investigated individual and group behaviour at work as a factor in productivity.|
|N||Subsequent writers have taken a more flexible view of what managers do.|
|N||Drucker emphasised the economic objective of managers in businesses.|
|N||Mintzberg described managerial roles, arguing that management is a disjointed, non-systematic activity.|
|N||Supervision is the interface between the operational core (non-managerial workers) and management.|
|N||There are many different definitions of leadership. Key themes (which are also used to distinguish leadership from management) include: interpersonal influence; securing willing commitment to shared goals; creating direction and energy; and an orientation to change.|
|N||Key leadership skills may be identified in a range of interpersonal and business areas.|
|N||There are three basic schools of leadership theory: trait (‘qualities’) theories, style theories and contingency (including situational and functional) theories.|
|N||Early theories suggested that there are certain personal qualities common to ‘great men’ or successful leaders. In other words, ‘leaders are born, not made’.|
|Leadership styles are clusters of leadership behaviour that are used in different ways in different situations. While there are many different classifications of style, they mainly relate to the extent to which the leader is focused primarily on task/performance (directive behaviour) or relationships/people (supportive behaviour). Key style models include:
– The Ashridge Model: tells, sells, consults, joins
– Blake and Mouton‘s Managerial Grid: concern for task, concern for people
|Leaders need to adapt their style to the needs of the team and situation. This is the basis of contingency approaches such as:
– Fiedler‘s ‘psychologically close’ and ‘psychologically distant’ styles
– John Adair‘s ‘action-centred’ leadership model – based on ‘situations’ or ‘functions’
- Which of the following is not one of Fayol’s five functions of management?
- Commanding C Communicating B Controlling D Co-ordinating
- Who argued that management should be based on ‘well-recognised, clearly defined and fixed principles, instead of depending on more or less hazy ideas’?
- Fayol C Adair
- Taylor D Fielder
- The Hawthorne studies found that individual attitudes and group relationships help determine the level of output. True or false?
- The overriding responsibility of the management of a business, according to Drucker, is employee development. True or false?
- What managerial roles did Mintzberg describe and what categories did he group them into?
- Is the statement below true or false?
‘Frederick Taylor, despite his engineering background, was primarily concerned with the satisfaction workers obtained from their jobs.’
- Which of the following is not one of the interpersonal roles of managers identified by Henry Mintzberg?
- Handling disturbances
- Reconciling individual needs with the requirements of the organisation
- Training staff
- Liaising outside the scalar chain
- Complete the statement below using one of the words in the list given in brackets.
‘…………………………….. authority cuts across departmental boundaries and enables managers to take decisions that affect staff in departments other than their own.’
(managerial, line, staff, functional, financial, formal)
- A ‘manager’ might also be identified as a transformational leader. True or false?
- If a manager confers with subordinates, takes their views and feelings into account, but retains the right to make a final decision, this is a:
- Tells style C Consults style B Sells style D Joins style
- What is the most effective style suggested by Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid? Why is it so effective in theory, and why might it not be effective in practice?
- John Adair formulated the:
- Best fit model of leadership C
- Follower-readiness model of leadership B
- Action-centred model of leadership D
- Trait theory of leadership
- C Communicating
- B Taylor pioneered the scientific management movement in the USA.
- It was concluded that people are motivated at work by a variety of psychological needs, including social or ‘belonging’ needs.
- The overriding responsibility is economic performance.
- Category Roles
Interpersonal: Figurehead; leader; liaison
Informational: Monitor; spokesperson; disseminator
Decisional: Entrepreneur; disturbance handler; resource allocator; negotiator
- Taylor was entirely concerned with engineering efficiency and believed that the increases in pay that ensued from the adoption of his method should be sufficiently motivating for any good worker.
- A This is a decisional role. The ‘disturbances’ referred to are unpredictable situations that require managerial input to resolve.
- Management is identified with ‘transactional’ leadership.
- C Make sure you can define the other styles as well.
- 9. It is effective if there is sufficient time and resources to attend fully to people’s needs, if the manager is good at dealing with people and if the people respond. It is ineffective when a task has to be completed in a certain way or by a certain deadline, whether or not people like it
- B (You should be able to identify A as the work of Handy, and C as the work of Hersey and Blanchard.)
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
12Recruitment and selection
Recruitment and selection (Section 1) are two core activities in the
field of Human Resource Management (HRM). Together, they are
broadly aimed at ensuring that the organisation has the human
resources (labour and skills) it needs, when it needs them, in order to
fulfil its objectives.
In this chapter, we look at the process of recruitment (Sections 2
and 3), which is about obtaining candidates and advertising the
vacancy in the labour market (Section 4).
We then go on to cover the process of selection, which is about
deciding which of the applicants is the right candidate. Once
candidates have applied, there needs to be a systematic process to
separate out those who are most suitable for the job (Section 5).
In Sections 6 to 9, we examine a range of selection tools. Interviews
are the most popular – but not necessarily the most effective in their
ability to predict future job performance! Organisations are
increasingly using ‘back-up’ methods such as tests and group
In Section 10, we complete the planning and control cycle by
suggesting how a manager might evaluate the effectiveness of the
recruitment and selection process – and what might be done to
improve it where necessary.
Bear in mind what these procedures are designed to do: identify the
best person for the job and ensure fair treatment for all potential
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D2 Recruitment and selection of employees
(a) Explain the importance of effective recruitment and selection to the organisation.
|(b) Describe the recruitment and selection process and explain the stages in this process.||K|
|(c) Describe the roles of those involved in the recruitment and selection processes.||K|
|(d) Describe the methods through which organisations seek to meet their recruitment needs.||K|
|(e) Explain the advantages and disadvantages of different recruitment and selection methods.||K|
|1||Recruitment and selection|
The process of recruitment should be part of the organisation’s human resource plan. People are a major organisational resource and must be managed as such.
1.1 Overview of recruitment and selection
|Effective recruitment practices ensure that a firm has enough people with the right skills.|
This process can be broken down into three main stages.
The overall aim of the recruitment and selection process in an organisation is to obtain the quantity and quality of employees required to fulfil the objectives of the organisation.
- Defining requirements, including the preparation of job descriptions, job specifications and person specifications (or personnel specifications).
- Attracting applicants, including the evaluation and use of various methods for reaching appropriate sources of labour (both within and outside the organisation).
- Selecting the appropriate candidates for the job, or the appropriate job for the candidate.
- Recruitment is the part of the process concerned with finding applicants: it is a positive action by management, going into the labour market (internal and external), communicating opportunities and information, and generating interest.
- Selection is the part of the employee resourcing process which involves choosing between applicants for jobs: it is largely a ‘negative’ process, eliminating unsuitable applicants.
In times of low unemployment, employers have to compete to attract desirable categories of labour. In times of high unemployment, and therefore plentiful supply the problem is not in attracting candidates, but in deciding the best way to select them. In times of low demand for labour, however, socially responsible employers may have the additional policy of using existing staff (internal recruitment) rather than recruiting from outside, in order to downsize staff levels through natural wastage and redeployment.
1.2 The importance of recruitment and selection
The founding belief of the human resources management (HRM) approach is that employees represent a scarce and crucial resource which must be obtained, retained, developed and mobilised for organisational success.
- Recruitment (and training) issues are central to the business strategy.
- Organisations need to deploy skills in order to succeed. Although the labour market might seem a ‘buyer’s market’, in practice there are:
- Skill shortages in key sectors (eg computing services) and local areas
- Mismatches between available skill supply and the demands of particular markets and organisations
Even in conditions of high overall employment, particular skill shortages still exist and may indeed be more acute because of recessionary pressures on education and training. Engineers and software designers, among other specialist and highly trained groups, are the target of fierce competition among employers, forcing a revaluation of recruitment and retention policies.
|2||Responsibility for recruitment and selection|
|The recruitment process involves personnel specialists and line managers, sometimes with the help of recruitment consultants.|
The people involved in recruitment and selection vary from organisation to organisation.
- Senior managers
Senior managers/directors may be involved in recruiting people – from within or outside the organisation – for senior positions, or in authorising key appointments. For most other positions, they will not be directly involved. However, they are responsible for human resources (HR) planning: identifying the overall skill needs of the organisation, and the types of people it wishes to employ (perhaps as part of the corporate mission statement).
- The human resources department
Some firms employ specialists to manage their recruitment and other human resources (HR) activities, often under the authority of the human resources manager.
The role of the HR function in recruitment and selection may include:
- Assessing needs for human resources (HR planning)
- Maintaining records of people employed
- Keeping in touch with trends in the labour market
- Advertising for new employees
- Ensuring the organisation complies with equal opportunities and other legislation
- Designing application forms
- Liaising with recruitment consultants
- Preliminary interviews and selection testing
2.3 Line managers
In many cases the recruit’s prospective boss will be involved in the recruitment.
- In a small business they might have sole responsibility for recruitment.
- In larger organisations, line managers may be responsible for:
- Asking for more human resources: notifying vacancies or issuing a job requisition
- Advising on skill requirements and attributes required
- Selection interviewing (perhaps collaborating with HR specialists)
- Having a final say in the selection decision
The current trend is towards devolving recruitment and selection (among other Human Resource Management activities) increasingly to line management.
2.4 Recruitment consultants
Specialist recruitment consultants or agencies may be contracted to perform some recruitment tasks on the organisation’s behalf, including:
- Analysing, or being informed of, the requirements
- Helping to draw up, or offering advice on, job descriptions, person specifications and other recruitment and selection aids
- Designing job advertisements (or using other, informal methods and contacts, eg by ‘head hunting’)
- Screening applications, so that those most obviously unsuitable are weeded out immediately
- Helping with shortlisting for interview
2.4.1 Factors in the outsourcing decision
Advising on, or conducting, first-round interviews
- Offering a list of suitable candidates with notes and recommendations
The decision of whether or not to use consultants will depend on a number of factors.
- The level of expertise, specialist knowledge and contacts which the consultant can bring to the process
- The level of recruitment expertise available within the organisation
- Whether there is a need for impartiality which can only be filled by an outsider trained in objective assessment; if fresh blood is desired in the organisation, it may be a mistake to have insiders selecting clones of the common organisational type
- Whether the use of an outside agent will be supported or resented/rejected by in-house staff
- Whether the organisation culture supports in-house staff in making HR decisions (consultants are not tied by status or rank and can discuss problems freely at all levels)
- Time; consultants will need to learn about the vacancy, the organisation and its requirements
- Supply of labour; if there is a large and reasonably accessible pool of labour from which to fill a post, consultants will be less valuable, and if the vacancy is a standard one, and there are ready channels for reaching labour (such as professional journals), the use of specialists may not be cost effective
|3||The recruitment process|
|Recruitment is a systematic process of (a) identifying and defining skill needs and (b) attracting suitably skilled candidates.|
3.1 A systematic approach
The recruitment process is part of a wider whole.
- Detailed human resource planning defines what resources the organisation needs to meet its objectives, and what sources of labour (internal and external) are available. The organisation’s skill requirements may be met through recruitment – but there may also be plans for reducing staff numbers, redeployment, training and development, promotion, retention (to reduce loss of skills through staff turnover), and so on.
- Job analysis produces two outputs.
- A job description: a statement of the component tasks, duties, objectives and standards involved in a job
- A person specification: a reworking of the job description in terms of the kind of person needed to perform the job
- Recruitment as such begins with the identification of vacancies, from the requirements of the human resource plan or by a job requisition from a department that has a vacancy.
- Preparation and publication of recruitment advertising will have three aims.
- Recruitment merges into selection when processing applications and assessing candidates.
Attract the attention and interest of potentially suitable candidates.
- Give a favourable (but accurate) impression of the job and the organisation.
- Equip those interested to make an appropriate application (how and to whom to apply, desired skills, qualifications, and so on).
- Notifying applicants of the results of the selection process is the final stage of the combined recruitment and selection process.
3.2 Job analysis, competences and job design
3.2.1 Job analysis
|Job analysis determines the requirement for a job. The job’s tasks are set out in a job description. A job specification describes the skills or competences required for the job. A person specification describes the sort of person suitable for the job.|
The management of the organisation needs to analyse the sort of work needed to be done in order to recruit effectively. The type of information needed is outlined below.
|Type of information||Comments|
|Purpose of the job||This might seem obvious. As an accountant, you will be expected to analyse, prepare or provide financial information; but this has to be set in the context of the organisation as a whole.|
|Content of the job||The tasks you are expected to do. If the purpose of the job is to ensure, for example, that people get paid on time, the tasks involve include many activities related to payroll.|
|Accountabilities||These are the results for which you are responsible. In practice they might be phrased in the same way as a description of a task.|
|Performance criteria||These are the criteria which measure how good you are at the job. These are largely task related.|
|Responsibility||This denotes the importance of the job. For example, a person running a department and taking decisions involving large amounts of money is more responsible that someone who only does what they are told.|
|Type of information||Comments|
|Organisational factors||Who does the jobholder report to directly (line manager)?|
|Developmental factors||Likely promotion paths, if any, and career prospects. Some jobs are ‘dead-end’ if they lead nowhere.|
|Environmental factors||These include working conditions, security and safety issues and equipment.|
A current approach to job design is the development and outlining of competences.
A person’s competence is ‘ capacity that leads to behaviour that meets the job demands within the parameters of the organisational environment and that, in turn, brings about desired results’.
Some take this further and suggest that a competence embodies the ability to transfer skills and knowledge to new situations within the occupational area.
Different sorts of competences
- Behavioural/personal competences are underlying personal characteristics and behaviour required for successful performance; for example, ‘ability to relate well to others’. Most jobs require people to be good communicators.
- Work-based/occupational competences are ‘expectations of workplace performance and the outputs and standards people in specific roles are expected to obtain’. This approach is used in NVQ systems. They cover what people have to do to achieve the results of the job. For example, a competence for a Chartered Certified Accountant might be to ‘produce financial and other statements and report to management’.
- Generic competences can apply to all people in an occupation.
Some competences for managers are shown in the following table.
|Intellectual||• Strategic perspective
• Analytical judgement
• Planning and organising
|Interpersonal||• Managing staff Interpersonal sensitivity
• Persuasiveness Oral communication
• Assertiveness and decisiveness
• Coping with change
• Motivation to achievement
• Business sense
These competences can be elaborated by identifying positive and negative indicators.
3.2.3 Job design
Parameters of job design (Mintzberg, 1979).
- Job specialisation
- How many different tasks are contained in the jobs and how broad and narrow are these tasks? The task may be determined by operations management. Until recently, there has
been a trend towards narrow specialisation, reinforced perhaps by demarcations laid down by trade unions. On the production line, a worker did the same task all the time. Modern techniques, however, require workers to be multi-skilled.
- To what extent does the worker have control over the work? At one extreme (‘scientific management’) the worker has little control over the work. At the other extreme (eg an electrician) the worker controls the task.
- Regulation of behaviour. Co-ordination requires that organisations formalise behaviour so as to predict and control it.
- Training in skills and indoctrination in organisational values.
Belbin (1997) described a way of tailoring job design to delayered, team-based structures and flexible working systems.
- Flattened delayered hierarchies lead to greater flexibility but also to uncertainty and sometimes to a loss of control.
- Old hierarchies tended to be clearer in establishing responsibilities.
3.2.4 Job description
A job descriptionsets out the purpose of the job, where it fits in the organisation structure, the context of the job, the accountabilities of the job and the main tasks the holder carries out.
Purposes of job descriptions
|Organisational||Defines the job’s place in the organisational structure|
|Recruitment||Provides information for identifying the sort of person needed (person specification)|
|Legal||Provides the basis for a contract of employment|
|Performance||Performance objectives can be set around the job description|
Contents of a job description
- Job title (eg Assistant Financial Controller). This indicates the function/department in which the job is performed, and the level of job within that function.
- Reporting to (eg the Assistant Financial Controller reports to the Financial Controller); in other words, the person’s immediate boss (no other relationships are suggested here)
- Subordinates directly reporting to the job holder
- Overall purpose of the job, distinguishing it from other jobs
- Principal accountabilities or main tasks
- Group the main activities into a number of broad areas.
- Define each activity as a statement of accountability: what the job holder is expected to achieve (eg tests new system to ensure they meet agreed systems specifications).
- The current fashion for multi-skilling means that flexibility is expected.
3.2.5 Role definitions
Whereas a job is a group of tasks, a role is more than this. A role is a part played by people in meeting their objectives by working competently and flexibly within the context of the organisation’s objectives, structures and processes. A role definition is wider than a job description. It is less concerned with the details of the job content, but how people interpret the job.
3.2.6 Person specification
Possible areas the specification may cover include:
| Personal skills|| Motivation|
| Qualifications Innate ability|| Personality|
3.2.7 Rodger’s Seven-point plan
Rodger (1952) devised a framework for the selection process that includes seven points.
|Physical make-up||Strength, appearance, health|
|Attainments||Qualifications, career achievements|
|General intelligence||Average, above average|
|Special aptitudes||Manual dexterity, mental sharpness|
|Circumstances||Location, car owner|
The following diagram shows recruitment activities in more detail.
The Recruitment Process
|Detailed procedures for recruitment should only be devised and implemented in the context of a fair, consistent and coherent policy, or code of conduct.|
A typical recruitment policy might deal with:
- Internal advertisement of vacancies, where possible
- Efficient and courteous processing of applications
- Fair and accurate provision of information to potential recruits
- Selection of candidates on the basis of suitability, without discrimination
Detailed procedures should be devised in order to make recruitment activity systematic and consistent throughout the organisation (especially where it is decentralised in the hands of line managers). Apart from the human resourcing requirements which need to be effectively and efficiently met, there is a marketing aspect to recruitment, as one ‘interface’ between the organisation and the outside world: applicants who feel they have been unfairly treated, or recruits who leave because they feel they have been misled, do not enhance the organisation’s reputation in the labour market or the world at large.
3.4 Recruit or promote?
|A recruitment policy should cover such areas as the factors to be considered when deciding whether to recruit someone from outside or to promote or transfer someone from the existing workforce instead.|
Some of the factors to be considered in this decision are as follows.
4 Advertising vacancies Job advertising is aimed at attracting quality applicants and aiding self-selection.
Availability in the current staff of the skills and attributes required to fill the vacancy. If the lead time to develop current staff to ‘fit’ the vacancy is too long, there may be no immediate alternative to external recruitment.
- Availability in the external labour pool of the skills and attributes required. Where there are skill shortages, it may be necessary to develop them within the organisation.
- Accuracy of selection decisions. Management will be familiar with an internal promotee and their performance. An outside recruit will be a relatively unknown quantity and the organisation will be taking a greater risk attempting to predict job performance.
- Time for induction. An internal promotee has already worked within the organisation and will be familiar with its culture, structures, systems and procedures, objectives and other personnel. This gives a head start for performance in the new position. An external recruit may have to undergo a period of induction before performing effectively.
- Staff development. Internal promotion is evidence of the organisation’s willingness to develop people’s careers, which may build morale (and avoid resentments). It may also be part of a systematic succession plan which maintains managerial continuity and individual performance improvement over time.
- Fresh blood. Insiders may be too socialised into the prevailing culture to see faults or be willing to change. Organisations in fast-changing and innovative fields may require new people with wider views, fresh ideas and competitor experience.
The object of recruitment advertising is to attract suitable candidates and deter unsuitable candidates.
4.1 Qualities of a good job advertisement
Job advertisements should be:
- Concise, but comprehensive enough to be an accurate description of the job, its rewards and requirements
- Attractive to the maximum number of the right people
- Positive and honest about the organisation; disappointed expectations will be a prime source of dissatisfaction when an applicant actually comes into contact with the organisation
- Relevant and appropriate to the job and the applicant; skills, qualifications and special aptitudes required should be prominently set out, along with special features of the job that might attract – or indeed deter – applicants, such as shiftwork or extensive travel
4.2 Contents of a job advertisement
Typical contents of an advertisement targeted at external job seekers would include information about:
- The organisation: its main business and location, at least
- The job: title, main duties and responsibilities and special features
- Conditions: special factors affecting the job
- Qualifications and experience (required, and preferred); other attributes, aptitudes and/or knowledge required
- Rewards: salary, benefits, opportunities for training, career development, and so on
- Application process: how to apply, to whom, and by what date
4.3 Advertising media
It should encourage a degree of self-selection, so that the target population begins to narrow itself down. The information contained in the advertisement should deter unsuitable applicants as well as encourage potentially suitable ones.
|A number of print, electronic and interpersonal media are used for job advertising.|
Media for recruitment advertising include the following.
- In-house magazine, noticeboards, email or intranet. An organisation might invite applications from employees who would like a transfer or a promotion to the particular vacancy advertised, from within the internal labour pool.
- Professional and specialist newspapers or magazines, such as Accountancy Age, Marketing Week or
- National newspapers: often used for senior management jobs or vacancies for skilled workers, where potential applicants will not necessarily be found through local advertising.
- Local newspapers: suitable for jobs where applicants are sought from the local area.
- Local radio, television and cinema. These are becoming increasingly popular, especially for largescale campaigns for large numbers of vacancies.
- Job centres. Vacancies for unskilled work (rather than skilled work or management jobs) are advertised through local job centres, although in theory any type of job can be advertised here.
- School and university careers offices. Ideally, the manager responsible for recruitment in an area should try to maintain a close liaison with careers officers. Some large organisations organise special meetings or careers fairs in universities and colleges, as a kind of showcase for the organisation and the careers it offers.
- The internet. Many businesses advertise vacancies on their websites, or register vacancies with online databases. The advantages of ‘e-recruitment‘ include:
- Large audience, reached at low cost
- Interactivity with links to information, downloadable application forms, email contacts, and so on
- Pre-selection of people with internet skills
|The choice of advertising medium depends on such criteria as reach, targeting and cost.|
There is a variety of advertising media available to recruiters. Factors influencing the choice of medium include the following.
- The type of organisation. A factory is likely to advertise a vacancy for an unskilled worker in a different way to a company advertising for a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development for an HRM position.
5 A systematic approach to selection The process of selection begins when the recruiter receives details of candidates interested in the job. A systematic approach includes shortlisting, interviewing (and other selection methods), decision-making and follow-up.
The type of job. Managerial jobs may merit national advertisement, whereas semi-skilled jobs may only warrant local coverage, depending on the supply of suitable candidates in the local area. Specific skills may be most appropriately reached through trade, technical or professional journals, such as those for accountants or computer programmers.
- The cost of advertising. It is more expensive to advertise in a national newspaper than on local radio, and more expensive to advertise on local radio than in a local newspaper, etc.
- The readership and circulation (type and number of readers/listeners) of the medium, and its suitability for the number and type of people the organisation wants to reach.
- The frequency with which the organisation wants to advertise the job vacancy, and the duration of the recruitment process.
A systematic approach to selection may be outlined as follows.
|Step 1||Deal with responses to job advertisements. This might involve sending application forms to candidates.|
|Step 2||Assess each application against key criteria in the job advertisement and specification. Critical factors may include qualifications and experience.|
|Step 3||Sort applications into ‘possible’, ‘unsuitable’ and ‘marginal’. ‘Possibles’ will then be more closely scrutinised, and a shortlist for interview drawn up. Ideally, this should be done by both the personnel specialist and the prospective manager of the successful candidate.|
|Step 4||Invite candidates for interview.|
|Step 5||Reinforce interviews with selection testing, if suitable.|
|Step 6||Review uninterviewed ‘possibles’, and ‘marginals’, and put potential future candidates on hold, or in reserve.|
|Step 7||Send standard letters to unsuccessful applicants, and inform them simply that they have not been successful. Reserves will be sent a holding letter: ‘We will keep your details on file, and should any suitable vacancy arise in future …’.|
|Step 8||Make a provisional offer to the successful candidate.|
|6||Selection methods in outline|
|All selection methods are limited in their ability to predict future job performance!|
6.1 A range of methods
|Interviewing||• Individual (one-to-one)
• Interview panels
• Selection boards
|Selection tests||• Intelligence
|Reference checking||• Job references
• Character references
|Work sampling||• Portfolios
• Trial periods or exercises
|Group selection methods|| Assessment centres|
We will briefly list the main selection methods here. The more important are discussed in the following sections.
6.2 Which method is best?
Smith and Abrahamsen developed a scale that plots selection methods according to how accurately they predict a candidate’s future performance in the job. This is known as a predictive validity scale. The scale ranges from 1 (meaning that a method is right every time) to 0 (meaning that a method is no better than chance).
|Method||% use by firms||Predictive validity|
|Biodata (biography analysis)||4||0.40|
|Graphology (handwriting analysis)||3||0.00|
The results surprisingly show a pattern of employers relying most heavily on the least accurate selection methods. Interviews in particular (for reasons which we will discuss below) seem not much better than tossing a coin.
|Most firms use selection interviews, on a one-to-one or panel basis. Interviews have the advantage of flexibility, but have limitations as predictors of job performance.|
7.1 Purposes of selection interviews
Most firms use the interview as the main basis for selection decisions.
Purposes of the selection interview include:
- Finding the best person for the job, by giving the organisation a chance to assess applicants (and particularly their interpersonal and communication skills) directly
- Making sure that applicants understand what the job involves, what career prospects there are, and other aspects of the employment relationship on offer
- Giving the best possible impression of the organisation as a prospective employer
- Offering fair treatment to all applicants, whether they get the job or not: in the UK, this is covered by anti-discrimination legislation, but it is also part of the organisation’s ’employer brand’ and reputation in the labour market
7.2 Preparation of the interview
Candidates should be given clear instructions about the date, time and location of the interview.
The layout of the interview room should be designed to create the desired impression of the organisation, and to create the atmosphere for the interview. In most cases, it will be designed to put the candidate at ease and facilitate communication (eg removing unnecessary formal barriers such as a desk between interviewers and interviewee) but it may also be used to create pressures on the candidate, to test their response to stress.
The agenda and questions should be at least partly prepared in advance, based on documentation such as:
- The job description (which sets out the requirements of the job)
- The person specification (which describes the ideal candidate)
- The application form and/or the applicant’s CV (which outline the candidate’s claim to suitability)
7.3 Conduct of the interview
Questions should be paced and put carefully. The interviewer should not be trying to confuse the candidate, plunging immediately into demanding questions or picking on isolated points; neither, however, should the interviewee be allowed to digress or gloss over important points. The interviewer must retain control over the information-gathering process.
Various questioning techniques may be used; they are listed in the table below.
|Type of question||Comment|
|Open questions||(‘Who …? What …? Where …? When …? Why ….?) These force candidates to put together their own responses in complete sentences. This encourages them to talk, keeps the interview flowing, and is most revealing (‘Why do you want to be an accountant?’)|
|Probing questions||These aim to discover the deeper significance of the candidate’s answers, especially if they are initially dubious, uninformative, too short, or too vague. (‘But
what was it about accountancy that particularly appealed to you?’)
|Closed questions||Invite only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers: (‘Did you …?, ‘Have you …?’). This may be useful where there are points to be pinned down (‘Did you pass your exam?’) but there are several disadvantages to such questions.
(a) They elicit an answer only to the question asked.
(b) Candidates cannot express their personality, or interact with the interviewer on a deeper level.
(c) They make it easier for candidates to conceal things (‘You never asked me…’).
(d) They make the interviewer work very hard.
|Problem solving questions||Present the candidate with a situation and ask them to explain how they would deal with it. (‘How would you motivate your staff to do a task that they did not want to do?’) Such questions are used to establish whether the candidate will be able to deal with the sort of problems that are likely to arise in the job.|
|Leading questions||Encourage the candidate to give a certain reply. (‘We are looking for somebody who likes detailed figure work. How much do you enjoy dealing with numbers?’ or ‘Don’t you agree that …?’ or ‘Surely …?’). The danger with this type of question is that the candidate will give the answer that they think the interviewer wants to hear.|
QUESTION Question types
Identify the type of question used in the following examples, and discuss the opportunities and constraints they offer the interviewee who must answer them.
- ‘So, you’re interested in a Business Studies degree, are you, Jo?
- ‘Surely you’re interested in Business Studies, Jo?’
- ‘How about a really useful qualification like a Business Studies degree, Jo? Would you consider that?’
- ‘Why are you interested in a Business Studies degree, Jo?
- ‘Why particularly Business Studies, Jo?’
- (The only answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no’, unless Jo expands on it, at her own initiative.)
- (Even if Jo was not interested, she should get the message that ‘yes’ would be what the interviewer wanted, or expected, to hear.)
- Leading closed multiple! (‘Really useful’ leads Jo to think that the ‘correct’ answer will be ‘yes’:
there is not much opportunity for any other answer, without expanding on it unasked.)
- (Jo has to explain, in her own words.) (e) Probing. (If Jo’s answer has been unconvincing, short or vague, this forces a specific answer.)
Evaluating the response to questions requires another set of interpersonal skills.
- The interviewer must listen carefully to the responses and evaluate them so as to judge what the candidate is:
- Wanting to say
- Trying not to say
- Saying, but does not mean, or is lying about
- Having difficulty saying
- In addition, the interviewer will have to be aware when they are hearing:
- Something they need to know
- Something they do not need to know
- Only what they expect to hear
- Inadequately – when their own attitudes, perhaps prejudices, are getting in the way of an objective response to the candidate
Candidates should also be given the opportunity to ask questions. The choice of questions might well have some influence on how the interviewers assess a candidate’s interest in and understanding of the job. Moreover, there is information that the candidate will need to know about the organisation, the job, and indeed the interview process.
7.4 Types of interview
7.4.1 Individual interviews
Individual, one-to-one or face-to-face interviews are the most common selection method.
- Direct face-to-face communication, with opportunities for the interviewer to use both verbal and non-verbal cues to assess the candidate
- Rapport between the candidate and the interviewer: each has to give attention solely to the other, and there is potentially a relaxed atmosphere, if the interviewer is willing to establish an informal style
- Flexibility in the direction and follow-up of questions Disadvantages include:.
- The candidate may be able to disguise lack of knowledge in a specialist area of which the interviewer knows little.
- The interviewer’s perception may be selective or distorted, and this lack of objectivity may go unnoticed and unchecked.
- The greater opportunity for personal rapport with the candidate may cause a weakening of the interviewer’s objective judgement.
7.4.2 Panel interviews
Panel interviews are designed to overcome such disadvantages. A panel may consist of two or three people who together interview a single candidate: most commonly, an HR specialist and the departmental manager who will have responsibility for the successful candidate. This saves the firm time and enables better assessment.
7.4.3 Selection boards
Large formal panels, or selection boards, may also be convened where there are a number of individuals or groups with an interest in the selection.
Advantages include the following.
- A number of people see candidates, and share information about them at a single meeting.
- Similarly, they can compare their assessments on the spot, without a subsequent effort at liaison and communication.
Drawbacks include the following.
- Questions tend to be more varied, and more random, since there is no single guiding force behind the interview strategy. The candidate may have trouble switching from one topic to another so quickly, especially if questions are not led up to, and not clearly put – as may happen if they are unplanned.
- If there is a dominating member of the board, the interview may have greater continuity – but that individual may also influence the judgement of other members.
- Some candidates may not perform well in a formal, artificial situation, such as the board interview, and may find such a situation extremely stressful.
- Research shows that board members rarely agree with each other in their judgements about candidates.
7.5 Advantages of interviews
Interviews in general are by far the most popular selection method used by organisations. They offer some significant advantages.
- They are highly interactive, allowing flexible question and answers. This allows candidates opportunities to ask questions, and allows questions and responses to be adapted to the direction and style of the interview.
- They offer opportunities to use non-verbal communication, which might confirm or undermine spoken answers (eg a candidate looking hesitant or embarrassed when making competence claims). This is particularly helpful to interviewers when challenging or probing in relation to inconsistencies or gaps in a candidate’s application or answers.
- They offer opportunities to assess a candidate’s personal appearance (relevant in areas such as grooming), interpersonal and communication skills.
- They offer initial opportunities to evaluate rapport between the candidate and their potential colleagues/bosses.
7.6 The limitations of interviews
Interviews are criticised, however, because they fail to provide accurate predictions of how a person will perform in the job, partly because of the nature of interviews, partly because of errors of judgement by interviewers.
|Scope||An interview is too brief to ‘get to know’ candidates in the kind of depth required to make an accurate prediction of work performance.|
|Artificiality||An interview is an artificial situation: candidates may be on their best behaviour or, conversely, so nervous that they do not do themselves justice.
Neither situation reflects what the person is really like.
|The halo and horns effects||The tendency for people to make an initial general judgement about a person (either positive or negative) based on a single obvious attribute, such as how they are dressed or their size. This single attribute will colour later perceptions, and make an interviewer mark the person up or down on every other factor in their assessment.|
|Contagious bias||The interviewer changes the behaviour of the applicant by suggestion. The applicant might be led by the wording of questions, or non-verbal cues from the interviewer, to change what they are doing or saying in response.|
|Stereotyping||Stereotyping groups together people who are assumed to share certain characteristics (women, say, or vegetarians), then attributes certain traits to the group as a whole. It then assumes that each individual member of the supposed group will possess that trait.|
|Incorrect assessment||Qualitative factors such as motivation, honesty or integrity are very difficult to define and assess objectively.|
|Logical error||For example, an interviewer might decide that a young candidate who has held two or three jobs in the past for only a short time will be unlikely to last long in any job. (This isn’t necessarily the case.)|
|Inexperienced interviewers||Inexperienced or unskilled interviewers may undermine the process through:
• Inability to evaluate information about a candidate properly
• Failure to compare a candidate against the job description or person specification
• Failure to take control of the direction and length of the interview
• Using inappropriate question types to elicit data or put candidates at ease
• A reluctance to probe into facts or challenge statements where necessary
|Selection tests can be used before or after interviews. Intelligence tests measure the candidate’s general intellectual ability, and personality tests identify character traits and behavioural preferences. Other tests are more specific to the job (eg proficiency tests).|
8.1 Types of selection test
In some job selection procedures, an interview is supplemented by some form of selection test. In order to be effective, tests must be:
- Sensitive enough to discriminate between different candidates
- Standardised on a representative sample of the population, so that a person’s results can be interpreted meaningfully
- Reliable, in that the test should measure the same thing whenever and to whomever it is applied
- Valid, measuring what they are supposed to measure There are two basic types of test.
- Proficiency and attainment tests measure an individual’s demonstrated competence in particular job-related tasks.
- Psychometric tests measure such psychological factors as aptitude, intelligence and personality.
8.1.1 Proficiency, attainment or competence tests
8.1.2 Intelligence tests
Proficiency tests are designed to measure an individual’s current ability to perform particular tasks or operations relevant to the job: for example, giving a secretarial candidate a typing test. Attainment (or competence) tests are a similar measurement of the standard an individual has reached at a particular skill. There is a wide range of proficiency-testing material available, including ‘in-tray’ exercises (simulating work tasks). Work sampling requires the candidate to demonstrate work outputs: selectors may observe the candidate working, or the candidate may bring a portfolio of past work.
Tests of general intellectual ability typically test memory, ability to think quickly and logically, and problem-solving skills. Most people have experience of IQ tests and the like, and few would dispute their validity as a good measure of general intellectual capacity. However, there is no agreed definition of intelligence, and tests have now been devised to measure other forms of intelligence, notably emotional intelligence factors (such as self-awareness, interpersonal ability and self-control).
8.1.3 Aptitude tests
Aptitude tests are designed to measure and predict an individual’s potential for performing a job or learning new skills. Aptitudes include:
- Reasoning: verbal, numerical and abstract
- Spatio-visual ability: practical intelligence, non-verbal ability and creative ability
- Perceptual speed and accuracy: clerical ability
- Physical abilities: mechanical, manual, musical and athletic
8.1.4 Personality tests
Personality tests may measure a variety of characteristics, such as an applicant’s skill in dealing with other people, ambition and motivation, or emotional stability. Examples include the 16PF, the MyersBriggs Type Indicator™ and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI).
The validity of such tests has been much debated, but it seems that some have been shown by research to be valid predictors of job performance, so long as they are used properly.
8.2 Limitations of testing
Despite current enthusiasm for selection testing, it has its limitations.
- There is not always a direct relationship between ability in the test and ability in the job: the job situation is very different from artificial test conditions.
- The interpretation of test results is a skilled task, for which training and experience is essential. It is also highly subjective (particularly in the case of personality tests), which belies the apparent scientific nature of the approach.
- Additional difficulties are experienced with particular kinds of test. For example:
- An aptitude test measuring arithmetical ability would need to be constantly revised or its content might become known to later applicants.
- Personality tests can often give misleading results because applicants seem able to guess which answers will be looked at most favourably.
- It is difficult to design intelligence tests which give a fair chance to people from different cultures and social groups and which test the kind of intelligence that the organisation wants from its employees: the ability to score highly in IQ tests does not necessarily correlate with desirable traits, such as mature judgement or creativity, but merely mental ability.
- Most tests are subject to coaching and practice effects.
- It is difficult to exclude bias from tests. Many tests (including personality tests) are tackled less successfully by women than by men, or by some candidates born overseas than by indigenous applicants, because of the particular aspect chosen for testing.
|9||Other selection methods|
|Group selection methods might be used by an organisation as the final stage of a selection process, as a more ‘natural’ and in-depth appraisal of candidates.|
9.1 Group selection methods (assessment centres)
Group assessments (sometimes called assessment centres) tend to be used for posts requiring leadership, communication or teamworking skills: advertising agencies often use the method for selecting account executives, for example.
9.1.1 Methods used in group selection
Assessment centres are attended by a group of candidates and consist of a series of tests, interviews and group situations. In a typical assessment centre, following an introductory session to ensure candidates feel at ease, candidates face tests, interviews and group scenarios designed to establish their suitability for the role(s) on offer.
A variety of tools and techniques are used in group selection, including:
- Group role-play exercises, in which candidates can explore (and hopefully display) interpersonal skills and/or work through simulated managerial tasks.
- Case studies, where candidates’ analytical and problem-solving abilities are tested in working through described situations/problems, as well as their interpersonal skills in taking part in (or leading) group discussion of the case study.
9.1.2 Advantages of group selection
These group sessions might be useful for the following reasons.
- They give the organisation’s selectors a longer opportunity to study the candidates.
- They reveal more than application forms, interviews and tests alone about the ability of candidates to persuade others, negotiate with others, explain ideas to others, investigate problems efficiently, and so on. These are typically management skills.
- They reveal more about how the candidate’s personality and skills will affect the work team and their own performance in the job.
9.2 Reference checking
|References provide further information about the prospective employee.|
This may be of varying value, as the subjectivity and reliability of all but the most factual information provided by chosen reference sources must be questioned. A reference should contain two types of information.
- Straightforward factual information. This confirms the nature of the applicant’s previous job(s), period of employment, pay and circumstances of leaving.
- Opinions about the applicant’s personality and other attributes. These should obviously be treated with some caution. Allowances should be made for prejudice (favourable or unfavourable), charity (withholding detrimental remarks), and possibly fear of being actionable for libel (although references are privileged, as long as they are factually correct and devoid of malice).
9.2.1 Written references
At least two employer references are desirable, providing necessary factual information, and comparison of personal views. Personal references tell the prospective employer little more than that the applicant has a friend or two.
Written references save time, especially if a standardised letter or form has been pre-prepared. A simple letter inviting the previous employer to reply with the basic information and judgements required may suffice. A standard form may be more acceptable, and might pose a set of simple questions about:
| Job title|| Pay/salary|
| Main duties and responsibilities|| Attendance record|
| Period of employment|
If a judgement of character and suitability is desired, it might be most tellingly formulated as the question: ‘Would you re-employ this individual? (If not, why not?)’
9.2.2 Telephone references
Telephone references may be timesaving if standard reference letters or forms are not available. They may also elicit a more honest opinion than a carefully prepared written statement. For this reason, a telephone call may also be made to check or confirm a poor or grudging reference which the recruiter suspects may be prejudiced.
It should be noted that with the giving and taking up of references there are legal issues to consider. Those who issue references need to be aware of the potential for claims of negligence from the prospective employer relying on the reference, or even defamation from the employee about whom the reference is being written. In addition, confidentiality must never be breached. Former employees have sued for slander and subsequent employers have brought an action where a person was recommended for an unsuitable post and their incompetence caused damage. Because of the legal implications, employers nowadays write a reference that is purely factual, confirming the dates, salary and role of the person in question. An alternative new method of assessment for new recruits comes in the form of a detailed questionnaire, which has been designed to ask skill-based, quality questions that should provide accurate answers.
|10||Evaluating recruitment and selection practices|
10.1 How effective are recruitment and selection?
To get a clear idea of how efficient their recruitment and selection practices are, firms can ask themselves these questions.
- Can we identify human resources requirements from the business plans?
- How fast do we respond to demands from line managers for human resources?
- Do we give/receive good advice on labour market trends?
- Do we select the right advertising media to reach the market?
- How effective (and cost effective) is our recruitment advertising?
- How do our recruits actually perform – do we end up employing the right people? Do we retain our new recruits?
Recruitment and selection practices can be reviewed in various ways.
|Performance indicators||Each stage of the process can be assessed by performance indicators; for example, the time it takes to process an application. Data can be collected to check any deviation from standard.|
|Cost effectiveness||For example, number of relevant responses per recruitment ad, or cost of various advertising media per application elicited (or person employed).|
|Monitoring the workforce||High staff turnover, absenteeism and other problems (particularly among new recruits) may reflect poor recruitment and selection. Lack of workforce diversity may highlight discriminatory practices.|
|Attitude surveys||The firm can ask its recruits what they thought of the process.|
|Actual individual job performance||A person’s actual performance can be compared with what was expected when they were recruited.|
10.2 Improving recruitment and selection procedures
A systematic model has been proposed in this chapter. If it is considered that recruitment and selection procedures need to be improved, attention may be given to such matters as:
- Improvement of policies and guidelines for selectors: eg in equal opportunities and recruitment/promotion decisions
- Establishment of systematic procedures for all stages of the process
- Improved education and training of selectors: eg in interviewing skills and testing techniques
- Auditing of job advertising content and media, in order to improve the attractiveness and realism of the organisation’s offerings and the cost effectiveness of advertising
- Widening the organisation’s repertoire of selection techniques, to aim for the highest possible accuracy in predicting job performance and confirming candidate claims
- The possible use of external recruitment and selection agencies and consultants
PER performance objective PO5 covers leadership and management. This could include recruitment and selection and other activities related to human resource management. For example, a professional accountant may be involved in the training of accounts department staff.
|N||Effective recruitment practices ensure that a firm has enough people with the right skills.|
|N||The recruitment process involves personnel specialists and line managers, sometimes with the help of recruitment consultants.|
|N||Recruitment is a systematic process of (a) identifying and defining skill needs and (b) attracting suitably skilled candidates.|
|N||Job analysis determines the requirement for a job. The job’s tasks are set out in a job description. A job specification describes the skills or competences required for the job. A person specification describes the sort of person suitable for the job.|
|N||Detailed procedures for recruitment should only be devised and implemented in the context of a fair, consistent and coherent policy, or code of conduct.|
|N||A recruitment policy should cover such areas as the factors to be considered when deciding whether to recruit someone from outside or to promote or transfer someone from the existing workforce instead.|
|N||Job advertising is aimed at attracting quality applicants and aiding self-selection.|
|N||A number of print, electronic and interpersonal media are used for job advertising.|
|N||The choice of advertising medium depends on criteria such as reach, targeting and cost.|
|N||The process of selection begins when the recruiter receives details of candidates interested in the job. A systematic approach includes shortlisting, interviewing (and other selection methods), decision-making and follow-up.|
|N||All selection methods are limited in their ability to predict future job performance!|
|N||Most firms use selection interviews, on a one-to-one or panel basis. Interviews have the advantage of flexibility, but have limitations as predictors of job performance.|
|N||Selection tests can be used before or after interviews. Intelligence tests measure the candidate’s general intellectual ability, and personality tests identify character traits and behavioural preferences. Other tests are more specific to the job (eg proficiency tests).|
|N||Group selection methods might be used by an organisation as the final stage of a selection process, as a more ‘natural’ and in-depth appraisal of candidates.|
|N||References provide further information about the prospective employee.|
|N||The effectiveness and cost effectiveness of recruitment and selection should be systematically evaluated, using a variety of measures.|
- Put these stages of the recruitment and selection process into the correct order.
- Select candidates
- Attract potential employees
- Identify/define requirements
- List the factors determining whether a firm should use recruitment consultants.
- What type of competence area would planning and organising be classed under?
- Intellectual competence B Interpersonal competence C Adaptability competence D Results competence
- The question ‘Did you complete your accountancy qualification?’ is:
- An open question C A leading question
- A closed question D A probing question
- Interviews fail to predict performance accurately. True or false?
- ‘Personality and cognitive tests are more reliable predictors of job performance than interviews.’ True or false?
- Firms can improve their recruitment and selection practices by doing which two of the following?
- Clearly identifying what they want from the candidate
- Not relying on interviews alone
- Ensuring that new recruits are young
- 1 (c), 2 (b), 3 (a) Identify/define requirements, attract potential employees, select candidates.
- Cost; expertise; impartiality; organisation structure and politics; time; supply of labour.
- A Planning and organising are classed as intellectual competences.
- B (You might try to rephrase this question as the other types, for extra practice.)
- This is due to brevity and artificiality of the interview situation combined with the bias and inexperience of interviewers.
- A and B. Ensuring that new recruits are young would be age discrimination and would prevent experienced, potentially more suitable applicants from applying.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
13Diversity and equal opportunities
This chapter addresses a key issue in recruitment and
selection (following on from Chapter 12), but it also has
wider implications for HR policy and practice.
Employers are slowly starting to realise that equal
opportunity policies have social and business benefits (as
discussed in Section 1) and are seeking not just to
comply with the legal framework (Section 2) but also to
develop positive action initiatives (Section 3).
It is also being recognised that the workforce is
increasingly diverse – and not just in the rather ‘obvious’
ways referred to by equal opportunities. Managing
diversity is discussed in Section 4.
This chapter refers to the UK framework. Non-UK
students may choose to use this material or may prefer to
make use of their knowledge of similar matters in their
own countries. Arguably, the UK legal framework raises
important issues and sets certain minimum standards
which should be regarded as good practice in any
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D2 Recruitment and selection of employees
(f) Explain the purposes and benefits of diversity and equal opportunities policies within the human resources plan.
|(g) Explain the practical steps that an organisation may take to ensure the effectiveness of its diversity and equal opportunities policy.||K|
|1||Discrimination at work|
1.1 Equal opportunities
Equal opportunities is an approach to the management of people at work based on equal access and fair treatment, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity, age, disability, sexual orientation or religious belief.
Equal opportunities employers will seek to redress inequalities (eg of access to jobs, training, promotion, pay or benefits) which are based around differences, where they have no relevance to work performance.
Certain aspects of equal opportunities (such as discrimination on the basis of sex, race or disability) are enshrined in law; others (such as, up to now, discrimination on the basis of age) rely on models of good practice.
- Why is equal opportunities an issue?
Despite the fact that women have contributed directly to the national product since medieval times, the acceptance of women in paid employment, on equal terms to men, has been a slow process. Many assumptions about women’s attitudes to work, and capabilities for various types of work, have only recently been re-examined. Meanwhile, earnings surveys report that, across all occupations, women are still earning less than males in the same occupational group.
The choice of jobs for the disabled is often restricted, resulting in higher and longer unemployment rates than those of the general population. Jobs are concentrated in plant/machine operative jobs, which tend to be low paid.
Despite demographic and educational changes (and associated skill shortages among the younger population) a certain amount of discrimination is still directed at mature-age workers.
- Why is equal opportunity an issue for employers?
Reasons argued for adopting non- or anti-discrimination measures include the following.
- Common decency and fairness, in line with business ethics.
- Good HR practice, to attract and retain the best people for the job, regardless of race or gender.
- Compliance with relevant legislation and Codes of Practice, which are used by employment tribunals.
- Widening the recruitment pool in times of skill shortages.
- Other potential benefits to the business through its image as a good employer, and through the loyalty of customers who benefit from (or support) equality principles.
There are three types of discrimination.
- Direct discrimination occurs when one interested group is treated less favourably than another (except for exempted cases). It is unlikely that a prospective employer will practise direct discrimination without being aware of it.
- Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy or practice is fair in form, but discriminatory in operation. For example, requiring all applicants to be clean shaven would put members of some religious groups at a disadvantage. Another example would be a policy preventing staff working part time (those with children or family responsibilities could be disadvantaged).
- Victimisation occurs when a person is penalised for giving information or taking action in pursuit of a claim of discrimination.
In addition, harassment is the use of threatening, intimidatory, offensive or abusive language or behaviour.
QUESTION Indirect discrimination
Suggest four examples of practices that would constitute indirect discrimination on the grounds of sex.
- Advertising a vacancy in a primarily male environment, where women would be less likely to see it.
- Offering less favourable terms to part-time workers (given that most of them are women).
- Specifying age limits which would tend to exclude women who had taken time out of work for child-rearing.
- Asking in selection interviews about plans to have a family (since this might be to the detriment of a woman, but not a man).
2.1 Applying the law
In the UK, the obligation of non-discrimination applies to all aspects of employment, including advertisements, recruitment and selection programmes, access to training, promotion, disciplinary procedures, redundancy and dismissal. The main source of legislation in this area is the Equality Act 2010 (TSO, 2010).
There are certain exceptions (‘genuine occupational qualifications’) in which discrimination of a sort may be permitted. For example, a firm may prefer a man over a woman if there are reasons of physiology (not strength), privacy/decency (closely defined) or legal restrictions, eg work outside the UK, where ‘laws or customs are such that the duties could not, or could not effectively, be performed by a woman’.
The legislation does not permit positive discrimination: actions which give preference to a protected person, regardless of genuine suitability and qualification for the job.
Training may be given to particular groups exclusively, if the group has in the preceding year been substantially underrepresented. It is also permissible to encourage such groups to apply for jobs where such exclusive training is offered, and to apply for jobs in which they are underrepresented.
2.2 Disability discrimination
A country’s disability discrimination law may, for example, make it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person/employee in the following respects.
- In deciding who to interview or who to employ, or in the terms of an employment offer
- In the terms of employment and the opportunities for promotion, transfer, training or other benefits
- By dismissal or any other disadvantage
The employer may also be forced to make reasonable adjustments to working arrangements or to the physical features of premises where these constitute a disadvantage to disabled people.
2.3 Sexual orientation and religious beliefs
A country’s equality regulation may, for example, outlaw discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation and religious belief. Employers may be held responsible for conduct deemed offensive or harassing (including inappropriate jokes) in regard to either issue.
2.4 Age discrimination
A country’s age discrimination regulations may suggest that employers should:
- Recruit on the basis of skills and abilities; refrain from using age limits or phrases that imply restrictions (such as ‘newly qualified’ or ‘recent graduate’) in job advertisements; refrain from asking for medical references only from older applicants
- Select on merit and use, where possible, a mixed-age panel of interviewers, trained to avoid decisions based on prejudices and stereotypes
- Promote on the basis of ability, having openly advertised opportunities
- Train and develop all employees and regularly review training to avoid age being a barrier
- Base redundancy decisions on job-related criteria and ensure that retirement schemes are applied
EXAM FOCUS POINT
Although the legal framework is clearly important, because of the organisation’s compliance obligations, you should be aware of the wider implications of equal opportunity. Think about the ethical
and business arguments for eliminating discrimination. Think about the components of a proactive and positive sexual, racial and age diversity policy.
|3||The practical implications|
The practical implications of the legislation for employers are set out in Codes of Practice. These do not have the force of law, but may be taken into account by employment tribunals.
3.1 Formulating an effective equal opportunities policy
Some organisations make minimal efforts to avoid discrimination, paying lip-service to the idea only to the extent of claiming ‘We are an Equal Opportunities Employer’ on advertising literature. To turn such a claim into reality, the following are needed.
- Support from the top of the organisation for the formulation of a practical policy.
- A working party drawn from – for example – management, unions, minority groups, the HR function and staff representatives. This group’s brief will be to produce a draft Policy and Code of Practice, which will be approved at senior level.
- Action plans and resources (including staff) to implement and monitor the policy, publicise it to staff, arrange training, and so on.
- Monitoring the numbers of women and ethnic minority staff can easily be done
- On entering (and applying to enter) the organisation
- On leaving the organisation
- On applying for transfers, promotions or training schemes
(It is less easy to determine the ethnic origins of the workforce through such methods as questionnaires: there is bound to be suspicion about the question’s motives, and it may be offensive to some workers.)
- Positive action, namely the process of taking active steps to encourage people from disadvantaged groups to apply for jobs and training, and to compete for vacancies. (Note that this is not positive discrimination.) Examples might be using ethnic languages in job advertisements, or implementing training for women in management skills. In addition, there may be awareness training, counselling and disciplinary measures to manage sexual, racial and religious harassment.
3.2 Recruitment and selection
There is always a risk that disappointed job applicants, for example, will attribute their lack of success to discrimination, especially if the recruiting organisation’s workforce is conspicuously lacking in representatives of the same ethnic minority, sex or group. The following guidelines should be borne in mind.
- Any wording that suggests preference for a particular group should be avoided (except for genuine occupational qualifications).
- Employers must not indicate or imply any ‘intention to discriminate’.
- Recruitment literature should state that the organisation is an Equal Opportunities employer (where this can be justified).
- The placing of advertisements only where the readership is predominantly of one race or sex is construed as indirect discrimination. This includes word-of-mouth recruiting from the existing workforce, if it is not broadly representative.
- Recruitment agencies. Instructions to an agency should not suggest any preference.
- Application forms. These should include no questions which are not work related (such as domestic details) and which only one group is asked to complete.
- Any non work related question must be asked of all subjects, if at all, and even then, some types of question may be construed as discriminatory. (You cannot, for example, ask only women about plans to have a family or care of dependants, or ask – in the most offensive case – about the Pill or PMT.)
- It may be advisable to have a witness at interviews, or at least to take detailed notes, in the event that a claim of discrimination is made.
- Selection tests. These must be wholly relevant, and should not favour any particular group. Even personality tests have been shown to favour white male applicants.
- Records. Reasons for rejection, and interview notes, should be carefully recorded, so that in the event of investigation the details will be available.
3.3 Other initiatives
Measures such as the following may be used as positive action initiatives.
- Putting equal opportunities higher on the agenda by appointing Equal Opportunities Managers
(and even Directors) who report directly to the HR Director
- Flexible hours or part-time work, term-time or annual-hours contracts (to allow for school holidays) to help women to combine careers with family responsibilities; terms and conditions, however, must not be less favourable
- Career-break or return-to-work schemes for women
- Fast-tracking school leavers, as well as graduates, and posting managerial vacancies internally, giving more opportunities for movement up the ladder for groups (typically women and minorities) currently at lower levels of the organisation
- Training for women-returners or women in management to help women manage their career potential; assertiveness training may also be offered as part of such an initiative
- Awareness training for managers, to encourage them to think about equal opportunity policy
- Counselling and disciplinary policies to raise awareness and eradicate sexual, racial and religious harassment
- Positive action to encourage job and training applications from minority groups
Diversity in employment, as a concept, goes further than equal opportunities.
The ways in which people meaningfully differ in the workplace include not only race and ethnicity, age and gender, but personality, preferred working style, individual needs and goals, and so on.
4.1 Managing diversity
A ‘managing diversity’ orientation implies the need to be proactive in managing the needs of a diverse workforce in such areas (beyond the requirements of equal opportunity and discrimination regulations) as:
- Tolerance of individual differences
- Communicating effectively with (and motivating) ethnically diverse workforces
- Managing workers with increasingly diverse family structures and responsibilities
- Managing the adjustments to be made by an increasingly aged workforce
- Managing increasingly diverse career aspirations/patterns, flexible working, etc
- Dealing with differences in literacy, numeracy and qualifications in an international workforce (g) Managing co-operative working in ethnically diverse teams
4.2 Diversity policy
Ingham (2003) suggests the following key steps in implementing a diversity policy taking into account all the equal opportunity requirements.
|Step 1||Analyse your business environment
(a) Internally – does the diversity of the organisation reflect the population in its labour market?
(b) Externally – does the diversity of the workforce mirror that of the customer base?
|Step 2||Define diversity and its business benefits
(a) Legal, moral and social benefits
(b) Business benefits: better understanding of market segments; positive employer brand; attraction and retention of talent
(c) Employee benefits: more representative workforce; value and respect for people; opportunity to contribute fully; enhanced creativity
|Step 3||Introduce diversity policy into corporate strategy
Weave diversity into corporate values and mission
|Step 4||Embed diversity into core HR processes and system
Review and refocus recruitment and selection, induction, reward and recognition, career management and training and development
|Step 5||Ensure leaders implement policy
(a) Leaders and top management need to provide long-term commitment and resources
(b) Use diversity as a key factor in coaching, awareness training and development of managers
|Step 6||Involve staff at all levels
• Educate the workforce through awareness training
• Create a ‘diversity handbook’
• Set up diversity working parties and councils
• Establish mentoring schemes
|Step 7||Communicate, communicate, communicate
• Communicate diversity policy and initiatives clearly
• Internally: updates, briefings, training, intranet pages
• Externally: to boost employer brand and recruitment
|Step 8||Understand your company’s needs
(a) Match resources to the size of the organisation and the scale of change required
(b) Consider using diversity consultants or best practice representatives to provide advice, support and training
• Benchmark progress at regular intervals
• Internally: diversity score cards, employee climate surveys
• Externally: focus groups, customer/supplier surveys
|N||Equal opportunities is an approach to the management of people at work based on equal access to benefits and fair treatment.|
|N||Sound business arguments can be made for having an equal opportunities policy.|
|Discrimination of certain types is illegal in the UK on grounds of:
– Sex and marital status
– Colour, race, nationality and ethnic or national origin – Disability
– Sexual orientation and religious beliefs
|N||Many organisations now establish their own policy statements or codes of practice on equal opportunities: apart from anything else, a statement of the organisation’s position may provide some protection in the event of complaints.|
|N||Recruitment and selection are areas of particular sensitivity to claims of discrimination – as well as genuine (though often unintended) inequality.|
|N||In addition to responding to legislative provisions, some employers have begun to address the underlying problems of discrimination.|
|N||The concept of ‘managing diversity’ is based on the belief that the dimensions of individual difference on which organisations currently focus are crude and performance-irrelevant classifications of the most obvious differences between people.|
- Matt Black and Di Gloss run a small DIY shop. They’re recruiting an assistant. Matt puts up an ad on the noticeboard of his Men’s Club. It says: ‘Person required to assist in DIY shop. Full-time. Aged under 28. Contact …’ Two candidates turn up for interview the following day: a man and a woman (who’s heard about the job by word of mouth, through Di). Matt interviews them both, asking work-related questions. He also asks the woman whether she has children and how much time she expects to spend dealing with family matters.
With reference to legislation to prevent sexual discrimination, Matt may have laid himself open to allegations of:
- One count of discrimination C Four counts of discrimination B Two counts of discrimination D No discrimination at all
- When a person is penalised for giving information or taking action in pursuit of a claim of discrimination, this is known as:
- Direct discrimination C Victimisation B Indirect discrimination D Harassment
- At which stages of the recruitment and selection process should the equal opportunities policy be implemented?
- Advertising vacancies
- Interviewing candidates
- Selecting candidates
- Offering candidates the job
- 1, 2 and 3 only
- 2, 3, and 4 only
- 1, 3 and 4 only
- 1, 2, 3 and 4
- The process of taking active steps to encourage people from disadvantaged groups to apply for jobs and training is:
- Positive action
- Positive discrimination
- Positive opportunity
- Diversity in the workplace includes differences such as personality and preferred working style. True or false?
- C Advertising in a place where the readership is predominately male. Aged under 28.
Asking the women about (1) children and (2) time spent on family matters.
- C This is victimisation.
- D Equal opportunities should be applied at all stages.
- A Examples of positive action include using ethnic languages in job advertisements or implementing training for women in management skills.
- Diversity in employment, as a concept, goes further than equal opportunities.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
14Individuals, groups and teams
It is a useful reminder that managers do not just manage
activities, processes and resources: they manage people.
Organisations are made up of individuals and groups,
with their own goals, needs and ways of seeing things.
In Section 1, we look at some useful concepts for
understanding the behaviour of individuals at work, and
how it can be managed.
In Sections 2 to 7, we look at how people behave in
informal groups and in the more structured environment
of teams. In particular, we consider how to create and
maintain effective teams at work.
One of the key points to grasp is that an effective team is
one which not only achieves its task objectives, but
satisfies the needs of its members as well. As you will see
in this chapter, teamwork involves both task functions
(getting the job done) and maintenance functions
(keeping the team together).
Teamwork is one of the hottest concepts in modern
management. Fortunately, there are some useful models
which can be learned: perhaps the major challenge of this
topic is to get their details straight in your mind.
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D3 Individual and group behaviour in business organisations
(a) Describe the main characteristics of individual and group behaviour.
|(b) Outline the contributions of individuals and teams to organisational success.||K|
|(c) Identify individual and team approaches to work.||K|
| D4 Team formation, development and management
(a) Explain the differences between a group and a team.
|(b) Explain the purposes of a team.||K|
|(c) Explain the role of the manager in building the team and developing individuals within the team.||K|
|(i) Belbin’s team roles theory
(ii) Tuckman’s theory of team development
(d) List the characteristics of effective and ineffective teams.
|(e) Describe tools and techniques that can be used to build the team and improve team effectiveness.||K|
In order to identify, describe and explain the differences between people, psychologists use the concept of personality.
Personality is the total pattern of characteristic ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that constitute the individual’s distinctive method of relating to the environment.
1.1.1 Describing personality
Attempts to describe the ‘components’ of personality, or the ways people differ, focus on two broad concepts: traits and types.
- Personality traits are relatively stable, enduring qualities of an individual’s personality which cause a tendency to behave in particular ways. For example, we might say that someone is ‘impulsive’.
- Personality types are distinct clusters of personality characteristics, which reflect the psychological preferences of the individual. If we say that someone is an ‘extrovert’, for example, we may be suggesting that they are sociable, expressive, impulsive, practical and active.
The well-known Myers Briggs Type Inventory™ (Myers and Briggs Foundation, 2014) is based on detailed analysis of personality types. The aim of the inventory (and the value of personality theories to managers) is:
- To provide a shared language with which people can discuss and explore individual uniqueness
(their own natural style) and ways of developing to their full potential
- To help people to understand areas of difference which might otherwise be the source of misunderstanding and miscommunication
- To encourage people to appreciate diversity by highlighting the value and complementary contributions of all personality types
Note that the Myers Briggs Type Inventory is not directly examinable; it is referred to as it helps explain the concept of personality types.
How is your personality ‘cut out’ to be an accountant? This is not a technical question: it merely invites you to think about your personality traits – and stereotypes about the ‘type of person’ who chooses to be an accountant or makes a good accountant. (This will be useful when we look at recruitment and selection in Chapter 15.)
1.1.2 Managing personality
An individual’s personality should be compatible with their work requirements in three ways.
|With the task||Different personality types suit different types of work. A person who appears unsociable and inhibited will find sales work, involving a lot of social interactions, intensely stressful – and will probably not be very good at it.|
|With the systems and management culture of the organisation||Some people hate to be controlled, for example, but others want to be controlled and dependent in a work situation, because they find responsibility threatening.|
|With other personalities in the team||Personality clashes are a prime source of conflict at work. An achievement-oriented personality, for example, may become frustrated and annoyed by laid-back sociable types working (or not working) around them.|
Where incompatibilities occur, the manager or supervisor has three options.
- Restore compatibility. This may be achieved by reassigning an individual to tasks more suited to their personality type, for example.
- Achieve a compromise. Individuals should be encouraged to understand the nature of their differences and modify their behaviour if necessary.
- Remove the incompatible personality. In the last resort, obstinately difficult or disruptive people may simply have to be weeded out of the team.
Different people see things differently. Each individual behaves in a way that reflects their own interpretation of the world. The same single ‘reality’ may be perceived differently by different people.
Perception is the psychological process by which stimuli or incoming sensory data are selected and organised into patterns which are meaningful to the individual.
1.2.1 Processes of perception
The process of perceptual selection deals with how we gather and filter out incoming data. Perception may be determined by any or all of the following.
- The context. People see what they want to see: whatever is necessary or relevant in the situation in which they find themselves. You might notice articles on management in the newspapers while studying this module which normally you would not notice, for example.
- The nature of the stimuli. Our attention tends to be drawn to large, bright, loud, contrasting, unfamiliar, moving and repeated (not repetitive) stimuli. Advertisers know it.
- Internal factors. Our attention is drawn to stimuli that match our personality, needs, interests, expectations, and so on. If you are hungry, for example, you will pick the smell of food out of a mix of aromas.
- Fear or trauma. People are able to avoid seeing things that they don’t want to see: things that are threatening to their security or self-image, or things that are too painful for them.
A complementary process of perceptual organisation deals with the interpretation of the data which has been gathered and filtered.
Attitudes are our general standpoint on things: the positions we have adopted in regard to particular issues, things and people, as we perceive them.
An attitude is ‘a mental state … exerting a directive or dynamic influence upon the individual’s response to all objects and situations with which it is related.’
Attitudes are thought to contain three basic components.
- Knowledge, beliefs or disbeliefs, perceptions
- Feelings and desires (positive or negative)
- Volition, will or the intention to perform an action Behaviour in a work context will be influenced by:
- Attitudes to work: the individual’s standpoint on working, work conditions, colleagues, the task, the organisation and management
- Attitudes at work: all sorts of attitudes which individuals may have about other people, politics, education or religion (among other things), and which they bring with them into the workplace – to act on, agree, disagree or discuss
Positive, negative or neutral attitudes to other workers, or groups of workers, to the various systems and operations of the organisation, to learning – or particular training initiatives – to communication or to the task itself will obviously influence performance at work.
Suggest four elements which would make up a positive attitude to work. (An example might be the belief that you get a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.)
Elements of a positive attitude to work may include a willingness to:
- Commit oneself to the objectives of the organisation, or adopt personal objectives that are compatible with those of the organisation
- Accept the right of the organisation to set standards of acceptable behaviour for its members
- Contribute to the development and improvement of work practices and performance (d) Take advantage of opportunities for personal development at work
Intelligence is a wider and more complex concept than the traditional view of ‘IQ’. It includes useful attributes, such as:
- Analytic intelligence: traditionally measured by IQ tests, including mental agility, logical reasoning and verbal fluency
- Spatial intelligence: the ability to see patterns and connections, most obvious in the creative artist or scientist
- Practical intelligence: practical aptitude, handiness
- Intrapersonal intelligence: self-awareness, self-expression, self-control, handling stress
- Interpersonal intelligence: empathy, understanding of the emotional needs of others, influence, conflict resolution, assertiveness, co-operation
Intra- and interpersonal intelligence have recently attracted attention through the work of Daniel Goleman (and others) as emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ is considered particularly important in managing people effectively, since it enables a person to manage the emotional components of situations, behaviour and communication.
1.5 Role theory
A role may be seen as a part you play: people sometimes refer to wearing ‘different hats’ in different situations or groups of people.
- A role set is a group of people who respond to you in a given role. Staff in the accounts department will relate to the account manager in his role as professional and superior – rather than as a father or husband (within the role set of the family) or friend (in the role set of nonwork peers), and so on. Individuals need to be aware of which role set they are operating in, in order to behave appropriately for the role.
- Role ambiguity may occur if you do not know what role you are operating in at a given time. If a manager tries to be ‘friends’ with staff, this may create ambiguity and people will not know where they stand.
- Role incompatibility or role conflict occurs when you are expected to operate in two roles at once: for example, if you have to discipline a member of staff (in your role as superior) with whom you have become informally friendly (in your role as sociable person).
- Role signs indicate what role you are in at a given moment, so that others relate to you in that role without ambiguity or confusion. Role signs at work have traditionally included such things as style of dress (signalling professionalism) and styles of address (signalling respect and relative status).
- Role models are the individuals you aspire to be like: people you look up to and model your own behaviour on.
As an employee your relationship with the organisation is as an individual: the employment contract is with you as an individual, and you are recruited as an individual. In your working life, though, you will generally find yourself working as part of a group or team. If you are a supervisor or a manager, you may direct a team.
2.1 What is a group?
Groups have certain attributes that a random crowd does not possess.
- A sense of identity. There are acknowledged boundaries to the group which define who is in and who is out, who is us and who is them.
- Loyalty to the group, and acceptance within the group. This generally expresses itself as conformity or the acceptance of the norms of behaviour and attitudes that bind the group together and exclude others from it.
- Purpose and leadership. Most groups have an express purpose, whatever field they are in: most will, spontaneously or formally, choose individuals or sub-groups to lead them towards the fulfilment of those goals.
2.2 Why form groups?
Any organisation is composed of many groups, with attributes of their own. People in organisations will be drawn together into groups by a variety of forces.
- A preference for small groups, where closer relationships can develop
- The need to belong and to make a contribution that will be noticed and appreciated
- Familiarity: a shared office or canteen
- Common rank, specialisms, objectives and interests
- The attractiveness of a particular group activity (joining an interesting club, say)
- Resources offered to groups (for example sports facilities)
- Power greater than the individuals could muster alone (trade union, pressure group)
- Formal directives
2.3 Formal and informal groups
Informal groups will invariably be present in any organisation. Informal groups include workplace cliques, and networks of people who regularly get together to exchange information, groups of ‘mates’ who socialise outside work, and so on. They have a constantly fluctuating membership and structure.
Formal groups will be intentionally organised by the organisation, for a task for which they are held responsible – they are task oriented, and become teams. Although many people enjoy working in teams, their popularity in the workplace arises because of their effectiveness in fulfilling the organisation’s work.
QUESTION Small groups
What groups are you a member of in your study or work environment(s)? How big are these groups? How does the size of your class, study group, work team – or whatever:
- Affect your ability to come up with questions or ideas?
- Give you help and support to do something you couldn’t do alone?
Your primary groups are probably your tutor group or class. If at work, it would be the section in which you work. If the groups are large, you may feel reluctant to put forward ideas or ask questions, but even within a large group you should feel there is support and that help is at hand if you need it.
2.4 Individual and group contribution
People contribute different skills and attributes to the organisation as individuals than they do as group members because:
- Human behaviour is different in groups than in solo or interpersonal situations: group dynamics have an effect on performance.
- Groups offer synergy: 2 + 2 = 5. The pooling and stimulation of ideas and energies in a group can allow greater contribution than individuals working on their own. (‘None of us is as smart as all of us’, Blanchard.)
- Group dynamics and synergy may also be negative: distracting the individual, stifling individual responsibility and flair, and so on. Individuals may contribute more and better in some situations.
|Individuals contribute:||Groups contribute:|
| A set of skills|| A mix of skills|
| Objectives set by manager|| Some teams can set their own objectives under the corporate framework|
| A point of view|| A number of different points of view, enabling a swift overview of different ways of looking at a problem|
| Creative ideas related to the individual’s expertise|| Creative ideas arising from new combinations of expertise|
| ‘I can’t be in two places at once’|| Flexibility as team members can be deployed in different ways|
| Limited opportunity for self-criticism|| Opportunity for exercising control|
- Strengths of teamworking
Teams are particularly well adapted to the following purposes.
|Type of role||Comments|
|Work organisation||Teams combine the skills of different individuals.
Teams are a co-ordinating mechanism: they avoid complex communication between different business functions.
|Control||Fear of letting down the team can be a powerful motivator: team loyalty can be used to control the performance and behaviour of individuals.|
|Idea generation||Teams can generate ideas, eg through brainstorming and information sharing.|
|Decision-making||Decisions are evaluated from more than one viewpoint, with pooled information. Teams make fewer, but better evaluated, decisions than individuals.|
- Limitations of teamworking
Teams and teamworking are very much in fashion, but there are potential drawbacks.
- Teamworking is not suitable for all jobs – although some managers do not like to admit this.
- Teamwork should be introduced because it leads to better performance, not because people feel better or more secure.
- Team processes (especially seeking consensus) can delay decision-making. The team may also produce the compromise decision, not the right decision.
- Social relationships might be maintained at the expense of other aspects of performance.
- Group norms may restrict individual personality and flair.
- ‘Group think’ (Janis, 1982): team consensus and cohesion may prevent consideration of alternatives or constructive criticism, leading the team to make risky, ill-considered decisions.
- Personality clashes and political behaviour within a team can get in the way of effective performance.
3.3 Organising teamwork
A team may be called together temporarily, to achieve specific task objectives (project team), or may be more or less permanent, with responsibilities for a particular product, product group or stage of the production process (a product or process team).
There are two basic approaches to the organisation of teamwork: multi-skilled teams and multidisciplinary teams.
3.3.1 Multi-disciplinary teams
Multi-disciplinary teams bring together individuals with different skills and specialisms, so that their skills, experience and knowledge can be pooled or exchanged.
Multi-disciplinary teams can:
- Increase workers’ awareness of their overall objectives and targets
- Aid co-ordination between different areas of the business
- Help to generate solutions to problems and suggestions for improvements, since a multidisciplinary team has access to more pieces of the jigsaw
3.3.2 Multi-skilled teams
A multi-skilled team brings together a number of individuals who can perform any of the group’s tasks. These tasks can then be shared out in a more flexible way between group members according to who is available and best placed to do a given job at the time it is required. Multi-skilling is the cornerstone of team empowerment, since it cuts across the barriers of job descriptions and demarcations to enable teams to respond flexibly to changing demands.
3.3.3 Virtual teams
Virtual teams bring together individuals working in remote locations, reproducing the social, collaborative and information-sharing aspects of teamworking using Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
|4||Team member roles|
4.1 Who should belong in the team?
Team members should be selected for their potential to contribute to getting things done (task performance) and establishing good working relationships (group maintenance). This may include:
- Specialist skills. A team might exist to combine expertise from different departments.
- Power in the wider organisation. Team members may have influence.
- Access to resources. Team members may contribute information, or be able to mobilise finance or staff for the task.
- The personalities and goals of the individual members of the team. These will determine how the group functions.
The blend of the individual skills and abilities of its members will (ideally) balance the team.
Belbin: team roles
Belbin (1981) researched business game teams at the Henley Management College and drew up a widely used framework for understanding roles within work groups.
Belbin insisted that a distinction needs to be made between:
- Team (process) role (‘a tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others at work in certain distinctive ways’), and
- Functional role (‘the job demands that a person has been engaged to meet by supplying the requisite technical skills and operational knowledge’)
4.2.1 Nine team roles
Belbin identifies nine team roles.
|Role and description||Team-role contribution||Allowable weaknesses|
Creative, imaginative, unorthodox
Solves difficult problems
Ignores details, too preoccupied to communicate effectively
Extrovert, enthusiastic, communicative
Explores opportunities, develops contacts
Over-optimistic, loses interest once initial enthusiasm has passed
Mature, confident, a good chairperson
Clarifies goals, promotes decision-making, delegates well
Can be seen as manipulative, delegates personal work
Challenging, dynamic, thrives on pressure
Has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles
Can provoke others, hurts people’s feelings
Sober, strategic and discerning
Sees all options, judges accurately
Lacks drive and ability to inspire others, overly critical
Co-operative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic
Listens, builds, averts friction, calms the waters
Indecisive in crunch situations, can be easily influenced
|Implementer (company worker)
Disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient
Turns ideas into practical actions
Somewhat inflexible, slow to respond to new possibilities
|Role and description||Team-role contribution||Allowable weaknesses|
Painstaking, conscientious, anxious
Searches out errors and omissions, delivers on time
Inclined to worry unduly, reluctant to delegate, can be a nitpicker
Single-minded, self-starting, dedicated
Provides knowledge and skills in rare supply
Contributes only on a narrow front, dwells on technicalities, overlooks the ‘big picture’
4.2.2 A balanced team
These team roles are not fixed within any given individual. Team members can occupy more than one role, or switch to ‘backup’ roles if required, hence there is no requirement for every team to have nine members. However, since role preferences are based on personality, it should be recognised that:
- Individuals will be naturally inclined towards some roles more than others.
- Individuals will tend to adopt one or two team roles more or less consistently. Individuals are likely to be more successful in some roles than in others.
The nine roles are complementary, and Belbin suggested that an ‘ideal’ team should represent a mix or balance of all of them. If managers know employees’ team role preferences, they can strategically select, ‘cast’ and develop team members to fulfil the required roles.
Knowledge of these different roles may help you in leadership and management tasks under performance objective PO5, which requires you to demonstrate that you can ‘show initiative within your team, working towards organisational goals, collaborating with and supporting others.’
QUESTION Belbin’s team roles
The following phrases and slogans project certain team roles: identify which. (Examples are drawn from Belbin, 1993.)
- The small print is always worth reading.
- Let’s get down to the task in hand. (c) In this job you never stop learning.
- Without continuous innovation, there is no survival.
- Surely we can exploit that?
- When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
- I was very interested in your point of view.
- Has anyone else got anything to add to this?
- Decisions should not be based purely on enthusiasm.
- Completer-finisher (f) Shaper
- Implementer/company worker (g) Teamworker
- Specialist (h) Co-ordinator/chairman
- Plant (i) Monitor-evaluator
- Resource investigator
4.3 How do people contribute?
In order to evaluate and manage team dynamics, it may be helpful for the team leader to:
- Assess who (if anybody) is performing each of Belbin’s team roles. Who is the team’s plant?
monitor-evaluator? and so on. There should be a mix of people performing task and team maintenance roles.
- Analyse the frequency and type of individual members’ contributions to group discussions and interactions.
- Identify which members of the team habitually make the most contributions, and which the least. (You could do this by taking a count of contributions from each member, during a sample 10-15 minutes of group discussion.)
- If the same people tend to dominate discussion whatever is discussed (ie regardless of relevant expertise), the team has a problem in its communication process.
Rackham and Morgan have developed a helpful categorisation of the types of contribution people can make to team discussion and decision-making, including the following.
|Proposing||Putting forward suggestions, new concepts or courses of action||‘Why don’t we look at a flexi-time system?’|
|Supporting||Supporting another person or their proposal||‘Yes, I agree, flexi-time would be worth looking at.’|
|Seeking information||Asking for more facts, opinions or clarification||‘What exactly do you mean by “flexitime”?’|
|Giving information||Offering facts, opinions or clarification||‘There’s a helpful outline of flexi-time in this article.’|
|Blocking/difficulty stating||Putting obstacles in the way of a proposal, without offering any alternatives||‘What if the other teams get jealous?
It would only cause conflict.’
|Shutting-out behaviour||Interrupting or overriding others; taking over||‘Nonsense. Let’s move onto something else – we’ve had enough of this discussion.|
|Bringing-in behaviour||Involving another member; encouraging contribution||‘Actually, I’d like to hear what Fred has to say. Go on, Fred.’|
|Testing understanding||Checking whether points have been understood||‘So flexi-time could work over a day or a week; have I got that right?’|
|Summarising||Drawing together or summing up previous discussion||‘We’ve now heard two sides to the flexi-time issue: on the one hand, flexibility; on the other side possible risk. Now …’|
Each type of behaviour may be appropriate in the right situation at the right time. A team may be low on some types of contribution – and it may be up to the team leader to encourage, or deliberately adopt, desirable behaviours (such as bringing-in, supporting or seeking information) in order to provide balance.
You probably have had experience of being put into a group of people you do not know. Many teams are set up this way and it takes some time for the team to become effective.
5.1 Tuckman’s stages of group development
Four stages in group development were identified by Tuckman (1965).
The team is just coming together. Each member wishes to impress their personality on the group. The individuals will be trying to find out about each other, and about the aims and norms of the team. There will at this stage probably be a wariness about introducing new ideas. The objectives being pursued may as yet be unclear and a leader may not yet have emerged.
This frequently involves more or less open conflict between team members. There may be changes agreed in the original objectives, procedures and norms established for the group. If the team is developing successfully this may be a fruitful phase, as more realistic targets are set and trust between the group members increases.
A period of settling down: there will be agreements about work sharing, individual requirements and expectations of output. Norms and procedures may evolve which enable methodical working to be introduced and maintained.
The team sets to work to execute its task. The difficulties of growth and development no longer hinder the group’s objectives.
Later writers added two stages to Tuckman’s model.
- Dorming. Once a group has been performing well for some time, it may get complacent, and fall back into self-maintenance functions, at the expense of the task.
- Mourning/adjourning. The group sees itself as having fulfilled its purpose – or, if it is a temporary group, is due to physically disband. This is a stage of confusion, sadness and anxiety as the group breaks up. There is evaluation of its achievements, and gradual withdrawal of group members. If the group is to continue, going on to a new task, there will be a renegotiation of aims and roles: a return to the forming stage.
QUESTION Team formation stages
Read the following descriptions of team behaviour and decide to which category they belong (forming, storming, norming, performing, dorming).
- Two of the group arguing as to whose idea is best
- Progress becomes static
- Desired outputs being achieved
- Shy member of group not participating
- Activities being allocated
Categorising the behaviour of group members in the situations described results in the following: (a) storming, (b) dorming, (c) performing, (d) forming, (e) norming.
|6||Building a team|
In Section 5, we suggested that teams have a natural evolutionary life cycle, and that four stages can be identified. Not all teams develop into mature teams and might be stuck, stagnating, in any one of the stages.
So, it often falls to the supervisor or manager to build the team. There are three main issues involved in team building.
|Team identity||Get people to see themselves as part of this group|
|Team solidarity||Encourage loyalty so that members put in extra effort for the sake of the team|
|Shared objectives||Encourage the team to commit itself to shared work objectives and to co-operate willingly and effectively in achieving them|
We can now discuss some of the techniques for building team identity, team solidarity and the commitment to shared objectives. But first try the question below.
QUESTION Team-building exercises
Why might the following be effective as team-building exercises?
- Sending a project team (involved in the design of electronic systems for racing cars) on a recreational day out karting.
- Sending two sales teams on a day out playing ‘War Games’, each being an opposing combat team trying to capture the other’s flag, armed with paint guns.
- Sending a project team on a conference at a venue away from work, with a brief to review the past year and come up with a vision for the next year.
(These are actually commonly used techniques. If you are interested, you might locate an activity centre or company near you which offers outdoor pursuits, war games or corporate entertainment and ask them about team-building exercises and the effect they have on people.)
- Recreation helps the team to build informal relationships: in this case, the chosen activity also reminds them of their tasks, and may make them feel special, as part of the motor racing industry, by giving them a taste of what the end user of their product does.
- A team challenge forces the group to consider its strengths and weaknesses, to find its natural leader. This exercise creates an ‘us’ and ‘them’ challenge: perceiving the rival team as the enemy heightens the solidarity of the group.
- This exercise encourages the group to raise problems and conflicts freely, away from the normal environment of work and also encourages brainstorming and the expression of team members’ dreams for what the team can achieve in the future.
6.1 Team identity
A manager might seek to reinforce the sense of identity of the group. Arguably this is in part the creation of boundaries, identifying who is in the team and who is not.
- Name. Staff at McDonald’s restaurants are known as the Crew. In other cases, the name would be more official, describing what the team actually does (eg Systems Implementation Task Force).
- Badge or uniform. This often applies to service industries, but it is unlikely that it would be applied within an organisation.
- Expressing the team’s self-image. Teams often develop their own jargon, especially for new projects.
- Building a team mythology. Over time, groups and teams build up their own history and character. Stories from the past may take on an almost mythical nature (mistakes as well as successes).
- A separate space. It might help if team members work together in the same or adjacent offices, but this is not always possible. (A team intranet page may perform this function for a virtual team.)
6.2 Team solidarity
Team solidarity implies cohesion and loyalty inside the team. A team leader might be interested in:
- Expressing solidarity
- Encouraging interpersonal relationships – although the purpose of these is to ensure that work gets done
- Dealing with conflict by getting it out into the open; disagreements should be expressed and then resolved
- Controlling competition – the team leader needs to treat each member of the team fairly and to be seen to do so; favouritism undermines solidarity
- Encouraging some competition with other groups, if appropriate; for example, sales teams might be offered a prize for the highest monthly orders; London Underground runs best-kept station competitions
QUESTION Group cohesion
Can you see any dangers in creating a very close-knit group? Think of the effect of strong team cohesion on:
- What the group spends its energies and attention on
- How the group regards outsiders, and any information or feedback they supply (c) How the group makes decisions
What could be done about these dangerous effects?
Problems may arise in an ultra close-knit group because:
- The group’s energies may be focused on its own maintenance and relationships, instead of on the task.
- The group may be suspicious or dismissive of outsiders, and may reject any contradictory information or criticism they supply; the group will be blinkered and stick to its own views, no matter what; cohesive groups thus often get the impression that they are infallible: they can’t be wrong – and therefore can’t learn from their mistakes.
- The group may squash any dissent or opinions that might rock the boat. Close-knit groups tend to preserve a consensus – falsely, if required – and to take risky decisions, because they have suppressed alternative facts and viewpoints.
This phenomenon is called ‘group think‘ (Janis, 1982). In order to limit its effect, the team must be encouraged to:
- Actively seek outside ideas and feedback
- Welcome self-criticism within the group (c) Consciously evaluate conflicting evidence and opinions
6.3 Commitment to shared objectives
Getting commitment to the team’s shared objectives may involve a range of leader activity.
- Clearly setting out the objectives of the team
- Allowing the team to participate in setting objectives
- Giving regular feedback on progress and results with constructive criticism
- Getting the team involved in providing performance feedback
- Offering positive reinforcement (praise etc) for co-operative working and task achievement by the team as a whole (rather than just ‘star’ individuals)
- Championing the success of the team within the organisation
7.1 Evaluating team effectiveness
The task of the team leader is to build a ‘successful’ or ‘effective’ team. The criteria for team effectiveness include:
- Task performance: fulfilment of task and organisational goals
- Team functioning: constructive maintenance of team working, managing the demands of team dynamics, roles and processes
- Team member satisfaction: fulfilment of individual development and relationship needs
There are a number of factors, both quantitative and qualitative, that may be assessed to decide whether or how far a team is operating effectively. Some factors cannot be taken as evidence on their own, but may suggest underlying problems – accident rates may be due to poor safety systems, for example – as well as poor morale and lack of focus due to team problems. Some of the characteristics of effective and ineffective teams may be summarised as follows.
|Factor||Effective team||Ineffective team|
|Output and productivity||High||Low|
|Factor||Effective team||Ineffective team|
|Quality of output||High||Low|
|Individual targets||Achieved||Not achieved|
|Stoppages and interruptions to the work flow||Low||High (eg because of misunderstandings, disagreements)|
|Commitment to targets and organisational goals||High||Low|
|Understanding of team’s work and why it exists||High||Low|
|Understanding of individual roles within the team||High||Low|
|Communication between team members||Free and open||Mistrust|
|Ideas||Shared for the team’s benefit||‘Owned’ (and hidden) by individuals for their own benefit|
|Feedback||Constructive criticism||Point scoring, undermining|
|Problem-solving||Addresses causes||Only looks at symptoms|
|Interest in work decisions||Active||Passive acceptance|
|Motivation in leader’s absence||High||‘When the cat’s away …’|
7.2 Rewarding effective teams
Organisations may try to encourage effective team performance by designing reward systems that recognise team, rather than individual, success. Indeed, individual performance rewards may act against team co-operation and performance.
- They emphasise individual rather than team performance.
- They encourage team leaders to think of team members only as individuals, rather than relating to them as a team.
For team rewards to be effective, the team must have certain characteristics.
- Distinct roles, targets and performance measures (so the team knows what it has to do to earn the reward)
- Significant autonomy and thus influence over performance (so the team perceives that extra effort will be rewarded)
- Maturity and stability
- Interdependence of team members (so that the team manages member contribution, everyone
‘pulls their weight’, no one feels they could earn higher rewards on their own)
Reward schemes which focus on team (or organisation) performance include:
- Profit sharing schemes, based on the distribution of a pool of cash related to profit
- Gain sharing schemes, using a formula related to a suitable performance indicator, such as added value. Improvements in the performance indicator must be perceived to be within the employees’ control, otherwise there will be no incentive to perform.
- Employee share option schemes, giving staff the right to acquire shares in the employing company at an attractive price
|N||Personality is the total pattern of an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour. It is shaped by a variety of factors, both inherited and environmental.|
|N||Perception is the process by which the brain selects and organises information in order to make sense of it. People behave according to what they perceive – not according to what really is.|
|N||People develop attitudes about things, based on what they think, what they feel and what they want to do about it. Attitudes are formed by perception, experience and personality which in turn are shaped by wider social influences.|
|N||Role theory suggests that people behave in any situation according to other people’s expectations of how they should behave in that situation.|
|N||A group is a collection of individuals who perceive themselves as a group. It thus has a sense of identity.|
|N||People contribute differently in groups (due to group dynamics and synergy) than they do individually. This may have a positive or negative effect.|
|N||A team is more than a group. It has joint objectives and accountability and may be set up by the organisation under the supervision or coaching of a team leader, although self-managed teams are growing in popularity.|
|N||Teamworking may be used for: organising work; controlling activities; generating ideas; decisionmaking; pooling knowledge.|
|N||Problems with teams include conflict on the one hand and group think (excessive cohesion) on the other.|
|Multi-disciplinary teams contain people from different departments, pooling the skills of specialists.
Multi-skilled teams contain people who themselves have more than one skill.
|N||Ideally, team members should perform a balanced mix of roles. Belbin suggests: co-ordinator, shaper, plant, monitor-evaluator, resource-investigator, implementer, teamworker, completer-finisher and specialist.|
|N||Team members make different types of contribution (eg proposing, supporting, blocking) in the areas of task performance and team maintenance.|
|N||A team develops in stages: forming, storming, norming, performing (Tuckman) and dorming or mourning/adjourning.|
|N||Team development can be facilitated by active team-building measures to support team identity, solidarity and commitment to shared objectives.|
|N||A team can be evaluated on the basis of quantifiable and qualitative factors, covering its operations and its output, and team member satisfaction.|
|N||Team-based rewards may be used to encourage co-operation and mutual accountability.|
- Stella used to be very unhappy in her job, complaining about the working conditions and the tasks, and so she left. She has been in a new job for four years and always takes on new challenges with enthusiasm. She regularly volunteers to take on extra work if other employees are busy and she rarely complains about the organisation or the management.
Which of the following options accounts for Stella’s enthusiasm?
- Her personality type C Her attitude B Her personality trait
- ‘A small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves basically accountable’. This is the definition of:
- A group C A unit
- A team
- James is a team leader with a team of difficult employees. The work that the team does is critical and decisions made by James involve life or death situations. James has to follow correct procedures and sometimes shouts at members of the team in order to ensure the safety of everyone.
According to Belbin, what type of team member is James?
- Shaper C Plant
- Specialist D Complete-finisher
- Chris is a quiet person who doesn’t generally give his opinion unless he is asked for it but he is very creative and can solve difficult problems. Nicky is a loud person who gets very excited by Chris’ ideas. Sonny sometimes upsets Nicky and Chris by challenging their ideas. Katja has to step in to avert friction between them.
According to Belbin’s team roles, which of the team members is a teamworker?
- Chris C Sonny B Nicky D Katja
- Who described the stages of group development?
- Woodcock C Tuckman
- Belbin D Rackham and Morgan
- High labour turnover is a characteristic of effective teams. True or false?
- C Her attitude. She is obviously in a positive mental state and this is influencing her responses.
- B This is the definition of a team. A group is a collection of individuals who perceive themselves as a group.
- A James has the drive and courage to overcome obstacles but can hurt people’s feelings.
- D Katja averts friction and calms the waters. (Chris is a plant, Nicky is a resource investigator and Sonny is a shaper.)
- C The four stages identified by Tuckman were forming, storming, norming and performing.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
15Motivating individuals and groups
Human behaviour is a complex phenomenon. Managers
need to understand something of what makes their team
members ‘tick’ – particularly when it comes to the key
question: how do you get them to perform well, or better?
That is what motivation is about.
Having explored motivation and its impact on
performance in Section 1, we go on to look at a range of
key motivational theories in Sections 2 to 4. There are
some famous theoretical models here, and it is definitely
worth learning them.
In Sections 5 to 6, we look at a range of financial and
non-financial rewards that may be used to motivate
people. Take note, as you proceed through the chapter,
that money is by no means the only (or necessarily the
most effective) incentive to higher levels of performance.
The ability to ‘motivate’ people is also a key skill of
leadership, as we saw in Chapter 11.
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D5 Motivating individuals and groups
(a) Define motivation and explain its importance to the organisation, teams and individuals.
|(b) Explain content and process theories of motivation: Maslow, Herzberg, McGregor and Vroom.||K|
|(c) Explain and identify types of intrinsic and extrinsic reward.||K|
|(d) Explain how reward systems can be designed and implemented to motivate teams and individuals.||K|
|1||Overview of motivation|
1.1 What is motivation?
Motivation is ‘a decision-making process through which the individual chooses desired outcomes and sets in motion the behaviour appropriate to acquiring them’. (Huczynski and Buchanan, 2010).
In practice, the words motives and motivation are commonly used in different contexts to mean the following.
- Goals or outcomes that have become desirable for a particular individual. We say that money, power or friendship are motives for doing something.
- The mental process of choosing desired outcomes, deciding how to go about them (and whether the likelihood of success warrants the amount of effort that will be necessary) and setting in motion the required behaviour.
- The social process by which other people motivate us to behave in the ways they wish. Motivation in this sense usually applies to the attempts of organisations to get workers to put in more effort.
1.2 Needs and goals
Individual behaviour is partly influenced by human biology, which requires certain basics for life. When the body is deprived of these essentials, biological forces called needs or drives are activated (eg hunger), and dictate the behaviour required to end the deprivation: eat, drink, flee, and so on. However, we retain freedom of choice about how we satisfy our drives: they do not dictate specific or highly predictable behaviour. (Say you are hungry: how many specific ways of satisfying your hunger can you think of?)
Each individual also has a set of goals. The relative importance of those goals to the individual may vary with time, circumstances and other factors.
|Childhood environment and education||Aspiration levels, family and career models, and so on are formed at early stages of development.|
|Experience||This teaches us what to expect from life: we will either strive to repeat positive experiences, or to avoid or make up for negative ones.|
|Age and position||There is usually a gradual process of goal shift with age. Relationships and exploration may preoccupy young employees. Career and family goals tend to compete in the 20-40 age group: career launch and take-off may have to yield to the priorities associated with forming permanent relationships and having children.|
|Culture||Collectivist cultures (see Chapter 3) show a greater concern for relationships at work, while individualist cultures emphasise power and autonomy.|
|Self-concept||All the above factors are bound up with the individual’s own self-image. The individual’s assessments of their own abilities and place in society will affect the relative strength and nature of their needs and goals.|
The basic assumptions of motivation are that:
- People behave in such a way as to satisfy their needs and fulfil their goals.
- An organisation is in a position to offer some of the satisfactions people might seek: relationships and belonging, challenge and achievement, progress on the way to self-actualisation, security and structure, and so on.
- The organisation can therefore influence people to behave in ways it desires (to secure work performance) by offering them the means to satisfy their needs and fulfil their goals in return for that behaviour. (This process of influence is called motivation.)
- If people’s needs are being met, and goals being fulfilled, at work, they are more likely to have a positive attitude to their work and to the organisation, and to experience job satisfaction.
1.3 How useful is ‘motivation’ as a concept?
The impact of motivation and job satisfaction on performance is difficult to measure accurately.
- Motivation is about getting extra levels of commitment and performance from employees, over and above mere compliance with rules and procedures. If individuals can be motivated, by one means or another, they might work more efficiently (and productivity will rise) or they will produce a better quality of work.
- The case for job satisfaction as a factor in improved performance is not proven.
- The key is to work ‘smarter’ – not necessarily ‘harder’.
Morale is a term drawn primarily from a military context, to denote the state of mind or spirit of a group (esprit de corps), particularly regarding discipline and confidence. It can be related to satisfaction, since low morale implies a state of dissatisfaction.
The signs by which low morale or dissatisfaction are gauged are also ambiguous.
- Low productivity is not invariably a sign of low morale. There may be more concrete problems (eg with work organisation or technology).
- High labour turnover is not a reliable indicator of low morale: the age structure of the workforce and other factors in natural wastage will need to be taken into account. Low turnover, likewise, is no evidence of high morale: people may be staying because of a lack of other opportunities in the local job market, for example.
However, there is some evidence that satisfaction correlates with mental health, so symptoms of stress or psychological dysfunction may be a signal that all is not well. (Again, a range of non-work factors may be contributing.)
Attitude surveys may also be used to indicate workers’ perception of their job satisfaction, by way of interview or questionnaire.
QUESTION Personal motivation
What factors in yourself or your organisation motivate you to:
- Turn up to work at all?
- Do an average day’s work?
- ‘Bust a gut’ on a task or for a boss? Go on – be honest!
1.4 Theories of motivation
One classification distinguishes between content and process theories.
- Content theories ask the question: ‘What are the things that motivate people?’
They assume that human beings have a set of needs or desired outcomes. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s two-factor theory, both discussed shortly, are two of the most important approaches of this type.
- Process theories ask the question: ‘How can people be motivated?’
They explore the process through which outcomes become desirable and are pursued by individuals. This approach assumes that people are able to select their goals and choose the paths towards them by a conscious or unconscious process of calculation. Expectancy theory and Handy’s ‘motivation calculus’, discussed later, are theories of this type.
|2||Content theories of motivation|
2.1 Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow (1943) described five innate human needs, and put forward certain propositions about the motivating power of each need.
- An individual’s needs can be arranged in a ‘hierarchy of relative pre-potency’ (as shown). Each level of need is dominant until satisfied; only then does the next level of need become a motivating factor. A need which has been satisfied no longer motivates an individual’s behaviour.
- The need for self-actualisation can rarely be satisfied.
- In addition, Maslow described:
- Freedom of enquiry and expression needs (for social conditions permitting free speech, and encouraging justice, fairness and honesty)
- Knowledge and understanding needs (to gain knowledge of the environment, to explore, to learn)
QUESTION Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Decide which of Maslow’s categories the following fit into.
|(a) Receiving praise from your manager||(e) A pay increase|
|(b) A family party||(f) Joining a local drama group|
|(c) An artist forgetting to eat||(g) Being awarded the OBE|
|(d) A man washed up on a desert island||(h) Buying a house|
Maslow’s categories for the listed circumstances are as follows.
- Esteem needs
- Social needs
- Self-actualisation needs overriding lower-level needs!
- Physiological needs
- Safety needs initially; esteem needs above in a certain income level
- Social needs or self-actualisation needs
- Esteem needs (h) Safety needs or esteem needs
2.1.1 Evaluating Maslow’s theory
Maslow’s hierarchy is simple and intuitively attractive: you are unlikely to worry about respect if you are starving! However, it is only a theory and has been shown to have several major limitations.
- An individual’s behaviour may be in response to several needs, and the same need may cause different behaviour in different individuals, so it is difficult to use the model to explain or predict an individual’s behaviour in response to rewards.
- The hierarchy ignores the concept of deferred gratification (by which people are prepared to ignore current suffering for the promise of future benefits) and altruistic behaviour (by which people sacrifice their own needs for others).
- Empirical verification of the hierarchy is hard to come by.
- Research has revealed that the hierarchy reflects UK and US cultural values, which may not transfer to other contexts.
2.2 Herzberg’s two-factor theory
Herzberg’s two-factor theory (Herzberg et al, 1959) is based on two needs: the need to avoid unpleasantness, and the need for personal growth.
- The need to avoid unpleasantness is satisfied through hygiene factors.Hygiene factors are to do with the environment and conditions of work, including:
- Company policy and administration
- Interpersonal relations
- Working conditions
- The quality of supervision
- Job security
If inadequate, hygiene factors cause dissatisfaction with work (which is why they are also called ‘dissatisfiers’). They work like sanitation, which minimises threats to health rather than actively promoting ‘good health’.
- The need for personal growth is satisfied by motivator factors.
These actively create job satisfaction (they are also called ‘satisfiers’) and are effective in motivating an individual to superior performance and effort. These factors are connected to the work itself, including:
- Status (although this may be a hygiene factor too)
- Challenging work
- Advancement (or opportunities for it)
- A sense of achievement
- Recognition by colleagues and management
- Growth in the job
A lack of motivator factors will encourage employees to concentrate on the hygiene factors. These, although they can be regarded as motivators in the very short term, will eventually dissatisfy.
Herzberg suggested that where there is evidence of poor motivation, such as low productivity, poor quality and strikes, management should not pay too much attention to hygiene factors, such as pay and conditions. Despite the fact that these are the traditional targets for the aspirations of organised labour, their potential for bringing improvements to work attitudes is limited. Instead, Herzberg suggested three types of job design which would offer job satisfaction through enhanced motivator factors.
- Job enlargement
- Job rotation discussed in Section 5 below.
- Job enrichment
2.3 Evaluating Herzberg’s theory
Herzberg’s original study was concerned with 203 Pittsburgh engineers and accountants. His theory has therefore been criticised as being based on:
- An inadequately small sample size
- A limited cultural context (Western professionals)
The impact of job satisfaction (from motivator factors) on work performance has proved difficult to verify and measure.
|3||Process theories of motivation|
3.1 Vroom’s expectancy theory
Victor Vroom (1964) stated a formula by which human motivation could be assessed and measured. He suggested that the strength of an individual’s motivation is the product of two factors.
- The strength of their preference for a certain outcome. Vroom called this valence: it can be represented as a positive or negative number, or zero – since outcomes may be desired, avoided or regarded with indifference.
- His expectation that the outcome will in fact result from a certain behaviour. Vroom called this ‘subjective probability’ or expectancy. As a probability, it may be represented by any number between 0 (no chance) and 1 (certainty).
In its simplest form, the expectancy equation may be stated as: F = V E
where: F = the force or strength of the individual’s motivation to behave in a particular way
V = valence: the strength of the individual preference for a given outcome or reward
E = expectancy: the individual’s perception that the behaviour will result in the outcome/
In this equation, the lower the values of valence or expectancy, the less the motivation. An employee may have a high expectation that increased productivity will result in promotion (because of managerial promises, say), but if they are indifferent or negative towards the idea of promotion (because they dislike responsibility), they will not be motivated to increase their productivity. Likewise, if promotion is very important to them – but they do not believe higher productivity will get them promoted (because they have been passed over before, perhaps), their motivation will be low.
3.2 Managerial implications of process theories
Process theory suggests the following.
- Intended results should be made clear, so that the individual can complete the motivation calculation by knowing what is expected, the reward, and how much effort it will take.
- Individuals are more committed to specific goals which they have helped to set themselves, taking their needs and expectations into account.
- Immediate and ongoing feedback should be given. Without knowledge of actual results, there is no check that ‘E’ expenditure was justified (or will be justified in future).
- If an individual is rewarded according to performance tied to standards (management by objectives), however, they may well set lower standards: the expectancy part of the calculation (likelihood of success and reward) is greater if the standard is lower, so less expense of ‘E’ is indicated.
|4||Choosing a motivational approach|
Two influential writers of the neo-human relations school argue that a manager’s approach to motivating people depends on the assumptions they make about ‘what makes them tick’.
4.1 McGregor: Theory X and Theory Y
McGregor (1987) suggested that managers (in the US) tended to behave as though they subscribed to one of two sets of assumptions about people at work: Theory X and Theory Y.
- Theory X suggests that most people dislike work and responsibility and will avoid both if possible. Because of this, most people must be coerced, controlled, directed and/or threatened with punishment to get them to make an adequate effort. Managers who operate according to these assumptions will tend to supervise closely, apply detailed rules and controls, and use ‘carrot and stick’ motivators.
- Theory Y suggests that physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest. The ordinary person does not inherently dislike work: according to the conditions, it may be a source of satisfaction or dissatisfaction. The potentialities of the average person are rarely fully used at work. People can be motivated to seek challenge and responsibility in the job, if their goals can be integrated with those of the organisation. A manager with this sort of attitude to their staff is likely to be a consultative, facilitating leader, using positive feedback, challenge and responsibility as motivators.
Both are intended to be extreme sets of assumptions – not actual types of people. However, they also tend to be self-fulfilling prophecies. Employees treated as if ‘Theory X’ were true will begin to behave accordingly. Employees treated as if ‘Theory Y’ were true – being challenged to take on more responsibility – will rise to the challenge and behave accordingly.
Theory X and Theory Y can be used to heighten managers’ awareness of the assumptions underlying their motivational style.
|5||Rewards and incentives|
- A reward is a token (monetary or otherwise) given to an individual or team in recognition of some contribution or success.
- An incentive is the offer or promise of a reward for contribution or success, designed to motivate the individual or team to behave in such a way as to earn it. (In other words, the ‘carrot’ dangled in front of the donkey!)
Different individuals have different goals, and get different things out of their working life: in other words, they have different orientations to work. Why might a person work, or be motivated to work well?
- The human relations school of management theorists regarded work relationships as the main source of satisfaction and reward offered to the worker.
- Later writers suggested a range of ‘higher-order’ motivations, notably:
- Job satisfaction, interest and challenge in the job itself – rewarding work
- Participation in decision-making – responsibility and involvement
- Pay has always occupied a rather ambiguous position, but since people need money to live, it will certainly be part of the reward package.
5.1 Intrinsic and extrinsic factors
Rewards offered to the individual at work may be of two basic types.
- Extrinsic rewards are separate from (or external to) the job itself, and dependent on the decisions of others (that is, also external to the control of the workers themselves). Pay, benefits, non-cash incentives and working conditions (Herzberg’s hygiene factors) are examples.
- Intrinsic rewards are those which arise from the performance of the work itself (Herzberg’s motivator factors). They are therefore psychological rather than material and relate to the concept of job satisfaction. Intrinsic rewards include the satisfaction that comes from completing a piece of work, the status that certain jobs convey, and the feeling of achievement that comes from doing a difficult job well.
5.2 A reward system
It is suggested that a reward system should do six things.
- Encourage people to fill job vacancies and not leave
- Increase the predictability of employees’ behaviour, so that employees can be depended on to carry out their duties consistently and to a reasonable standard
- Increase willingness to accept change and flexibility (changes in work practices are often ‘bought’ from trade unions with higher pay)
- Foster and encourage innovative behaviour
- Reflect the nature of jobs in the organisation and the skills or experience required. The reward system should therefore be consistent with seniority of position in the organisation structure, and should be thought fair by all employees
- Motivate: that is, increase commitment and effort
5.3 Job design as a motivator
One of the consequences of mass production and scientific management was what might be called a micro-division of labour, or job simplification. Micro-designed jobs have the following advantages.
- Little training. A job is divided up into the smallest number of sequential tasks possible. Each task is so simple and straightforward that it can be learned with very little training.
- Replacement. If labour turnover is high, this does not matter because unskilled replacements can be found and trained to do the work in a very short time.
- Flexibility. Since the skill required is low, workers can be shifted from one task to another very easily.
- Control. If tasks are closely defined and standard times set for their completion, production is easier to predict and control.
- Quality. Standardisation of work into simple tasks means that quality is easier to predict.
Disadvantages of micro-designed jobs, however, include the following.
- The work is monotonous and makes employees tired, bored and dissatisfied. The consequences will be high labour turnover, absenteeism, spoilage and unrest. People work better when their work is variable, unlike machines.
- An individual doing a simple task feels like a small cog in a large machine, and has no sense of contributing to the organisation’s end product or service.
- Excessive specialisation isolates the individual in their work and inhibits not only social contacts with workmates, but knowledge generation.
- In practice, excessive job simplification leads to lower quality, through inattention and loss of morale.
5.3.2 Job enrichment
Three ways of improving job design to make jobs more interesting to the employee, and hopefully to improve performance are job enrichment, job enlargement and job rotation.
Job enrichment is planned, deliberate action to build greater responsibility, breadth and challenge of work into a job. Job enrichment is similar to empowerment.
Job enrichment represents a ‘vertical’ extension of the job into greater levels of responsibility, challenge and autonomy. A job may be enriched by:
- Giving the job holder decision-making tasks of a higher order
- Giving the employee greater freedom to decide how the job should be done
- Encouraging employees to participate in the planning decisions of their superiors
- Giving the employee regular feedback
5.3.3 Job enlargement
Job enlargement is a ‘horizontal’ extension of the job by increasing task variety and reducing task repetition.
- Tasks which span a larger part of the total production work should reduce boredom and add to task meaning, significance and variety.
- Enlarged jobs might be regarded as having higher status within the department, perhaps as stepping stones towards promotion.
Job enlargement is, however, limited in its intrinsic rewards, as asking workers to complete three separate tedious, unchallenging tasks is unlikely to be more motivating than asking them to perform just one tedious, unchallenging task!
5.3.4 Job rotation
Job rotation is a ‘sequential’ extension of the job. For example, in a factory where the worst job is seen as packing the products in to boxes, and the best job as being the fork lift truck driver: job rotation would ensure that individuals spent equal time on all jobs. Job rotation is also sometimes seen as a form of training, where individuals gain wider experience by rotating as trainees in different positions.
It is generally admitted that the developmental value of job rotation is limited – but it can reduce the monotony of repetitive work.
5.3.5 Job optimisation
A well-designed job should provide the individual with five core dimensions which contribute to job satisfaction.
- Skill variety: the opportunity to exercise different skills and perform different operations
- Task identity: the integration of operations into a ‘whole’ tasks (or meaningful segments of the task) (c) Task significance: the task is perceived to have a role, purpose, meaning and value
- Autonomy: the opportunity to exercise discretion or self-management (eg in areas such as targetsetting and work methods)
- Feedback: the availability of performance feedback, enabling the individual to assess their progress and the opportunity to give feedback, be heard and influence results
5.4 Feedback as a motivator
There are two main types of feedback, both of which are valuable in enhancing performance and development.
- Motivational feedback is used to reward and reinforce positive behaviour and performance by praising and encouraging the individual.
- Developmental feedback is given when a particular area of performance needs to be improved, helping the individual to identify what needs to be changed and how this might be done.
Constructive feedback is designed to widen options and encourage development. This does not mean giving only positive, motivational or ‘encouraging’ feedback about what a person has done: feedback about areas for improvement, given skilfully and sensitively, is in many ways more useful. It needs to be:
- Balanced with positives
- Focused on behaviour/results – not personalities
- Objective (felt to be fair)
- Supportive/co-operative, emphasising the resources available to help the person improve
- Selective (not tackling all shortcomings at once)
5.5 Participation as a motivator
People generally want more interesting work and to have a say in decision-making. These expectations are a basic part of the movement towards greater participation at work.
Participation can involve employees and make them feel committed to their task, given the following conditions (5 Cs).
- Certainty. Participation should be genuine.
- Consistency. Efforts to establish participation should be made consistently over a long period.
- Clarity. The purpose of participation is made quite clear.
- Capacity. The individual has the ability and information to participate effectively.
- Commitment. The manager believes in and genuinely supports participation.
6 Inappropriate reward systems
Inappropriate reward systems may occur in practice. For example:
- Bonuses awarded regardless of performance
- Pay rises built into a contract regardless of performance
In these examples, the employee has no incentive to increase their performance or contribute to the organisation’s prosperity. An employee could be rewarded with a bonus when they have completely failed to meet all their objectives. Another employee may have a contract with built-in pay rises, so spends time on the golf course instead of working. Both these examples will cause corporate governance problems, as the regime is effectively rewarding failure in the first case and paying for the pursuit of personal interests in the second case.
|6||Pay as a motivator|
Pay is important because:
- It is a major cost for the organisation.
- People feel strongly about it: it ‘stands in’ for a number of human needs and goals.
- It is a legal issue (minimum wage, equal pay legislation).
- It enables the organisation to attract and retain individuals with the knowledge, skills and experience required.
6.1 How is pay determined?
There are a number of ways in which organisations determine pay.
- Job evaluation. This is a systematic process for establishing the relative worth of jobs within an organisation. Its main purpose is to provide a rational basis for the design and maintenance of an equitable (and legally defensible) pay structure.
The salary structure is based on job content, and not on the personal merit of the job holder.
(The individual job holder can be paid extra personal bonuses in reward for performance.)
- Fairness. Pay must be perceived and felt to match the level of work, and the capacity of the individual to do it.
- Negotiated pay scales. Pay scales, differentials and minimum rates may have been negotiated at plant, local or national level, according to such factors as legislation, government policy, the economy, the power of trade unions, the state of the labour market for relevant skills, productivity agreements, and so on.
- Market rates. Market rates of pay will have most influence on pay structures where there is a standard pattern of supply and demand in the open labour market. If an organisation’s rates fall below the benchmark rates in the local or national labour market from which it recruits, it will have trouble attracting and holding employees.
- Individual performance in the job. This can result in merit pay awards, or performance-related bonuses.
6.2 Types of reward
An organisation may offer a range of rewards to employees, perhaps combined in a reward package. The range offered may include some or all of the following.
- Basic wages or salary
- Overtime payments (perhaps for employees paid a wage based on hours worked)
- Performance-related bonus
- Share options (the opportunity to buy shares at a favourable price)
- Benefits in kind (for example personal use of a company vehicle)
- Pension contributions
- Service contracts and termination payments
Packages for employees at different levels are likely to differ.
6.3 What do people want from pay?
Pay has a central – but ambiguous – role in motivation theory. It is not mentioned explicitly in any need list, but it offers the satisfaction of many of the various needs.
Individuals may also have needs unrelated to money, however, which money cannot satisfy, or which the pay system of the organisation actively denies (eg the need for leisure/family time – not overtime!) So to what extent is pay an inducement to better performance? Can pay be an effective motivator or incentive?
Although the size of their income will affect their standard of living, most people tend not to be concerned about maximising their earnings. They may like to earn more but are probably more concerned about earning enough and knowing that their pay is fair in comparison with the pay of others both inside and outside the organisation.
Pay is a ‘hygiene’ factor: it gets taken for granted, and so is more often a source of dissatisfaction than satisfaction. However, pay is the most important of the hygiene factors, according to Herzberg. It is valuable not only in its power to be converted into a wide range of other satisfactions but also as a consistent measure of worth or value, allowing employees to compare themselves and be compared with other individuals or occupational groups inside and outside the organisation.
Research has also illustrated that workers may have an instrumental orientation to work: the attitude that work is not an end in itself but a means to other ends, through earning money.
Pay is only one of several intrinsic and extrinsic rewards offered by work. If pay is used to motivate, it can only do so in a wider context of the job and the other rewards. Thanks, praise and recognition, for example, are alternative forms of positive reinforcement.
QUESTION Pay as a motivator
Herzberg says that money is a hygiene factor in the motivation process. If this is true, it means that lack of money can demotivate, but the presence of money will not in itself be a motivator. How far do you agree with this proposition? Can individuals be motivated by a pay rise?
6.4 Performance-related pay (PRP)
Performance-related pay (PRP) is related to output (in terms of the number of items produced or time taken to produce a unit of work), or results achieved (performance to defined standards in key tasks, according to plan).
The most common individual PRP scheme for wage earners is straight piecework: payment of a fixed amount per unit produced, or operation completed.
For managerial and other salaried jobs, however, a form of management by objectives will probably be applied. PRP is often awarded at the discretion of the line manager, although guidelines may suggest, for example, that those rated exceptional get a bonus of 10% whereas those who have performed less well only get, say, 3%.
- Key results can be identified and specified, for which merit awards will be paid.
- There will be a clear model for evaluating performance and knowing when, or if, targets have been reached and payments earned.
- The exact conditions and amounts of awards can be made clear to the employee, to avoid uncertainty and later resentment.
For service and other departments, a PRP scheme may involve bonuses for achievement of key results, or points schemes, where points are awarded for performance of various criteria (efficiency, cost savings, quality of service, and so on). Certain points totals (or the highest points total in the unit, if a competitive system is used) then win cash or other awards.
6.4.1 Evaluating PRP
Benefits of PRP
- Improves commitment and capability
- Complements other HR initiatives
- Improves focus on the business’s performance objectives
- Encourages two-way communication
- Allows greater supervisory responsibility
- Recognises achievement when other means are not available Potential problems
- Subjectivity of awards for less measurable criteria (eg ‘teamwork’)
- Encouraging short-term focus and target-hitting (rather than improvements)
- Divisive/against teamworking (if awards are individual)
- Difficulties gaining union acceptance (if perceived to erode basic pay)
Why might PRP fail to motivate?
- The rewards from PRP are often too small to motivate effectively. Anyhow, some employees may not expect to receive the rewards and hence will not put in the extra effort.
- It is often unfair, especially in jobs where success is determined by uncontrollable factors.
- If people are rewarded individually, they may be less willing to work as a team.
- People may concentrate on short-term performance indicators rather than on longer-term goals such as innovation or quality. In other words, people put all their energy into hitting the target rather than doing their job better.
- PRP schemes have to be well designed to ensure performance is measured properly, people consider them to be fair and there is consent to the scheme.
6.5 Rewarding the team
6.5.1 Group bonus schemes
Group incentive schemes typically offer a bonus for a team which achieves or exceeds specified targets. Offering bonuses to a whole team may be appropriate for tasks where individual contributions cannot be isolated, workers have little control over their individual output because tasks depend on each other, or where team-building is particularly required. It may enhance team spirit and co-operation as well as provide performance incentives, but it may also create pressures within the group if some individuals are seen not to be pulling their weight.
6.5.2 Profit-sharing schemes
Profit-sharing schemes offer employees (or selected groups) bonuses, directly related to profits or value added. Profit sharing is based on the belief that all employees can contribute to profitability, and that that contribution should be recognised. The effects may include profit-consciousness and motivation in employees, commitment to the future prosperity of the organisation, and so on.
The actual incentive value and effect on productivity may be wasted, however, if the scheme is badly designed.
- The sum should be significant.
- There should be a clear and timely link between effort or performance and reward. Profit shares should be distributed as frequently as possible, consistent with the need for reliable information on profit forecasts, targets, etc and the need to amass significant amounts for distribution.
- The scheme should only be introduced if profit forecasts indicate a reasonable chance of achieving the above: profit sharing is welcome when profits are high, but the potential for disappointment is great.
- The greatest effect on productivity arising from the scheme may in fact arise from its use as a focal point for discussion with employees, about the relationship between their performance and results, areas and targets for improvement, etc. Management must be seen to be committed to the principle.
6.6 Other issues
It is important that senior executive pay packages provide incentives for them to improve business performance – that the package encourages behaviour that is consistent with achieving the organisation’s strategic goals. Rewards should focus on the medium and long term, not just the short term.
Pensions are becoming an important part of the remuneration package. With individuals living longer and interest rates (and therefore investment income) being very low, pensions are the main source of income for a growing proportion of the population. Pension schemes in which the company pays significant contributions (rather than only the employee contributing) are very attractive to employees – pensions are an increasingly important element of the pay package.
In order to retain a key employee, particularly in a business where the workforce is traditionally highly mobile, the organisation may be prepared to offer long-term rewards, such as share option schemes to retain the employee longer. This approach, using a future reward to encourage staff retention, is referred to as golden handcuffs.
When a long-serving senior executive leaves, an organisation may make an additional payment called a golden handshake as part of the termination payment. The payment may be a reward for exceptional service, or in some circumstances the payment may be offered as an incentive to leave.
Sometimes an organisation may find that it has too many staff, perhaps because of reduced demand or more efficient working methods. In these circumstances, an organisation may ask for volunteers to give up their jobs – by offering voluntary redundancy. These volunteers are usually offered a relatively generous redundancy payment – and helps the organisation retain the goodwill of the remaining employees.
Pay can be a powerful short-term motivator (even according to Herzberg!); for example, a bonus payment for completing a piece of work in a specified period of time.
|N||Motivation is concerned with what causes people to act in a certain way, whether it be drinking a glass of water to reduce thirst or working hard to achieve a promotion at work.|
|N||People have certain innate needs and goals, through which they expect their needs to be satisfied. Both of these drive behaviour.|
|N||Motivation is a useful concept, despite the fact that the impact of motivation, job satisfaction and morale on performance are difficult to measure.|
|N||Many theories try to explain motivation and why and how people can be motivated.|
|N||Content theories of motivation suggest that the best way to motivate an employee is to find out what their needs are and offer them rewards that will satisfy those needs.|
|N||Maslow identified a hierarchy of needs which an individual will be motivated to satisfy, progressing towards higher order satisfactions, such as self-actualisation.|
|N||Herzberg identified two basic need systems: the need to avoid unpleasantness and the need for personal growth. He suggested factors which could be offered by organisations to satisfy both types of need: hygiene and motivator factors respectively.|
|N||Process theories of motivation help managers to understand the dynamics of employees’ decisions about what rewards are worth going for.|
|N||Expectancy theory basically states that the strength of an individual’s motivation to do something will depend on the extent to which they expect the results of their efforts to contribute to their personal needs or goals.|
|N||McGregor suggested that a manager’s approach is based on attitudes somewhere on a scale between two extreme sets of assumptions: Theory X (workers have to be coerced) and Theory Y (workers want to be empowered).|
|N||Not all the incentives that an organisation can offer its employees are directly related to monetary rewards. The satisfaction of any of the employee’s wants or needs may be seen as a reward for past performance, or an incentive for future performance.|
|N||Rewards may be extrinsic (external to the work and individual) or intrinsic (arising from performance of the work itself).|
|N||The job itself can be used as a motivator, or it can be a cause of dissatisfaction. Job design refers to how tasks are organised to create ‘jobs’ for individuals.|
|N||Three ways of improving job design to make jobs more interesting to the employee, and hopefully to improve performance are job enrichment, job enlargement and job rotation.|
|N||Constructive performance feedback is important in job satisfaction and motivation.|
|N||Participation in decision-making (if genuine) can make people more committed to the task.|
|N||Pay is the most important of the hygiene factors, but it is ambiguous in its effect on motivation.|
|N||Performance-related pay (PRP) is a form of incentive system, awarding extra pay for extra output or performance.|
|N||Various forms of group rewards can be used as an incentive to co-operative performance and mutual accountability.|
- Tick the correct box Positive Self reinforcement actualisation
Encouraging a certain type of behaviour by rewarding it
Personal growth and fulfilment of potential
- Which one of the following is not one of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?
- Esteem needs
- Social needs
- Safety needs
- Cultural needs
- A reward is the offer or promise of a benefit for contribution or success, designed to motivate the individual of team. True or false?
- In Vroom’s expectancy theory, the lower the values of valence and expectancy, the higher the motivation. True or false?
- According to Herzberg, leadership style is a motivator factor. True or false?
- A ‘horizontal’ extension of the job to increase task variety is called:
- Job evaluation
- Job enlargement
- Job enrichment
- Job rotation
- Positive Self
Encouraging a certain type of behaviour by rewarding it ü
Personal growth and fulfilment of potential
- D Cultural needs. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs includes physiological needs, safety needs, love/social needs, esteem needs and self actualisation.
- This is an incentive.
- Motivation would be lower. F= V × E so the lower that V and E are, the lower F (motivation) is.
- It is a hygiene factor.
- C Make sure you can define all the other terms as well.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
16Training and development
The development of people to meet current – and
changing – job demands is a key leadership task.
In Section 1, we describe how people learn, and in
Sections 2 to 6, we look at key aspects of a systematic
approach to training: identifying training needs, selecting
training methods and designing training that suits how
people learn. Evaluating the effectiveness of training is
also very important.
There are detailed procedures and models to learn, but at
the core of this topic is the need to ensure that trainee
learning is applied in the work context. Bear this in mind
as you explore training methods, in particular.
In Section 7, we look at the wider topic of development,
which is about more than just improving job performance.
This topic looks forward to performance appraisal
(Chapter 17) because it is one of the formal ways of
identifying training needs and development potential.
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D6 Learning and training at work
(a) Explain the importance of learning and development in the workplace.
|(b) Describe the learning process: Honey and Mumford, Kolb.||K|
|(c) Describe the role of the human resources department and individual managers in the learning process.||K|
|(d) Describe the training and development process: identifying needs, setting objectives, programme design, delivery and validation.||K|
|(e) Explain the terms ‘training’, ‘development’ and ‘education’ and the characteristics of each.||K|
|(f) List the benefits of effective training and development in the workplace.||K|
|1||The learning process|
1.1 Approaches to learning theory
There are different schools of learning theory which explain and describe how people learn.
- Behaviourist psychology concentrates on the relationship between stimuli (input through the senses) and responses to those stimuli. ‘Learning’ is the formation of new connections between stimulus and response, on the basis of conditioning. We modify our responses in future according to whether the results of our behaviour in the past have been good or bad.
- The cognitive approach argues that the human mind takes sensory information and imposes organisation and meaning on it: we interpret and rationalise. We use feedback information on the results of past behaviour to make rational decisions about whether to maintain successful behaviour or modify unsuccessful behaviour in future, according to our goals and our plans for reaching them.
- Lessons from learning theory
Whichever approach it is based on, learning theory offers certain useful propositions for the design of effective training programmes and the role of the human resources department in developing such program.
|The individual should be motivated to learn.||The advantages of training should be made clear, according to the individual’s motives – money, opportunity, valued skills or whatever.|
|There should be clear objectives and standards set, so that each task has some meaning.||Each stage of learning should present a challenge, without overloading trainees or making them lose confidence. Specific objectives and performance standards will help trainees in the planning and control process that leads to learning, and provide targets against which performance will constantly be measured.|
|There should be timely, relevant feedback on performance and progress.||This will usually be provided by the trainer, and should be concurrent – or certainly not long delayed. If progress reports or performance appraisals are given only at the year end, for example, there will be no opportunity for behaviour adjustment or learning in the meantime.|
|Positive and negative reinforcement should be judiciously used.||Recognition and encouragement enhance individuals’ confidence in their competence and progress: punishment for poor performance – especially without explanation and correction – discourages the learner and creates feelings of guilt, failure and hostility.|
|Active participation is more telling than passive reception (because of its effect on the motivation to learn, concentration and recollection).||If a high degree of participation is impossible, practice and repetition can be used to reinforce receptivity. However, participation has the effect of encouraging ‘ownership’ of the process of learning and changing – committing individuals to it as their own goal, not just an imposed process.|
- Learning styles: Honey and Mumford (1992)
The way in which people learn best will differ according to their psychological preferences. That is to say, there are learning styles which suit different individuals. Peter Honey and Alan Mumford have drawn up a popular classification of four learning styles.
- Theorists seek to understand basic principles and to take an intellectual, ‘hands-off’ approach based on logical argument. They prefer training to be:
- Programmed and structured
- Designed to allow time for analysis
- Provided by teachers who share their preference for concepts and analysis
- Observe phenomena, think about them and then choose how to act
- Need to work at their own pace
- Find learning difficult if forced into a hurried programme
- Produce carefully thought-out conclusions after research and reflection
- Tend to be fairly slow, non-participative (unless to ask questions) and cautious
- Deal with practical, active problems and do not have patience with theory
- Require training based on hands-on experience
- Are excited by participation and pressure, such as new projects
- Are flexible and optimistic, but tend to rush at something without due preparation
- Only like to study if they can see a direct link to real, practical problems
- Are good at learning new techniques through on the job training
- Aim to implement action plans and/or do the task better
- May discard good ideas which only require some development
Training programmes should ideally be designed to accommodate the preferences of all four styles, or to suit individual trainees (where feasible).
QUESTION Learning styles
With reference to the four learning styles drawn up by Honey and Mumford, which of these styles do you think most closely resembles your own? What implications has this got for the way you learn?
Depending on your answer you will learn most effectively in particular given situations. For example, the theorist will learn best from lectures and books, whereas the activist will get most from practical activities.
1.4 The learning cycle: Kolb
|People can learn from everyday work experience, using the learning cycle of reflection, generalisation and application.|
Another useful model is the experiential learning cycle devised by David Kolb (1984). Experiential learning involves doing and puts the learner in an active problem-solving role: a form of self-learning which encourages learners to formulate and commit themselves to their own learning objectives.
Suppose that an employee interviews a customer for the first time (concrete experience). They observe their own performance and the dynamics of the situation (observation) and afterwards, having failed to convince the customer to buy the product, the employee thinks about what they did right and wrong (reflection). They come to the conclusion that they failed to listen to what the customer really wanted and feared, underneath their general reluctance: they realise that the key to communication is active listening (abstraction/generalisation). They decide to apply active listening techniques in their next
5 Organisational learning
|The learning organisation is an organisation that facilitates the learning of all its members (Pedler et al, 1991), by gathering and sharing knowledge, tolerating experience and solving problems analytically.|
The learning organisation is an organisation that facilitates the acquisition and sharing of knowledge, and the learning of all its members, in order to continuously and strategically transform itself in response to a rapidly changing and uncertain environment.
The key dimensions of a learning organisation are:
- The generation and transfer of knowledge
- A tolerance for risk and failure as learning opportunities
- A systematic, ongoing, collective and scientific approach to problem-solving
1.5.1 Strengths of learning organisations
Learning organisations are good at certain key processes.
Experimentation. Learning organisations systematically search for and test new knowledge. Decision-making is based on ‘hypothesis-generating, hypothesis-testing’ techniques: the plan-docheck-act cycle. Application of information and learning is key. Innovation is encouraged, with a tolerance for risk.
- Learning from past experience. Learning organisations freely seek and provide feedback on performance and processes: they review their successes and failures, assess them systematically and communicate lessons to all employees. Mistakes and failures are regarded as learning opportunities.
- Learning from others. Learning organisations recognise that the most powerful insights and opportunities come from looking ‘outside the box’ of the immediate environment. They encourage employees to seek information and learning opportunities outside the organisation as well as inside.
- Transferring knowledge quickly and efficiently throughout the organisation. Information is made available at all levels and across functional boundaries. Education, training and networking opportunities are constantly available.
|2||Development and training|
|In order to achieve its goals, an organisation requires a skilled workforce. This is partly achieved by training.|
2.1 Factors affecting job performance
There are many factors affecting a person’s performance at work. Training and development is one method by which an organisation may seek to improve the performance of its staff.
2.2 What is training and development?
|The main purpose of training and development is to raise competence and therefore performance standards. It is also concerned with personal development, helping and motivating employees to fulfil their potential.|
- Development is ‘the growth or realisation of a person’s ability and potential through the provision of learning and educational experiences’.
- Training is ‘the planned and systematic modification of behaviour through learning events, programmes and instruction which enable individuals to achieve the level of knowledge, skills and competence to carry out their work effectively’.
- Education is defined as that knowledge acquired gradually through learning and instruction. Someone who is ‘educated’ is regarded as being in possession of particular knowledge or skills, and having gone through a particular process in order to acquire them. Education is crucial for a person’s professional development, but it is only one part of the development process.
The overall purpose of employee development is:
- To ensure the firm meets current and future performance objectives by …
- Continuous improvement of the performance of individuals and teams, and … Maximising people’s potential for growth (and promotion)
We will discuss development separately in Section 7 of this chapter.
Note down key experiences which have developed your capacity and confidence at work, and the skills you are able to bring to your employer (or indeed a new employer!).
Few employers throw you in at the deep end – it is far too risky for them! Instead, you might have been given induction training to get acclimatised to the organisation, and you might have been introduced slowly to the job. Ideally, your employer would have planned a programme of tasks of steadily greater complexity and responsibility to allow you to grow into your role(s).
2.3 Training and development strategy
Organisations often have a training and development strategy, based on the overall strategy for the business. Development planning includes the following broad steps.
|Step 1||Identify the skills and competences needed by the business plan or HR plan.|
|Step 2||Draw up the development strategy to show how training and development activities will assist in meeting the targets of the corporate plan.|
|Step 3||Implement the training and development strategy.
The advantage of such an approach is that the training is:
• Problem based (ie corrects a real lack of skills)
• Action oriented
• Performance related
• Forward looking
|Training offers significant benefits for both employers and employees – although it is not the solution to every work problem!|
2.4 Benefits of training
2.4.1 Benefits for the organisation
Training offers some significant benefits for the organisation.
|Minimised the costs of obtaining the skills the organisation needs||Training supports the business strategy.|
|Increased productivity, improving performance||Some people suggest that higher levels of training explain the higher productivity of German as opposed to many British manufacturers.|
|Fewer accidents, and better health and safety||EU health and safety directives require a certain level of training.|
|Less need for detailed supervision; reduced supervisory costs||If people are trained they can get on with the job, and managers can concentrate on other things. Training is an aspect of empowerment.|
|Flexibility||Training ensures that people have the variety of skills needed: multi-skilling is only possible if people are properly trained.|
|Recruitment and succession planning||Opportunities for training and development attract new recruits and ensure that the organisation has a supply of suitable managerial and technical staff for the future.|
|Retention||Training and development supports an internal job market (through transfer and promotion). It also helps to satisfy employees’ self-development needs internally, without the need to change employers for task variety and challenge.|
|Change management||Training helps organisations manage change by letting people know why the change is happening and giving them the skills to cope with it.|
|Corporate culture||(1) Training programmes can be used to build the corporate culture or to direct it in certain ways.
(2) Training programmes can build relationships between staff and managers in different areas of the business.
|Motivation||Training programmes can increase commitment to the organisation’s goals, by satisfying employees’ self-actualisation needs (discussed in Chapter 13).|
Note, however, that training cannot do everything! (Look at the wheel in Section 2.1 again.) Training cannot by itself improve performance problems arising out of:
- Bad management
- Poor job design
- Poor equipment, workplace layout or work organisation
- Lack of aptitude or intelligence
- Poor motivation (training gives a person the ability, but not necessarily willingness)
QUESTION Limitations of training
Despite all the benefits to the organisation, many are still reluctant to train. Suggest reasons for this.
Cost: training can be costly. Ideally, it should be seen as an investment in the future or as something the firm has to do to maintain its position. In practice, many firms are reluctant to train because of poaching by other employers – trained staff are more marketable elsewhere. While some organisations encourage this ’employability’ training, recognising their inability to offer employees long-term job security, others may experience it as a resource drain. In addition, it must be recognised that training by itself is not the solution to performance problems: it must be effectively planned and managed, as we will see later in this chapter.
2.4.2 Benefits for the employee
|Enhances portfolio of skills||Even if not specifically related to the current job, training can be useful in other contexts. The employee becomes more attractive in the labour market (’employability’) and more profitable within the firm.|
|Psychological benefits||The trainee might feel reassured that they are of continuing value to the organisation. A perception of competence also enhances selfesteem and confidence.|
|Social benefit||People’s social needs can be met by training courses, which can also develop networks of contacts.|
|The job||Training can help people do their job better, thereby increasing job satisfaction and possibly promotion and earning prospects.|
For the individual employee, the benefits of training and development are more clear-cut, and few refuse it if it is offered.
2.5 A systematic approach to training
|A systematic approach to training includes: need definition; objective setting; planning training programmes; delivering training; and evaluating results.|
In order to ensure that training meets the real needs of the organisation, larger firms adopt a systematic approach.
|Step 1||Identify and define the organisation’s training needs (from the human resource plan). (It may be that recruitment is a better solution to skill shortfalls.)|
|Step 2||Define the learning required – in other words, specify the knowledge, skills or competences that have to be acquired. (For technical training, this is not difficult: for example, all finance department staff will have to become conversant with a new accounting system.)|
|Step 3||Define training objectives – what must be learnt and what trainees must be able to do after the training exercise.|
|Step 4||Plan training programmes. Training and development can be structured and implemented in a number of ways, as we shall discuss in Section 3. This covers:
• Who provides the training
• Where the training takes place
• Division of responsibilities between trainers, managers and the individual
• What training approaches, techniques, styles and technologies are used
|Step 5||Implement the training programme|
|Step 6||Monitor, review and evaluate training. Has it been successful in achieving the learning objectives?|
|Step 7||Go back to Step 2 if more training is needed.|
We will now look at the stages of this process in more detail.
|3||Training needs and objectives|
|A thorough analysis of training needs should be carried out to ensure that training programmes meet organisational and individual requirements.|
3.1 Indicators of the need for training
Some training requirements will be obvious and ‘automatic’.
- If a piece of legislation is enacted which affects the organisation’s operations, training in its provisions will automatically be indicated. Thus, for example, HR staff have needed training as various EU Directives have been enacted in UK law.
- The introduction of new technology similarly implies a training need: for relevant employees to learn how to use it.
Other training requirements may emerge in response to critical incidents: problems or events which affect a key area of the organisation’s activity and effectiveness. A service organisation may, for example, receive bad press coverage because of a number of complaints about the rudeness of its customer service staff on the telephone. This might highlight the need for training in telephone skills, customer care, scheduling (for the team manager, if the rudeness was a result of unmanageable workloads), and so on.
Some qualitative indicators might be taken as symptoms of a need for training: absenteeism, high labour turnover, grievance and disciplinary actions, crises, conflict, poor motivation and performance. Such factors will need to be investigated to see what the root causes are, and whether training will solve the problem.
3.2 Assessment for training
Another alternative is self-assessment by the employee. This may be highly informal (a list of in-house or sponsored courses is posted on the noticeboard or intranet and interested employees are invited to apply) or more systematic (employees complete surveys on training needs). The advantage of selfassessment, or self-nomination for training, is that it pre-supposes motivation on the part of the trainee and harnesses employees’ knowledge of their own job requirements and skill weaknesses. The drawback, however, is that employees may be reluctant to admit to performance deficiencies.
A further alternative, therefore, is the use of attitude surveys and 360º feedback appraisal reports, since the employee’s superiors, subordinates, colleagues and customer contacts will be in a good position to identify performance deficiencies in areas that affect them: this will be particularly important in the case of customers.
3.3 Formal training need analysis
Other training requirements may only emerge from a formal learning gap (or training need) analysis.
Training needs may be defined as the gap between what people should be achieving and what they actually are achieving. In other words:
Required level of competence minus present level of competence = training need
The required level of competence for the job can be determined by:
- Job analysis, identifying the elements of the task
- Skills analysis, identifying the skill elements of the task, such as:
- What senses (vision, touch, hearing, etc) are involved?
- What left-hand/right-hand/foot operations are required? (iii) What interactions with other operatives are required?
- Role analysis, for managerial and administrative jobs requiring a high degree of co-ordination and interaction with others
- Existing records, such as job specifications and descriptions, person specifications, the organisation chart (depicting roles and relationships), and so on
- Competence analysis or existing competence frameworks, such as NVQs relevant to the job
The present level of employees’ competence (which includes not only skill and knowledge, but the employee’s inclination or willingness to work competently as well) can be measured by an appropriate pre-training test of skills, knowledge, performance, attitude, and so on.
The ongoing system of performance appraisal (discussed in Chapter 17) will furnish some of this information. A human resources audit or skills audit may also be conducted for a more comprehensive account of the current level of competence, skill, knowledge (and so on) in the workforce.
3.4 Setting training objectives
|Once training needs have been identified, they should be translated into training objectives.|
If it is considered that training would improve work performance, training objectives can be defined. They should be clear, specific and related to observable, measurable targets, ideally detailing:
- Behaviour – what should the trainee be able to do?
- Standard – to what level of performance?
- Environment – under what conditions (so that the performance level is realistic)?
‘At the end of the course the trainee should be able to describe … or identify … or distinguish x from y … or calculate … or assemble …’ and so on. It is insufficient to define the objectives of training as ‘to give trainees a grounding in …’ or ‘to encourage trainees in a better appreciation of …’: this offers no target achievement which can be measured.
|Training needs||Learning objectives|
|To know more about the Data
|The employee will be able to answer four out of every five queries about the Data Protection Act without having to search for details.|
|To establish a better rapport with customers||The employee will immediately attend to a customer unless already engaged with another customers.
The employee will greet each customer using the customer’s name where known.
The employee will apologise to every customer who has had to wait to be attended to.
|To assemble clocks more quickly||The employee will be able to assemble each clock correctly within 30 minutes.|
Training objectives link the identification of training needs with the content, methods and technology of training.
Having identified training needs and objectives, the manager will have to decide on the best way to approach training: there are a number of approaches and techniques, which we will discuss below.
3.5 Incorporating training needs into an individual development programme
Individuals can incorporate training and development objectives into a personal development plan.
A personal development plan is a clear developmental action plan for an individual which incorporates a wide set of developmental opportunities, including formal training.
The purposes of a personal development plan include:
- Improving performance in the existing job
- Developing skills for future career moves within and outside the organisation
3.5.1 Steps in personal development planning
Personal development planning includes the following basic steps.
|Step 1||Analyse the current position. You could do a personal SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, or a skills analysis (as depicted in the following diagram).|
|Step 2||Set goals to cover performance in the existing job, future changes in the current role, moving elsewhere in the organisation, developing specialist expertise. Such goals should have the characteristic of SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bounded).|
|Step 3||Draw up an action plan to achieve the goals, including:
• The objective
• Methods you will use to develop the identified skills (including learning experiences, opportunities to try and practise new behaviour, and so on)
• Timescales for review of progress
• Methods of monitoring and reviewing progress and achievement of the objective
|There are a variety of training methods. These include:
• Off the job education and training
• On the job training
4.1 Off the job training
|Off the job training minimises risk but does not always support transfer of learning to the job.|
Off the job training is formal training conducted outside the context of the job itself in special training rooms or off-site facilities.
- Courses may be run by the organisation’s training department or may be provided by external suppliers. These may be:
- Day release: the employee works in the organisation and on one day per week attends a local college or training centre for theoretical learning
- Distance learning, evening classes and correspondence courses, which make demands on the individual’s time outside work
- Revision courses for examinations of professional bodies
- Block release courses which may involve four weeks at a college or training centre followed by a period back at work
- Sandwich courses, which usually involve six months at college then six months at work, in rotation, for two or three years
- A sponsored full-time course at a university for one or two years
- Computer-based training involves interactive training via PC. The typing program Mavis Beacon is a good example.
E-learning is computer-based learning through a network of computers or the internet (rather than standalone CD-Rom or software). Learning support is available from online tutors, moderators and discussion groups.
- Techniques used on the course might include lectures and seminars (theory and information) or role plays, case studies and in-tray exercises (to simulate work activities).
4.1.1 Evaluation of off the job training
|Allows exploration/experimentation without the risk of consequences for actual performance||May not be directly relevant or transferable to the job and/or job content|
|Allows focus on learning, away from distractions and pressures of work||May be perceived as a waste of working time|
|Allows standardisation of training
Suits a variety of learning styles (depending on the method used)
|Immediate and relevant feedback may not be available (eg if performance is assessed by exam)|
|May confer status, implying promotability||Tends to be more theoretical: does not suit ‘handson’ learning styles|
|May represent a threat, implying inadequacy|
The advantages and disadvantages of off the job training may be summarised as follows.
4.2 On the job training
|On the job training maximises transfer of learning by incorporating it into ‘real’ work.|
On the job training utilises real work tasks as learning experiences. Methods of on the job training include the following.
- Demonstration/instruction: show the trainee how to do the job and let them get on with it. It should combine telling a person what to do and showing them how, using appropriate media. The trainee imitates the instructor, and asks questions.
- Job rotation: the trainee is given several jobs in succession, to gain experience of a wide range of activities. (Even experienced managers may rotate their jobs to gain wider experience; this philosophy of job education is commonly applied in the Civil Service, where an employee may expect to move on to another job after a few years.)
- Temporary promotion: an individual is promoted into their superior’s position while the superior is absent. This gives the individual a chance to experience the demands of a more senior position.
- ‘Assistant to’ positions (or work shadowing): an employee may be appointed as assistant to a more senior or experienced person, to gain experience of a new or more demanding role.
- Action learning: managers are brought together as a problem-solving group to discuss a real work issue. An ‘advisor’ facilitates, and helps members of the group to identify how their interpersonal and problem-solving skills are affecting the process.
- Committees: trainees might be included in the membership of committees, in order to obtain an understanding of interdepartmental relationships.
- Project work: work on a project with other people can expose the trainee to other parts of the organisation.
4.2.1 Evaluation of on the job training
The advantages and disadvantages of on the job training may be summarised as follows.
|Takes account of job context: high relevance and transfer of learning||Undesirable aspects of job context (group norms, corner-cutting) also learned|
|Suits ‘hands-on’ learning styles: offers ‘learning by doing’||Doesn’t suit ‘hands-off’ learning styles|
|No adjustment barriers (eg anti-climax after training) to application of learning on the job||Trial and error may be threatening (if the organisation has low tolerance of error!)|
|Develops working relationships as well as skills||Risks of throwing people in at the deep end with real consequences of mistakes|
|Distractions and pressures of the workplace may hamper learning focus|
QUESTION Training methods
Suggest a suitable training method for each of the following situations.
- A worker is transferred onto a new machine and needs to learn its operation.
- An accounts clerk wishes to work towards becoming qualified with the relevant professional body.
- An organisation decides that its supervisors would benefit from ideas on participative management and democratic leadership.
- A new member of staff is about to join the organisation.
Training methods for the various workers indicated are as follows.
- Worker on a new machine: on the job training, coaching
- Accounts clerk working for professional qualification: external course – evening class or dayrelease
- Supervisors wishing to benefit from participative management and democratic leadership: internal or external course. However, it is important that monitoring and evaluation takes place to ensure that the results of the course are subsequently applied in practice. (d) New staff: induction training
4.3 Induction training
|Induction is the process whereby a person is formally introduced and integrated into an organisation or system.|
4.3.1 The purposes of induction
The purposes of induction are:
- To help new recruits to get their bearings
- To begin to socialise new recruits into the culture and norms of the team/organisation
- To support recruits in beginning performance
- To identify ongoing training and development needs
- To avoid initial problems at the ‘induction crisis’ stage of the employment life cycle, when frustration, disorientation and disappointment may otherwise cause new recruits to leave the organisation prematurely
4.3.2 The process of induction
|Step 1||Pinpoint the areas that the recruit will have to learn about in order to start the job. Some things (such as detailed technical knowledge) may be identified as areas for later study or training.|
|Step 2||Introduce the recruit to the work premises and facilities, so they can get their bearings.|
|Step 3||Briefing by the HR Manager on relevant policies and procedures: conditions of employment, sickness and holiday absences, health and safety, and so on.|
|Step 4||Introduce the recruit to key people in the office: co-workers, health and safety officers, etc. One particular colleague may be assigned to recruits as a mentor, to keep an eye on them, answer routine queries, ‘show them the ropes’.|
|Step 5||Introduce work procedures.
(a) Explain the nature of the job, and the goals of each task.
(b) Explain hours of work.
(c) Explain the structure of the department: to whom the recruit will report, to whom they can go with complaints or queries and so on.
|Step 6||Plan and implement an appropriate training programme for whatever technical or practical knowledge is required. Again, the programme should have a clear schedule and set of goals so that the recruit has a sense of purpose, and so that the programme can be efficiently organised to fit in with the activities of the department.|
|Step 7||Monitor initial progress, as demonstrated by performance, as reported by the recruit’s mentor, and as perceived by the recruit themselves. This is the beginning of an ongoing cycle of feedback, review, problem-solving and development planning.|
The immediate superior should commence the ongoing process of induction.
Note that induction is an ongoing process, embracing mentoring, coaching, training, monitoring, and so on. It is not just a first day affair! After three months, six months or one year the performance of a new recruit should be formally appraised and discussed. Indeed, when the process of induction has been finished, a recruit should continue to receive periodic appraisals, just like every other employee in the organisation.
|5||Responsibility for training and development|
|Increasingly, responsibility for training and development is being devolved to the individual learner, in collaboration with line managers and training providers.|
5.1 The trainee
Many people now believe that the ultimate responsibility for training and development lies not with the employer but with the individual. People should seek to develop their own skills and improve their own careers, rather than wait for the organisation to impose training upon them. Why?
- Delayering means there are fewer automatic promotion pathways: individuals need to seek non’vertical’ paths to greater interest and challenge in the job.
- Technological change means that new skills are always needed, and people who can learn new skills will be more employable.
- The human resources (HR) department or training department
The human resources department is centrally concerned with developing people. Larger organisations often have extensive learning and career planning programmes, managing the progression of individuals through the organisation, in accordance with the performance and potential of the individual and the needs of the organisation.
Line managers bear some of the responsibility for training and development within the organisation by:
- Identifying the training needs of the department or section
- Assessing the current competences of the individuals within the department
- Identifying opportunities for learning and development on the job
- Coaching staff
- Offering performance feedback for on the job learning Organising training programmes where required
5.4 The training manager
The training manager is a member of staff appointed to arrange and sometimes run training. The training manager generally reports to the human resources or personnel director, but also needs a good relationship with line managers in the departments where the training takes place.
Responsibilities of the training manager include:
|Liaison||With HR department and operating departments|
|Scheduling||Arranging training programmes at convenient times|
|Needs identification||Discerning existing and future skills shortages|
|Programme design||Developing tailored training programmes|
|Feedback||To the trainee, the department and the HR department|
|Evaluation||Measuring the effectiveness of training programmes|
|6||Evaluating training programmes|
- Validation of training means observing the results of the course and measuring whether the training objectives have been achieved.
- Evaluation of training means comparing the costs of the scheme against the assessed benefits which are being obtained.
6.1 The five-level evaluation model
|Level 1||Trainees’ reactions to the experience. These are usually measured by post-training feedback forms.|
|Level 2||Trainee learning (new skills and knowledge): measuring what the trainees have learned on the course, usually by means of a test at the end of it.|
|Level 3||Changes in job behaviour following training: observing work practices and outputs (products, services, documents) to identify post-training differences.|
|Level 4||Impact of training on organisational goals/results: seeing whether the training scheme has contributed to the overall objectives of the organisation in terms of quality, productivity, profitability, employee retention, and so on.|
|Level 5||Ultimate value: the impact of training on the wider ‘good’ of the organisation in terms of stakeholder benefits, greater social responsibility, corporate growth/survival.|
The effectiveness of a training scheme may be measured at different levels (Hamblin).
QUESTION Evaluating and validating training
Outline why it is important to evaluate and validate a training programme.
Validation of a new course is important to ensure that objectives have been achieved. Evaluation of it is more difficult, but at least as important because it identifies the value of the training programme to the organisation. Both are required to improve effectiveness or cost effectiveness next time.
|Development includes a range of learning activities and experiences (not just training) to enhance employees’ or managers’ portfolio of competence, experience and capability, with a view to personal, professional or career progression.|
7.1 What is development?
As we noted at the beginning of this chapter, development is a ‘wider’ approach to fulfilling an individual’s potential than training and education. Development may include training, but may also include a range of learning experiences whereby employees are:
- Given work experience of increasing challenge and responsibility, which will enable them to take on other more senior jobs in due course
- Given guidance, support and counselling to help them formulate personal and career development goals
- Given suitable education and training to develop their skills and knowledge
- Helped to plan their future and identify opportunities open to them in the organisation
7.2 Approaches to development
Approaches to development include the following.
|Management development||Improving managerial effectiveness through a planned process. This may include the development of management/leadership skills (or competences), management education (such as MBA programmes) and planned experience of different functions, positions and work settings, in preparation for increasing managerial responsibility.|
|Career development||Individuals plan career paths. The trend for delayered organisations has reduced opportunities for upward progression: opportunities may be planned for sideways/lateral transfers, secondments to project groups, short external secondments, and so on, to offer new opportunities.|
|Professional development||Professional bodies offer structured programmes of continuing professional development (CPD). The aim is to ensure that professional standards are maintained and enhanced through education, development and training self-managed by the individual. A CPD approach is based on the belief that a professional qualification should be the basis for a career lifetime of development and adherence to a professional code of ethics and standards.|
|Personal development||Businesses are increasingly offering employees wider-ranging
development opportunities, rather than focusing on skills required in their current job. Personal development creates more rounded, competent employees who may contribute more innovatively and flexibly to the organisation’s future needs. It may also help to foster employee job satisfaction, commitment and loyalty.
|N||There are different schools of thought as to how people learn.|
|N||Different people have different learning styles or preferences.|
|N||People can learn from everyday work experience, using the learning cycle of reflection, generalisation and application.|
|N||The learning organisation is an organisation that facilitates the learning of all its members (Pedler et al, 1991), by gathering and sharing knowledge, tolerating experience and solving problems analytically.|
|N||In order to achieve its goals, an organisation requires a skilled workforce. This is partly achieved by training.|
|N||The main purpose of training and development is to raise competence and therefore performance standards. It is also concerned with personal development, helping and motivating employees to fulfil their potential.|
|N||Training offers significant benefits for both employers and employees – although it is not the solution to every work problem!|
|N||A systematic approach to training includes: need definition; objective setting; planning training programmes; delivering training; and evaluating results.|
|N||A thorough analysis of training needs should be carried out to ensure that training programmes meet organisational and individual requirements.|
|N||Once training needs have been identified, they should be translated into training objectives.|
|N||Individuals can incorporate training and development objectives into a personal development plan.|
|There are a variety of training methods. These include:
– Off the job education and training
– On the job training
|N||Off the job training minimises risk but does not always support transfer of learning to the job.|
|N||On the job training maximises transfer of learning by incorporating it into ‘real’ work.|
|N||Induction is the process whereby a person is formally introduced and integrated into an organisation or system.|
|N||Increasingly, responsibility for training and development is being devolved to the individual learner, in collaboration with line managers and training providers.|
|N||Development includes a range of learning activities and experiences (not just training) to enhance employees’ or managers’ portfolio of competence, experience and capability, with a view to personal, professional or career progression.|
- Which of the following are necessary for a training programme to be effective?
The trainee should be motivated to learn
There should be clear objectives
There should be timely feedback
It should not be costly
- Which of the following is not one of the learning styles defined by Honey and Mumford?
- Pragmatist C Abstractor B Theorist D Reflector
- The ‘learning by doing’ approach based on Kolb’s learning cycle begins with ‘act’. Put the following stages of the cycle into the correct order.
- Suggest principles
- Apply principles C Analyse action
- Tick the correct box to show what is being described by these phases.
Development Training Education
The growth or realisation of a person’s ability and potential through the provision of learning and educational experiences
Knowledge that is acquired gradually, by learning and instruction
- Which type of training minimises risk but does not always support transfer of learning to the job?
- On the job training
- Off the job training
- The formula ‘required level of competence minus present level of competence describes
- Validation of training means comparing the costs of the scheme against the assessed benefits which are being obtained. True or false?
- The trainee should be motivated to learn ü
There should be clear objectives ü
There should be timely feedback ü
It should not be costly
Training may be costly but if it is cost effective then it is worth it!
- C The correct ‘A’ word (you may like to use the acronym PART or TRAP to remember the model) is
- C Analyse action
- Suggest principles
- Apply principles
- Development Training Education
The growth or realisation of a person’s ability and potential ü through the provision of learning and educational experiences
Knowledge that is acquired gradually, by learning and instruction ü
- B Off the job training.
- Training needs.
- This is evaluation of training. Validation of training means observing the results of the course and measuring whether the training objectives have been achieved.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank
The management and people issues within its overall Accountant in Business syllabus contains key Performance appraisal
framework of ‘business structure and purpose’. The
general purpose of performance appraisal is to improve
the efficiency of the organisation by ensuring that
individuals within it are performing to the best of their
ability, by developing their own potential (Sections 1
and 2). This links to training and development in
This chapter also discusses the process of appraisal or
competence assessment (Section 3): the measurement
and evaluation of the individual’s performance in relation
to given plans and criteria. Barriers to effective appraisal
often need to be overcome (Section 4).
You should be aware that this is part of a broader process
This process occurs firmly within an organisational
context, so that the performance of human resources
supports the objectives of the organisation. It is therefore
important that the effectiveness of the appraisal scheme
is evaluated (Section 5).
|Study Guide||Intellectual level||
| D7 Review and appraisal of individual performance
(a) Explain the importance of performance assessment.
|(b) Explain how organisations assess the performance of human resources.||K|
|(c) Define performance appraisal and describe its purposes.||K|
|(d) Describe the performance appraisal process.||K|
|(e) Explain the benefits of effective appraisal.||K|
|(f) Identify the barriers to effective appraisal and how these may be overcome.||K|
|1||Performance management and assessment|
Performance management is a means of getting better results by managing performance within an agreed framework of goals, standards and competence requirements. It is a process to establish a shared understanding about what is to be achieved, and an approach to managing and developing people in order to achieve it.
This definition highlights key features of performance management.
|Agreed framework of goals, standards and competence requirements||The manager and the employee agree about a standard of performance, goals and the skills needed.|
|Performance management is a process||Managing people’s performance is an ongoing activity involving continual monitoring and assessment, discussion and adjustment.|
|Shared understanding||The goals of the individual, unit and organisation as a whole need to be integrated: everyone needs to be ‘on the same page’ of the business plan.|
|Approach to managing and developing people||Managing performance is not just about plans, systems or resources:
it is an interpersonal process of influencing, empowering, giving feedback and problem-solving.
|Achievement||The aim is to enable people to realise their potential and maximise their contribution to the organisation’s success.|
1.1 The process of performance management
A systematic approach to performance management might include the following steps.
|Step 1||From the business plan, identify the requirements and competences required to carry it out.|
|Step 2||Draw up a performance agreement, defining the expectations of the individual or team, covering standards of performance, performance indicators and the skills and competences people need.|
|Step 3||Draw up a performance and development plan with the individual. These record the actions needed to improve performance, normally covering development in the current job. They are discussed with job holders and will typically cover:
• The areas of performance the individual feels in need of development
• What the individual and manager agree is needed to enhance performance Development and training initiatives
|Step 4||Manage performance continually throughout the year, not just at appraisal interviews done to satisfy the personnel department. Managers can review actual performance, with more informal interim reviews at various times of the year.
(a) High performance is reinforced by praise, recognition and increasing responsibility. Low performance results in coaching or counselling.
(b) Work plans are updated as necessary.
(c) Deal with performance problems, by identifying what they are, establish the reasons for the shortfall, take control action (with adequate resources) and provide feedback.
|Step 5||Performance review. At a defined period each year, success against the plan is reviewed, but the whole point is to assess what is going to happen in future.|
In order for learning and motivation to be effective, it is essential that people know exactly what their objectives are. This enables them to do the following.
- Plan and direct their effort towards the objectives
- Monitor their performance against objectives and adjust (or learn) if required
- Experience the reward of achievement once the objectives have been reached
- Feel that their tasks have meaning and purpose, which is an important element in job satisfaction
- Experience the motivation of a challenge: the need to expend energy and effort in a particular direction in order to achieve something
- Avoid the demotivation of impossible or inadequately rewarded tasks. As we have discussed in the chapter on motivation, there is a calculation involved in motivated performance. If objectives are vague, unrealistic or unattainable, there may be little incentive to pursue them: hence the importance of SMART objectives.
Principles for devising performance measures include:
|Job related||They should be related to the actual job, and the key tasks outlined in the job description.|
|Controllable||People should not be assessed in relation to factors which they cannot control.|
|Objective and observable||This is contentious. Certain aspects of performance can be measured, such as volume sales, but matters such as courtesy or friendliness which are important to some businesses are harder to measure.|
|Data must be available||There is no use identifying performance measures if the data cannot actually be collected.|
|2||The purpose of performance appraisal|
2.1 Main components of appraisal
The general purpose of any appraisal system is to improve the efficiency of the organisation by ensuring that the individuals within it are performing to the best of their ability and developing their potential for improvement. This has three main components.
- Reward review, measuring the extent to which an employee is deserving of performance-related bonuses or pay increases
- Performance review, for planning and following up training and development programmes: identifying training needs, validating training methods, and so on
- Potential review, as an aid to planning career development and succession, by attempting to predict the level and type of work the individual will be capable of in the future
2.2 Specific objectives of appraisal
More specific objectives of appraisal may be summarised as follows.
- Establishing what the individual has to do in a job in order that the objectives for the section or department are realised
- Establishing the key or main results which the individual will be expected to achieve in the course of their work over a period of time
- Comparing the individual’s level of performance against a standard, to provide a basis for remuneration above the basic pay rate
- Identifying the individual’s training and development needs in the light of actual performance
- Identifying potential candidates for promotion
- Identifying areas for improvement
- Establishing an inventory of actual and potential performance within the undertaking, as a basis for human resource planning
- Monitoring the undertaking’s selection procedures against the subsequent performance of recruits
- Improving communication about work tasks between different levels in the hierarchy
2.3 Why have formal appraisal?
You may argue that managers gather performance evaluations, and give feedback, on an ongoing basis, in the course of supervision. Why is a formal appraisal system required? What are the benefits?
- Managers and supervisors may obtain random impressions of subordinates’ performance (perhaps from their more noticeable successes and failures), but rarely form a coherent, complete and objective
- They may have a fair idea of their subordinates’ shortcomings – but may not have devoted time and attention to the matter of improvement and development.
- Judgements are easy to make, but less easy to justify in detail, in writing, or to the subject’s face.
- Different assessors may be applying a different set of criteria, and varying standards of objectivity and judgement. This undermines the value of appraisal for comparison, as well as its credibility in the eyes of the appraisees.
- Unless stimulated to do so, managers rarely give their subordinates adequate feedback on their performance.
The table below sets out the benefits of appraisal for the individual and the organisation.
|Individual||• Objectives are established in relation to the whole organisation
• Key results and timescales are established
• Compares past performance and future activities against standards
• Basis for performance-related pay schemes
|Organisation||• Suitable promotion candidates are identified
• Areas of improvement can be seen
• Communication is improved
• Basis for medium- to long-term HR planning
QUESTION Formal appraisal
List four disadvantages to the individual of not having a formal appraisal system.
Disadvantages to the individual of not having an appraisal system include: the individual is not aware of progress or shortcomings, is unable to judge whether they would be considered for promotion, is unable to identify or correct weaknesses by training and there is a lack of communication with the manager.
|3||The process of performance appraisal|
3.1 Overview of the appraisal process
There are three basic requirements for a formal appraisal system.
- The formulation of desired traits and standards against which individuals can be consistently and objectively assessed
- Recording assessments; managers should be encouraged to utilise a standard framework, but still be allowed to express what they consider important, and without too much form-filling
- Getting the appraiser and appraisee together, so that both contribute to the assessment and plans for improvement and/or development
A systematic appraisal system can be depicted as follows.
Assessments must be related to a common standard in order for comparisons to be made between individuals: on the other hand, they should be related to meaningful performance criteria, which take account of the critical variables in each job.
Some basic criteria might appear in a simple appraisal report form as follows.
A variety of appraisal techniques may be used, measuring different criteria in different ways.
- Overall assessment. The manager writes in narrative form his judgements about the appraisee. There will be no guaranteed consistency of the criteria and areas of assessment, however, and managers may not be able to convey clear, effective judgements in writing.
- Guided assessment. Assessors are required to comment on a number of specified characteristics and performance elements, with guidelines as to how terms such as ‘application’, ‘integrity’ and
‘adaptability’ are to be interpreted in the work context. This is more precise, but still rather vague.
- Grading. Grading adds a comparative frame of reference to the general guidelines, whereby managers are asked to select one of a number of levels or degrees to which the individual in question displays the given characteristic. These are also known as rating scales.
Numerical values may be added to ratings to give rating scores. Alternatively a less precise graphic scale may be used to indicate general position on a plus/minus scale.
Factor: job knowledge
High Average Low
- Behavioural incident methods. These concentrate on employee behaviour, which is measured against typical behaviour in each job, as defined by common critical incidents of successful and unsuccessful job behaviour reported by managers.
- Results-orientated schemes. These review performance against specific targets and standards of performance agreed in advance by manager and subordinate together. There are significant advantages to such an approach.
- The subordinate is more involved in appraisal because they are able to evaluate their progress in achieving jointly agreed targets.
- The manager is relieved of a critic’s role, and becomes a coach.
- Clear and known targets help modify behaviour.
The effectiveness of the scheme will depend on the targets set (are they clearly defined? realistic?) and the commitment of both parties to make it work.
QUESTION Appraisal techniques
What sort of appraisal systems are suggested by the following examples?
- Teachers at a school send a brief report at the end of each term to the parents of the school’s pupils. Typical phrases include ‘a satisfactory term’s work’, and ‘could do better’.
- A firm of auditors assess the performance of their staff in four categories: technical ability, relationships with clients, relationships with other members of the audit team, and professional attitude. On each of these criteria staff are marked from A (= excellent) to E (= poor).
- A firm of insurance brokers assesses the performance of its staff by the number of clients they have visited and the number of policies sold.
- Overall assessment
- A grading system, based on a guided assessment (c) Results-orientated scheme
Self-appraisals occur when individuals carry out their own self-evaluation as a major input into the appraisal process.
Advantages include the following.
- It saves the manager time, as the employee identifies the areas of competence which are relevant to the job and their relative strengths.
- It offers increased responsibility to the individual, which may improve motivation.
- This reconciles the goals of the individual and the organisation.
- In giving the responsibility to an individual, the scheme may offer more flexibility in terms of the timing and relevance of the appraisal.
Disadvantages the following.
- People are often not the best judges of their own performance.
- People may deliberately over- (or under-) estimate their performance in order to gain approval or reward – or to conform to group norms.
Many schemes combine managerial and self appraisal.
3.5 The appraisal interview
The process of an appraisal interview may be as follows.
• Plan interview time and environment: the aim is to facilitate collaborative problem-solving and communication. Privacy is essential.
• Prepare relevant documentation: job description, employee records, and statement of performance (or appraisal form)
• Review employee’s history and self-appraisals/peer appraisals (if used)
|• Prepare for the interview.
• Prepare report. Review employee’s self-appraisal
• Select an appropriate style (see below): directional, persuasive or collaborative
• Encourage employee to talk, identify problems and solutions Be fair
• Summarise to check understanding
• Gain employee commitment
• Agree plan of action
Complete appraisal report, if not already prepared
|Step 5||Follow up
• Take action as agreed
• Monitor progress
• Keep employee informed
3.5.1 Three approaches: Maier (1975)
Maier identifies three types of approach to appraisal interviews. Most appraisees prefer the third of the alternatives suggested.
- The tell and sell style. The manager tells the subordinate how they have been assessed, and then tries to ‘sell’ (gain acceptance of) the evaluation and the improvement plan. This requires unusual human relations skills in order to convey constructive criticism in an acceptable manner, and to motivate the appraisee to alter their behaviour.
- The tell and listen style. The manager tells the subordinate how they have been assessed, and then invites the appraisee to respond. The manager therefore no longer dominates the interview throughout, and there is greater opportunity for coaching or counselling as opposed to pure direction.
- The employee is encouraged to participate in the assessment and the working out of improvement targets and methods: it is an accepted tenet of behavioural theory that participation in problem definition and goal setting increases the individual’s commitment to behaviour and attitude modification.
- This method does not assume that a change in the employee will be the sole key to improvement: the manager may receive helpful feedback about how job design, methods, environment or supervision might be improved.
- The problem-solving style. The manager abandons the role of critic altogether, and becomes a coach and helper. The discussion is centred not on the assessment, but on the employee’s work problems. The employee is encouraged to think solutions through, and to commit to the recognised need for personal improvement. This approach encourages intrinsic motivation through the element of self-direction, and the perception of the job itself as a problem-solving activity. It may also stimulate creative thinking on the part of employee and manager alike, to the benefit of the organisation’s adaptability and methods.
After the appraisal interview, the manager may complete the report, with an overall assessment, assessment of potential and/or the jointly reached conclusion of the interview, with recommendations for follow-up action. The manager should then discuss the report with the counter-signing manager (usually their own superior), resolving any problems that have arisen in making the appraisal or report, and agreeing on action to be taken. The report form may then go to the development adviser, training officer or other relevant people as appropriate for follow-up.
Follow-up procedures may include the following.
- Informing appraisees of the results of the appraisal, if this has not been central to the review interview
- Carrying out agreed actions on training, promotion, and so on
- Monitoring the appraisee’s progress and checking that they have carried out agreed actions or improvements
- Taking necessary steps to help the appraisee to attain improvement objectives, by guidance, providing feedback, upgrading equipment, altering work methods, and so on
What would happen without follow-up?
The appraisal would merely be seen as a pleasant chat with little effect on future performance, as circumstances change. Moreover, the individual might feel cheated.
The appraisal can also be used as an input to the employee’s personal development plan (see Chapter 16).
|4||Barriers to effective appraisal|
4.1 Problems in practice
Lockett (1992) suggests that barriers to effective appraisal can be identified as follows.
|Appraisal as confrontation||Many people dread appraisals, or use them ‘as a sort of show down, a good sorting out or a clearing of the air.’ In this kind of climate:
There is likely to be a lack of agreement on performance levels and improvement needs.
|• The feedback may be subjective or exaggerated.
• The feedback may be negatively delivered.
• The appraisal may focus on negative aspects, rather than looking forward to potential for improvement and development.
|Appraisal as judgement||The appraisal ‘is seen as a one-sided process in which the manager acts as judge, jury and counsel for the prosecution’. This puts the subordinate on the defensive. Instead, the process of performance management ‘needs to be jointly operated in order to retain the commitment and develop the self-awareness of the individual.’|
|Appraisal as chat||The appraisal is conducted as if it were a friendly chat ‘without … purpose or outcome … Many managers, embarrassed by the need to give feedback and set stretching targets, reduce the appraisal to a few mumbled “well done!”s and leave the interview with a briefcase of unresolved issues.’|
|Appraisal as bureaucracy||Appraisal is a form-filling exercise, to satisfy the personnel department. Its underlying purpose, improving individual and organisational performance, is forgotten.|
|Appraisal as unfinished business||Appraisal should be part of a continuing future-focused process of performance management, not a way of ‘wrapping up’ the past year’s performance issues.|
|Appraisal as annual event||Many targets set at annual appraisal meetings become irrelevant or out of date. Feedback, goal adjustment and improvement planning should be a continuous process.|
4.2 Appraisal and pay
Another problem is the extent to which the appraisal system is related to the pay and reward system. Many employees consider that positive appraisals should be rewarded, but there are major drawbacks to this approach.
- Funds available for pay rises rarely depend on one individual’s performance alone – the whole company has to do well.
- Continuous improvement should perhaps be expected of employees as part of their work and development, not rewarded as extra.
- Performance management is about a lot more than pay for past performance – it is often forward looking with regard to future performance.
4.3 Upward appraisal
A notable modern trend, adopted by some companies is upward appraisal, whereby employees are not rated by their superiors but by their subordinates. The followers appraise the leader.
Advantages of upward appraisal include the following.
- Subordinates tend to know their superior better than superiors know their subordinates.
- As all subordinates rate their managers statistically, these ratings tend to be more reliable – the more subordinates the better. Instead of the biases of individual managers’ ratings, the various ratings of the employees can be converted into a representative view.
- Subordinates’ ratings have more impact because it is more unusual to receive ratings from subordinates. It is also surprising to bosses because, despite protestations to the contrary, information often flows down organisations more smoothly and comfortably than it flows up. When it flows up it is qualitatively and quantitatively different. It is this difference that makes it valuable.
Problems with the method include fear of reprisals, vindictiveness, and extra form processing. Some bosses in strong positions might refuse to act, even if a consensus of staff suggested that they should change their ways.
- Customer appraisal
In some companies part of the employee’s appraisal process includes taking into account feedback from ‘customers’ (whether internal or external). Some organisations go further and make customer feedback a key element of employee remuneration. This reflects the view that customers are the best judges of customer service.
- 360 degree appraisal
Taking downwards, upwards and customer appraisals together, some firms have instituted 360 degree appraisal (or multi-source appraisal) by collecting feedback on an individual’s performance from the following sources.
- The person’s immediate manager
- People who report to the appraisee, perhaps divided into groups
- Peers and co-workers: most people interact with others within an organisation, either as members of a team or as the receivers or providers of services, and can offer useful feedback
- Customers: if salespeople know what customers thought of them, they might be able to improve their technique
- The manager personally: all forms of 360 degree appraisal require people to rate themselves, and those ‘who see themselves as others see them will get fewer surprises’
Sometimes the appraisal results in a counselling session, especially when the result of the appraisals are conflicting. For example, an appraisee’s manager may have quite a different view of the appraisee’s skills than subordinates.
Performance objective P02, relating to stakeholder relationship management, includes the maintenance of ‘productive business relationships’. Planning for and engaging positively with the appraisal process provides an example of a practical step you could take in this area.
- Which one of the following is NOT a purpose of appraisal?
- To identify performance levels C To encourage communication between manager and employee B To assess development needs D To highlight employees’ weaknesses
- The advantages of self-appraisals are: (tick all that apply)
They save the manager time.
They reconcile the goals of the individual and the organisation.
They offer increased responsibility to the individual.
They are more accurate as people are often the best judges of their own performance.
- A 360 degree appraisal involves doing a downwards, upwards and customer appraisal together. True or false?
- According to Maier, which style of appraisal interview is usually preferred by the appraisee?
- Tell and sell
- Tell and listen
- When a subordinate rates their manager’s leadership skills, this is an example of:
- Job evaluation C Performance management
- Job analysis D Upward appraisal
- D The appraisal must not be seen as a chance for the manager to act as judge, jury and counsel for the prosecution!
- The advantages of self-appraisals are:
They save the manager time ü
They reconcile the goals of the individual and the organisation ü
They offer increased responsibility to the individual ü
They are not more accurate, as people are often not the best judges of their own performance
3 True. This is also called a multi-source appraisal.
- C Problem-solving.
- D Make sure you can define all these terms clearly.
|Now try …|
|Attempt the questions below from the Practice Question Bank