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«To make the best use of people as a valuable resource of the organisation attention must be given to the relationships between staff, and the nature ...»

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The lack of an employee voice in the UK workplace is stark. Only 22 per cent of workers said they had a consultative works council or similar structure in their establishment and a majority believed such a body enjoyed little or no influence. The study found consultation committees were strongest where trade unions were recognised. As in Japan and the US, so in the UK a correlation exists between high worker participation levels and innovative workplaces.

But Mr Gallie and his colleagues suggest that in a period of rapid technological change and competitive pressure, ‘UK employers have very widely failed to carry through the institutional reforms in their organisations that would have enhanced co-operation in employment relationships and led to a higher level of social integration of their employees’.

The lack of a worker voice may help to explain the alarmingly low levels of commitment among workers to the company that employs them. The study found only 8 per cent said their own values and those of their organisation were ‘very similar’, while a mere 14 per cent said they were ‘proud’ of their organisation and only 30 per cent felt any loyalty towards it. This contrasts with 28 per cent saying they ‘felt sufficiently attached to their organisation to say they would turn down another job if it offered higher pay’.

The study provides evidence of the increase in employment insecurity, especially for young male manual workers, which has grown markedly since the 1970s. But gender differences are less obvious when it comes to the experience of being without work. The authors point out once a man or a woman becomes unemployed it tends to lead to further spells of unemployment as his or her job prospects become more problematic.

But on the other hand, there is no evidence the work ethic is dying out. Going to work in a society dominated by fragile family values provides an increasing number of people with ‘a basis for personal autonomy’, says the study. Workers work not merely to earn money. They are more concerned with employment security, job interest and the quality of their personal relations with management.

The main conclusion, however, is rather bleak. The quality of employment may have improved for those in higher and intermediate skilled employment, but the brunt of change has hit the nonskilled manual worker hard. ‘The UK employment structure still remains fundamentally divided by class’, argues the report. It warns that this could lead to a resurgence of workplace conflict.

Apparently there are few signs that a new model of the employment relationship is becoming more widespread in the UK.

(Source: © Financial Times, 1 July 1998.) 258

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1 (Chapter 18, p. 646) Which of the following statements about job satisfaction is/are true?

(a) satisfaction is the same as motivation (b) job satisfaction will always result in a high level of motivation and performance (c) there is a strong link between satisfaction and productivity (d)*none of the above 2 (Chapter 18, pp. 646–7) Which of the following variables will affect a person’s level of job satisfaction?

(a) the nature, size and structure of the organisation (b) the informal organisation (c) a person’s intelligence and abilities (d)* all of the above 3 (Chapter 18, p. 658) What is/are the main reason(s) for attention to job design?

(a) to enhance personal satisfaction that people derive from their work (b) to make the best use of people as a valuable resource of the organisation (c)* both (a) and (b) (d) neither (a) nor (b) 4 (Chapter 18, p. 661) In general, there appears little doubt that restructuring the nature of work itself and providing job enrichment does increase ________.

(a)* job satisfaction (b) performance (c) productivity (d) motivation 5 (Chapter 18, p. 666) To ensure that employee involvement and empowerment is successful and

beneficial to both the organisation and employees, there must be:

(a)* mutual trust between management and employees (b) sufficient financial rewards for employees (c) a rigid policy on working methods and practices throughout the organisation (d) minimal communication between management and employees 6 (Chapter 18, p. 673) Three possible approaches aimed at overcoming forces for stability in both job attitudes and performance are the individually, group- and organisation-oriented systems.

Which of the following best describes the individual-oriented system?

(a) Working conditions are organised so that individuals can gain satisfaction from their contribution to the welfare of the organisation as a whole.

(b) Work is organised around intact groups with high levels of autonomy. Satisfaction and performance are derived from group participation.

(c)* Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are linked to individual performance and so high performance contributes to job satisfaction.

(d) none of the above.


© Laurie J Mullins 2002

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