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EMPLOYEE RESOURCING DRAWING ON HISTORICAL ROOTS, DISCUSS HOW WORKING PRACTICES AND PATTERNS HAVE CHANGED AND THE IMPACT THESE CHANGES HAVE HAD ON THE EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP WORD COUNT - 3,045 INTRODUCTION This essay is going to give my views and opinions on how working practices and patterns have changed and the impact these changes have had on the employment relationship. There many areas one could have examined when discussing the employment relationship, perhaps beginning with Taylor and scientific management to work life balance, but for the purpose of this essay, I'm going to begin by briefly looking at some early patterns such as the human relations movement to more current practices like flexible working. EARLY PATTERNS & PRACTICES The human relations movement dominated management thinking until the 1950's and it can be argued that it was a significant influence on the development of modern HRM. The human relations movement promoted the benefits to morale and productivity of a paternalistic style of management in which the worker was to be seen more as a member of the family than as a mere factor of production. Amongst the outcomes were a move to more social facilities surrounding work, the appointment of personnel or welfare officers whose function was to look after the well-being of the labour force, and a move to greater communication and consultation between the management and the factory floor. The importance of human relationships in the workplace as a key factor in the efficiency and motivation of staff could not be overstated along with the significance of hidden informal structures of power and influence at work. It was made clear that regarding organisations as machines did not achieve the best results and that management should respond to human needs. This particular aspect of human relations was developed further by Abraham Maslow who proposed a hierarchy of needs. The human relations movement is a 'soft' approach to human resource management. ...read more.


Numerical flexibility allows businesses greater control over labour costs and minimizes the need for permanent full-time workers who have to be paid regardless of the work available. 2. Wage - performance related pay is a bonus or salary increase awarded in line with employees achievements over a range of criteria. 3. Temporal - flexible daily, weekly or annualised hours. This is most commonly administered as flexitime, an employment contract that allows staff to complete their agreed hours of work at times that suit the employee. This can give a greater sense of control to workers who have repetitive jobs and helps parents with young children. 4. Functional - employees need greater functional flexibility or more commonly known, they need to be multi-skilled so they can work effectively across a wide range of tasks. This is necessary if demarcation barriers are to be broken down and the scope of jobs is to be enlarged. It does have short-term benefits, like covering for absent colleagues, being able to spot any problems before they become serious and actually being able to correct the faults. Perhaps most important are the long-term benefits; promoted shop-floor workers will have far wider knowledge of areas they are now managing. Multi-skilled workforces are more adaptable to changing working practices and wider responsibilities and expertise may help to improve motivation. There are some sceptics who will argue that multi-skilling is just a buzz word and a continuation or another modern way of looking at job redesign. These are valid arguments but flexibility examines such an extensive area and multi-skilling is just one aspect of it. Changes in information and communications technology have also led to greater flexibility in the location of work. Traditional home working still exists but the growth is in telephone or computer based employment. Adhocracy is another type of flexibility and simply covers things like overtime, redundancies and casual work. ...read more.


More flexibility for employers often translates into increased uncertainty of employment and consequently of income for employees. This produces higher quit rates as workers seek more regular employment and also a greater reluctance to undertake training which is only relevant to their current employment. Training may only be attractive if it increases earning power in the future but the individual's future may lie with a different employer. In turn, higher turnover reduces the benefits to employers of training. Firms' training costs are compensated by the higher future productivity of the trained worker, but a higher quit rate reduces the length of time firms receive those benefits of productivity. Greater flexibility may reduce the amount of training specific to a job and encourage employers to simplify the production process in favour of lower-skilled workers. When firms do take advantage of new technology and managerial practices such as total quality management (TQM), to create high quality, more flexible and specialised production they require a cooperative workforce. Multi-skilling and TQM give individual workers more decision-making powers and generate information for workers that may not be available to managers. Managers have to rely on workers volunteering important information if appropriate production decision-making is to be maintained. This implies that HRM policies which encourage such cooperation should be favoured; cooperation requires mutual trust that neither party will exploit short-run situations to further their own interests. Workers need to be convinced that if they do cooperate, the higher efficiency results will not threaten their employment prospects. There is a fundamental conflict between the need to create cooperation which requires a workforce to be confident that it shares a long-term relationship with employers and some aspects of flexible working. Greater numerical flexibility, achieved through replacing permanent full-time employees does not seem likely to promote cooperation and training. It is therefore unlikely to lead to increased competitiveness in the more technological and capital intensive sectors of manufacturing, such as pharmaceuticals, and the more information intensive sectors of services such as banking and business services. ...read more.

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