i-o_chapter_112 - Part One The Practice...

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Unformatted text preview: Part One The Practice ofIndtrstrr'nl-Organizational Psychology More oi today's employees are likeiy to he contingent workers, freelancers, independent contractors, or part—time seasonal labor. The largest single private empioyer in the United States is Manpower, Inc., a temporary staffing agency. Miliions of Americans work on a freelance basis. At the professional level, the Department of Labor estimates that more than 8 million people can be classified as independent contracrors. Many workers, especially younger ones, report that they prefer contingent work because it provides flexibility, independence, chaiienges, and the oppor- tunity to continually upgrade their work experience and job skills. Many cor- porations aiso prefer this arrangement because they save on administrative expenses and taxes and do not have to provide such benefits as insurance or pension plans. However, research has shown that the use of temporary workers can have negative effects on the organization's foil-time employees. A survey of 415 full- time workers empioyed by several organizations found that the use of contract workers resulted in a decrease in the fullwtime workers' loyalty to the organiza— tion. The full-time workers also reported that their relations with management had deteriorated (Davis-Blake, Broschak, 57 George, 2003). in addition, many organizations expect their fuii-time employees to train and supervise temporary workers. They also hold their full-time employees account- able for the tasks assigned to the temporary workers. This increases hoth the workload and the responsibility placed on full—time employees; rarely are they compensated for the extra demands. A survey of 32-6 empioyees (189 of whom were full—time employees) found that they believed their jobs were higher in prestige than those of temporary workers. This is hardly a basis for viewing temporary workers as equals and can iead to un« pleasant relationships in the workplace {Chattopadhyay 8 George, 2001). Worker involvement The ways in which organizations today conduct business are changing drasti- cally, both in existing jobs and in the new jobs that are being created. As a result. employees at blue-collar, supervisory, and upper-management levels are facing revolutionary challenges. The days when a worker could be taught how to perform a simple task and told to keep doing it that way without question are disappearing. Today’s work- ers want quality management. Their key words are “empowerment,” "involve— ment," and "participation." Workers are expected to master not merely the tasks oi a single job, but also to assembie a cluster of personal skills that they can transfer irom one job to another. They must continually upgrade these skills and learn to participate in decision—making teams to determine how the work is best carried out. Today’s workers are also assuming increasing responsibility for their part in the production or service process, even including the selecting and hiring of new workers. This involvement of workers affects the ways managers perform their jobs. No longer can they rule by command, teiiing their employees what to do and when and how to do it. Now they function more as guides and mentors than traditional leaders. These changes require substantial adjustments for workers and managers and are, in part, a response to technological change in the workplace. ...
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