18Human Resource Management
Box 2.1: HR and Technology
As we all know, the workspot of 2000 is significantly different from its counterpart in early70s, chiefly because of computerisation. The invention and development of microchips hasbrought a dramatic revolution in workplace. Microchips are tiny components of electricalcircuits which can be combined to form much larger and more complex electronic systems.They have made it possible to build such systems simply and cheaply at only tiny fractionof the weight and size that would formerly have been required. Industrial robots have begunto invade the assembly line in a big way-doing such tasks as welding, spray-painting, precisioncutting or even playing snooker. Many cars are now fitted with on-board computers, especiallyin the developed world, that diagnose problems in seconds that used to take hours formechanics. IBM has built a plant in Austin, Texas that can produce laptop computerswithout the help of a single worker. If you look at the banking industry, automated tellermachines, for example, have replaced thousands of human tellers in banks. The impact of new technology on the total number of jobs available has been quite devastating. It has placedpower in the hands of a small group of elite people in most large scale organisations. This hastaken place because of deskilling of most jobs, where a few individuals tend to control theorganisations through the increased availability of information. Lower and middle level positionsare the worst hit in this scenario, because computers do the compilation and processing of information now. Work roles have also become more integrated. New technologies generallycompel people to learn a new set of skills altogether and also learn to work together in projectteams time and again.In the present day world, information is the key resource. Organisations that employappropriate technologies (to get the right information to the right people at the right time)will enjoy a competitive advantage. The only way to survive in an environment marked byconstant changes is to convert the firm into a kind of learning organisation. A learningorganisation encourages people to learn to produce the results they desire, nurtures creativeand innovative patterns of collective learning and develops fresh organisational capabilitiesall the time.
The life-style patterns of employees have undergone a rapidchange in recent times. Unlike their predecessors people are now ready to change jobs, shift to new locations, take up jobs in start-up companies instead of manufacturing units and even experiment with untested ideas. A recent survey of young executives in four major metros (Chennai, Bombay, Bangalore and Delhi)(Business line, Urban pulse, Feb 2000) in India revealed several interesting things:
FactorAspirations, preferences, attitudes, claims
Working HoursWork for a little more than 8½ hours a day. None of the respondentsspend weekends at traditional hang-outs such as discos and pubsAbout choosing a jobFreshers wanted to jump jobs quickly; for them compensationwas an important factor while choosing a job but as one progressedto higher levels compensation was replaced by factors such as jobsatisfaction, responsibilities etc., 30 to 40 per cent of youngpeople grabbed the first job offer and changed jobs after acquiringsome experience. Other important factors in valuing a job weretype of organisation, benefits, pressure in job, working loans,training opportunities, work atmosphere etc.Job SatisfactionAwareness of global packages and practices made young executiveslook for high paying jobs, jobs that do not pay well aredissatisfying. Other factors determining satisfaction levels were:well established company, informal work atmosphere, trainingopportunities, flexible working hours, travel abroad, designation, job content etc.Career goalsMaking it big some day and going places in their careers. Mostseem to have achieved their career goals.Corporate IconsMajority of young executives (55%) had no role model; othershad role models like Bill Gates, Dhirubhai Ambani, JRD Tata etc.Preferred IndustryInformation Technology, Advertising, Finance, Managementconsultancy, FMCG companies, Auto, Hospitality in that order.