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CHAPTER 4

The Analysis and Design of Work

Chapter Summary

The first section of this chapter discusses the analysis of work process within a given work
unit. Having provided an understanding of the broader context of jobs, the chapter discusses
the need for and usefulness of both job analysis and the techniques for performing job
analysis. Finally, the chapter concludes by presenting the various approaches to job design to
provide managers with an understanding of the costs and benefits of emphasizing different
characteristics of jobs when designing or redesigning them.

Learning Objectives

After studying this chapter, the student should be able to:

1. Analyze a work-flow process, identifying the output, activities, and inputs in the
production of a product or service.
2. Understand the importance of job analysis in strategic and human resource
management.
3. Choose the right job-analysis technique for a variety of human resource activities.
4. Identify the tasks performed and the skills required in a given job.
5. Understand the different approaches to job design.
6. Comprehend the trade-offs among the various approaches to designing jobs.

Extended Chapter Outline

Note: Key terms appear in boldface and are listed in the "Chapter Vocabulary" section.

Opening Vignette: Structural Realignment at Microsoft: Opening New Windows of


Opportunity

In the 1990s, revenue growth was high for Microsoft. Since then, Microsofts dominance has
been reduced due to competition and external and internal pressures. One of the problems at
Microsoft was that the decision-making process was slow. In addition, turnover was higher
than expected because key employees lacked intrinsic motivation.

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To turn this situation around, the companys CEO restructured the organization to respond to
these new competitive pressures. It became clear that Microsoft was too centralized given its
size, and too much decision-making power rested with the CEO and founder. CEO Bill
Balmer took steps to decentralize the organization and create semiautonomous business
divisions, but founder Bill Gates resisted. Balmer and Gates found that the solution was to
create a matrix like organization structure that relied on seven autonomous divisions. These
divisions divided the work up into separate units for operating systems, desktop applications,
business services, servers systems, mobil devices, Internet services, and gaming applications.

This new system revealed ho much money was being lost in certain divisions relative to more
profitable divisions. This provided a benchmark from which to measure improvement. This
new structure also motivated individuals to sink or swim in their new, more autonomous roles.
This increased intrinsic motivation and in turn reduced turnover rates. Many Microsoft
managers now believe that this new type of attitude will propel Microsoft back to the lofty
rates of growth that it once enjoyed.

I. IntroductionDesigning the work to be performed is one of the first tasks of


strategy implementation discussed in Chapter 2. The way a firm competes can have a
profound impact on the way tasks are organized, and the way the tasks are designed
may provide the company with a competitive advantage. Also, the way jobs are
designed can, in fact, affect company work-unit performance. There is no one best
way to design jobs and structure organizations. The organization needs to create a fit
between its environment, its competitive strategy and philosophy on the one hand,
with its job and organizational design on the other. Job analysis and job design are
interrelated.

II. Work-Flow Analysis and Organization Structure (Workflow analysis, analyzing work
outputs, processes, and inputs; see text Figure 4.1)

- work-flow design the process of analyzing the tasks necessary for the
production of a product or service, prior to allocating and assigning these
tasks to a particular job category or person.
- organization structure the relatively stable and formal network of vertical
and horizontal interconnections among jobs that constitute the
organization.

A. Work-flow Analysis

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The workflow process is useful because it provides a means for the managers
to understand all the tasks required to produce a high-quality product as well as
the skills necessary to perform those tasks.

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B. Analyzing Work Outputs

1. Work outputs are products of, or services provided by, a work unit.

Example: A work output for GM is a new Buick off the assembly line;
a work output for Gordon Landscaping Company is a mowed lawn.

2. Once outputs have been identified, it is necessary to specify the


standards for the quantity or quality of these outputs.

3. ProMES (productivity measurement and evaluation system) is a


productivity improvement technique that focuses attention on both
identifying work-unit outputs and specifying levels of required
performance for different levels of efficiency.

C. Analyzing Work Processes

1. Work processes are the activities that members of a work unit engage
into produce a given output.

Example: Work processes needed to produce an automobile include


assembly, painting, and so forth.
Every process consists of operating procedures that specify how things
should be done to develop the product or service.

D. Analyzing Work Inputs

1. Work inputs are the "ingredients" that go into the work processes and
can be broken down into three categories (text Figure 4.1).

a. Raw materials consist of the materials, data, and information that


will be converted into the work unit's products.

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b. Equipment refers to the technology, machinery, facilities, and


systems necessary to transform the raw materials into the
product or service.

Example: Raw materials for the assembly of automobiles


include various parts (steering wheels, tires, door panels, etc.)
and equipment used, including robotic welding machines.

c. Human skills refer to the worker's knowledge, skills, abilities, and


efforts necessary to perform the tasks.

III. Organization structure provides a cross-sectional overview of the static relationship


between individuals and units that create the outputs.

A. Two of the most important dimensions of structure are centralization and


departmentation.

1. Centralization is the degree to which authority resides at the top of the


organizational chart.

2. Departmentalization refers to the degree to which work units are


grouped based upon functional similarity or similarity of workflow.

B. Two types of Structural Configuration of organizational structure tend to


emerge in organizations:

1. A functional structure (See Fig. 4.2 in the text) employs a functional


departmentation scheme with high levels of centralization. Functional
structures are very efficient. However, they tend to be inflexible and
insensitive to subtle differences across products, regions, or clients

2. A divisional structure (see Figures 4.3, 4.4, 4.5 in the text) employs a
workflow departmentation and low levels of centralization. Because of
their workflow focus, their semi-autonomous nature, and their
proximity to a homogenous consumer base, divisional structures tend to
be more flexible and innovative. However, they are not very efficient.

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C. Structure and the Nature of Jobs

1. Jobs in functional structure need to be narrow, highly specialized, and


people need to work alone.

2. Jobs in divisional structures need to be more holistic, team-based


structure with greater decision making authority.

IV. Job analysis the process of getting detailed information about jobs.

A. The Importance of Job Analysis to HR Managers

1. Job analysis has been called the building block of everything that the
personnel department does.

2. Some of the human resource activities that use job-analysis information


includes selection, performance appraisal, training and development,
job evaluation, career planning, work redesign, and human resource
planning.

- Work redesign a firm will seek to redesign work to make it more


efficient or effective.
- Human resource planning planners analyze an organizations
human resource needs in a dynamic environment and develop
activities that enable the firm to adapt to change.
- Selection identifying the most qualified applicants for
employment.
- Training trainer identifies the tasks performed in the job.
- Performance appraisal getting information about how well each
employee is performing.
- Career planning matching an individuals skills and aspirations
with opportunities that are or may become available in the
organization.
- Job evaluation assessing the relative dollar value of each job to
the organization to set up internally equitable pay structures.

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Competing Through Globalization

Wanted: Jobs that do not travel well

As the example of the call-center industry in this case study shows, many
industries are moving from highly developed countries like the U.S. and
Germany, to countries with lower wages. This has become a necessity of
competition in our global society. The U.S. is experiencing a lag in job
growth, and this is affecting unemployment and the standard of living in the
U.S.

B. The Importance of Job Analysis to Line Managers

1. Managers must have detailed information about all the jobs in their
work group to understand the work-flow process.

2. Managers need to understand the job requirements to make intelligent


hiring decisions.

3. Since the manager is responsible for ensuring that each individual is


performing his or her job satisfactorily, the manager must clearly
understand the tasks required in every job.

Competing Through Sustainability

Clean Rooms: Clean in name only?

This case study demonstrates that there has been growing concern about the
safety associated with working in clean rooms at IBM and other
semiconductor chip manufacturers.

Despite their name, clean rooms are filled with many potentially toxic
substances. Many workers feel that under the pressure to get the job done,
shortcuts are taken that put the workers at risk. The problem with clean rooms
stems from a combination of lack of knowledge, need for innovation, and
speed in manufacturing operations.

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C. Job Analysis Information

1. A job description is a list of the tasks, duties, and responsibilities


(TDRs) that the job entails. (Text Table 4.1)

2. A job specification is a list of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other


characteristics (KSAOs) that an individual must have to perform the
job.

Example: Job specifications for an employment assistant would


include: (1) a four-year college degree with major course work in
human resources or an equivalent combination of experience,
education, and training; (2) considerable knowledge of principles of
employee selection and assignment of personnel; (3) the ability to
express ideas clearly in written and oral communication; (4) the ability
to independently plan and organize one's own activities.

3. Sources of Job Analysis Information

a. In general, it will be useful for the manager to go to the job


incumbents to get the most accurate information about what is
actually done on the job. However, the incumbents might
exaggerate their job duties.

b. Managers should ask others familiar with the job, such as the
supervisor, to look over any information received from the
incumbents.

c. Research has shown greater agreement between supervisors and


subordinates when rating general job duties than when rating
specific tasks. Also, incumbents may be the best source for
accurate estimates of time spent on job tasks, but supervisors
may be more accurate on the importance of job duties.

d. Research is somewhat inconclusive about the relationship between


the performance level of the job analyst and the job-analysis
information he or she provides, but recent research has shown
that effective and ineffective managers tend to give the same
job-analysis ratings despite their performance level.

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D. Job Analysis Methods

1. Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ)

a. The Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ) is a standardized


job-analysis questionnaire containing 194 items representing
work behaviors, work conditions, or job characteristics that are
generalizable across a wide variety of jobs.

b. The 194 items are organized into six sections, and the job
analyst is asked to rate each item on six scales. A computer
program generates a job report based on the ratings. The six
sections are:

- information input
- mental processes
- work output
- relationships with other persons
- job context
- other characteristics

c. Research has indicated that the PAQ measures 13 overall


dimensions (text Table 4.2). Knowing the dimension scores
provides some guidance regarding the types of abilities that are
necessary to perform the job.

d. One of the main problems with the PAQ is that it requires the
reading level of a college graduate to complete the ques-
tionnaire.

2. Task Analysis Inventory

a. The task analysis inventory method refers to several different


methods that focus on analyzing all the tasks performed in the
focal job. It is not uncommon to have over 100 tasks for a job.

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b. The task inventory-CODAP method has SMEs generate a list of


tasks and then the SMEs rate each task on various dimensions
such as the time spent on the task, frequency of task
performance, relative importance of task, and relative difficulty
of the task.

c. The task inventories focus on providing detailed information


about the work performed in a given job. The detail of the
information can be helpful in developing both selection exam
plans and performance appraisal criteria.

3. Fleishman Job Analysis System (FJAS)

a. This approach defines abilities as enduring attributes of indi-


viduals that account for differences in performance. The system
is based on taxonomy of 52 cognitive, psychomotor, physical,
and sensory abilities that adequately represent all the
dimensions relevant to work (see Table 4.3 in the text).

b. The FJAS scales include behavioral benchmark examples of the


different levels of the ability along a seven-point scale. SMEs
indicate the point on the scale that best represents the level of
that ability required in a certain job (see Figure 4.6).

4. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

a. The U.S. Department of Labor replaced the Dictionary of


Occupational Titles in 1998 with O*NET because jobs in the
new economy were so qualitatively different from jobs in the
old economy, and the DOT no longer served its purpose.

b. Instead of relying on fixed job titles and narrow task


descriptions, the O*NET uses a common language that
generalizes across jobs to describe the abilities, work styles,
work activities, and work context required for various
occupations that are more broadly defined.

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c. Although it is still being developed, the O*NET is already being
used by many employers and employment agencies. It is also
designed to help job seekers.

For more information on O*NET, visit http://online.onetcenter.org/

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E. Dynamic Elements of Job Analysis

Although we tend to view jobs as static and stable, in fact, jobs tend to change
and evolve over time. The job analysis process must also detect changes in the
nature of jobs. Advances in technology have made it hard to keep up with
some of the major changes in jobs, and automation has led to the elimination of
certain jobs or the offshoring of tasks or even shifting the tasks from the
worker to the customer.

Competing Through Technology

If You Want the Job Done Right . . .

This study discusses the trend toward self-service. For some organizations, the
goal is to totally eliminate human involvement from certain transactions. In
the last few years, technological developments have allowed the shift from
customer-service to self-service. For example, self-service kiosks are
becoming increasingly ubiquitous in todays economy. Self-service checkout
is also becoming popular in grocery stores. This trend is driven by the
computer savvy of customers today.
Airports are using kiosk technology so that customers can print tickets
themselves and avoid long waits in line. Because there are still glitches in
these automated systems, some organizations think they can compete better by
making customer service a warm and friendly experience. Increasingly, it
appears that many customer feel that there is no service like self-service.

V. Job design is the process of defining the way work will be performed and the tasks
that will be required in a given job. Job redesign refers to changing the tasks or the
way work is performed in an existing job. Jobs can also be characterized on different
dimensions of job design (Table 4.4 in the text).

A. Mechanistic Approach

1. The mechanistic approach to job design has its roots in classical


industrial engineering and focuses on designing jobs around the
concepts of task specialization, skill simplification, and repetition.

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2. Scientific management, one of the earliest mechanistic approaches,


sought to identify the one best way to perform the job through the use
of time-and-motion studies.

3. The scientific management approach was built upon in later years and
resulted in a mechanistic approach that calls for the job to be designed
very simply. The organization reduces its need for high-ability
individuals, and workers are easily replaceable (a new employee can be
trained to perform the job quickly and inexpensively).

B. Motivational Approach

1. The motivational approach to job design focuses on the job


characteristics that affect the psychological meaning and motivational
potential, and it views attitudinal variables as the most important
outcomes of job design.

2. The prescriptions of the motivational approach focus on increasing job


complexity through job enlargement, job enrichment, and the
construction of jobs around sociotechnical systems.

3. A model of how job design affects employee reaction is the Job


Characteristics Model.

a. According to this model, jobs can be described in terms of five


characteristics: skill variety, task identity, task significance,
autonomy, and feedback.

b. These five job characteristics determine the motivating potential


of a job by affecting three psychological states: experienced
meaningfulness, responsibility, and knowledge of results.

c. When the core job characteristics are high, individuals will have
a high level of internal work motivation, higher quantity and
quality of work, and higher levels of job satisfaction.

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d. Much of the work on job enlargement, job enrichment, and


self-managing work teams has its roots in the motivational
approach to job design (Table 4.4 in the text). However, most of
the research shows these interventions increase employee
satisfaction and performance quality, but not necessarily
increase quantity of performance.

Example: Alston & Bird of Atlanta have designed the paralegal


job so that it entails a great deal of autonomy and clear
communication channels between attorneys and paralegals. The
result: In an industry where turnover among paralegals
averages 20 percent per year, turnover at Alston & Bird
averages 7 percent per year. The firm also receives 15,000
applications for the 200 positions available per year.

C. Biological Approach

1. The biological approach to job design comes primarily from the


sciences of biomechanics (the study of body movements), and it is
usually referred to as ergonomics, or the concern with examining the
interface between individuals' physiological characteristics and the
physical work environment. The goal of this approach is to minimize
the physical strain on the worker by structuring the physical work
environment around the way the body works.

Example: At Toyota's high-tech Tahara No. 4 line, new electric vehicle


carriers were installed to minimize stress on the workers' bodies. They
adjust a car's height at every workstation. Toyota reports a major
reduction in turnover during the plant's first year of operation.

2. The biological approach focuses on outcomes such as physical fatigue,


aches and pains, and health complaints.

3. The biological approach has been applied in redesigning equipment to


reduce the physical demands so women can perform the jobs and to
reduce occupational illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

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D. Perceptual-Motor Approach

1. The perceptual-motor approach to job design has its roots in the


human-factors literature and focuses on human mental capabilities and
limitations. The goal is to design jobs in a way that ensures that they do
not exceed people's mental capabilities.

2. This approach generally tries to improve reliability, safety, and user


reactions by designing jobs in a way that reduces the information
processing requirements of the job.

3. This approach, similar to the mechanistic approach, generally has the


effect of decreasing the job's cognitive demands.

4. Recent changes in technological capabilities hold the promise of


helping to reduce job demands and errors, but in some cases, these
developments have actually made the problem worse. This is referred
to as absence presence

Example: An example of absence presence is talking on a cell phone


while driving a car.

E. Trade-offs among Different Approaches for Job Design (See Table 4.5 in text)

1. One research study found job incumbents expressed higher satisfaction


with jobs scoring highly on motivational approach.
However, the motivational and mechanistic approaches were negatively
related, suggesting that designing jobs to maximize efficiency is likely
to result in a lower motivational component to those jobs.

2. Jobs redesigned to increase the motivating potential result in higher


costs in terms of ability requirements, training, and compensation.

3. In designing jobs, it is important to understand the trade-offs inherent


in focusing on one particular approach to job design.

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A Look Back

The chapter opening of Microsoft showed how drastically restructuring the nature of work
could increase both the effectiveness and efficiency of operations. The specific changes in
how work was designed created a better fit between the organization and its environment, as
well as between the organization and its internal strategy.

Questions

1. Based on this chapter, how would you characterize the changes that were made in
terms of the degree of centralization and departmentalization?

Students answers may vary, but could include the following. The changes that
Microsoft made created a matrix like structure with increased decentralization to the
degree that workers in seven newly established units had more autonomy. The
company was able to use this structure to determine which units were least profitable,
and it was able to establish benchmarks for improvement. This is expected to reduce
turnover at Microsoft because workers are more intrinsically motivated.

2. What would be some characteristics of the environments or internal strategy that


might force a different firm to move in the opposite structural direction?

Students could include the following in their answers: dynamic, unstable


environments with difficulty anticipating demands for resources, coordination
requirements between jobs are not consistent over time, need for flexibility, and
competition on differentiation or innovation are some characteristics that might force a
firm to move in the opposite structural direction.

3. How would each of these changes in structure trickle down and affect the jobs of
individual workers?

Students answers will vary, but may include the following. These changes could
affect other employees because now if employees have questions, they could formally
deal with the issue. In the past, confused employees would send e-mails to Bill Gates.
Benchmarking in each department would encourage employees to improve and
involve them directly in the process, increasing intrinsic motivation.

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Chapter Vocabulary

These terms are defined in the "Extended Chapter Outline" section.

Centralization
Departmentation
Job Analysis
Job Description
Job Specification
Task Analysis Inventory
Job Design
Job Redesign
Ergonomics

Discussion Questions

1. Assume you are the manager of a fast-food restaurant. What are the outputs of your
work unit? What are the activities required to produce those outputs? What are the
inputs?

Some examples of outputs for a fast-food restaurant include the food orders and the
service provided. Activities required to produce these outputs include cooking,
cleaning, preparing orders, taking orders, and so forth. The inputs include the raw
materials (the ingredients for the food orders), the equipment (stove, cash register),
and the human resources (the ability to cook, the knowledge of what ingredients go
into a menu item).

2. Based on question 1, consider the cashier's job. What are the outputs, activities, and
inputs for that job?

Inputs for the cashier's job include the raw inputs (food ordered, prices, tax),
equipment (cash register), and human resources (the skill to operate the register, the
knowledge of the prices of the menu items, and the ability to answer customers'
questions).

3. Consider the "job" of college student. Perform a job analysis on this job. What are the
tasks required in the job? What are the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to
perform those tasks? What environmental trends or shocks (e.g., computers) might
change the job, and how would that change the skill requirements?

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Tasks would include attending class, completing homework assignments, and


participating in-group assignments. Some examples of the knowledge, skills, and
abilities needed are knowledge of prerequisite course material, college-level reading
skills, and ability to work together with others. Some environmental trends that might
change the job would result from changes in the job market, such as new knowledge
that employers would expect college students to learn. An example might be
knowledge of sexual harassment guidelines or ADA legislation.

4. Discuss how the following trends are changing the skill requirements for managerial
jobs in the United States: (a) increasing use of computers, (b) increasing international
competition, (c) increasing work-family conflicts.

Students should have no trouble discussing how these trends are changing the skill
requirements for managerial jobs in the United States. Managers are increasingly
expected to be computer literate. Managers are also expected to be knowledgeable
about other cultures, and knowledge of a second language is more commonly
preferred. Managers are also expected to be more sensitive to work-family conflicts
(day-care and elder-care issues for example) and to be knowledgeable about various
legislation that deals with such situations (such as the FMLA).

5. Why is it important for a manager to be able to conduct a job analysis? What are the
negative outcomes that would result from not understanding the jobs of those
reporting to the manager?

The chapter has a section on the importance of job analysis to both HR managers and
line managers. The students' answers will probably reflect information in these
sections as well as possible reasons of their own. The negative outcomes of a manager
not understanding the jobs of his or her subordinates are that the manager may not
make intelligent hiring decisions, may not be able to adequately evaluate the
performance of subordinates, and will have trouble understanding the work-flow
process if individual jobs are not understood.

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6. What are the trade-offs between the different approaches to job design? Which
approach do you think should be weighted most heavily when designing jobs?

As discussed in the chapter, the trade-offs appear to be between increased satisfaction


and motivation and reduced efficiency due to increased costs. For example, the
motivational approach that increases satisfaction results in lower utilization levels and
increased training time. Table 4.5 in the text summarizes the positive and negative
outcomes of each approach. Students' answers will vary as to which approach they
think should be weighted most heavily depending on their value of the various
outcomes for each approach.

7. For the cashier in question 2, which approach to job design was most influential in
designing that job? In the context of the total work-flow process of the restaurant,
how would you redesign the job to more heavily emphasize each of the other
approaches?

Students' answers will vary. All of the approaches could be used to design the cashier's
job. To redesign the job to emphasize the mechanistic approach, students should
discuss concepts such as more specialization. To redesign the job to emphasize the
motivational approach, students should discuss making the job more complex. To
redesign the job to emphasize the biological approach, students should discuss
adjusting or making changes in the equipment or job environment. To redesign the job
to emphasize the perceptual/motor approach, students should discuss ways to make the
job less demanding mentally.

Managers Hot Seat Exercise: Virtual Workplace: Out of Office Reply

I. Introduction

Telecommuting is a flexible working option that many companies have embraced.


The advantages and disadvantages of telecommuting are highlighted in this scenario.
Instructors of Management or Human Resources may use this situation to discuss
managing teleworkers and the need for clear and consistent policies.

II. Learning Objectives

1. To assess students understanding of the challenges of telecommuting.


2. To analyze and evaluate managerial actions related to telecommuting.

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III. Scenario Description:

Overview: Three months ago, Ralph Ramos assigned a number of employees to work
as telecommuters to alleviate the lack of space in their office building. Among them
was Angela Zononi, an employee and friend for over four years, who was delighted to
work from home since her commute to the office was particularly time-consuming.
Although things went relatively smoothly for the first six weeks, since then
communication and performance have taken a steady downturn. Angela has biweekly
meetings with Ralph in his office. Lately they have had unprecedented arguments and
frequent misunderstandings.

Profile:
Ralph Ramos is the Senior Manager of Claims, managing a 75 employee
department, at Saber Union Insurance, an international insurance company.
Angela Zanoni is a Claims Investigator at Saber Union. She has handled very
large accounts, including insurance fraud cases, resulting in multi-million
dollar recoveries for her company.

References: The references included in the DVD are:


Advantages and Challenges for Employees (PPT 12-3)
Advantages and Challenges for Employer (PPT 12-5)
Telework Assessment Tool (PPT 12-7)
Supervisor Checklist for Telecommuters (PPT 12-9)

Back History: Angela was one of five employees that moved to home offices three
months ago. She had volunteered right off the bat because she could spend more time
with her family if she eliminated all that commuter time [on a bad day she was losing
over three hours roundtrip!]

The telecommuting has had its ups and downs but her relationship with Ralph is
going downhill. Theyve been having frequent misunderstandings, and a few small
arguments. Angela feels that Ralphs operating on an out of sight out of mind
mentality. He doesnt even seem to read the email reports very closely. They do meet
every two weeks at the office as a check-in but its a pure formality. To make matters
worse, a colleague who works in the office told her about all the high stakes claims
another investigator, Bob, has been working on. Angela hasnt had anything hot in
weeks.

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Ralph is happy with the way things are working out. The office is no longer over-
crowded or disturbingly noisy. The telecommuters are doing their work and reporting
regularly. He is having more trouble staying on top of their reports and their projects
but thats probably because hes so busy.

Scene Set-up: Ralph and Angela are meeting to discuss their recent
miscommunications and Angela reveals her dissatisfaction with her recent treatment.

Scene Location: Ralphs Office

The Meeting - Summary: Ralph brings up the missed deadline and Angela says she
was not informed that the deadline had been moved. Ralph explains how the
information was conveyed. She says she feels that she is out of sight, out of mind and
that since she began telecommuting it has hurt her career. She notes that Bob has
received more high-stakes claims than her recently. Ralph explains that assignments
to employees are based on their talents and experience and that Bob had experience
with one client which is why he chose him. Ralph says he didnt realize she was
feeling this way and wasnt prepared. He suggests they meet later.

Two weeks later Angela misses an appointment with Ralph and deliberately fails to
provide work on time. Ralph wants to understand what has happened to change the
good working relationship they had. Angela threatens to resign, but Ralph maintains
his composure and urges her to try to work out a solution with him. They decide that
for the next two weeks they will talk on the phone everyday. Then, they will decide if
Angela should come back to the office rather than telecommute.

Afterthoughts Summary: Ralph states his strategy was to listen to Angela. He


notes that he often has issues with people working from home because its difficult to
keep track of what is going on. He feels voicemail and email are impersonal. He
drafts written plans with employees who want to work from home that outlines goals.
The plans are executed on a temporary basis until it is clear that they will work and
then he gives final approval.

Dossier: The specific artifacts included in the DVD are:


1. Emails between Ramos and Zanoni
2. Voicemail from Sorento to Zanoni
3. Ramos Assistants Voicemails to Zanoni

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IV. Discussion Questions:

The References and related Discussion Questions may be found in PowerPoint slides 12-1 to
12-9 on the instructors side of the texts Website.

Learning Objective #1: To assess students understanding of the challenges of telecommuting.

1. What advantages and disadvantages to telecommuting is Angela experiencing? See PPT


12-3.

Angela enjoys not having to commute and likes to be closer and more available for her
family. The voicemail from her friend indicates that she may be losing the personal
relationships she enjoyed at work because of decreased interaction. She clearly feels left
out of certain decisions and is concerned her career may be impeded.

1. How should Ralph respond [when Angela says since Ive been working
from home, Im out of sight]?
A. Compassionately
B. Clarify issues
C. Debate point

Ralph attempts to clarify the issues to calm Angela down.

2. What advantages and disadvantages to managing a telecommuter is Ralph experiencing?


See PPT 12-5.

His intention was to improve moral and job satisfaction of Angela by cutting down her
commuting time. In actuality, the opposite result has occurred. He blames this on the
difficulty coordinating and controlling staff and monitoring their performance. He is
clearly frustrated by not being able to reach Angela readily when important work-related
matters arise.

2. What is Ralphs strategy?


A. Emphasize strengths
B. Hide biases
C. Change topic

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Ralph tries to emphasize Angelas strengths and explains that Bob was chosen for the
higher stakes assignment because of is past experience, not because he is in the office
more regularly.

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3. How was this [initial] meeting?


A. Successful
B. A failure
C. A good start

It appeared that the meeting was a good start, but Angelas actions in between the two
meetings indicates that she is very upset and feels discriminated against because of her
working arrangement.

Learning Objective #2: To analyze and evaluate managerial actions related to


telecommuting.

1. What should Angela have done to prepare herself for telework? Refer to PPT 12-7.

Angela needed to really assess whether her work style was suited for telecommuting.
While there are obvious advantages (shorter commute time), there are some less
obvious disadvantages. One needs to assess themselves on the degree that the reality
of telework will impact them. The questions found in PPT 12-7 would be a good start
in this assessment.

4. Angela is dejected. Ralph should focus on:


A. Her value
B. Her poor performance
C. His mistakes

Ralph should help Angela realize her value to the organization and explain that he did
not intend to make her feel left out.

2. What should Ralph have done to prevent this problem from occurring? Refer to PPT
12-9.

Completing the Checklist provided in the slide would be effective.


Specifically, for their situation, a more formalized communication process
needs to be created.

5. What should Ralph do [when Angela says she want to resign]?


A. Accept resignation
B. Try new approach
C. End meeting

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Because Angela is a valuable and long-time employee he should try a new


approach with her to urge her to work out this problem.

6. Whats Ralphs next step?


A. Find replacement
B. Communication often
C. Reassign work load

Ralphs next step is to communicate more frequently with Angela to see if


performance improves and if the telecommuting arrangement will work in the
future.

Exercising Strategy

From Big Blue to Efficient Blue

Summary

In 1993 IBM racked up over $8 billion in losses when it was blindsided by the switch in
consumer preferences from mainframe computers to smaller, networked personal computers.
The new incoming CEO, Lou Gerstner, created a new vision and strategy for the company.
The strategy was to switch from being an old-fashioned manufacturing company to a modern
service provider. In addition, Gerstner wanted to restructure operations to reduce costs and
promote efficiencies.

The human resource division was most impacted by these changes, which was downsized and
became centralized. Technology was integral to facilitating this centralized strategy. The
sprawling, geographically dispersed units were replaced with an efficient three-tier system.
Despite the radical downsizing of the human resource unit, employee satisfaction with service
increased to 90 percent. The restructuring and redesign of these IBM jobs have formed a
blue-print for many other HRM departments in other organizations.

1. In terms of our discussion of organizational structure, in what ways did the structure at
IBM change under Lou Gerstner and what impact did this have on individual jobs?

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The changes that IBM made created a functional structure with extreme centralization
to the degree that the HRM department was condensed to one unit with less than 1,000
employees from worldwide offices with over 3,500 employees. The company
departmentalized the department into a 3-tier unit, each with its own specialized
employees.

2. Compare and contrast the direction of structural change at IBM with the direction of
change we saw in our opening story regarding the structural realignment at Microsoft.

Student answers may vary. The main difference between the strategies of these
companies is that while Microsoft took on a more decentralized approach, IBM took
on a more centralized, departmentalized approach to its HR department. Both
organizations were plagued with drops in market share and profitability. Both
organizations hoped these strategies would lead to improved efficiency. For
Microsoft, improved efficiency would come from reduced turnover due to higher
intrinsic employee motivation. For IBM, improved efficiency would come from
downsizing the HR department.

3. Since both IBM and Microsoft achieved their goals by changing their structures and
job design in opposite directions, what does this say about the relationship between
organizational structure and job design on the one hand and organizational
performance and job satisfaction on the other?

Student answers may vary. One the one hand, downsizing an organizations structure
and redesigning jobs to be more efficient can improve the profitability of a company.
However, downsizing can negatively affect an organization by lowering employee
morale (this was not the case at IBM). On the other hand, restructuring an
organization and redesigning jobs to improve employee motivation can be costly for
the company. (Because of reduced turnover, this was not the case for Microsoft).
There are definite tradeoffs between these two strategies, and these examples
demonstrate that there is no one best strategy within an industry. Managers must
carefully evaluate strategies before implementing them.

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Managing People: From the Pages of Business Week

Tech Jobs are Sprouting Again

Summary

For the first time in three years, the tech job market is showing signs of life. This has
significant implications for job creation. Thanks to Corporate Americas robust demand for
tech gear and services, the hiring is relatively broad-based. Technical firms like Symantec
and Qualcomm are hiring at twice the rate of last year. These companies are also filling
positions that many feared would be sent to China or India. Management consulting is
another hot area in terms of job creation. These positions are particularly resistant to moving
offshore. People adept at overseeing the development of software products are also in
demand. In some sectors, such as telecommunications, layoffs will continue.

1. What were some of the factors that led to widespread unemployment among technical
workers prior to the recent upsurge in hiring?

Student answers may vary. Overcapacity is the major factor that let to widespread
unemployment among technical firms. In the late 90s, tech firms were eager to hire
many employees because of the technological boom. After 2000, the tech bubble
burst, and because of overcapacity, companies were forced to layoff employees in
order to remain competitive.

2. In what ways are the technology jobs that are now emerging in the U.S. economy
different from those that existed ten years ago?

Because to the recent trend in outsourcing, tech jobs today have to be strongly
resistant to moving offshore. This is good news to management consultants and other
managers. Today, lower-level support and maintenance tasks are concentrated
overseas, while high-tech, high profile jobs are staying in the U.S. sector.

3. If you were a worker in the tech industry like Mark Herleman, what steps would you
take to help buffer yourself from the ups and downs of this labor market?

Student answers will vary. An important key attribute in the tech industry is being
able to stay on top of innovation changes in technology. Mark could do this by
enrolling in classes or researching new technologies or inventions. In addition, Mark

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could safeguard his job by obtaining management skills, particularly as a consultant or
product development manager. Obtaining an MBA would be a great way to do this.

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Additional Activities

In-Class Activity 1

Many students are or have been employed. Ask students to choose a company for which they
have worked and analyze the corporate culture at that company. Answers may include some of
the following:

Did a sense of teamwork and cooperation prevail?


Was employee morale high?
Who was primarily responsible for the attitudes that dominated in the workplace?
Was the company successful?
Was the company a good one to work for? Why? Why not?
What could have been done differently to improve the culture?

In-Class Activity 2

Invite students to discuss their experiences traveling by air. Have any of them flown
Southwest Airlines? If yes, does the airline measure up to everything that is being said
about it?
Do they have a favorite airline? Why?
What, in their opinion, are the most important reasons for choosing an airline?

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