Changes in Employee Roles and their Values

Traditionally, it was believed that management has got the brains and hence will decide what is good or bad for the employees. The employees are expected to follow the commands of the boss without posing any questions. However, this paternalistic atmosphere has changed with the advent of unions; Employers have also gained consciousness regarding their rights in the workplace.

Further, the changing structure of the workforce has led to the introduction of new values in organizations:

Among these are moves towards (1) emphasis on quality of life rather than quantity ; (2) equity and justice for the employees over economic efficiency; (3) pluralism and diversity over uniformity and centralism (4) participation over authority (5) personal convictions over dogma and (6) the individual over the organization . Alienation from the job, increasing counter productive behavior, rising expectations and changing ideals of employees are some of the other factors responsible for the changing values and roles of human force. Consequently it has become imperative for the management to include various fringe benefits to improve morale, introduce a machinery to redress grievances ,encourage employee participation in decision making and the likes to pave the way for industrial betterment and to meet the ever increasing demands of the workforce.

Another change in the values of employees is the declining work ethic. In days gone by, employees regarded their jobs as their central life interest pursuing work assignments with single minded devotion. In recent years however the work ethic has declined in favor of a more existential view of life. Work is regarded as only one alternative among many as a means for becoming a whole person in order to do one’s own thing. Family activities, leisure avocations and assignments in government and schools are all equally viable means through which a person can find meaning and become self actualized.

What are Americans Like?

1) Americans are very formal
2) They are direct. They don’t talk around things.
3) They are competitive, assertive and even overbearing.
4) They are achievers. They value achievements and like to keep score.
5) They are independent. They have freedom and uniqueness. They believe that individuals can shape and control their own destines.
6) The have an inquisitive mind. They ask a lot of questions sometimes pointless ones also. The purpose of education, according to them is to think, to analyze and to learn
7) They dislike silence and like to draw others into conversation
8) They value punctuality. They are sticklers for schedules and promptness
9) They value cleanliness (observed with bathing, eliminating body odors, wearing clean dress etc)
10) They hold ethnocentric values (they believe that their cultural values and customs are superior to all others).
11) Americans suffer from parochialism (i.e. view the world through their own eyes and perspective). They do not recognize that other people have different ways of living and working.

What are Indians like?

Further, employees are seeking a greater balance between their work lives and their personal lives, more leisure time and greater flexibility in scheduling time away from work especially since the 80s. Feeling severely constrained by the Monday through Friday, nine to five grueling routine, they find it difficult to schedule doctors’ appointments, accommodate children’s school schedules and satisfying other personal needs away from work. Employees are demanding that management look more closely at work schedules which accommodate their needs in addition to the needs of the company.

Level of Education:

Workers with higher levels of formal education have been entering organizations in recent years. Increased formal education led to changes in the attitudes of employees. Well educated employees always challenge and question management decisions and want a voice in those of the company’s affairs that affect their interests. As the base of education broadens, management must plan to deal with employees on a higher plane of logical interactions. One implication of an increase in educated and knowledge workers – accountants, engineers, social workers, nurses, computer experts, teachers. Researchers, managers – is that HRM will be called upon to find innovative ways of keeping these people challenged and satisfied. Knowledge workers often demand more responsibility and autonomy than their employers are wiling or able to afford.

sourceL HRM VSP