Workforce Arrangements Quarter

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Workforce Arrangements Quarter (hereinafter, the Quarter) is a lecture introducing the learners to team design primarily through key topics related to workgroup design. The Quarter is the third of four lectures of Team Quadrivium, which is the sixth of seven modules of Septem Artes Administrativi (hereinafter, the Course). The Course is designed to introduce the learners to general concepts in business administration, management, and organizational behavior.


Outline

Regulatory Сompliance Quarter is the predecessor lecture. In the enterprise envisioning series, the previous lecture is User Experience Quarter.

Concepts

  1. Workforce arrangement. The action, process, or result of arranging or being arranged that an enterprise does for and/or offers to its various workgroups and/or workteams.
  2. Decision-making authority design.
  3. Workgroup. A group that interacts primarily to share information and to make decisions to help each group member perform within his or her area of responsibility.
    Productivity criteriaInteracting groupBrainstorming groupNominal groupElectronic group
    IdeasNumber and quality of ideasLowModerateHighHigh
    GroupthinkSocial pressureHighLowModerateLow
    ExpensesMoney costs to form the groupLowLowLowModerate
    SpeedSpeed of group operationsModerateModerateModerateModerate
    ConsistencyTask orientationLowHighHighHigh
    ConflictPotential of interpersonal conflictHighLowModerateLow
    CommitmentCommitment to solutionHighNot applicableModerateModerate
    CohesivenessDevelopment of group cohesivenessHighHighModerateLow
  4. Group functioning. The quantity and quality of a group's work output.
  5. Role. A set of expected behavior patterns attributed to someone occupying a given position in a social unit.
    • Role ambiguity. When role expectations are not clearly understood.
    • Role expectations. How others believe a person should act in a given situation.
    • Role overload. Having more work to accomplish than time permits.
    • Role perception. An individual's view of how he or she is supposed to act in a given situation.
  6. Workteam. (1) A group whose members work intensely on a specific, common goal using their positive synergy, individual and mutual accountability, and complementary skills; (2) A group whose individual efforts result in performance that is greater than the sum of the individual inputs.
    Comparison criteriaWorkgroupWorkteam
    GoalInformation sharingCollective performance
    SynergyNeutral (sometimes, negative)Positive
    AccountabilityIndividualBoth individual and mutual
    SkillsRandom and variedComplementary
    • Self-managed workteam. (1) A workteam that operates without a manager and is responsible for a complete work process or segment; (2) A workteam usually of 10 to 15 people who take on responsibilities of their former supervisors.
    • Virtual team. A workteam that uses computer technology to link physically dispersed members in order to achieve a common goal.
    • Problem-solving team. A workteam usually of 5 to 12 employees from the same department of functional area who meet often for a few hours each week to discuss ways of improving work activities or solve specific problems such as quality, efficiency, and the work environment.
    • Cross-functional team. A workteam composed of employees from about the same hierarchical level, but from different work areas, who come together to accomplish a task.
    • Cross-hierarchical team. A workteam composed of employees from different hierarchical levels.
  7. Team characteristic.
    • Reflexivity. A team characteristic of reflecting on and adjusting the master plan when necessary.
    • Mental model. Team members' knowledge and beliefs about how the work gets done by the team.
    • Team efficacy. A team's collective belief that they can succeed at their tasks.
    • Team identity. A team member's affinity for and sense of belongingness to his or her team.
  8. Job design. The way tasks are combined to form complete jobs or, in other words, the way the elements in a job are organized.
  9. Job involvement. The degree to which an employee identifies with her or his job, actively participates in it, and considers her or his job performance to be important self-worth.
    • Personality-job fit theory. A theory that identifies six personality types and proposes that the fit between personality type and occupational environment determines satisfaction and turnover.
    • Person-organization fit. A theory that people are attracted to and selected by organizations that match their values, and leave when there is not compatibility.
  10. Work specialization. (1) The degree to which tasks in an organization are subdivided into separate jobs; (2) The process of dividing work activities into separate job tasks.
    • Formalization. The degree to which jobs within an organization are standardized and/or the extent to which employee behavior is guided by rules and procedures.
    • Job depth. The degree of control employees have over their work.
    • Job score. The number of different tasks required in a job and the frequency with which those tasks are repeated.
  11. Occupation. The regular activity that a person undertakes in order to earn his or her livelihood. That activity can be a job, profession, or position that somebody works in. Entrepreneurs may refer their occupation as self-employed.

Roles

  1. Team role. A role that one plays while being a team member.
  2. Human factors ergonomist. A professional who designs objects, facilities, and environments to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, applying theory, principles, and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technology. He or she investigates and analyzes characteristics of human behavior and performance as it relates to the use of technology.
  3. Contingent worker. A temporary, freelance, or contract worker whose employment is contingent on demand for her or his services.

Methods

  1. Workforce strategic alignment. A group of techniques used to align workforce arrangement models with business strategies. The alignment is usually based on assumptions that organic models tend to be more costly, but more innovative and agile, while mechanistic models tend to be more cost effective in stable operations, but less-to-not productive in projects.
    Organic modelMatrix modelMechanistic model
    Innovation strategy, growth strategy, startup pivotImitation strategyStability strategy, cost-minimization strategy
  2. Iterative work design. An established procedure for changing workgroup design and workforce development.
    • Job engagement. The investment of an employee's physical, cognitive, and emotional energies into job performance.
    • Job enlargement. The horizontal expansion of a job by increasing job scope.
    • Job enrichment. The vertical expansion of a job by adding planning and evaluating responsibilities.
    • Job rotation. The periodic shifting of an employee from one task to another.
  3. Group decision-making technique. An established procedure for making decisions by a group.
    • Nominal group technique. A group decision-making technique in which individual members meet face to face to pool their judgments in a systematic but independent fashion.
    • Thumb vote. A quick pulse to get a sense of where the team are in terms of commitment, or agreement on a decision, etc. thumb up generally means agree, yes, or good, and thumb down disagree, no or bad; the analog version of this allows the thumb to be anywhere on the half circle to indicate differing degrees of agreeability.
  4. Delphi method. A method of group decision-making and forecasting that involves successively collating the judgments of experts.

Instruments

  1. Team effectiveness model. A model that suggests that team effectiveness depends on three groups of factors, which are context, composition, and functioning.
    • Team context. The circumstances that form the setting for a team including its adequate resources, leadership and structure, climate of trust, performance evaluation and reward systems.
    • Team composition. The characteristics of each of team memberss and the way of their assembly including abilities of members, personalities, allocating roles, diversity, size of teams, member flexibility, and member preferences.
    • Team functioning. Workteam's working or operating in a particular way including its common purpose, specific goals, team efficacy, conflict levels, and social loafing.
  2. Group decision tool. A tangible and/or software implement used to make decisions by a group.
    • Unanimity (or consensus). A group decision tool that makes a decision when every participant of the group agrees on a single action. An example of reaching unanimity is the Delphi technique wherein a selective group of experts answer questionnaires and give feedback on the responses of each round of gathering requirements.
    • Majority. A group decision tool that makes a decision when it is chosen by more than a half of the group participants. To avoid a tie, it is important to have an uneven number of participants during the group decision-making.
    • Plurality. A group decision tool that makes a decision when it is chosen by the largest block of the group. This is used when there are more than two options being nominated upon.
    • Dictatorship. A group decision tool that makes a decision when it is made only by one individual -- usually the leader -- for the entire group.
  3. Workforce arrangement model.
  4. Mechanistic model. A workforce arrangement model that is rigid and tightly controlled. Usually, those workforce arrangements that utilize this model are characterized by centralization and, as they outgrow startup stages, extensive departmentalization, high formalization, and a limited information network.
  5. Organic model. A workforce arrangement model that is highly adaptive and flexible. Usually, those workforce arrangements that utilize this model are flat, use cross-hierarchical and cross-functional formations, have low formalization, possesse a comprehensive information network, are characterized by decentralization, and a high degree of participative decision-making.
  6. Open workplace. Workplace with few physical barriers and enclosures.

Practices

Leadership Quarter is the successor lecture. In the enterprise envisioning series, the next lecture is Organizational Culture Quarter.

Materials

Recorded audio

Recorded video

Live sessions

Texts and graphics

See also